KOP Insiders delves into the stories of the people who make King of Prussia one of Pennsylvania’s most dynamic live-work-play-stay destinations.
In depth interviews provide insight into the companies that make up our diverse business community and put a face to the individuals behind the business. In this edition, we are joined by Kimberly Burkert, Chief Executive Officer at Bala Consulting Engineers.
Tell us a little about your background and how it led you to your current role as CEO of Bala?
I grew up in Audubon, which is not far from KOP. I got my degree in Finance from Kutztown University and my masters at St. Joe’s immediately afterwards. My first job after school was for an engineering firm out of West Chester. But for most of my career, I’ve been here at Bala — going on 21 years now!
I started at Bala as the Controller, and after five years I was moved into the CFO position, which is more of a strategic role. And most recently, I became CEO, where I’m driving the strategic vision for Bala. During my time here, we’ve grown the company from $10M to $40M. We now employ nearly 200 people.
With five offices throughout the Northeast, what has motivated Bala to keep your headquarters in KOP?
We moved here from the Main Line around 2005. KOP was such an attractive area at the time because the rent was so affordable — still is! — and because of how centrally located it is. That centrality and convenience factor to nearby highways, Center City, retail and restaurants has been a great amenity for our employees. And we’ve stayed here ever since. We’re likely going to move very soon though and we’re looking hard at other locations in the KOP area.
How has COVID impacted the space within which you operate? How do you continue keeping the business moving forward in spite of the unpredictable nature of an unprecedented situation?
COVID definitely changed the way our company and our industry operated. In 2020, we were able to quickly pivot to a remote working environment. Culture is so important to us though, so we made what was a very tough decision at the time to return to the office back in July 2021. Bala, and engineering in general, is such a collaborative business and the one-on-one connection between the employees proved so crucial. We’ve found that it fosters innovation. Our team members are our greatest asset and they expressed interest and enthusiasm about returning to the office. For our next move, we’re going to put a heavy focus on wellness amenities, which are plentiful in the KOP area.
What makes KOP a good fit for your employees and company culture?
KOP has so many great things going for it. Between the accessibility, the mall, the dining scene, and of course the Town Center, KOP has everything a company needs to keep its employees happy and engaged. Also, and this is more personal, but I just love Valley Forge National Historical Park. The history is so rich, and the landscape is absolutely beautiful. In fact, one of the offices we’re currently looking at has an incredible view of the park. Many of our team members also enjoy running, hiking, and walking in the park.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about moving their company to KOP?
You owe it to yourself to explore everything this area has to offer. Especially given today’s environment, the amenities you’ll find here for the cost are unparalleled. Hopefully, with KOP Rail coming into fruition in the next few years, that will also position the area for even more growth. Establishing a direct connection with Philly will be so good for the area.
If there was one thing you’d want the KOP community and beyond to know about Bala — whether that be about the company, the culture, your vision for the future — what would it be?
Given everything that we’ve dealt with over the last two years with this pandemic, we’re really focused on empowering, inspiring and celebrating our employees. We want to create a work environment where people thrive, feel respected and have a real sense of belonging. We also have a heavy focus on DEI initiatives and pride ourselves on giving back to the community whenever we can.
Bala is a dynamic growth-oriented company, built on relationships with our clients, staff, and industry partners. From recruiting through engagement with our community of clients, staff, and friends, we are committed to providing an exceptional experience that results in successful projects and successful careers. Bala infuses ideation into our relationships and work product to create sustainable, healthy environments that produce an optimal user experience. Our broad range of engineering services for the built environment makes buildings more valuable, energy efficient, secure and reliable.
With five offices located from Boston to Washington, DC, Bala has 40 years of experience in completing projects throughout the United States.
443 South Gulph Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406 | bala.com