President and Founder, Planterra in West Bloomfield. Pliska has built Planterra into a plant design company responsible for plant arrangements in commercial buildings such as the Renaissance Center, Henry Ford Health System hospitals, and several major office buildings in metro Detroit. Recently, Planterra opened a retail store as part of a $3 million investment in West Bloomfield Township with such new features as a 23,000-sq.-ft. greenhouse with a weather monitoring system that automatically adjusts vents and shades to keep plants at the required temperatures. Pliska has developed the company over 30 years and imbued a culture of bringing people and nature closer together. He oversees all activities related to plant purchases and has 30-year relationships with breeders and growers. His stock of thousands of plants includes rare orchids, cacti, and plant species not typically found in Michigan. Recently, the company won two national design-build awards from Plantscape Industry Alliance for the indoor healing gardens at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield. Interiorscape magazine also highlighted them as a national 2010 Best Project. In 2009, Planterra won the 2009 Going Green Award from Corp! magazine for its development of TerraScreen, a living wall system for building interiors, in addition to Planterra’s ongoing efforts in recycling rain water, reducing waste, and embracing new green technologies. Pliska is active in the Detroit Food and Wine Society, where he served as president for two years. Prior to founding Planterra, he was a draftsman for General Motors. In the early 1970s, he also managed Pots and Plants, a retail plant store in downtown Birmingham.

WHERE BORN: “The big D: Detroit.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “There’ve been many, including family, friends, and business associates. The most important would be my wife and my two creative sons. My wife helped me stay grounded, especially in the early years of our marriage. We’ve been married over 30 years now and she’s the CEO of Planterra.”

LAST BOOK READ: “TheScience of Being and Art of Living by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, printed in 1966. I’ve followed the yogi way of life for most of my career. Organizations need healthy-thinking leaders. When I practice yoga and meditation, it helps me keep balanced in work and in myself.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Adventuresome, intuitive, dreamer, passionate, loyal, artistic, courageous, and romantic. To be in this business, you have to have some romance.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “With the green movement that everyone is trying to capitalize on, the industry is healthy. The garden center industry in general has not been hurt by the economy. I read recently that it has grown by 3 percent in last few years. Plants are healthy so it’s not going to go away. Plants and flowers offer a presence that massages away some of the heaviness of the human race. The old saying ‘stop and smell the roses’ is really true.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “I don’t have any. I don’t like technology because I see people getting trapped by it. The only exception is a CD player because I like to listen to music.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “Good Hart on Lake Michigan just south of Cross Village. It’s beautiful and tranquil. I’ve been going there for about 20 years.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “My first is collecting exotic plants and then sailing on the Great Lakes. I’m a drummer in a rock and roll band on Friday nights, and I practice yoga on a daily basis.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Pasta and red wine. I could eat pasta every day.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “Playing the piano. I have one at home in my music room.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As a man who made a contribution to humanity.”