Brant Flores
Since the age of 13, Brant Flores has worked … hard. A self-admitted workaholic, the most striking thing about Brant is that his drive and work ethic stem from a soulful place far beyond financial reward. Brant isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty (literally), and he is on a mission to make Evansville more inclusive and more successful. We’re so glad that Evansville grew on this Chicago native!

Meet Brant

I was born and raised in Chicago, and spent 27 years in Chicago. I left about 8 or 9 years ago and came to Evansville to work for an industrial services company. I never thought I would be in the tree and landscape business again in my life. When I was younger, I dabbled in it during the summers and weekends. Then, when the ice storm hit here in Evansville, we decided to diversify our business. In doing so, the tree and landscaping company got started, and it took off. I’d been a manager with the company for about 2-3 years, and decided to make them an offer to buy the division out about 4 years ago.

I grew up in a lot of family businesses. My father was a tree climber for a good part of his younger years. So that’s kind of where I started. I had an uncle who owned a business, and I worked there at nights and I worked for my father during the day. So I’ve always worked in a family business one way or another. My father and uncle are the ones that taught me about business.

How has becoming a father changed your approach to life and work?

What would you say are the pros and cons of life in Evansville vs life in Chicago?

I think in Evansville, things are a lot more attainable — business is a lot more attainable. Leadership in the community is more attainable. There are a lot less people. In Chicago, you’re definitely the little fish in the big pond. You can really thrive here. Bringing the mentality I have, where back home, it’s kind of an aggressive mentality there; you really have to compete. The competitiveness is a lot different there than it is here. So I feel bringing that here, it was a lot easier for me to transition in business and also in the community, because I’m used to being 100 miles an hour. Not that I’m not a 100 miles an hour here, but it’s just different.

What are the advantages and challenges of being a small business owner in Evansville?

I’ve never seen a small city like this where word of mouth just goes such a long way.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

Well, I’m a very blue collar person, so of course being in the tree and landscape industry, everyday is a blue collar day. I can wear jeans everyday; I can wear boots; I don’t have to worry about getting dirty. I like doing that. I’m a hands-on person. I like getting in the mix with my workforce; that’s just what I like to do. I like to see a project from start to finish. It’s kind of a hunt almost. It’s like you get that project, take it, complete it — you conquer it, you finish it, and you can see the results afterwards. The results might be a happy customer. It might be something that you’ve changed to solve a problem at someone’s house or property. And that’s really rewarding.

It’s also rewarding that I can employ 30 people in this town. 30 people in this town is a lot of people. And it’s rewarding for me to see that I can employee that many people, and then see those people be able to provide for their families. 

How are you supporting the Latino community in Evansville?

The Latino Chamber Alliance is a division of the Southwest Indiana Chamber. I am a co-chairman, and our mission there is to try to include Latino business owners and Latinos into the workforce and workplace. Right now, we’re working on some initiatives to help Latinos obtain certification as minority business owners. We’re helping them get certification to be able to cook food, sell food at different events. And what we look to do is just to increase the participation of Latino businesses and non-Latino businesses, and trying to blend both groups together. Also, helping Latinos that have a vision to go into business. Giving them the right resources, we can help them get involved in business. We can help them get connected to the right people; we can explain the basics of business — how to write a business plan, how to obtain a loan, how to obtain a customer, how to bid on projects. These are all things we’re trying to do, and as we progress — because we’re very new, it’s in its infancy — as we progress, we’re going to add so many more things to our list of services we can provide to potential business owners and existing business owners in the Latino community.

I was introduced to two individuals who were long-time members of HOLA, and they kind of told me what was going on with their mission statement and explained what their wants and needs were. It interested me, because being a third generation Mexican-American, I felt that there were a lot of needs to be helped in this community. There is a growing population of Latinos here in Southwest Indiana. So, it kind of hooked me right there. I thought, hey, can get in, I can use my resources to help other people. The last two years that I’ve been involved, we’ve worked on a scholarship with Ivy Tech and have other things in the works. When I heard there was an opportunity for me to come in and help my people, of course I was all over it.

What do you want people to understand about immigrants and immigration in the last 5-10 years?

Most Americans have been immigrants at some point in their family history. Why do you think it's sometimes difficult for people to see how we are alike before seeing how we are different?

I think a lot of it is a misunderstanding of culture. I think that, as Americans, we’re extremely diverse in a lot of ways, but in so many ways we’re not diverse. We don’t understand our neighbor’s culture. And, without understanding your culture, there’s a sense of ignorance there. If you don’t understand what your neighbor believes or follows, you’re a bit ignorant to it. So, I think that by educating and by explaining other cultures, by blending cultures with events, and blending cultures — and the media can be a huge influence here — I think that people will understand more about their neighbor rather than just look at them as an immigrant or as a foreigner, or whatever you want to say. But, we really need to educate each other about culture.

Brant Flores

What is your long-term vision for yourself here in Evansville? And for the Evansville community at large?

So for myself in Evansville, the long-term vision is we decided we’re staying — we’re not going anywhere. For years, I thought we would eventually move on to another city, but the long-term goal is — we’re here. My goal is to build my business. My goal is to promote my employees from the bottom to the top so that one day the employees run this company. Without my employees, I’m nothing. So, my long-term goal is to see them succeed, because if they succeed, I succeed. 

I think as a community in Evansville, we’re growing. I think that we’re seeing change, and it’s exciting. Eight or nine years ago when I came here, I didn’t see that. It was very disheartening for me, and I thought — I can’t live here. But now, I see it happening. I see that there’s different groups here. There’s people bringing awareness to certain issues. So to me it’s exciting. I think that we are a little city that’s got big dreams and big hopes. And I see it happening. I really do.

I think that we are a little city that’s got big dreams and big hopes. And I see it happening.

How would you define ‘e is for everyone’?

To define it is difficult. What it means to me is — once again, there’s hope. We are working together. We’re creating awareness. I think it’s going to be a challenge, but I think that Evansville is prime and ready for this challenge. I believe that the people are ready. I believe that the younger generation is ready. I believe it’s going to work, but it’s going to take work from all of us. All aspects of this community — no matter your race, your color, your looks, whatever it may be — it’s going to take work from all of us. But I think that we’re capable of doing it. I really truly do. It’s a powerful phrase. e is for everyone kind of speaks for itself. 

I think that Evansville is prime and ready for this challenge. I believe that the people are ready.

How do you define success?

Success for me is seeing my daughter, or if I have any other children, seeing them succeed. That’s success for me. I grew up in a family that didn’t have much, and I always saw my parents work very hard to get whatever we wanted in life. So success for me is to not have my children and to not have my grandchildren have to work as hard as my parents did, or work as hard as I do. If I can live long enough to see my daughter succeed, and see her go to school and get married and have children — that’s success to me. If I can even live long enough to see my grandchildren have a piece of what I’ve built — that’s extreme success.

What do you know for sure? 

I know for sure that the world’s going to keep on spinning. The clock’s going to keep ticking. And hopefully as a race, we learn to accept each other. Hopefully as a race, we learn to look past religion, color, preferences in life, and we learn to love our neighbor and accept each other for who we are. I really hope that happens.