For Wendy Romeu, Owner of Alluvionic, a project management and engineering product design company, it's not just important to do things the right way, it's important to do things the Alluvionic way. "We do not believe in implementing process for the sake of process. We only apply tools and techniques that fit the organizational processes, culture and needs," she said. "The Project Management Institute (PMI) has an amazing set of procedures but knowing when to use them appropriately is what's important. We like to see what companies have in place and take the time to understand the organization before recommending a change. We want to give our clients the feeling that we are there for them, not to just check the box. I fly Southwest Airlines quite a bit. Before boarding one particular flight, a passenger was fumbling around with her paper ticket at the gate and a Southwest Employee, helped the disheveled passenger scan her ticket and said, ‘I got you’. That stuck with me. Our goal is to give our clients that same feeling. “We ’ve got them."
Prior to founding Alluvionic in February 2013, Romeu worked for various publicly-traded corporations including Ingersoll-Rand and Leonardo DRS. She helped implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, worked on processes & procedure improvement, established Project Management Offices (PMO), helped with Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Accreditation and subsequently fell in love with the consulting aspect of her job. In early 2013, the stars aligned and Romeu seized an opportunity to start her own business.
"Before I even launched my own business, I started networking and making connections," she said. "Although I put together a business plan focused on CMMI, our first jobs were Process Improvement and Project Management focused. Our first sizable contract was with the Orange County Clerk of Courts to perform an extensive gap analysis and implement the PMO they still use today."
There have been some challenges along the way , such as finding the right people and learning to work “on” the business and while balancing working “in” the business, but Romeu, as one would imagine, has developed processes and procedures to address those challenges. "Finding the right people to trust with my brand is extremely important," she said. "Doing so, allows me to focus on the strategic direction of the business. We've developed a robust set of on-boarding tools to help speed up readiness. These tools teach our new employees to do things the Alluvionic way." Romeu also went through the Ignite 360 Program, a program offered through weVenture at The Florida Institute of Technology that helps companies with transitions and strategic direction. The program played a big role in adding focus to Alluvionic’ business development.
Many customers, especially those in management, know they need Alluvionic's services. For others, it's a matter of Romeu demonstrating how an efficient and structured PMO or a properly implemented ERP system can cost effectively benefit entire organizations. Romeu and her team is currently helping implement Health First’s CMMI processes, a health care industry first. The Heath First board knew that to be a truly integrated organization, they would need to put these practices in place. Other potential clients may need short-term Project Management services for a specific project. No matter the needs or level of understanding, at the center of how Romeu's team approaches clients is one of their core values. "Continuous improvement," Romeu said. "It's internal to our organization. We live it in our standard processes and with our people. We practice what we preach and deliver to our customers."
An example of continuous improvement is Romeu's decision to add engineering capabilities to Alluvionic's growing portfolio of services. From concept design to product development and pilot manufacturing, Alluvionic has strategically positioned itself as a Project Management company that also offers engineering.
Romeu truly loves what she does. "I love being able to make a positive impact on my clients and employees," she said. "It’s an impact they can see and feel. I get excited when hearing success stories from finished products or new tools we've helped implement. Additionally, we provide plenty of mentoring within our company. Good project managers are hard to find, so we are growing them through internal training and continuous improvement. I love seeing the company investment in our employees turn into personal development and successes for them and Alluvionic. This is what I'm supposed to be doing. I've been given an incredible opportunity to make a difference."
What advice does Romeu have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "You have to know when the time is right and go all in," she said. "Be vulnerable and trust the process. Find mentors early on, surround yourself with successful people and get involved. The last two years have been paramount for my personal and professional growth. The Ignite 360 program was very helpful. I surrounded myself with other entrepreneurs and positive people to discuss ideas and strategies. Doing so has given me the confidence necessary to make hard decisions when needed." She also recommends the Speaking Your Brand podcast by Carol Cox, a branding entrepreneur based in Orlando. There is also the "geeky" project management stuff she reads to stay current with new technology and to keep her customers aware of available options when designing their solutions. At Alluvionic, continuous improvement is more than just a core value, it's a way of life.