About The Retrofit Companies, Inc.

 

 

 

The Retrofit Companies, Inc. (TRC) Company Video

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The Retrofit Companies, Inc. was born of a business plan set in motion on March 12, 1992.

 

After some unsavory customer service commitments and a dream to put a better set of business ethics into play in the growing lighting-efficiency industry, Steve Kath knew something had to change.

Steve is not your average entrepreneur.  He didn’t have big dreams and would have happily continued to work the 3 jobs he took to support his family after his 16 1/2-year stint at the railroad came to a halt when the company sold the line he worked on.   Rather than relocate, Steve chose to stay close to home.  With only a high school education and experience on the railroad, he took the suggestion of one of his fast-pitch softball teammates and decided to join him at a new lighting company and start a career in sales.  He became quite successful and sold numerous energy-efficient lighting projects.  One project, however, was plagued with problems.  Though Steve, nor his employer, had any ill intent with the product used during this particular lighting install; the product purchased from a reputable partner did not hold up or deliver the intended results.  Steve tried to get the owner to do the right thing, to go back and replace the product that was not performing as promised.  Having no luck, he and a co-worker decided they would start their own business. 

The business, originally named Lighting Retrofit, Inc., started at the Owatonna, MN Business Incubator.  There were a few years that the business was known as Lighting Retrofit & Electric.  Then, it settled in as The Retrofit Companies, Inc.   

Steve had always hoped to transition his business to one of his daughters.  After nearly 20 years of working together, Steve informed his daughter Wendy that he felt it was time to retire in early 2016.  Though the timing of the transition was a bit sooner than Wendy anticipated, she was excited to have an opportunity to get the organization rocking to her beat.  January 1, 2017, Wendy became Majority owner of TRC and took over as President of the organization.  Steve maintains the minority shares and serves as a consultant, as well.

Wendy started working at TRC in 1998.  Her first position was inside sales for the environmental services division.  In 2007, the management group determined that the entire sales staff was going to work to sell all services.  It was then that Wendy transitioned from selling environmental services to selling energy-efficient upgrades.  The learning curve was steep, but this opened the door to a whole new world of creative selling.  There was some success and some failures, but Wendy now understood both sides of the business.  In late 2008 Wendy was offered the position of sales manager.  The offer went something like this, “Well, do you want to try it?”  She did.  Again, there was some success and there was some failure. 

TRC continues to grow every day into a place that people enjoy coming to work because of the strong family atmosphere and grounded company values. The future is looking bright!

  

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