Two Polk Companies on Fast-Growing List
A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure and Springer Construction have been named as finalists on GrowFL’s Florida Companies to Watch – the only two companies in Polk County to be selected from more than 400 nominations statewide.
The top 50 companies, a diverse group representing a variety of industries, will complete a second application and further judging before finalists are named in October.
The Edward Lowe Foundation developed Companies to Watch to recognize second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance and innovative strategies and processes. Second-stage companies are those that have grown beyond startup but are not yet at full maturity. GrowFL works to support such companies and accelerate their growth.
Applicants are judged on their special strengths and impact in their markets, as well as past growth and projected success. They must “demonstrate intent and capacity to grow based on evidence such as employee or sales growth, exceptional leadership, sustainable competitive advantage, etc.,” according to GrowFL’s website.
To qualify, the companies must have had:
- Between six and 150 employees.
- Revenue between $750,000 and $100 million in 2021.
Together, the nominees added more than 2,300 jobs and generated nearly $430 million in revenue in the year following the start of the coronavirus pandemic. They predict a 40% increase in revenue and 18% increase in job growth by the end of 2022.
“The Central Florida Development Council is proud of these two companies, both of which provide value in their fields, support the community and care about their clients and employees,” said Lindsay Zimmerman, senior vice president and COO of the CFDC. “We wish them well as the judging unfolds.”
A-C-T ENVIRONMENTAL & INFRASTRUCTURE
Rob Kincart, founder of A-C-T, said the company is going back to its roots to focus on “research and development of new, innovative ways to treat contaminated waters and waste materials.”
He thinks the company, which turns 35 in November 2022, has gone through some pivotal moments. “We knew we had to stay on the leading edge of industry, and one of things we had to do was get away from commodity type work. We’re really emphasizing technology – being a solution-provider using technology. We’re staying on the cutting edge and trying to determine the next new technology to treat waste and environmental conditions.”
The company has added a half dozen or so new employees in the last year, bringing the total to about 90, and increased its revenues 25% as it moved nationwide. “We are a critical-thinking contractor. Solving problems that others had difficulty with. And providing sophisticated solutions that can be phased in or adjusted to fit the needs of our customers.” That includes taking technology developed for Florida companies to businesses across the country.
Kincart said one of A-C-T’s strengths is it provides most services in-house, without having to hire subcontractors. “We want to be that one-stop shop, so we hire diverse talent who can answer a lot of questions. It is still very difficult to get qualified people. We are very selective on who we choose – it has to be the right fit. We’d rather have quality over quantity.”
Its employees like working in the family-owned business that cares about its employees and focuses on their interests,” Kincart said. “We’re really focused on being a best place to work,” a designation A-C-T has achieved for about 20 years. “We’re trying to make sure we keep people. It’s very important to me to have a very solid base of people who can provide services so when a company calls up and says, ‘Hey, can you help us with this?’ they are talking to the same people who understand their issues, problems, needs. We want to be attentive to our customers’ needs; it improves their reputation as well.”
To celebrate its 35th year, the company is donating $3,500 to 10 local nonprofits – in addition to hosting its annual chili contest and being one of the United Way’s top 20 donors. “We engaged our staff to make the selections. They picked the nonprofits important to them.” The last check will be given in November. “Being part of the community adds to the appeal of why people want to work at A-C-T.”
Representing Polk County and nominated by the Winter Haven Economic Development Council, A-C-T is honored to be a finalist for GrowFL’s Companies to Watch.
Jeremy Voss, president of Springer Construction, thinks relationships are critical – and a big reason his company thrives. “We want to not only be recognized as experts in our field, and actively be part of making the community better.”
His company is growing because of its mindset, Voss said. “It’s the level of service, the level of hustle. We have been the underdog for the past few years. Relationships that were established years ago in other fields have drawn us into the community.”
The company places the value of its culture above all else, he said. It focuses on its employees to ensure they have the correct tools in the correct environment so projects are successful.
“By placing employee satisfaction at the top of our priority list, our team naturally shows up in a positive, less-stressed mindset, which allows them to be more clear-headed and focused, ultimately causing projects to finish on time and on budget, and leading to delivering projects that surpass our client expectations,” Project Manager Kait Jens said.
Voss and Cole Springer bought Springer Construction in 2018. Since then, revenue has grown seven-fold, he said. The number of employees has increased from 10 to 16. He expects that number to continue to grow as the company expands its geographical footprint. Right now, most of its work is in Central Florida and Polk County, with some projects as far away as Jacksonville and north Miami.
The company’s strength lies in the leadership team, Jens said. “The majority of these players have grown up in construction, which makes them technical experts, being able to focus on the business aspect of growing the company.”
Voss has a few rules that set the stage for his mindset, he said, including:
- Developing and maintaining quality relationships.
- Holding others accountable.
- Keeping your word.
- Driving business by having a good business plan.
“When you dream for something your whole life, and this has been my dream since I was a kid, when you reach that dream, you have to show up, put your money where your mouth is.” He believes in:
- Building talent.
- Building the right culture and staying true to it.
- Building the company.
“If we get the first three right there is nothing that’s going to be able to stop us,” Voss said. Voss graduated from the building construction program at the University of Florida and remains very involved with the program. He’s also involved in the ACE Mentor program, which introduces high school students to architecture, construction and engineering. He’s so passionate about “cultivating a new generation” that he recently met with Frederick Heid, the superintendent of Polk County Public Schools, to figure out how to move the program forward here. “It’s in its infancy but we are starting to influence other industry leaders in this area to jump onboard.”
“We are honored to be nominated by CFDC and pleased to be considered a finalist,” Voss said, “Polk County is our home and it is a privilege to represent Central Florida.”