25. J.J. Keller & Associates Growth Rate: 147% HQ: Neehan, Wis.
Since its beginning as a one-man consulting firm in 1953, J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc. has become one of the most respected names in safety and regulatory compliance. J.J. Keller serves over 560,000 customers, including 90 percent of the Fortune 1000. Professionals in transportation, workplace safety, environmental, hazmat, construction, and human resources rely on J. J. Keller to reduce risk and improve compliance. Consulting caught up with Steve Murray, a Senior Director with J.J. Keller & Associates to discuss the firm’s recent success.
Consulting: What were the main factors that contributed to your firm’s exceptional growth?
Murray: Our exceptional growth has been driven by our strategy to position ourselves as long-term advisors to our clients’ ongoing safety and compliance development. Over the past 60 years our clients have come to rely on us because of our expertise in supporting their DOT trucking and transportation safety management. Our commitment in this area has grown tremendously over the past three years. However, that has not been the only contributor as our OSHA and Environmental compliance and safety services have more than quadrupled in the past three years as a result of our strategy to diversify our operations beyond the trucking world.
Consulting: How is this year shaping up for your firm?
Murray: 2016 is shaping up to be another record-breaking year for J.J. Keller and our Consulting business. The regulatory agencies in Washington that we follow have been extremely active this year, both in terms of new regulations and in terms of enforcement activity. As a result, we are seeing record demand for our safety management programs, particularly in the areas of hazardous materials, transportation, and environmental consulting.
Consulting: How would you describe your firm’s outlook for 2017? Where do you see the most opportunities?
Murray: We are extremely optimistic about 2017 and beyond. Our clients continue to make long-term commitments to our services as we identify ways to bring additional value to their safety and compliance programs. Our clients have explicitly told us that they want a trusted partner who can help them stay on top of the changes in Washington and bring industry best-practices to their organization, while they stay focused on doing what they do best. We’re excited about what 2017 will bring to our firm.
Consulting: What would you say are your firm’s biggest challenges in 2017?
Murray: The biggest challenge for us in 2017 and beyond will be finding and retaining the best talent in the safety community. At our growth rate, we will need to continue to add staff consultants who have very dynamic capabilities. These consultants not only have to have extremely strong technical skills and years of industry experience, but also must be outstanding communicators capable of building strong customer relationships and creatively finding ways to consistently add value to our client’s operation.
Consulting: What does being named one of Consulting’s Fastest Growing Firms mean to your firm, your employees and your clients?
Murray: We are thrilled to be named to the list for the 2nd consecutive year. We have a highly talented group of consultants, sales and marketing, and operations staff who work feverishly to deliver excellent service to our clients.