No. 8 Small Company: Brucemore

By Angela Holmes

Not all employees can say their window view is a lush park with beautiful gardens, a pond and trees surrounding a historic mansion.

But for Brucemore’s staff, the scenery is just part of the job which includes preserving the 26-acre estate while providing popular programming on a regular basis.

“There’s no routine day,” executive director David Janssen said. “We, as a staff, feel privileged to take care of this resource.”

As well as enriching lives of visitors, Brucemore also enriches the lives of its employees.

“You don’t even realize that you are in the middle of the city because it is peaceful and quiet. There are so many different cultural events held here throughout the year, giving us abundant opportunities to enrich our lives with music, theater, art, history and architecture. I am constantly learning new things about a large variety of topics just because I work here, and my family benefits from these opportunities as well,” an employee commented in Brucemore’s nomination for Coolest Place to Work.

If funding wasn’t an issue, the staff of 12 would be doubled, Mr. Janssen said. With a small staff, Brucemore – Iowa’s only National Trust Historic Site – relies on its force of about 300 volunteers who take seriously the responsibility of preserving the historic treasure.

“People work at non-profits because they believe in the mission. I know that I am surrounded by people who want to be here and work together toward making the community better,” an employee stated.

Mr. Janssen, who was assistant director in the 1990s, returned to Brucemore in 2012 to become the executive director.

The dedication and creativity of the staff continue to amaze him.

“All the effort that goes into it requires a lot of teamwork and camaraderie,” he said.

As well as maintaining the grounds and property, the staff also schedules a host of annual events such as mansion tours, Classics at Brucemore, Tahitian Party, Cabaret in the Courtyard and the Brucemore Garden and Art Show.

Programming is constantly evolving, Mr. Janssen said. Among the new events at Brucemore in the works is a show in September by Cedar Rapids’Revival Theatre Company.