Business and Community Builder
January 23, 2012
It’s tough to choose which of Bruce Bingham’s many accomplishments have made the most impact on Utah’s business community. It might be his time on the Salt Lake Chamber’s executive committee. Or perhaps it was his service as president of the Days of ’47 Pioneer Celebration, or when he recently headed the Downtown Alliance.
But it could also be the millions of square feet of office, retail and industrial space he’s developed, the vacant acres he’s transformed for commercial use, or the benchmark 22-story, LEED Silver-certified office building at 222 South Main he helped build.
Bingham is one of those rare super-achievers who sees himself as the “everyman.” When you ask Bingham about his career, he starts with his stint as a barn-painting salesman rather than leaping to his time at Trammell Crow Company, one of the nation’s preeminent real estate development firms, or telling how he co-founded Chicago-based Hamilton Partners and single-handedly launched the company’s Salt Lake branch.
When you beg him to share the secret to his success, as an employee’s spouse did at a recent company Christmas party, he shrugs and says, “As soon as I have some, I’ll let you know.”
When you try divining his business philosophy, he replies, “Oh nuts I’ve made mistakes. But we have been very fortunate in finding people who have integrity, who are loyal, competent. My business philosophy is you get good people to do good work and you get out of the way.”
Perhaps Bingham’s down-to-earth sensibilities sprouted from his childhood on a Midwestern farm. Although he’s a bona fide city slicker now, Bingham grew up raising hogs, cattle, soybeans and corn. He first came to Utah to earn his undergraduate at Brigham Young University, then returned to Illinois for a master’s degree at Northwestern University.
He called Chicago home until, as he described, his “partner [at Hamilton] got bumped off a plane between Bozeman and Chicago and was impressed with Salt Lake City. He said we ought to come out here and do some business. Because I was the token Mormon in the office, one thing led to another, and here I am. It’s been a great experience.”
Today Hamilton Partners has more than 250 employees, and Bingham and his staff have managed numerous projects including the purchase of the Newhouse Building, the Boston Building, the purchase and sale of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Warehouse in North Salt Lake City, the development of a 145,000-square foot distribution facility in the California Business Park, and the development of the 459,000 square-foot tower on Main Street and Second South.
When he’s not waving his wand over Utah’s business landscape, Bingham likes to spend time with his family. He and his wife have raised two daughters and “a couple foster daughters we’ve accumulated over the years.” They are now relishing their seven grandchildren, who are scattered from coast to coast.
Reflecting on all his achievements, Bingham says, “I guess what I enjoy most is seeing the positive, tangible results of effort. A building gets built, or a tenant gets satisfied or a company can grow—you’re maybe helping other people fulfill their needs.”
But then he adds, “I guess you’re not successful until you’re done, and I guess I’m never done.”
Utah can only hope so.