College of Agriculture
Stuart J. Sperber
Class of '56, Ornamental Horticulture
Chief Executive Officer
Valley Crest Tree Company
Vice Chairman of the Board
Stuart Sperber is one of Cal Poly Pomona's select "Voorhis Boys." At that time, the student population of 800 was all male. Many of the students he knew are prominent in their industries today.
"We started out together and each of us has gone on to experience extraordinary careers," says Sperber. "When I look at the campus today, its growth is amazing. Now there are more than 20,000 students and it is coeducational."
The Sperber family started Valley Crest Landscape Nursery in North Hollywood in 1949 with about $600 and just a few employees. Since then, ValleyCrest Companies has become the largest privately held diversified landscape company in America . Under its vast $850 plus million umbrella are more than 10,000 employees nationwide. These branches of ValleyCrest Companies include ValleyCrest Design Group, ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance, ValleyCrest Golf Course Maintenance, ValleyCrest Homescapes and Estate Gardens by ValleyCrest. Sperber's pride and joy is the business he co-founded in 1960, Valley Crest Tree Company, the largest containerized tree company in America . Sperber and his team developed the concept of growing trees in custom-built boxes. Not only does the company specialize in containerized trees, it also developed a method to safely and successfully move large, mature specimen and heritage trees, a process so refined and sophisticated that it can be considered a science.
"I'm especially proud of the fact that we have a huge viability rate with the large trees we have relocated,” says Sperber. "Our company has received many safety awards for what is potentially a very risky undertaking."
In March 2007, ValleyCrest led an extraordinary corporate event that united more than 150 executives and managers from across the nation to build a community park in Sylmar in a day. ValleyCrest not only provided the know-how by way of its design team, but it also donated plants, material and labor instrumental to design and build the park, an urban revitalization project that could have taken as long as five years and $500,000 to accomplish. ValleyCrest's commitment to community service is also exemplified by Sperber's ongoing work at Cal Poly Pomona. He is a member of the CSU Agriculture Advisory Committee, serves on the President's Council and was president of the University Educational Trust Board. Sperber contributes to the university's competitive horticultural teams, and on behalf of ValleyCrest welcomes Cal Poly Pomona students with internships and assistance with special projects.
"I have held numerous leadership positions with professional landscape organizations, but working with students keeps me young," he says. "Cal Poly Pomona students are not only among the best trained, but they also have an exceptional passion for the industry."
Sperber's contributions to the California horticultural industry were recently honored when he was named Pacific Coast Nurseryman of the Year. He is a member of the National Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, the International Society of Arboriculture and the American Association of Nurserymen.
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