Ruekert & Mielke Inc.
W233 N2080 Ridgeview Parkway, Waukesha
Industry: Professional services
2014 annual revenue: Not disclosed
The most recent recession decimated the private infrastructure and development industry. Work was at a five-year standstill. In response, Waukesha-based Ruekert & Mielke Inc., which provides a broad range of civil engineering and municipal services to its clients, was forced to reduce its workforce by 40 percent.
“We refocused our efforts during that time,” said Stan Sugden, president of Ruekert & Mielke.
The company weathered the storm by investing in technology to better serve its municipalities and other clients.
The company’s proprietary eFieldReporting technology allows technicians in the field to develop daily construction reports and record drawings in the field in real time. The new technology eliminates an outdated, paper-heavy, time consuming two-week process, Sugden said.
“It not only makes the job of our engineers much easier, (but also) our clients and other stakeholders have access to that information much faster,” Sugden said. “It improves accuracy, legibility and speed.”
Accuracy and cost effectiveness are important to the company and important to municipalities, he said.
After some apprehension, employees have really embraced the technology and want to keep moving forward, Sugden added.
From an owner standpoint, part of moving forward meant becoming fully invested in the firm’s employees. In February, Ruekert & Mielke became 100 percent employee owned – a journey that started more than 20 years ago.
“Our goal is to reward employees for their hard work,” Sugden said. “Being employee-owned instills accountability in our staff. Our clients know that when they are dealing with our engineers, or any of our employees, they are dealing with a vested owner of the company.”
Being employee-owned raises the bar in how employees perform, as well as how clients perceive the company.
“As we continue to grow, we know being employee-owned will be a good recruitment tool for the company,” Sugden said. “There’s a lot of value in taking on an ownership stake.”