Kimberly Robinett had no illusions about the entrepreneurial life when she launched TREKK Design Group, a Kansas City-based civil engineering firm, in 2002.
As a child growing up in Blue Springs, Missouri, Robinett watched her father grow his car and Jeep dealership. She learned from a young age that being a business owner wasn’t glamorous, that it took a great deal of hard work, determination and time.
Robinett’s father instilled in her another important value. “My father always understood that he wasn’t just the provider for our family. He knew he was responsible for the families of the people he employed too,” she said.
The company that Robinett leads exemplifies the lesson her father taught her about entrepreneurs bearing the responsibility for others. TREKK Design Group not only seeks to improve the lives of its employees, but also the lives of millions of Midwesterners through TREKK’s focus on clean water and safe roads.
TREKK evaluates and designs collection, conveyance and treatment systems that keep the water in homes and waterways clean. TREKK designs roadway geometric improvements, drainage, lighting and traffic control improvements that promote public safety.
Secret Sauce for Growth
Robinett, an electrical engineer who worked for Sprint before starting TREKK, is passionate about creating a culture that encourages staff to think beyond traditional solutions.
“Our secret sauce has been the ability to bring together smart, passionate, trustworthy people committed to holistic, common sense solutions that support the growth and restoration of the communities we serve. We really try to encourage innovation, creativity and free thinking to deliver quality solutions to match our clients’ needs and to make a difference in the world around us,” she said.
Many of the 100-plus employees have been with the company since the beginning.
“We take pride in our culture,” Robinett said. “We work hard, but we encourage innovation and initiative, and we provide leadership and mentoring opportunities for our employees. We help each other grow.”
The approach has helped the company grow too. When it launched, TREKK offered civil engineering and lighting design services. It quickly earned a reputation for personalized client service and developed a strong track record of delivering successful projects. It now offers a full range of engineering design and consulting services and operates nine offices in four states—Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Tennessee.
Among the projects in TREKK’s portfolio are the Kansas City Streetcar, kcICON Christopher S. Bond Bridge, the Johnson County Gateway Interchange and annual work for the cities of Belton and Kansas City, Missouri, among others.
Banking on Growth
Robinett realized early on that she needed to surround herself with partners that could provide advice and guidance as the company grew. One critical partner has been Equity Bank.
“Our banker, Larry Hillier, has always been a great partner for us. He has been with us from TREKK’s infancy to now being more than 100 employees. Equity Bank has always been able give us the financial backing and support we need to be successful in our business. We truly feel like we have a partner in our business who wants to see us succeed,” Robinett said.
With Equity Bank on the team, Robinett sees a bright future ahead for TREKK. In fact, she has a specific goal that she wants to reach by the end of the decade.
“Our team is focused on creating new opportunities so that we can live out our vision of improving even more lives. Our goal is to experience 25 percent growth and impact the lives of 5.2 million people in 2020,” she said.
Share Your Napkin Story
Some of the most amazing business stories started as an idea scribbled on a napkin.
Mark Parman, Kansas City Market President of Equity Bank, invites you to share your Napkin Story. “We not only want to hear your origin story, we can help you continue to write the rest of your company’s story,” he said.
Equity Bank is a full-service community bank with offices in Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. Our group of bankers are experienced with businesses from small to large. We take the time to listen to your story and help you design the services that will benefit you and your business.
To share your napkin story, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or (913) 323-9300.