Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Four men take a chance on new Visalia company

Four men take a chance on new Visalia company
Visalia Times-Delta - Visalia,CA,USA
BY JORDAN RIGHI • For the Times-Delta • February 24, 2009

After surviving three rounds of economic layoffs, four men decided to leave the civil engineering firm of Quad Knopf and start their own company.

Matt Ainley, David De Groot, Randy Wasnick and Craig Hartman opened 4 Creeks Inc. last June, setting up shop at 3643 W. Oakridge Ave. in the Demaree Square West business center on Goshen Avenue in Visalia.

"Everyone thought we were a little crazy and that our timing was a little nuts," said Ainley, 30, the eldest of the four men and the firm's president.

But their decision seems to be working out well. The company is showing signs of growth and now employs 11, three on a part-time basis.

As it turns out, the dark economic cloud has had a silver lining for 4 Creeks: The firm has been able to take advantage of the downsizing of others. Ainley said he has been able to pick up slightly used equipment at steep discount prices, much of it from Internet auction sites like eBay.

"People have a lot of extra equipment that they're trying to shed," he said

The cost of hiring also is a little lower than normal, he said. The firm has hired former Quad Knopf workers who've been laid off, Ainley said.

He said the firm's business plan is divided into four areas, based on the interests and specialties of the partners. Ainley is primarily responsible for land development and public works; De Groot handles agriculture and dairy; Wasnick handles land surveying; and Hartman is responsible for energy and environmental.

The firm is busy working with dairy clients to develop waste-management plans required by the state.

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