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because their values aligned perfectly with ours. Their ‘people first’ philosophy, significant expertise in M&A and organic growth, understanding of the importance of utilizing technology and innovation, financial strength, and, finally, their approach to building a top 20 North American engineering firm all aligned with our wants and goals.” “An entrepreneurial spirit is a state of mind that the status quo is not acceptable and that future success is not predicated on past successes. To stay ahead of the competition, we must actively seek out change rather than wait to adopt change.” Waggoner finalized its partnership with Trilon in January 2022, as the first infrastructure company to join the Trilon Group. Waggoner’s role in this partnership is to lead the growth of Trilon’s Water, Municipal, and Disaster Recovery platform growth into a top 10 water company and a leading national disaster recovery firm. Over the last year, Waggoner grew by 60 percent through acquisitive and organic growth. Al-Turk simultaneously serves as the CEO of Waggoner, leading its continued growth in the Southeast, as well as the CEO of Trilon’s WMDR platform, which grew by more than 500 percent over the last year (from 100 to more than 500 employees). “We will continue this growth pattern over the next few years and seek partnerships with well-aligned firms,” Al-Turk says. He shares that it’s important to be proactive in preparing for anticipated growth because significant change will always accompany it. “While this can bring excitement and opportunities, it can also add stress and anxiety,” he says. “It’s important to have a communication plan in place for staff so they understand their role. It’s also advisable to build a strong back-office team and systems that will allow you to manage a larger company, including finance/accounting, marketing, human resources, and information technology. These preparations require investment and calculated risk, so be sure that you evaluate those risks and prepare financially for those investments.”

HELPING CLIENTS LEVERAGE ASSETS. For clients, Al-Turk knows that when the company is strong, clients reap the benefits too. It allows them to make promises they can keep by contractually delivering quality services and products on time, within budget, and more. “We strive to do much more than that by becoming client trusted advisors,” he says. “We start by understanding client needs, and then develop a strategy to help them envision possibilities they thought might be out of reach. The strategy is uniquely different depending on the client.” Waggoner provides integrated and transformative solutions to most of its clients who are local and state government entities. Their client’s infrastructure needs outstrip their ability to pay for these needs, so they assist clients in leveraging their local financial resources with state and federal resources. They also use technology and innovation to provide applications that clients can use to do more for less. CREATING A CULTURE OF LONGEVITY. When it comes to staff, Al-Turk says that diversity, inclusion, and equity are engrained in their culture because it strengthens the organization as a whole. In 2017, when he joined to lead the firm, Waggoner staff were predominately white (more than 95 percent). Today, more than 60 percent of the company is comprised of people of color, women, and other minority groups. This transformation happened because leadership focused on it. “We start by understanding client needs, and then develop a strategy to help them envision possibilities they thought might be out of reach. The strategy is uniquely different depending on the client.” And, it’s this culture that encourages staff to stick around – that and a “do-right-by-your- staff,” philosophy. Al-Turk knows it’s important to treat everyone with respect – much like he’d want to be treated. “Listen to their concerns and put a system in place to proactively address them,” he says. Other things like competitive pay, incentives, and creating a functional family environment See SEEKING CHANGE, page 8


NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 174 (Waggoner), 530 (Trilon WMDR Platform)











Trilon WMDR Platform:


SERVICES: Water, Wastewater, Hydraulics/ Hydrology, Stormwater Management, Watershed Planning & Coastal Restoration, Transportation, Disaster Recovery, Program Management, Civil Engineering, Geospatial Intelligence & Asset Management, Innovation & Technology, Construction Management, Planning & Development, Utilities, Surveying and Mapping, Business Analytics

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RUARY 20, 2023, ISSUE 1477

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