In 1989, founder Russ Savage took his years of experience working at FMC, and his background in biology, and started Nature’s Way Environmental, a bioremediation company based in his family home in Alden, NY. Each morning, the four-man team would gather in his office as he assigned remediation tasks. This is how current owner, Nicole Savage, learned about the business – by watching her father lead his employees from the breakfast table. In 2007, when Russ passed away, Nicole took her education in psychology and background in resource management and decided to take over daily operations at Nature’s Way. Aside from her childhood memories of at-home staff meetings, her only true industry experience was from the summer when she was 22 and working for her father. That employment relationship didn’t last long, as their similar traits of leadership and stubbornness clashed and Nicole was fired! But it armed her with an appreciation for the hard work that everyone at the company put in each day that continues to influence her leadership today.
Taking over the business wasn’t a choice she made lightly. The first few years were tough, and had it not been for the 35 people employed by Nature’s Way, she could not have righted the ship. Using what she was learning in her MBA program, Nicole managed to rightsize the company while leaning on some of her father’s most long-standing, honest employees.
“When it comes time to make decisions about where to take this company, the one thing I always ask myself is, ‘Is it supporting the people who supported it? Will it improve the lives of those who are involved, or is it not?’ I don’t want to grow the company just for the sake of growing it. I want to grow it because with growth comes more resources that we can put back into our families and communities.”
–Nicole Savage, President/CEO of NW Contracting
This approach helped keep the company moving forward in Nicole’s early years, as she took the time to ensure the business was poised for future growth, sometimes at the expense of short-term success. Nicole chooses to lead by creating an environment of trust and transparency within the company. As the mission statement says, at the center of every decision made is the idea of teamwork. Nature’s Way was never intended to be a family company, but it’s always been a company that rewards commitment and hard work.
In 2019, Nature’s Way Environmental became NW Contracting to reflect the updated services being offered to customers – an homage to its beginnings, but staring squarely at what’s next.