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Listening to clients gave REI Engineering early sense of economic meltdown

Each Monday, the Wausau Daily Herald features insights from top business leaders on their success and that of the region, as a companion to the newspaper's "Thrive" campaign. This week features Jeny Gustafson and Tom Radenz of REI Engineering, an environmental and safety consulting, land surveying and civil engineering firm.

By Brian Reisinger • Wausau Daily Herald • August 31, 2009
Virtually every businessperson has felt the impact of the national recession in one way or another. Some were able to see the decline sooner than others because they had front-row seats.
Jeny Gustafson and Tom Radenz of Wausau's REI Engineering are two such people. With business tied in part to the amount of construction going on, they saw the coming economic crisis in spring 2007 and have been maneuvering to emerge from it stronger ever since. "So for us, listening to what our clients had to say was really important, to see where our future was going to be going," said Gustafson, 36, who serves as president of the company her father and brother own.
The company works with the private and public sectors, handling environmental and safety consulting, land surveying and civil engineering. Gustafson and Radenz, the company's 46-year-old secretary, said business results have been mixed in the bad economy.
Environmental consulting has remained stable, but the work is evolving, while safety consulting has increased as companies eliminate their own safety personnel, they said. Land surveying and civil engineering have suffered along with the construction industry. REI cut its staff from about 39 people to about 34, but it hasn't had to freeze or cut pay. ...

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