It is rewarding, but it sometimes can be difficult to accept what IMPROVING LIVES means. Last Monday, May 8th, Courtney walked into my office and told me the news that she was leaving to take a job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The best word I can use to describe how I felt is heartbreak. Many of you may not know, but Courtney is like a daughter to me. I met her at my first job out of college. I was working for the Missouri Department of Transportation as a Highway Designer. Courtney’s mom, Amy Nash (Barry’s wife) was one of my first mentors. Amy was a brilliant mentor without really ever trying to be. She helped me to learn to think for myself, design with common sense and listen to my instincts. She was one of the first in my professional career to help me understand the importance of IMPROVING LIVES. Looking back, I realize that I was one of Amy’s first work “sons.” Courtney was raised by parents that always wanted see people do their best.
When we met, Courtney was around the age of 5, so Kim and I have known her practically all her life. We have gotten the opportunity to watch her grow from a young girl into a brilliant engineer. Courtney has been one of our favorite examples of the value of internship program at TREKK. She worked her way through survey, design, and construction inspection. She benefited from seeing all the aspects of a project. The opportunity to see our projects from multiple perspectives has helped her hone her design engineering skills.
I was sitting down with Linda discussing how I personally felt hurt about Courtney’s decision to leave. Linda understands the back history of our relationship, and she did an amazing thing for me during that conversation. She told me a story about a sermon she had heard from her pastor who would invite other pastors to come in share their stories. Sometimes, his church members would leave to attend church at the guest pastor’s congregations. Now, the pastor didn’t intend or want to lose any members, but as part of their life path, they moved on. The pastor realized that even though members left, they took with them the foundation and beliefs that they had developed together.
Linda pointed out all the ways that TREKK improved Courtney’s life. TREKK gave her a place to develop as an engineer and a person. We taught her a profession, provided mentoring, guidance, and training. We saw her through apartment moves, getting engaged, married, and buying a home. We provided her a place where she could flourish as who she is. She is happy at TREKK. She understood that IMPROVING LIVES was not just a saying, but rather a mindset – a way of living your life.
I then thought about how Courtney improved our lives. She is a great engineer. She can figure out just about anything that is assigned to her. We laugh thinking about how she taught herself ARC GIS by watching YouTube videos. She is not afraid to just dig in and figure things out. Courtney shares her passion about engineering with all of us. When asked to help lead a class with Young Women in Engineering or Take Your Child to Work Day, she was full go. She is quick with a witty remark or rubber band. She can make you smile with just her little grin. She always makes us proud.
So, it was heartbreaking to hear her say she wanted to leave. But, she wants to understand what the public sector is like, and this is understandable because her mom has spent her whole career in the public sector. She saw how to have a family and a career by watching her mom, so it is only natural that she explore a familiar path as she considers beginning her a family of her own.
I would offer a different perspective. IMPROVING LIVES at TREKK is not just about our clients, it is about our people as well. We make every decision with the good of TREKK in mind. TREKK at its purest form is nothing more than the people who work here. That results in us making decisions for the good of our people. We believe that sometimes as individuals our perception skews the reality of our situations, and at those times we need help to discover our true reality just as Linda helped me. Our intention is to make sure that at TREKK, we IMPROVE LIVES internally and externally. We want to make your work align with your personal goals, and we will do all within our ability to make that alignment possible. We want you to describe your job as awesome. We want to help you achieve personal and professional happiness here at TREKK.
We believe that our culture aligns with Courtney. She will continue to IMPROVE LIVES beyond the confines of TREKK, because she believes as we do, in making the world a better place by IMPROVING the LIVES of those who are around us every day. Maybe, just maybe, her life’s path will bring us back together at TREKK because we believe in good people, and that good people like to be surrounded by like-minded, good people. So if you look up some day and she is sitting beside you, don’t be surprised. Just remember that each of us at TREKK is committed to IMPROVING LIVES because it is our way of life.
– Trent Robinett