A 360° View of Success
Aurora-based Vectors, Inc. provides the complete customer experience
For the past two decades, Vectors, Inc., headquartered in Aurora, Colorado, has provided cutting-edge equipment, services and technology to the surveying industry. This includes sales and rental as well as high-tech training and ongoing education for Vectors’ customers and their teams.
The company boasts the largest surveying rental selection in the Rocky Mountain region. This includes the latest Trimble data collectors, GPS systems, robotics and scanners. “Due to our large inventory of rental products, you no longer need to be frustrated finding a distributor that actually has equipment available,” says Vectors General Manager, Chuck Hutchins, a 10-year Vectors executive. “We offer both short- and long-term rental rates and competitive pricing on all of our products. In addition, all rental equipment is configured and tested before it is picked up or delivered. This allows our clients to immediately be productive as soon as they get back to the field.”
Some of the most popular rental products are Trimble R-Series receivers, data collectors, virtual reference station (VRS) network rovers, Trimble S-Series robotic total stations, Nikon mechanical total stations and Spectra Precision lasers.
The next step for the company is to duplicate the current survey sales, service and training model to meet the needs of the local construction market. This includes equipment rentals as well as the sale and rental of construction equipment, clothing and workplace accessories, such as marking paint and flagging. Popular items include road signs, cones, safety vests and other equipment that building crews and companies need.
With this expansion effort, Vectors is well positioned to grow throughout the booming Colorado and New Mexico economies, through its expanded offices in both states.
The Vectors team is particularly proud of their 8,000-square-foot headquarters, which is more than five times as large as their previous home base. “With the larger location, we can house more equipment, add a showroom and expand our services,” says Hutchins.
Another core component of the Vectors model is education. Modern-day surveying equipment and construction equipment are both highly technical and sophisticated. The purchase of equipment from Vectors includes educational training on the product as well as technical support.
“A partnership is our ultimate goal with every customer,” Hutchins says. “We don’t want to just drop off a box and leave with a ‘Have a nice day.’ ”
With training centers in both the Colorado and New Mexico offices, Vectors offers classroom style as well as onsite training for their customers. Each training center can seat 20+ people. “We have two licensed land surveyors on our staff and receive great feedback about the classes, and attendees typically want to take another one,” Hutchins says.
How It All Started
Vectors was founded by Matt Nawrocki in 1999, a Michigan native with a humble upbringing. Matt attended Ferris State University, which has a renowned program that offers a combined degree in land survey and engineering.
“My educational background provided me with instant credibility throughout the years when considering our market and the equipment we sell,” says Nawrocki.
After college, he moved to Denver in 1995 because of the job opportunities for him and his future wife, Sara. At that time, global positioning system (GPS) technology was just emerging as a surveying tool and Nawrocki saw the opportunity to immerse himself in the new-wave technology.
“I wanted to be a GPS guru,” he says. “I interviewed with about 30 different survey companies throughout Colorado, many of which became customers and great friends over the years.”
In early 1996, he started working with a Canadian company as a geodesist, a professional who measures and monitors the Earth to determine the exact coordinates of any point. After a year of traveling to dozens of job sites around North America, Nawrocki was burned out from the constant travel and from essentially living out of hotels.
An interview with a Denver-based survey company led to an out-of-the-blue offer to be a salesman for Trimble survey equipment. This unlikely position for a land surveyor rather than salesman turned out to be the perfect fit. Even though he had no experience in sales, Nawrocki’s combination of knowledge and enthusiasm enabled him to explain and convince survey companies that Trimble’s cutting-edge survey equipment was the future—their future.
“If I had a land survey supply company 30-40 years ago, I wouldn’t need much technical background. Technology had not changed that much over a long period of time. When GPS was introduced in surveying and measurement applications, that’s when there was a major shift. GPS allowed surveyors to have centimeter to millimeter accuracy over extremely long distances. To achieve this, you have to have a high degree of technical knowledge and understanding of how the equipment works,” says Nawrocki.
At the age of 28, he pitched to Trimble on not just being a sales rep, but becoming the company’s sales distributor in Colorado. There was initial pushback because of his age; but he persisted and became Trimble’s youngest distributor worldwide. That experience and success led to him launching his own company. Then in July of 1999, Vectors, a Trimble survey equipment distributer for Colorado, became a reality.
“We have taken our model from the survey supply industry and are now bringing those skills and principles over to the construction market. We do it all now.”
Matt Nawrocki, Founder and President, Vectors, Inc.
On the Right Path
“My goal was to build a company where surveyors will not only buy the equipment from us, they’ll be fully trained and supported on how to understand and utilize the equipment to be more profitable than ever before,” Nawrocki says. “I decided I was only going to employ land surveyors or highly technical people who both understood the equipment and the theory behind it. I didn’t hire salesmen, I hired technical experts.”
A thematic element of Vectors has always been to be an authentic, reliable, accessible team—one that helps and supports each staff member as well as their customers. This attitude has helped the Vectors team turn their customers into business partners as well as valued friends. Matt Tenney, President of AzTec Consultants, Inc. of Littleton, Colorado, has worked with Vectors for nearly 20 years. “The Vectors team goes full speed in everything they do,” Tenney says. “I don’t have a vendor that takes care of our company better than Vectors. There’s no person in the industry that I have a better relationship with than Nawrocki. He’ll text me just to say hello. We go to lunch. We play golf together. It’s a relationship. I don’t feel like he’s always trying to sell me something.”
Over nearly two decades, Vectors has grown to 13 full-time staff members. Nawrocki says the employees are the heart and soul of the business. “We hire the right people, put ‘em in the right jobs and get the hell out of the way,” he affirms.
“So why do business with Vectors? We have the expertise that is needed to support our customers before and after the sale,” Nawrocki adds. “We have taken our model from the survey supply industry and are now bringing those skills and principles over to the construction market. We do it all now.”
An Attitude of Gratitude
One of the core values of Vectors is an “attitude of gratitude.” The staff and its president do not take their success lightly.
In line with this attitude, Nawrocki taught for six years at the University of Wyoming as an adjunct professor. And a few years ago he endowed a $25,000 scholarship to his alma mater, Ferris State.
Beyond the surveying community, Vectors makes supporting veterans a priority. With two veterans on staff, Vectors annually donates to both the Semper Fi Fund and Focus Marines Foundation—two organizations that operate on separate but parallel tracks to aid veterans.
“Focus Marines saved my life,” Vectors’ Michael Van Deren says. A Colorado native, he joined the Marines in 2006 and served a four-year hitch that included two battlefield tours in Iraq.
Van Deren’s experience with Focus Marines prompted him to become a mentor with the foundation. When he approached Nawrocki to ask for two weeks off to attend a national Focus Marines meeting, Van Deren volunteered to give up the two weeks' salary. Nawrocki countered by telling his employee he would be paid fully for those two weeks. He then proceeded to make a combined $20,000 donation to both the Focus Marine Foundation and the Semper Fi Fund. Vectors has continued to donate to these organizations annually.
“We watched Michael change and grow from a Marine struggling to adapt to civilian life into an amazing team member. He helps to define and defend our culture every day,” Nawrocki says. “He has taken on everything we’ve thrown at him and at 5 p.m. every day he’s asking, ‘What else do you need me to do?’ ”
“Vectors is a family,” Van Deren says. “My background and what I’ve been through, they’ve been here for me, especially the first year. They care. I just bought a house five minutes from the general manager and I consider him a very good friend. The environment Matt has created—not only within the company but with the customers—is a big-heart mentality. I’m very fortunate to work here. If I wanted to look for another job, I’d never find a company like Vectors.”