Creative solutions and dedicated service are the foundation of this local business success story.
Starting and running a business has been an amazing learning experience for Sara Fila, president of Legacy Engineering, P.C., a small civil engineering firm in Fredericksburg. Along the way there have been a lot of challenges to overcome, from getting initial funding to navigating COVID-19, but through it all, she and her father have successfully grown the company. She credits that achievement to a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck—and a bank that believed in their business plan and took a chance on their company.
Legacy Engineering began six years ago as a father/daughter civil engineering team with a mission to provide dedicated service and inspired design. The firm specializes in land development, design and consulting. Each development project brings unique challenges, which fuels Fila’s passion for finding customized and creative solutions for each client. The best part about her job is getting the opportunity to work alongside her father who, she says, is a tremendous mentor in engineering and a generous and compassionate leader.
Getting the business off the ground, however, was no easy task. The duo needed a financial partner who would support their vision. They found it with Community Bank of the Chesapeake who, like Fila, also enjoy the challenge of coming up with creative solutions for their customers.
“We built Legacy with a small investment from my dad’s retirement account that was supplemented by our very first line of credit from Community Bank of the Chesapeake,” Fila said. “Any time our business needed funding, Community Bank of the Chesapeake was always our first and only call.”
Growing the relationship
The banking relationship grew to include Online Business Banking, loans to finance land surveying equipment and the acquisition of another small company. Just recently Fila connected with the wealth management department to secure a life insurance policy for herself.
“We are always greeted at the bank with a smile and friendly face,” Fila said. “If there is ever an issue, the staff is very quick to respond to our needs and readily available for face-to-face meetings. The customer service is really unmatched.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult and downright scary time for small businesses such as Legacy, the bank was at their side to help them secure funding through the Payroll Protection Program. “We sent in our application with Community Bank of the Chesapeake the day applications were first accepted,” Fila said. “It took less than two weeks for the money to show up in our business bank account. They were organized and efficient in processing our application, which was invaluable for our business. Thankfully, their strong effort helped secure our financing before the program was fully funded.”
Throughout the years of navigating their business, Legacy Engineering has had to contemplate some tough decisions, especially in regard to large business expenses or endeavors. They’ve relied on the experience, knowledge and wisdom of their business banking team who steered them through the acquisition of Miles and Company and guided them in the decision to purchase their own office building to serve as their company headquarters.
“They went through the valuation in detail and then financed the deal to make it happen,” Fila said. “They’re always right there to help us weigh our options. We have been able to talk candidly about the pros and cons of several different office properties. They know the local real estate market intimately.”