Backstory: Mickey Strauss

December 12, 2016 -  By

009Mickey Strauss

Owner
MSM Landscape Services
Sylmar, Calif.

Education

Taft Charter High School
Woodland Hills, Calif.
Class of 1963

“I got my start in the industry in high school when I took an ornamental horticulture class in lieu of a science class.”

Pierce College
Los Angeles
Ornamental horticulture
1963-1966

Work Experience

1963
Boething Treeland Farms
Designer
Woodland Hills, Calif.

“I worked for three months as a designer and I never saw the pencil, so I quit.”

1963-1965
Toto’s Nursery
Landscape Designer/Installer
Woodland Hills, Calif.

1967-1971
ValleyCrest
Chief Estimator/Purchasing Agent/Assistant Division Manager
Van Nuys, Calif.

“Prior to ValleyCrest, I thought a large job was around $3,000. The first job I was involved in there was the California Exposition and State Fair in Sacramento, which in those days was $1.2 million. It opened my eyes to how big the industry was.”

1971-1973
Sid Galper Associates
Project Manager
Van Nuys, Calif.

“A client called screaming at us for shortchanging her. Her roses didn’t have as many petals as her neighbor’s. I hung up the phone and realized this residential stuff wasn’t for me. I wanted to get back into commercial and public works.”

1973-2007
American Landscape
Founder/Owner/President
Canoga Park, Calif.

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At American Landscape, Strauss won unique contracts like the Jurassic Park theme park at Universal Studios, revamping LAX before the 1984 Olympics and snow management at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

2007-Present
MSM Landscape Services
Co-founder/Owner/President
Sylmar, Calif.

Strauss, who’s been called “a trade association junkie” for his activity in numerous associations, is a local board member and past president of the California Landscape Contractors Association.

Did you know?

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Strauss has a wife, Cindy, of 48 years, four grandchildren and two sons, Jeff and Jason, who are both in the industry.

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Strauss enjoys boating on Lake Nacimiento in Central California and riding horses with his wife, who is the president of local equestrian group Equestrian Trails.

Words of wisdom

“We never had employee problems until we hired our first employee.”

“The contractors that won’t recognize the drought and won’t switch over (to drought-resistant services) are the ones who are suffering.”

“Get involved in your industry. Our elected officials will stick it to whoever is the quietest.”

Photos: Mickey Strauss; ©istock.com/pidjoe

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Dillon Stewart

About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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