In 2017, Samantha Gomez-Trautz took a leap of faith and moved across the country from California to North Carolina with her then fiancée and now husband.
She started as a temporary receptionist at Yardnique and over the past six years has worked her way up now being known as “The Queen of Everything” by co-workers. With her on board, Yardnique reached $97 million in revenue in 2022 and is No. 25 on this year’s Top 100 list.
While Queen of Everything has a nice ring to it, Gomez-Trautz’s official title with the company is payroll integration manager. She adds she never imagined having a career in the green industry but is thankful for the opportunity.
“It’s been a new path for me,” she says. “I actually have a degree in criminal justice, so I always thought I was going to be in that field. My husband is a police officer, and I don’t think I’d be able to do that and enjoy it.”
Barrett Hines, regional manager with Yardnique, says it was evident to everyone early on that Gomez-Trautz was someone special.
“Samantha started with us in 2017 and came in and started as a receptionist. Very quickly, we saw that she was capable of so much more and wasn’t afraid of new tasks and taking those on,” he says. “Without sounding too cliché, she is the backbone of our operation. When it comes to everything behind the scenes — it’s her.”
Meticulously supportiveNorma Avalos, an executive assistant, agrees with Hines and says it’s Gomez-Trautz’s attention to detail that makes her so vital to the team and allows them to grow exponentially.
Avalos, too, says she noticed this in Gomez-Trautz early on.
“She was taking calls and doing any administrative task we needed help with across the organization, and quickly we realized she was a rockstar,” she says. “Anything Sam has ever touched has excelled at a high level.”
Whether it’s helping solve fleet problems or cellphone issues for crew members, calling the company’s IT partners or planning fun team-building events, Hines says Gomez-Trautz is always the first to step in.
“As we’ve grown, she’s seen a need to help bring folks together and help plan company outings — whether it’s minor league baseball games, axe throwing or anything like that. She’s always the one to coordinate those and get the information out so everybody knows where to be,” Hines says.
Both Avalos and Hines call Gomez-Trautz a key cog in the wheel, and without her handling all the behind the scenes tasks the business wouldn’t function as efficiently.
“We couldn’t do it without Sam,” Avalos says. “She is an integral piece of the way we grow. She serves everyone at such a high capacity.”
“We need people who care about the details and know that to get to the finish line for any kind of growth, you’ve got to have someone who cares about the details,” Hines adds. “And she is that person who is making sure we are crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s.”
But it’s more than her attention to detail or willingness to get things done that makes Gomez-Trautz stand out at Yardnique, Avalos adds.
“Her drive and her ambition make her essential,” she says. “She is a go-getter and very self-motivated. She takes initiative and, beyond that, her heart for people is incredible. She really leads with her heart.”
A family affairGomez-Trautz says she’s happy to hear that her co-workers appreciate her positive attitude and friendly demeanor. She adds that the company culture at Yardnique makes it easy to connect and care so much about her co-workers.
“In our lives, we spend more time at work, and I really consider my co-workers like family to me,” she says.
Gomez-Trautz, who had her son Maverick in 2021, says the team at Yardnique really rallied behind her through her whole pregnancy and after.
“We always come together and they are here if I ever need anything. When they found out I was pregnant, they threw me a baby shower. And for my son’s first birthday, they planned a little party for him here at the office,” she recalls.
“The culture is very family oriented,” Gomez-Trautz adds. “They allowed me to bring my newborn baby to the office every day because I couldn’t not work. They definitely take care of me.”
Avalos says baby Maverick was such a part of the family atmosphere at Yardnique that to this day, employees note how much they miss him in the office.
“Our staff was upset when she took the baby to day care,” she jokes. “They said he’s a part of our team now.”
Avalos adds she remembers being in awe of Gomez-Trautz and how she balanced her responsibilities at Yardnique with motherhood.
“When she was pregnant, she was involved in the business practically up until the second she gave birth,” she says. “She was doing the entire company’s payroll the day before she gave birth. That’s how committed she is to the organization.”
Gomez-Trautz admits none of her success would be possible without the people around her.
“It’s hard to find a culture like this one these days,” she says. “We keep a lot of our employees because of the culture.”
Lending an ear & handHines says it’s Gomez-Trautz compassion that really allows her to bond so well with the employees. In fact, there’s another title he’d like to give her in addition to Queen of Everything.
“She’s like the unofficial company psychiatrist, because everyone comes in and tells her what’s going on,” he says. “Whether it’s personal or work related, she has that trusting aura about her. Even if she’s not the right person, she’s someone to talk to.”
Avalos says she’s noticed this too, and there’s been several times where Gomez-Trautz brings something important to the CEO’s attention, so the company can help a struggling employee.
“She’s aware and so in touch with our employees,” Avalos says. “She knows what’s going on with them personally. A few times, without getting into too much detail or revealing too much, she’s come up to the CEO and explained what’s going on in someone’s life and suggested what we should do to help. Whether that’s donating some money, donating items, etc. She’s always identifying need within the company.”
Gomez-Trautz says one of her favorite ways to give back at Yardnique is organizing the company’s annual Angel Tree at Christmas time.
“We do an Angel Tree every year for our employees,” she says. “We like to give back to them and their families… we tell the crew members and crew leaders to sign up, whether they need any help or not. It’s open to everyone.”
Once crew members sign their children up for the Angel Tree those requested items get sent to management and above and the children are sponsored by others in the company.
“We want to make sure no one is left behind,” Gomez-Trautz says. “It’s fun for us girls because we get to go do the shopping for these families, and hand out the gifts at the company Christmas party. It’s really appreciated and again just goes back to that great company culture.”
And while Gomez-Trautz isn’t one to boast, Hines says he knows her kindness is appreciated.
“Her number one attribute is she’s super humble,” he says. “She should be more confident in herself, but she stays very humble and has no ego. She’s never too good to do anything. It’s probably almost to a fault at times, and she should say no sometimes. But I think it speaks a lot to her work ethic and character.”
A hopeful horizonBecause it’s her attitude that makes Gomez-Trautz such a fundamental part of Yardnique, Hines says he hopes she gets the chance to share her wisdom with others at the company.
“I would love to see her take that kind of mindset and attention to what has to happen to make the branch successful, and replicate that with other people,” he says. “Whether that’s people she takes on as mentees in other offices. I’d love to see her spread that influence.”
Avalos adds that while Gomez-Trautz continues to move up the company, there’s nothing she can’t do.
“When it comes to Sam’s future, I always see her tapping into what she’s most passionate about,” she says. “She is the kind of person that regardless of what position she’s in, she always flourishes. Whatever she sets her mind to, she can definitely accomplish. No one doubts her ability or her ability to lead and oversee.”
Explore the May 2023 Issue
Check out more from this issue and find you next story to read.