Four years after taking over the general contracting business her stepfather and mother started almost 25 years ago, Ashley Thill is moving Zernco to new, larger headquarters.
“I kind of feel like I’m moving out of mom and dad’s house,” says Thill, who is president and CEO.
It’s as thrilling a prospect as if she were a teenager heading out on her own.
“Everyone in the organization is really excited,” Thill says. “I feel like it’s going to bring a new dynamic to our office staff.”
That’s because currently Zernco headquarters are spread out over a number of buildings on two acres on U.S. 54 just west of Santa Fe Lake Road, which is an Augusta address.
“We’re kind of spread out,” Thill says. “Right now my construction team is on two levels.”
Zernco is in 4,800 square feet, but Thill says the company has expanded and needs more room.
“We’re packed in here like sardines.”
The new space is at the southeast corner of Pawnee and Greenwich where House of Hope Wichita used to be.
“I’ve owned that property at Greenwich and Pawnee for quite some time,” Thill says.
She’s remodeling the almost 9,000 square foot space.
“It’s just been a fun project for us to do as Zernco family,” Thill says. “It’s always fun to build a new house, right? With your husband and your parents.”
Thill’s stepfather and mother, Dave and Jan Zerngast founded the company in 1991.
Zernco does work throughout the Midwest and East Coast. It focuses on franchises, particularly with convenience store chains, restaurant chains and retail vendors.
“I call it consumer-based retail,” Thill says. “We work with the same clients over and over and over.”
She says she feels like the company had been a big secret for a long time.
“Nobody really knew we were here until five years ago,” Thill says.
She says the move will help with recognition and branding.
Though Zernco has already been a part of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Thills say, “Now we’re going to be officially (in) Wichita.”
Thill had been in the financial industry before joining the company in 2009. She took majority ownership in 2013.
The company used to be a $10 million firm. Now, Thill says it’s a $30 million company with a 75 percent increase in revenue in the last year.
Zernco will move into its new space by the end of the year.
“I finally feel like my second generation team is in place…and we’re going strong,” Thill says. “Finally, this fall I feel like we have arrived.”
by Carrie Rengers – The Wichita Eagle, 11/18/14