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From left: Paul Engel, Karie Currence, Jared Davis and Aaron Hargrove
SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa
From left: Paul Engel, Karie Currence, Jared Davis and Aaron Hargrove

2020 Dynamic Dozen No. 8: Anderson Engineering Inc.

Posted online

Springfield Business Journal: What has been key to your recent growth?
Jerrod Hogan: Good people and good strategy. We think that every good company, at its core, has good people. And when you combine that with good strategy, you have fun, you create a really cool environment and you tend to grow.

SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Hogan: One of the things I love most about our growth is that it’s allowed us to spend a little more time on strategy. As we grow, a majority of our team spends their resources working in the business and making sure our clients are successful. But it’s also empowered us to have a few folks spend time on strategy, making it a better place to work, identifying clients and how we serve them better. Being able to divide those tasks up has been a real gift for our company. We did a reorganization of our entire structure almost a year ago now. Our company had a very traditional, hierarchical work chart. … Now, we look at if this person is great technically, great with clients or great with strategy. And through that restructuring, we now have opportunities for each of those skill sets and passions to fit into a better position.

SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Hogan: Absolutely. We’ve been on 10 years straight of double-digit growth. And there’s, frankly, been a couple of years where we did grow too fast, and it’s changed our growth strategy. … We had a few months where we felt we lost control. If it felt good, we did it. If we liked someone we interviewed, we hired them. We hired too many people on ability and character without making sure they were a good fit with chemistry. One component of growing too fast is that you make decisions you end up going backwards and correcting those mistakes. … Now, we believe growth is sustainable, and we shift back and forth between external and internal growth.

SBJ: What is the worst business advice you’ve received?
Hogan: Twenty years ago, I had this attorney say, ‘Write a business plan, execute the business plan and don’t deviate.’ I did that for a long time. In hindsight, I think that’s terrible advice. I’d write a 30-page business plan, spend months researching it, and I’d go print it at Kinko’s, bind it and stick it on a desk. … The older I get, the shorter the plans. Today, we have a couple-page strategic plan and white board sessions every week to look where we’re at and tweak what we’re doing. We know that a week from now, we’ll be looking at the plan and figuring out how to get smarter.

SBJ: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your company’s growth?
Hogan: It’s definitely affected us, but we’re not sure how much yet. We built a recession-proof plan back in 2009 that we’ve tweaked every year since. Part of that was to stay diverse. … As a result of that strategy, we cover things from retail to restaurants, city, transportation, subdivisions – that’s also led to our 10 offices. We offer a lot of services to a lot of sectors. Some of them have slowed down in the last eight weeks but some have picked up. We’ve been fortunate that we came into this COVID-19 crisis with a good backlog and with good clients.

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