December’s Member of the Month is LeanTrak, a 15-year-strong professional engineering firm formed by partners Dave Steer, Bob Wadas, and Paul Seiben in 2003. “Dave and I worked for AVCA Corporation from the 1980s,” shares Wadas. “The segment we worked in at AVCA was profitable so as AVCA was closing its doors, we started LeanTrak with a goal of serving many of the same clients.” Mr. Steer and Mr. Wadas have since bought out Mr. Seiben, and serve the oil and gas industry with a staff of 27 employees. LeanTrak has been at 1645 Indian Wood Circle since they began.
LeanTrak’s primary clients include Enterprise Products headquartered in Houston, Marathon Petroleum in Findlay and Toledo Refining in Oregon/Toledo.
They also provide services to heavy industrial clients, such as Owens Corning’s insulation plants. LeanTrak currently works in 8-12 states at a time and is licensed in 23 states. 75% of the business is project based with the development of construction packages as the deliverable, and 25% is long-term program based engineering.
An example of a long-term program, the research done to assist the pipeline integrity group at Marathon, creates a nice balance. Mr. Wadas believes the teamwork between the company and client, regular site visits, and constant communication are keys to LeanTrak’s longstanding client retention.
LeanTrak employs civil, electrical, structural, control, and mechanical engineers. A formal internship program with UT provides an opportunity to serve the community and meet promising engineering students, like the three current interns. Three past interns have become full-time employees. Most staff has been with the company for the full 15-year run. Besides speaking highly of the company policies and management, this continuity helps with long-term contract client relationships.
The company credits their interaction and communication on project sites as a strong element of their success with client relationships. “Clients are complex with lots of different groups to keep in contact with,” shares Wadas. “This necessitates a lot of listening and well-trained employees who understand customers and their standards and regulations.” Mr. Wadas credits his employees for the company success. “Our employees OWN their projects. Being small makes that possible. We believe this helps mitigate quality assurance problems. Owning the project gives a great sense of satisfaction to the employee as well. We stress a good work-life balance and are flexible with life’s needs.”
LeanTrak employees are fond of Arrowhead Park. They find the area pleasant with great access to the freeway. The employees enjoy the easy in-and-out, which is important since they spend much time visiting work sites.
The company operates under the business philosophy to do a lot of work with a few large clients. Their goal is to add a client every two to three years. They prefer the long-term contractual agreements with clients, forming strong partnerships. Mr. Wadas and Steer are also looking toward the future by intentionally grooming younger staff with leadership potential.
Working with the Arrowhead Park community, LeanTrak has collaborated with Mannik and Smith on projects, and also worked with DGL Consulting Engineers, Gilmore Jaison Mahler, and Huntington Bank in the area. Mr. Wadas is interested in meeting with other industrial firms who could make a good working partner in the future… and with companies with similar clients, with collaboration as the goal.