"Pushing the Envelope": Keegan Trudgen is the 2024 Spirit of Franchising MVP
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"Pushing the Envelope": Keegan Trudgen is the 2024 Spirit of Franchising MVP

Name: Keegan Trudgen (and business partner Tim Lohse)

Title: President

Company: PuroClean Disaster Services

No. of units: 10 PuroClean

Age: 45

Family: Married, 3 children 

Years in franchising: 11

Years in current position: 11

Keegan Trudgen, along with business partner Tim Lohse, is the Spirit of Franchising MVP (Most Valuable Performer) for extraordinary and enduring performance, growth, and community giving.

Keegan Trudgen admits it may sound unusual to some, but he’s been interested in business since elementary school.

“I spent my entire childhood dreaming up business ideas,” he recalls. He got his start mowing lawns and doing odd jobs for a neighbor, Paul Schmitt, who became Trudgen’s mentor. “I would ask him what he knew about business. He owned his own company, and he mentioned that I could get people to mow for me, so I didn’t have to mow, and my 9-year-old mind was blown,” he says, laughing. 

Following his early days as a mowing mogul, Trudgen went on to school, receiving his MBA from Northwestern University before working at several large corporations. “But I always knew I wanted to do my own thing,” he says.

He reached out to a friend who had started a franchise and asked how he got started. The friend was moving and offered to sell him the business. Trudgen wasn’t ready at that moment, but the two developed a plan for Trudgen to manage the business for a year. After that, Trudgen bought the friend out and started expanding. “I was at the right place at the right time with the right brand,” he says. “I love the brand, and I enjoy what I do.”

Trudgen and his business partner Tim Lohse have territories spanning multiple states, and they have received multiple awards from PuroClean, including being named perennial President’s Circle winners.

Trudgen and his team have volunteered with food banks, toy drives, realtor events, golf tournaments, and breast cancer awareness initiatives. They’ve also supported one of their team members who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident.

Whenever there is a call for storm support, they work in the trenches and volunteer time and materials as needed. A major insurance company commended the team for providing excellent customer service to policyholders.

Trudgen and his team represent PuroClean on the Network Leadership Council and serve as brand ambassadors. They also mentor other PuroClean franchisees.

In 2022, they partnered with the International Franchise Association, speaker Scott Greenberg, and Bright Pink Agency to launch an official Franchisor Appreciation Day, which continues annually. Trudgen has also been a panelist for the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference and the IFA Annual Conference.

“Our business philosophy centers on servant leadership, extreme ownership, active collaboration, and relentless customer service with a mission to help those affected by disasters,” he says.

MVP QUESTIONS

Why do you think you were recognized with this award? We are always pushing the envelope as to where we can take this business and work with PuroSystems, which owns PuroClean, to make those dreams a reality and bring others in the network along with us.

How have you raised the bar in your own company? We are leading the technological charge and using tools and technology to help people affected by disasters.

What innovations you have created and used to build your company? We developed the multi-unit program for PuroSystems, allowing PuroClean franchisees to reinvest in PuroClean and serve other communities and clients.

What core values do you think helped you win this award? Servant leadership, extreme ownership, active collaboration, and relentless customer service.

How important is community involvement to you and your company? Our community is everything to us. We service our community in times of disaster and want to be a resource for them.

What leadership qualities are most important to you and your company? It is important to train and develop your people and give them opportunities to grow and lead.

PERSONAL

Formative influences/events: Meeting my first mentor, Paul Schmitt, who introduced me to the basics of business at the age of 9.

Key accomplishments: Being awarded an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management in 2008 and acquiring PuroClean Disaster Services in 2013.

Next big goal: Becoming the largest PuroClean operator in the franchise network.

Hardest lesson learned: Don’t compare yourself to anybody else. You don’t know their struggle, and they don’t know yours.

Best advice you ever got: You can be right, or you can be rich, but you can’t be both.

Favorite book: by Jim Collins.

What’s your passion in business? Helping people.

MANAGEMENT

Business philosophy: Our business philosophy centers on servant leadership, extreme ownership, active collaboration, and relentless customer service with a mission to help those affected by disasters.

Management method or style: Hire good people and let them tell you what to do.

Greatest challenge: Getting the best people to join your team.

How close are you to operations? Very close. We are aware and involved in our daily operations.

How do you hire and fire, train and retain? We train people as if they will never leave.

COVID-19

What have been the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business? We helped essential businesses stay open and keep people employed during the pandemic.

BOTTOM LINE

2024 goals: $16 million.

Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? Growth in net operating income and measuring the effectiveness of this number as a percentage of revenue.

Vision meter: Where do you want to be in five years? 10 years? We want to be the largest PuroClean operator in the franchise network, servicing communities and our clients nationwide.

What are you doing to take care of your employees? We invest in our employees for technical reasons and to give them accomplishments, which we celebrate. 

What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? We want to develop a solid, recession-resilient business that will be attractive to any investor’s portfolio.

Published: June 7th, 2024

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