Burton S. Sperber was a “passionate and accomplished” magician, says the California landscape architecture firm he founded and ran for decades. But it was Sperber's vision and tough business skills, not magic, that built Valley Crest Landscape Cos., Calabasas, into the billion-dollar business it became before recession nipped its bottom line. Sperber, 82, died on Sept. 30 in Santa Monica, Calif., of complications from surgery, says the firm.With only a high school education and experience in his father's nursery, Sperber acquired a small landscape business in 1949 for $700 and was busy as post-WWII California boomed. Valley Crest helped its
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.