Partners in Life and Business

Husband and Wife win School of
Computing and Engineering alumni award

When Kimberly and Trent Robinett chose to attend the University of Missouri-Kansas City, they got a lot more than they’d ever bargained for.

That’s because the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering was more than just a place to earn a degree. At UMKC, they discovered a future career, and in each other, a spouse and a business partner.

“Finding your best friend, soul mate, wife and business partner had a profound, life-changing impact on me. She is the reason why I am who I am today,” Trent said.

Who he is – and who she is – is somewhat intertwined. When they graduated from UMKC in 1995, the pair had mastered different disciplines of engineering – Kimberly electrical and Trent civil. But they shared an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to offer quality engineering in Kansas City.

Together, Trent and Kimberly formed TREKK Design Group, later welcoming fellow classmate Kim Pemberton onto the team. Over the years, the firm has grown. They have seven locations, 85 employees, and have landed high-profile projects, including their recent work to ensure that the 150-year-old downtown Kansas City sewer system will be able to support a future streetcar route.

Their family has grown, too. As they’ve developed their business, the couple has also raised three daughters.

Now their hard work is being recognized by the couple’s alma mater. Kimberly and Trent have been named the School of Computing and Engineering’s 2014 Alumni Award winners.

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes outstanding individual alumni, and one family, with top honors. UMKC will honor its outstanding alumni for 2013-14 at a luncheon event on April 24 at Swinney Recreation Center on the UMKC campus. UMKC’s Alumni Association will highlight the recipients’ stories and accomplishments at the luncheon as well as through other events, presentations and classroom visits where they will share their experiences with students.

The Robinetts’ story is one that is sure to inspire the university’s entrepreneurship and engineering students, but Kimberly hopes that in particular, it will grab the attention of young women.

As a majority female-owned business, TREKK Design Group stands out in a male-dominated field. As a result, Kimberly feels a special responsibility to mentor other women and minority-owned businesses. She currently sits on the board of the Kansas City branch of Women In Transportation International (WTS).

“I am working with a great group of women to get the chapter up and going here in Kansas City. I am really happy to begin the initiative to increase STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) interest in young girls. Things are continuing to change and I am very excited to be a part of it,” Kimberly said.

The importance of mentorship and assistance isn’t lost on Trent, either. As they reflect on their shared professional life, the couple is quick to give credit to those who contributed to their success.

“So many people along the way have helped us. The important thing to remember is that you can’t do it all yourself,” Trent said.

That’s a lesson Trent and Kimberly learned a long time ago. Although they’ve had help along the way, they’ve relied the most heavily on the things they discovered at UMKC: a best friend, spouse, and partner.


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