LM150: Exploring the possibilities

July 8, 2019 -  By
The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs (Photo: Stephanie Early)

The relationship with Colorado Springs’ The Broadmoor resort has been vital to Timberline Landscaping’s growth. (Photo: Stephanie Early)

Colorado conjures up images of rock climbers, hikers and skiers being active outdoors. When it comes to recruiting, Stephanie Early, chief strategic officer for Timberline Landscaping in Colorado Springs, Colo., says the company leads with one of its biggest assets — its location — to attract student interns and workers.

This year, Timberline began a gap-year program designed so new recruits have a four-day workweek whenever possible, giving them a three-day weekend to get out and explore Colorado.

Timberline Human Resources Manager Chris Loncar is the mastermind behind the gap-year program. It’s marketed to students who have either recently graduated high school or who are attending college and may want to take a year to explore the adventures the area has to offer. The program also introduces them to the landscaping industry by providing a paid position and benefits at the company.

Timberline has coordinated with local recreation companies to provide students and recruits discounted opportunities for activities like hiking tours, outdoor safety classes and rafting.

Marketing for the program began in January with college recruiting tours, and targeted social media ads drummed up 1,200 clicks and 68,000 impressions.

The company has two residential landscape design interns and an associate maintenance account manager starting this summer in the gap-year program.
Timberline plans to promote the program again for next season to decrease its dependency on H-2B.

“The goal for now is to wean our (H-2B) numbers down,” Early says. In 2009, the company didn’t receive its workers and didn’t participate in the program for a few years before returning to it in 2013.

“Since then, we have been fortunate that we have gotten our workers,” she says, “but we’re holding our breath every year.”

From left: Timberline Landscaping’s CFO Craig Nesbit, CSO Stephanie Early, Chairman Tim Emick, CEO Judd Bryarly and COO Josh Pool. (Photo: Timberline Landscaping)

From left: Timberline Landscaping’s CFO Craig Nesbit, CSO Stephanie Early, Chairman Tim Emick, CEO Judd Bryarly and COO Josh Pool. (Photo: Timberline Landscaping)

Restructuring for success

Timberline started out in 1982 as a small residential landscape company. CEO Judd Bryarly joined in 1992, when there were only five employees.

The company’s maintenance division began in the mid- to late-1990s, a major blizzard in 1997 brought it into the snow removal game and 2001 began the Christmas Décor by Timberline franchise as a supplement for winter work. In 2006, the company was booming, with 100 employees and $10 million in revenue.

Along with the rest of the industry, Timberline took a big hit during the 2009 recession, when the team fell to 80 employees and about $4 million in revenue.
The company regrew steadily. In 2014, Timberline had 150 employees and about $11 million in revenue, and rose to report $15.5 million in revenue and close to 200 employees in 2018. This year, it went from No. 132 to No. 128 on the LM150.

The company pivoted this year from a typical pyramid hierarchy with Tim Emick as president, and Bryarly as vice president and CFO Craig Nesbit underneath Emick, with the rest of the staff reporting up.

The model currently in play includes Emick at the top as chairman of the board and a C-suite made up of Bryarly as CEO, Early, Nesbit and COO Josh Pool reporting to Emick, with business units of residential construction, commercial construction, Christmas Décor, residential maintenance, commercial maintenance and trail building reporting to the C-suite.

“Accountability has been a big structural change because these business unit leaders are now essentially the CEOs of their business unit,” he says. “They have responsibility for the profit or loss of that unit and the strategic initiatives that are being implemented.”

In 2018, the company hired a consultant to bolster the financial intelligence of its leaders. As a result, staff learned to budget with more accuracy, create forecasts and control profits and gross margin more effectively, according to Early.

A key collaboration

Another piece of Timberline’s growth has been leveraging its best client partners. The company began working with luxury resort The Broadmoor in 2008, when the hotel needed landscaping projects completed in preparation for The U.S. Senior Open golf tournament.

The company’s bid for temporary landscaping around the tournament’s hospitality tents was accepted, and the relationship took off from there, Bryarly says. Timberline also provided landscaping for the 2011 Women’s Open and the 2018 Senior Open at The Broadmoor.

The company has partnered with the resort on more than $1 million in projects, including the property’s west entrance, several restaurants, Cheyenne Lodge and the Pauline Memorial Chapel.

Timberline also has installed landscaping and built trails for The Broadmoor’s mountain properties, Cloud Camp and The Ranch at Emerald Valley. The Christmas Décor business unit has designed lighting installations at the hotel’s Seven Falls property.

This summer, Timberline will complete landscaping and irrigation construction for the resort’s new event center and rebuild the boulder walls surrounding a lake — the focal point of The Broadmoor — a project that has been phased in over the last three years. Bryarly says that his company is involved in most of the improvements undertaken at the property.

“We’ve created a great partnership with them, and they allow us a lot of opportunity to showcase our work,” he says. “They’re just so diverse in what they do, but we’re also diverse. And they know that, and they count on us to be an all-in-one (vendor) for them.”

The Broadmoor relationship is important to Timberline because it allows the company to be versatile, but also because of the trust they’ve built.

“They’re a great partner because they value what we do rather than the price — the price isn’t a consideration all the time,” Bryarly says. “Yes, it’s a factor, but they know that we’re going to come in and get the job taken care of for them.”

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This article is tagged with , and posted in Cover story, Featured, June 2019, LM150
Abby Hart

About the Author:

Abby Hart is the former senior editor of Landscape Management. A native Clevelander, she spent 10 years in Chicago, where she was operations manager of a global hospitality consultancy. She also worked as managing editor of Illumine, a health and wellness magazine; and a marketing specialist for B2B publications. Abby has a degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communication.

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