WORDS: Amy Bell
PICTURES: Whitney Patton
Based in Tampa, Production and Process Technologies (PPT) is a full-service design/build contractor that offers best-in-class design and integration services. “I started PPT Florida in 1997, and we are on our 25th year in business,” says President Bruce Bottorff. “We are a systems integrator for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries.”
PPT Florida consists of a group of chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineers who design, construct, and program process systems that create many of the food and beverage products people consume on a daily basis. “In more simpler terms,” Bruce adds, “We design, build, and test drive the car, but we don’t necessarily build all of the individual components of the car.”
When a customer comes to PPT, they usually already have a product in mind as well as certain specifications they must follow. “We then come up with the process design that will ultimately make the product the customer wants – kind of like what you would do in your kitchen,” he explains. “Our mission is to provide the highest quality service to our customers at the best valued price while having fun doing so.”
Over the last couple of decades, PPT Florida has become a trusted partner for some of the world’s biggest names in food and beverage manufacturing. Some of the company’s customers include Tropicana, Gatorade, Pepsi, Publix, Naked Juice, Kevita, Quaker Oats, Frito Lay, Bosch & Lomb, Catalent, Anheuser-Busch, Lipton, Tazo, Dairy Mix, Chobani, Dairy Farmers of America, and Silk Almond and Soymilk, just to name a few.
Bruce says the most rewarding part of his job is watching his employees develop and improve themselves intellectually and financially. “I love seeing employees gain valuable knowledge inside and outside of work, get married, raise families, and become pillars in the community,” he explains. “Knowing that the company that I started 25+ years ago supports hundreds of people with jobs and careers is extremely fulfilling for me.”
PPT Florida strives to balance work life and family life all twhile giving back to the community through monetary donations and volunteering. “It is important that we give back to the community where we live and work,” he says.
However, Bruce admits that he faces at least one career challenge: He sometimes doesn’t know when to call it quits at the end of the workday. “The most challenging aspect of my job is to know when to go home!” he exclaims. “I love my job, and I love working with the people in not only my workplace but my customers as well.”
He says dealing with a wide variety of people from all walks of life can also be challenging. “Being a technical driven company working for Fortune 500 companies, we deal with all kinds of people on a daily basis,” he explains. “My job is to support my employees and allow them to maximize their potential and work product. At the same time, I have to teach customers on what they really want and how it needs to operate.”
“Our motto is to provide the best possible solution for the value because, if we don’t, our customers’ products will ultimately be overpriced in the marketplace,” he adds. This would result in less sales, which would in turn lead to less production expansion and less need for PPT’s services. “It truly is a circle of value.”
Florida Born & Raised
A native Floridian, Bruce was born and raised in Sarasota. “I was born in Sarasota Memorial Hospital back when it was two-stories and barely covered one block,” he laughs.
Bruce followed in his mother’s footsteps when he attended Riverview High School. “My mother was one of the first graduating classes from Riverview,” he points out. While in high school, he participated in several sports, including football, wrestling, and baseball.
Bruce went on to play football for Yale University, where he received his accredited BSEE (Bachelor Science in Electrical Engineering) in four years. In fact, he was the first four-year Yale football player to graduate with an accredited BSEE.
After college, Bruce knew exactly where he wanted to live. “I wanted to come back to Florida as it is truly paradise,” he recalls. “I had one corporate job once I graduated from Yale where I spent five years working between Florida and California.” Five years later, he resigned and started PPT Florida.
Outside of work, Bruce spends time volunteering at the Manatee Police Athletic League (PAL). “I have been a volunteer at Manatee PAL since 2012 when John Fitzgerald Jr. invited me to come see what was happening there,” he remembers. “Since then, I have never left. You could say that PAL is my second family outside of work.”
Following the motto “Putting Kids First,” PAL uses athletics and recreational activities to tighten the bond between police officers and children in the community. PAL is based on the belief that children, if reached early enough, can develop a strong, positive attitude toward law enforcement.
Although PAL is nationally known as a recreation program, the league has adapted to the changing times by teaching children to avoid gangs, drugs, alcohol, and other dangers. PAL programs also incorporate mentoring, life skills, and homework help.
“Volunteering at Manatee PAL is very important to me,” says Bruce, who has been the Manatee PAL Board of Directors president for the past several years. “I am proud that we have been improving the programs of children in not only quality but quantity as we have expanded from football, cheerleading, and basketball to soccer and baseball,” he emphasizes.
When Bruce was a kid, he played football for the Ringling Redskins, where he was coached by a group of Sarasota police officers. “My grandfather was a police officer and recommended to my mother that I try out and play for his colleagues,” Bruce recalls. “Outside of my grandfather, those were the first police officers that I had been around as a kid. That experience proved to be instrumental for me in my development as a kid.”
He believes it is extremely important for youth and their parents to be involved with the police in the community. “It is important for them to see that police officers are people too, and they are here to help and support us.”
When he’s not working or volunteering, Bruce enjoys working out and spending time outdoors. “I love Florida. It is truly paradise here on the Gulf Coast, and I would not trade it for any other place on earth,” he says. “Being fit is extremely important to me and has been since I was 13-years old. I love all outdoor activities, but I really enjoy CrossFit, fishing, and boating.”
More than anything else, Bruce says he loves hanging out with his 8-year-old son, Alton. “He was named after my great grandfather and myself (my middle name is Alton),” Bruce explains. “Alton is a wonderful kid. He and I enjoy doing CrossFit, hitting golf balls, fishing, and snorkeling together. I just purchased Alton’s first golf club set just a few weeks ago, and he is very excited.”
Although Bruce works hard as president of PPT, he believes work-life balance is extremely important. “While I may work hard, I also value the play side of life, and believe that being a good human and neighbor is what we all should strive for on a daily basis,” he says. “Technology today allows us to escape so much and we sometimes lose what is closest and most valuable to us: our friends and neighbors.”