Member Spotlight: TREKK Design Group LLC
Oct 30, 2020
For TREKK Design Group, LLC, the 2019 Small Business of the Year, 2020 has had more ups than downs. “Business has been good,” said Kimberly Robinett, Managing Partner. TREKK is an 18-year-old civil engineering firm based in South Kansas City that works with several public agencies. “As far as our year for 2020 and the end of 2019, we have had such great momentum,” said Robinett. “We had really seen a growth curve that continued even amidst the pandemic. When COVID hit, our government agencies still had work to do to keep our communities running and keeping our water clean and our roads safe.”
The 2019 Mr. K Award Winner is known as a leader in clean water and safe roads. Across the KC metro area, they’ve been involved in signature projects like the Kansas City Streetcar, the new single terminal at KCI, Johnson County’s Gateway Interchange, and Kansas City’s Smart Sewer Program. With the future of some infrastructure projects up in the air right now, firms like TREKK are worried about the impact. “We work for a lot of municipalities and we’re beginning to see the budget challenges that lie ahead for many of them. There’s just a lot of uncertainty going forward,” said Robinett.
TREKK has been able to move forward, however. They’ve secured new clients across the nation and are working on some larger projects closer to home for 2021. It’s not just the work that’s moving them forward, it’s the workplace. Office personnel were already used to working remotely thanks to TREKK’s 2016 investment in technology that allowed employees to work from home. “It was an easy transition, kind of like ‘hey tomorrow we’re going to stay home’,” said Robinett. “We had 30 percent of our office staff maybe down 4 hours at most. And that was mostly taking their equipment home to set it back up.”
While it wasn’t quite as instant for TREKK’s field personnel, it wasn’t complicated. The field crews already spend most of their time working in sewers – with plenty of PPE to keep them safe. TREKK was ahead of the game, and able to be proactive instead of reactive, but they still wanted to make sure those crews had the right kind of PPE. Robinett brought in experts, ordered additional PPE, and had a lot of honest conversations with the teams. As they learned more about COVID, they were able to make sure their field personnel were protected and felt safe. “I think those conversations were really important and helped us be successful.”
TREKK’s success is well-known. When the business won the Chamber’s 2019 Small Business of the Year Award, Robinett saw it not just as an award, but as an affirmation that others believed in the small business as much as the TREKK team did. “Receiving the Mr. K Award says that everyone else sees your mission and your ‘why ‘and believes it’s special too. When you have to package together your accomplishments, then you look back at the application and read that, it was so moving to me. I thought back to sitting in our basement when we started [TREKK] and to see what it has become, the collection of this amazing brilliant innovative problem solvers, is just so moving to me.”
With 2021 on the horizon, the future is uncertain. “But isn’t that the case every year?” asked Robinett. “There are so many challenges but every year we rise to them. We take the tools that we have, and we take the opportunities that we have, and we put our best foot forward.”