Richard Sponzilli ’71
Forty years ago, Richard Sponzilli ‘71 launched a small landscaping business with a total of $450. Today, he is the chairman and CEO of one of the industry’s premier landscape design firms, the Fairfield-based Sponzilli Landscape Group, Inc.
A Certified Master Gardener who is widely regarded as a creative genius in the landscape industry, Sponzilli’s clients include Donald Trump, Calvin Klein, New Jersey State Senator Richard Codey, and the New York Giants’ Kareem McKenzie, among many other recording stars, professional athletes, and celebrities. His distinctive designs grace such landmark buildings as Trump Plaza and rooftop gardens at Yankee Stadium and Giants Stadium. He also oversees a successful hydroseeding business that operates nationally.
As chief designer, Sponzilli is known for his signature style, which was inspired by landscaping he observed at tropical resort hotels. His designs feature vibrant colors and often include such elements as boulders, rock formations, and waterfalls.
With thousands of clients and a business that shows no signs of slowing down, Sponzilli attributes his success to pleasing his customers. “It’s not how smart you are, or how creative or intelligent or cool you think you are. The bottom line is making somebody happy. You don’t come first, your customers come first.”