Designed to Thrill
TRICO Companies, LLC delivers design-build solutions
Taking care of customers isn’t enough for TRICO Companies, LLC (TRICO). The goal is to thrill the customer and become a trusted adviser.
TRICO is a general contractor based in Burlington, Washington. The company was founded in 1979 as a mechanical contractor and has evolved over the decades to include civil projects, food processing and cold storage, manufacturing and industrial sites, commercial and medical offices, schools, auto dealerships and more.
“A large portion of our work is design-build,” says Bruce Berglin, Principal and CEO of TRICO. “We start with a concept, listen to understand what clients want, and then deliver it.”
And when projects are complete, Bruce adds, “We are a trusted adviser for their business and their marketplace. They have us on speed dial.”
That trust is earned as TRICO works with clients to understand their daily operations and how construction can lead to efficiencies. “We are the construction experts,” says Nate Wolfe, Principal and Senior Project Manager. “We learn how clients do business day to day. How does that translate into the project? We essentially become an extension of their firm.”
As TRICO adds clients, the company’s expertise grows. For example, a key industry for TRICO is food processing. “There are a ton of specifics around the sanitary design in food processing facilities,” Nate says. “A meat processing facility is going to be different from a vegetable processing plant. We can speak to the plant’s leadership and recommend solutions in sanitation elements for that facility, drawing on our knowledge of best practices utilized within the industry.”
Benefits of Planning
The folks at TRICO have learned from years of experience that early and thorough planning leads to projects completed on time and with no surprises. “We had a customer come to us a couple of years ago who had a rough idea of what they wanted,” Bruce recalls of a food processing client. “Prior to spending resources for design and engineering, we worked together with the owner to develop multiple conceptual options. We walked them through the process with budgets, floor plans and equipment layouts. Once they selected a direction, we designed, constructed and commissioned the facility in time for the season’s vegetable harvest.”
For the team at TRICO, that kind of turnaround feels like business as usual, but customers find the results remarkable, Bruce says. “We have a systematic approach. That approach includes design-build delivery,” he adds.
The leadership at TRICO is proud to provide a one-stop shop for clients. “We become the single point of contact for the whole project for the owners,” Bruce says. “We’re the one butt to kick. We take that responsibility.”
TRICO takes on a variety of projects, ranging from less than $1 million to more than $40 million. Most projects are in Washington and Oregon, but the company has followed clients to California, Mississippi and Tennessee. Recent customers include Twin City Foods, Inc., Eddyline Kayaks and Skagit Valley Family YMCA.
People with Purpose and Passion
Because of TRICO’s intense customer focus, hiring decisions are based on the company’s culture and values. The firm’s leadership looks for candidates who are honest, listen and can effectively communicate, Nate says.
They also hire for attitude and train for skill, Bruce says. “We take business seriously. We have a broad range of versatility and talent and that extends to the way we look at the world. Our employees have this thirst to become a trusted adviser. You have to earn it,” he states.
Continuing education is a big part of the TRICO culture. “People are passionate about learning,” Nate says. “At any point, either Bruce or I could be giving or receiving training. We can all be empowered and grow.”
Leaders at TRICO are constantly planning to ensure the company’s longevity, Bruce says. “Our job is to pass that leadership on so the company can continue. We have succession planning, training and promotion strategies in place for our future,” he explains.
The company is currently expanding its campus to accommodate both its growing business and the need for ongoing training. The project includes a training room accommodating up to 300 people. “The campus expansion will contribute to our continued development of our people,” Bruce says.
That emphasis on education helps us to retain employees, adds Nate, who started with the company 27 years ago as a “yard kid,” putting away tools and cleaning pickup trucks.
“There are growth opportunities for everyone. We embrace organic growth and actively promote from within,” Nate says. This is especially crucial as the construction industry continues to face worker shortages.
At TRICO, a sense of generosity extends to Skagit County and beyond. The company provides a budget for team members to support community efforts. For example, Bruce says, one of the company’s managers was involved with Camp Korey, a camp for children living with serious medical conditions. She spoke to colleagues at TRICO, garnered support, and collected donations to assist in building a stage for the camp. Other notable organizations include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County, Hospice of the Northwest and the Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation.
TRICO is about the long game.
“Back in 2001, we had a customer with a design-build contract and a building permit, and we had mobilized on the project,” Bruce recalls. Then 9/11 happened, the economy crashed and the client had to cancel the contract. “About two years ago, the client called and said, ‘I want to build that manufacturing facility now.’ ”
“That is the kind of loyalty we build,” Bruce says. “That is what makes the job fun.”