photo of the owners: (l-r) Owners Rod Bredeweg, Dan Fredricks, Kyle Visker, Pete Buurstra, president.
Networking works to grow a business. Just ask the owners of LRE (Land & Resource Engineering) Engineers & Surveyors, a civil engineering firm in downtown Comstock Park. Dan Fredricks, vice-president and one of the four owners, said the number of counties they do work in has doubled in the last five years. He and Pete Buurstra, president and owner, attribute that growth to the relationships they have with their clients who refer other business their way.
“We’ve established a solid base of repeat clients,” said Buurstra. The company, located at 3800 West River Drive, does a lot of work with county drain commissioners on things like drain assessment, survey, and design. They clearly have a good reputation with the drain commissioners. In four of the last five years LRE received the Innovation and Excellence Award from the Michigan Association of County Drain Commissioners. Buurstra said they don’t do much advertising other than word of mouth and referrals.
The company provides land surveying, civil engineering, and planning services for municipal and commercial clients throughout Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New York. They primarily focus on site planning and civil engineering for community development projects in Michigan. The company has worked on several projects in the Grand Rapids area and locally they provided the surveying, engineering design, and construction services for Game Room Guys. (See related story at: http://comstockparkdda.org/business-spotlight/game-room-guys.)
Currently they’re excited about working on the Grand River Riverfront Park in Lowell. The signature element of the Park is a 500 foot pedestrian bridge across the Grand River to connect the Park to the Flat River Rail Trail, said Fredricks, adding it should be completed in 2018. It will be a timber truss bridge, “like an old railroad bridge built of wood,” he said. (For more information about the Park see: http://lowellbuyersguide.com/lowell-township-riverfront-park-receives-million-grant-from-the-state-p2136-1.htm)
Buurstra P.E. (professional engineer), Fredricks P.E., Kyle Visker P.E., and Rod Bredeweg P.S. (professional surveyor) purchased the company in July 2016.LRE was first located in Grand Rapids, and they moved to the Comstock Park location in 2008.
“We had downsized, and we were looking for something more economical,” said Buurstra, who has been with the firm since 2005. “It (2008) was a tough time for developers…for civil engineers.”
It was the recession. Not much commercial development was going on, and municipalities weren’t spending much money on projects. Fredricks is enthusiastic about the Comstock park location.
“It’s walkable…friendly…a tight-knit community,” he said. “You don’t have to drive to grab a bite to eat. There’s the (Dwight Lydell) Park to go for a walk. You can bike on the (White Pine) Trail.”
There are fourteen employees including the woners at LRE – twelve full-time and two part-time – who are surveyors, engineers, drafters, construction inspectors, and an office manager. The 2000 square foot space they lease features offices, conference rooms and a waiting area.
Between them, the four owners have over 50 years of engineering experience with specializations that include storm water management systems, dam inspections, design of green infrastructure, site development, boundary and hydro graphic surveying, and much more.
When asked why he wanted to be an engineer Fredricks immediately replied “I want to design ski resorts.” He is an avid skier and coaches the West Catholic High School (his alma mater) ski team. He says that designing ski resorts is still a “dream in progress.”