What do engineers and entrepreneurs have in common? We’re not sure, but that’s not the purpose of this blog post. We’re here to introduce you to Brad Brown, who is both an engineer and an entrepreneur, and also just a pretty great guy.
Brad spent a good portion of his career working for an engineering firm in Illinois. When we met him, he had finally decided to go out on his own and take the icy, head-first plunge into entrepreneurship. But where to start? Living just a short drive from Beloit, Wisconsin, office space at Irontek seemed like it could be a good fit. (Brad would also point out that living in a rural area, his internet is pretty unreliable, so working from home just wasn’t an option.) Long story short, Brad founded Brownfield Environmental Engineering Resources, LLC and got down to business…like a lot of business.
As one of our very first members, Brad stuck with us through our growing pains. It wasn’t long before he was hiring, working with interns, bringing clients in for meetings, and pow-wowing with mentors on a regular basis. We told him he could decorate his office, and days later, a buck was mounted on the wall, which became the highlight of every tour that followed.
So, what does Brownfield Environmental do, exactly? In today’s world, not much can happen without environmental oversight. Brownfield takes a common-sense approach to a wide variety of environmental engineering and environmental-science based services. To break that down for you…
Working on an urban redevelopment project? Call Brad.
Need a plan to control erosion on a worksite? Call Brad.
Wondering if that building over there is teeming with asbestos? Call Brad.
You get the picture.
Someone asked us the other day, “How do you measure success at Irontek?” The first thing that comes to mind is, of course, is the number of people using the space. The more members we have, the more likely we are to see collaborations, partnerships, and new ventures, which is what we’re all about, right? But what really makes us happy (in a bittersweet kind of way), is to see someone outgrow us. And that’s exactly what Brad did…in less than two years. (That’s the time to beat, by the way, if you’re up for a challenge.)
So, what happened to Brad when he “graduated” from Irontek? He moved in next door. Yep, you read that right. Just one door down from Irontek, Brad and his team members are continuing to grow in their own office space, and still have access to all of the great amenities here on the Ironworks Campus. We recently sat down with Brad to catch up and ask him a few questions. Read on for some advice on time-travel…
How did you first hear about Irontek?
I first heard of it about two years ago through my work with Hendricks Commercial Properties. We started out with one private office and added some dedicated desk space as we grew. Then we expanded into a second private office.
How did Irontek impact the growth of your company?
Irontek is a great option financially for a business that is just starting off. And it gave us the ability to network every day. It’s key to establish relationships and network in your own community. You just don’t get those same interactions working from home.
Where do you see Brownfield Environmental in the next few years?
Within the past two years, we’ve grown to about six employees. Business is continuing to grow in LaSalle and Peru, Illinois. I would like to see us have a satellite office in the LaSalle area, and maybe a presence in Milwaukee in the next three years.
What has been your favorite project since starting your own company?
Most recently, Brownfield is managing all of the abatement for the LaSalle-Peru High School remodel. It’s a two-year, 38 million-dollar project. We started working on it last fall.
What would you tell someone starting their own business?
When you own your own business, you have to plan for a lot of long days, but the reward is pretty great. And start in a small space – a community like Irontek is a great starting point for any business.
Being an entrepreneur is so time-consuming. What’s your best advice for time management?
Figure out what your three most important things to accomplish for the day are and stay focused on those critical tasks. Don’t allow your inbox to manage your day.*
*This is a tip Brad shared with us from New York Times best-selling author, Kevin Kruse. It’s from a list he published, titled “The 15 Surprising Things Ultra Productive People Do Differently.” (Brad keeps this on his desk as a reminder.) Here are a few more of our favorites:
#4. They beat procrastination with time travel.
Your future-self can’t be trusted. What can you do now to make sure your future-self does the right thing?
#8. They avoid meetings at all costs.
Don’t hold meetings. If you have to, keep them short and make everybody stand up.
#13. They touch things only once.
If it will take less than 10 minutes to complete, do it immediately.
Congratulations, Brownfield Environmental Engineering, on your move and continued success. You can learn more about Brownfield Environmental Engineering Resources, LLC here!
Written by: Erin Clausen, Irontek Community Manager and Morgan Olson, Irontek Marketing & Membership Coordinator