Berard returns to his roots to help Stanley Tree grow

GOING NEXT LEVEL: Bruce Berard, Stanley Tree Service Inc.’s vice president and chief operating officer, helped double the company’s revenue and employee count. 
GOING NEXT LEVEL: Bruce Berard, Stanley Tree Service Inc.’s vice president and chief operating officer, helped double the company’s revenue and employee count. 

2023 C-Suite Awards
Midsize Private Company: Bruce Berard | Stanley Tree Service Inc. vice president and chief operating officer

FROM THE TIME he was very young, Bruce Berard has always enjoyed the challenge of building and leading a team. That desire to create something and see it grow has remained with him to this day.

Today, as vice president and chief operating officer of Stanley Tree Service Inc. in Smithfield, Berard has led the 100% employee-owned company to significant growth and expansion, as well as making employees feel like family.

“Many employees know everyone’s name and share stories of the days when they worked in the field,” Berard said. “You are not a number here. Leadership truly cares about each employee and that will never change. The culture at Stanley Tree Service is family and health first, everything else second.”

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Berard served with the U.S. Army as an infantry soldier. He received an honorable medical discharge from the Army in 2006 due to a knee injury. After his military service, Berard sought a new career path to provide for his family.

He eventually started a small landscaping business, serving just a handful of clients at first. The business grew quickly and within two years, Berard’s customer list had swelled to more than 100.

Then the Great Recession hit in 2008. The economic crunch forced Berard to shutter his business and take a foreman role with Stanley.

After briefly working for National Grid, Berard returned to Stanley as a general manager at the request of company founder and CEO Stanley Zuba to help “take the business to the next level,” Berard said. Berard has led several internal changes at Stanley. Among them was reworking the company’s organizational structure in an effort to eliminate duplicated efforts, maximize productivity and reallocate responsibilities.

Additionally, Stanley’s outdated estimating software was replaced. The company is finalizing the rollout of a Stanley Tree App specific to employees that will provide a central location for all company information, news and events.

In 2022, Stanley unveiled Tri State Power Equipment, a new branch developed to both provide better service to Stanley’s internal and external customers in the outdoor power equipment and arborist supply space.

Berard, who was directly involved with Tri State from its pitch as a conceptual business right on through to its launch, views the business as a natural progression for Stanley.

Julian Emerich, Stanley’s director of marketing and purchasing, who has worked with Berard since 2018, says Berard offers a refreshing style of leadership. He says Berard floats around visiting every division, speaking with employees and constantly listening to their ideas.

“He even recently gave up his office so a new hire could have a comfortable place to work while our office addition is being built,” Emerich said. “His belief in his team and philosophy of leveraging employees’ strengths in every capacity creates an environment where growth and success is contagious.”

Since Berard’s return to the company, Stanley has grown exponentially – and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Emerich said the company was almost half its size before Berard returned. Doubling Stanley’s revenue and employee count in such a short window of time is something Berard took pride in, Emerich said.

“This explosive growth also translates into added financial stability for every employee’s future now that we are employee owned, something Bruce has been a proponent of since day one,” Emerich said.

Not one who seeks out recognition and praise, Berard admits his pride in what he and the Stanley team have accomplished so far.

“Some people say I am a workaholic, but I truly love being challenged and overcoming the adversity of someone saying, ‘You can’t,’ ” Berard said. “Seeing where Stanley Tree Service is now as a company compared to where it was when I returned is beyond rewarding. I continue to push forward, encouraging my team to seek out new [opportunities] and better themselves daily.”

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