Tampa Bay Business and Wealth, in partnership with Adcock Financial Group, is highlighting past winners of the Tampa Bay Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Awards.
NOTE: Due to the impact of Hurricane Ian, the awards program has been rescheduled. You can find more information about the new date when it’s announced at www.tampabaychamber.com.
Company name: Flatwoods Consulting Group
Senior Executive: Lee Walton, senior Ecologist and principal
Year won SBOY: 2015
No. of employees: 41 (which they call “Flatwooders”)
Flatwoods Consulting Group, established in 2009 and based in Tampa, assists in navigating complex environmental regulations to ensure our client’s projects receive all necessary approvals. Flatwoods has experience in successfully addressing these challenges associated with transportation and utilities, mining, agriculture and municipal projects, as well as industrial, commercial, residential and multi-use development.
Its team of scientists and professionals possess advanced degrees, professional certifications and has project experience related to many aspects of upland, wetland and benthic ecology, wildlife surveys, as well as various types of ecological monitoring, permitting and mitigation.
What has being named SBOY done for your business?
First and foremost, it provided validation that we indeed have something special here at Flatwoods and brought us together as a group. These “Flatwooders” work tirelessly for our clients, often in adverse conditions (i.e., heat, humidity, bugs, snakes, etc.) day-in and day out to ensure success – it is nice for that hard work to be recognized.
What is something you learned about your business, and or team, during the SBOY process?
Working through the SBOY application process helped us to identify the qualities that were important to our staff, clients and vendors. It also revealed characteristics in people that had remained hidden during much of their tenure. As scientists, we didn’t view ourselves as creative but were surprised what we found when we all came together to achieve this common goal.
Any words of advice for future SBOY applicants?
If you have been nominated, there is something special about your organization – the application process will help you to pinpoint and articulate those qualities. Involve your staff! Every member of our staff had a role and contributed something. Let their creativity and passion for their work and their company shine through. Have fun! The onsite judging was a blast with everyone presenting in some way.
What’s next for your business?
Flatwoods growth remains steady, we have grown from 15 full-time staff in 2015 when we won the Small Business of the year, to 41 full-time staff today. Through that growth we have remained faithful to our corporate philosophy which is to treat others as we would like to be treated, commonly known as the Ethic of Reciprocity or the Golden Rule. We believe that this is a successful business strategy but, more importantly, we believe it is the right thing to do. If we remain true to this philosophy, more growth is inevitable.
How does your company give back to the Tampa Bay area community?
Flatwoods has begun hosting an annual sporting clays event that raises funds for Feeding Tampa Bay. This event has generated about $6,000 annually since its inception in 2018. In addition, Flatwoods supports several youth sports teams and local schools, and sponsors staff participation in Florida science fair judging, the Great American Teach-in and other similar events. We also grant time off for staff (not charged to their PTO) to volunteer at various local charities of their choosing and with organizations such as the Florida Association for Water Quality Control (FAWQC) E2 Fund, which was established to promote environmental education and awards grants for water quality-related projects at Florida schools.