Bergeron Land Development
When Ron Bergeron was 18 years old, he set out on his own with $235.12 in his pocket. Little did he know that he would eventually parlay that sum into a commerce empire. In 1965 Bergeron Land Development (BLD) Inc. was founded. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, BLD has grown into one of the largest general contracting companies in the state. Specializing in land development, construction, environmental rehabilitation and real estate, BLD is a sector of Bergeron Family of Companies Inc.
The Bergeron family entered the state of Florida in the 1840s. Eight generations later, Bergeron began his entrepreneurial pursuit in the agricultural and real estate industries. “I began buying real estate when I was 21 and in 1963 I started working in the agricultural market in a little town called Davie,” says Bergeron. “I saw the need for some light construction work in the community so I bought a little two-cylinder gasoline bulldozer and started building driveways and house pads.”
Over the past 50 years, Bergeron has expanded his business into numerous industries and sectors. In addition to land development, the Bergeron name is associated with recycling, cattle, mining and emergency services, among others. “We have what are called pre-event contracts with cities, counties and states all throughout the United States,” says Bergeron. “This means that we are prepared to do whatever we have to do when a natural disaster strikes.”
A growing Portfolio
BLD is currently involved in a project which includes expanding Port Everglades. Located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, port everglades is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. “They’re expanding the port with turning notches and different depths for the bigger ships that are going to be coming through the Panama Canal.” says Bergeron. “We’re doing all the wetland restoration.” BLD is performing the entire earthwork portion of the project which involves the planting of 250,000 mangroves. The expansion is an environmental mitigation project that will allow access for wildlife into the port. “We’re actually taking uplands and converting them to wetlands.”
Over in Miami Beach, efforts to prevent flooding have been implemented. In order to counter global warming and high tides with full moons, BLD has designed and built a pump system of which the first phase of the system has been installed. “It has worked tremendously well,” says Bergeron. “I was very proud when news crews were gathering at Miami Beach last year because they thought it was going to flood and they didn’t see any water.” BLD is now moving into the next phases of the system.
Through experience and passion for natural habitat restoration, BLD has been recognized for its contributions to the preservation of the everglades. For its restoration work on Stormwater Treatment Area 2 WC2A Hydropattern Restoration Works for South Florida Water Management District in 2003, BLD received the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) award for best design, quality, importance and completion.
Bergeron cites preparation as a factor for the survival of his company through tough economic times. “There’s a big difference between leveraged wealth and unleveraged wealth,” Bergeron explains. “Entrepreneurs are risk takers, and there’s a point where you have accomplished what you set out to do. That’s when you start diversifying your portfolio so when these recessions hit they are not as hard on you.”
When the recession hit in 2008, Bergeron was prepared. “I’ve witnessed six recessions in my 50year career,” says Bergeron. “I’ve learned to prepare for them. I was not prepared for the first one and it was very tough on me. As the years went on I became better at preparing and staying out of debt.”
After 50 years in business, Bergeron has learned that two of the most important assets in business are respect and a great reputation. “You have to earn respect because you can’t buy it,” says Bergeron. “I tell my children that that is more important than any financial success. The challenge is to find success while making the world a better place.” The Bergeron Ranch has become well-known for hosting charities every year. With a 1800s theme park located within the estate, 15 to 20 charity events will take place this year and will record the largest attendance of any other charity function in the state of Florida.
Bergeron has not allowed his success to change him or his culture. “I’m proud surviving 50 years in the construction business but it’s never affected my heritage or my roots,” says Bergeron. I still rodeo at a very high level and I still wrestle alligators in the swamps.”
As the company moves forward and continues to grow, Bergeron has paved the way for the next generation to take the reins of the company. His son, Ron Jr. is currently a partner in ownership. With values rooted in integrity and respect, Bergeron Land Development Inc. will continue to build relationships while giving back to the community for generations to come.
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