Black-owned Trucking Company Expands Through Strong Collaboration

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Contributor: Serafin

When Michael Trimuel, President and CEO of Trim’s Trucking, Inc. started working with NPL Construction Co. three years ago, his Harvey-based MBE/DBE certified trucking company had eight trucks. Since then, the African-American-owned company of 25 years has added four people to its payroll and 85-90 percent of Trims’ workload is currently with NPL.

Along the way, Naperville-based NPL, an energy and infrastructure firm, has provided Trim’s administrative team with workforce development training.

For NPL, preparing diverse businesses for strong, long-term partnerships is simply part of the company’s broader commitment to leaving everything better than how they found it.

“They really reach out to their sub-contractors and are concerned for their well-being and growth,” said Michael Trimuel, the president and CEO. “NPL operates with great integrity.”

Trimuel credits the personal attention of NPL executives, including NPL Senior Vice President, Dylan Hradek, for the success with the NPL contract.

“I have never been with a company that has been so passionate about giving back. They are always sponsoring charitable events in different communities,” Trimuel said.

NPL company consistently exceeds diversity requirements for subcontractors on its water main and gas pipeline jobs and works with more than 65 diverse vendors and subcontractors across northern Illinois. In its current project replacing aging water mains on Chicago’s North Side, NPL is far ahead of the 28% minority business requirements set by the city. It varies from month to month, but on average NPL’s diverse workforce amounts to 40% of its total water main replacement team.

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More than that, it has created the NPL Partnership Alliance to support its partners through mentorship, networking and sharing best practices.

“We started the Alliance because working with diverse subcontractors means more than just giving them work,” said Hradek, who launched the effort in 2014. “Since our inception, we have been fully committed to providing opportunity for our diverse subs to grow along with us.”

The alliance meets quarterly and is focused on three tenets:
– Diversity: Promoting diversity and providing resources for diverse subcontractors
– Education: Bringing in experts to speak about best practices
– Community: Each meeting concludes with the group performing community service

The Alliance has 13 member companies from across northern Illinois, including GSG Consultants of Chicago, an environmental and civil engineering firm that has been Hispanic-owned for its 25 years.

“We’ve been able to hire an additional 15 people as a result of working with NPL these last two years,” said GSG Chief Operating Officer Arturo Saenz, who noted that roughly 22 GSG employees are working on both gas and water projects for NPL. “When you’re a 100-person firm, 15 people is 15 percent growth and that really makes a difference.”

“We know from working with NPL that they are committed to the DBE community and the Alliance really cements that reputation,” Saenz said. “NPL has been instrumental in helping us network and getting us a seat at tables we may otherwise not have been at.”

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About the author / 

Toure Muhammad

Author Toure Muhammad is the head bean, publisher and chief strategist of Bean Soup Times. The Morehouse graduate has written front page cover stories for The Final Call and N’digo. He has been featured in the Chicago Reader, Upscale magazine, rolling out newspaper, and N’Digo magapaper. He’s been featured on Tavis Smiley’s radio show on NPR, on Chicago’s WBEZ (Chicago public radio), and many other radio shows.

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