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Springfield, MO

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From left: Tessa LeRoy, Jason Smith and Katie Wendt
Rebecca Green | SBJ
From left: Tessa LeRoy, Jason Smith and Katie Wendt

2023 Dynamic Dozen No. 7: Environmental Works Inc.

Posted online

SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
Jamie Sivils: The EWI culture trusts our team members to make good decisions to solve the client’s problem. It’s amazing what people can accomplish when they are trusted and given responsibility, plus the tools to execute.
Jason Smith: We are in a relationship-based industry, selling professional services. That’s what grows the business. From an owner’s standpoint, running and growing a business is so much easier when you trust people to do what they do.

SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Sivils: We have been able to hire some really great people all throughout the country. We have gone from being a smaller local company to a national leader, and top people in our industry are seeking us out for career opportunities.
Smith: We started expanding beyond Springfield and Kansas City in 2015, going to northwest Arkansas; then St. Louis; Tulsa, [Oklahoma;] Colorado; Little Rock, [Arkansas;] Omaha, [Nebraska;] and Poplar Bluff. From those locations, it makes the most sense to expand within three-to-four hours from where we are already established.

SBJ: How do you handle talent recruitment?
Smith: Recruiting means telling our story, finding out what the person we’re trying to recruit wants in their career and making it come true for them. That works pretty well. Being a business owner, it sounds cliche, if you focus on keeping your employees happy and that they’ve got a future career path, the rest will take care of itself.

SBJ: How is workplace culture integral to growth?
Sivils: One of the most important things is empowering all of our team members to protect the EWI culture. We believe that taking responsibility for your own happiness is the key to success. We all want to work around happy, positive people. Sometimes you find people that are somewhat addicted to being unhappy, being a victim, and bringing those around them down. We empower all our teammates to coach that person and seek the best in them, but ultimately, we have a responsibility to the rest of the team to see that that person is replaced. One of our cornerstone cultural tenets is “The Best Deserve to be Surrounded by the Best.”

SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Smith: I think so. From a financial standpoint, there is truth to growing too fast, and running out of funding sources to finance growth. But if we stay in that 20%-25% growth range on average, we’ve been able to do that for five or six years now.
Sivils: Growing an individual office into 20-50 people is something we know how to do well. Growing into a 350-plus company is new to us, but we choose to look at ourselves as a network of autonomous 20-50 team member locations and only centralize the things that absolutely have to be centralized.

SBJ: What is the best advice you’ve received?
Sivils: GSD. GSD is about making decisions and taking action.

SBJ: What does GSD stand for?
Smith: (laughs) Get S--- Done. Or Get Stuff Done, depending on who you’re talking to.

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