Thirty years ago, Bruce Holland walked away from a safe job to pursue a vision of creating a company that would provide high quality, personalized construction services to commercial clients who would appreciate his focus on building relationships, not just buildings. This year, he was recognized with the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® award as a leading entrepreneur in the Central Midwest, a solid reminder that his vision is now very much reality thanks to his leadership, ingenuity, perseverance, and personal commitment to creating a business built on integrity.
Under Holland’s leadership, Holland Construction Services (HCS) has developed a strong company culture that balances personal family and business family, customer and employee satisfaction, and controlled growth that allows the company to maintain both its values and its close relationships with customers, while still providing the high quality service it is known for.
“I’m incredibly honored to receive such a prestigious award for doing what I’m passionate about. My philosophy has always been that by providing an exceptional client and employee experience, we would expand our reputation one quality relationship at a time,” said Holland. “I would not be where I am today without the support of my family, my fellow executive team members and all of our employees and their dedication to this organization and our clients.”
Holland’s roots in the construction industry are deep, having been planted as a youth when he worked as an apprentice for his father, a small home building contractor. He then spent 20 years working his way up at Bauer Brothers Construction Co. before taking the leap to launch HCS, convincing a small core group of co-workers to join him on what became a very successful journey. Some of those original employees are still on board, a testament to the type of company Holland has built as he has grown it into an enterprise with 80 employees and $178 million in annual revenues.
HCS’ ability to continue to grow during multiple economic downturns is, in part, due to a commitment to attracting the best talent, assembling the right leadership team, and leveraging improvements in construction technology to enhance efficiency. The company maintains a strong focus on safety, quality, and labor relations, serving as a resource in these areas for others in the industry.
Holland’s success as an entrepreneur has made him even more dedicated to giving back to the community. In addition to supporting various charities, employees get paid time off for volunteering, and HCS has its own charitable foundation run entirely by company employees. The firm’s charity golf tournament has alone raised more than $170,000 over the past 11 tournaments. In addition, HCS donates more than $100,000 annually to area non-profits, continuing a generous history of giving under Holland’s leadership.
He also is generous with his time, serving on the boards of numerous organizations over the years; and his commitment to the community has been recognized through multiple awards he has humbly accepted on behalf of his family and employees. Among these are the Belleville Chamber of Commerce’s Commitment to Community Award and Business Excellence Award, Leadership Council’s Salute to Southwestern Illinois Award, Construction Forum St. Louis’ Building Tomorrow Award, The Boy Scouts of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award and many, many more.
With his latest award for Entrepreneur Of The Year®, Holland joins a remarkable group of prior recipients that includes Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company and Maxine Clark of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. The Entrepreneur Of The Year’s panel of independent judges annually selects recipients of the award from a host of global regions based on qualities such as leadership, ingenuity, community impact and innovation. The awards for the Central Midwest were presented at a black-tie gala on Thursday, June 15 at the Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland in Kansas City, Mo. Regional winners are now also eligible to be considered for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National program, where winners in several national categories will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on November 18, 2017. Since its founding in 1986, Entrepreneur Of The Year has recognized business leaders in over 145 cities in more than 60 countries throughout the world.
Other recipients of the 2017 Entrepreneur Of The Year® award in the Central Midwest include Allan Connolly with Aclara, Dan Geraty with Clearent, Peter Mallouk with Creative Planning, Donald Welge with Gilster-Mary Lee Corp., Marty Bicknell with Mariner Holdings, LLC, John Goodbrake with Master’s Transportation, Inc. and David Johnson with Maxus Properties, Inc.
“EY has been recognizing leading entrepreneurs for over three decades,” said Scott McVicker, Entrepreneur Of The Year Program Co-Director for the Central Midwest. “The class of winners in 2017 represent new ways of thinking, disruptive business models and overall dynamism that make this country a great place to do business.