Inside Eight of the Industry’s Top Workplaces

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Every year for the past five years PPB has recognized some of the best companies to work for based on nominations from the employees themselves. What makes some companies get it so right when others are sputtering into a nosedive on employee engagement? After having written about the honorees in this competition for all these years, it appears to come down to two things: creating a company culture where people want to give their best and help one another, and cultivating a positive workplace environment that’s ripe with opportunities and fulfillment so employees want to come to work—even on Mondays. The key behind both of those is leaders who genuinely care about how employees feel when they leave at the end of the day. Do they feel satisfied, valued, challenged, engaged, motivated?

Of course, no company is infallible, but when it comes to creating a positive place to work, this year’s eight honorees definitely have reason to celebrate. And so do their employees.

 

AllianceLogoPrint

Adbands_group2

A sampling of employees, who hold responsibilities from management to the factory floor, band together in celebrating the company’s selection as a top workplace.

Top Executive

Bonnie Spencer Swayze, President

Company Type

Supplier

Location

Headquarters in Hot Springs, Arkansas; stocking warehouse in Salinas Valley, California

Website

www.adbands.com

Year Founded

1923

Total Employees 180

Company Motto

“Personalized Promotions and Packaging—Always the Smart Solution”

Perks

Healthcare and insurance benefits

401(k) plan

Company paid holidays

Vacation time

Lunches, picnics and parties for employees

WHAT EMPLOYEES SAY ABOUT ALLIANCE RUBBER COMPANY: At Alliance Rubber Company, which participates in the promotional products industry as Ad Bands (UPIC: ALLI0001), team members are the company’s most valuable asset, says nominator Jason Risner. “We work together to provide innovative, quality products at competitive prices and we support what we sell with exceptional customer service.” He adds that Alliance provides opportunities for empowerment and self-improvement in a safe working environment and also treats its vendors well to ensure mutually beneficial relationships.

Alliance is a privately owned company, and one of the few in the industry in which women own a majority of the stock, Risner points out. “American manufacturing can be a brutal industry with competitors from overseas offering lower prices,” he says. “To combat this, Alliance has remained committed to offering higher-quality products paired with excellent customer service.” Ninety-four percent of its sales are generated from American-made products, he adds.

Risner says the management team at Alliance also goes above and beyond to make employees feel appreciated. For example, to commemorate the company’s recent 93rd birthday, all employees were invited to a celebratory luncheon to hear a special address from former Arkansas Razorback Football Coach Houston Nutt.

HOW IT DIFFERENTIATES ITSELF AS AN EMPLOYER: “At Alliance, employees are more than just workers,” says Risner. “We feel like a part of the team. We work together to come up with new, innovative ideas for the rubber band industry, and we actually enjoy working with each other. Alliance hires individuals with a strong work ethic who take pride in the work they do.” The employee turnover rate at Alliance last year was less than five percent, while the national average is 11 to 15 percent depending on the industry and region. Risner says a key source of company pride is that more than two-thirds of employees have been with the company for more than five years. Another thing that makes him proud of his company is its average hourly wage. “We staff members work hard every day, making the best rubber band products in the world, so Alliance wants to make sure we and our families are taken care of.”

Alliance has a unique corporate culture in that it values its employees and customers before profits, according to Risner, who has been with the supplier for six years. “Many companies show keen interest in quarterly earnings and view their people as headcount, but not Alliance. The leaders here believe in nurturing and training team members, and 95 percent of the managers have been promoted from entry-level positions.”

The supplier conducts an annual employee survey to identify workplace improvements. Each year, 95 percent of employees say their favorite thing about working at Alliance is the people. “That’s a statistic we are all incredibly proud of,” he adds.

THE EXTRAS THAT COUNT

Alliance recently installed an 80- by 40-foot American flag on a flagpole that stands 130 feet tall just off the main thoroughfare in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The flag is illuminated at night by 2,000-watt halogen bulbs. At the top of the flagpole is a gold ball that each employee signed at a ceremony when the flag was raised. “It was moving for all of us,” says Risner. “This flag has inspired the community and is Alliance’s way of showing how proud we are to be working and living in this great country and community.”

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Catalyst photo

Distributor Catalyst, represented here by 18 of its 41 employees, has four offices across the U.S. and one in Hong Kong.

Top Executive

Tom Havens, Founder and CEO

Type of Company

Distributor

Location

Headquarters in Seattle; offices in Dallas, Minneapolis, New York and Hong Kong

Website

www.CatalystTeam.com

Year Founded

1999

Total Employees

41

Company Motto

“Be the best part of someone’s day, every day.”

Perks

10 percent 401 (k) match

Healthcare benefits

Friday afternoon break with food and drinks

Three months’ maternity leave, and paternity leave too

Quarterly barbecues, happy hours and other engaging team activities

Annual Most Valuable Team Player Award and Team Sales Achievement Award. Winners get a four-day, three-night trip to a sunny destination.

Three-day annual offsite “family reunion” team event to reconnect, collaborate and even volunteer as a group

WHAT EMPLOYEES SAY ABOUT CATALYST: “We have a uniquely positive and energetic office environment,” says nine-year employee Shelley Strickland, one of 14 employees who nominated the company for PPB’s honor. “Catalyst also has an amazing leader who sets the vision and creates an atmosphere where we all share in the passion for being the best part of someone's day—every day!”

Her co-worker, five-year employee and nominator Rachel Huntsberger, says, “It’s such a collaborative and comfortable environment. Everyone who works here really has a passion for the projects that we work on and we are all rooting for each other to be successful.” Another nominator, Jo Jarvis, says she loves working there because there is room in the company for her to grow, and she likes the flexible work schedule and the Catalyst 5% program that allows her to keep up with life outside of work. “We’re allowed to use five percent of work hours to do anything that helps us creatively. For many that means getting in some exercise; lots of people choose to take academic courses. It’s completely up to us how to use our time.”

New employee and nominator Sophie Miller explains why she calls the people and culture at Catalyst “amazing.”

“I had a project pop up one morning—my client needed a very specific item that was incredibly hard to find,” she says. “And it had to be personalized and delivered three days later. [My coworkers] could tell I was struggling and they all stepped in to help me. They put down whatever they were doing to help me find this specific item and finish the project. The client was incredibly happy—and so was I.”

HOW IT DIFFERENTIATES ITSELF AS AN EMPLOYER: Late last year, employees in the Seattle and Dallas offices formed the Catalyst Cares committee with a goal to contribute more than 1,000 volunteer hours and reach more than 600 people. “We’ve always worked to give back to our community, but we wanted to make it a true business initiative for 2016,” explains nominator and employee Cathy Sapiro, who’s been with the company for nearly five years. “We’ve begun cooking meals regularly for the Ronald McDonald House resident families and we’re looking for additional opportunities to expand our volunteer reach.” Co-worker Felicia Messina, a two-year employee and a nominator, cites the company’s culture as what sets it apart from other employers. “Many companies say one thing and do another, but not at Catalyst,” she says. “We work hard for our clients and for each other. We all have a sense of pride, work ethic and responsibility for each other. Letting someone down here is like letting yourself down.”

Co-worker Strickland agrees, citing the positive and energetic office environment set by Founder and CEO Tom Havens. “I’ve never experienced an office environment like we have at Catalyst,” she says. “New hires and clients are always commenting about how different we are, too. I have so many people who want to work for our company—including my own clients.”

Havens credits the company’s differentiator as having a greater sense of purpose. “Since we all work more than not, I think it’s important to have a bigger purpose or something bigger to strive for other than your daily tasks,” he explains. “We try to accomplish this by setting individual and company goals, following our mission, striving to always improve, getting better as a person and as a fellow employee, and realizing that we have the opportunity to really make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

THE EXTRAS THAT COUNT

Catalyst 5%: “I learned this through Daniel Pink’s book Drive,” says Havens. “The idea is that we want all our employees to be inspired, learn new things and be a part of new experiences. One cannot always achieve this sitting at one’s desk. The Catalyst 5% program requires all employees to take five percent of their work time—two hours a week, eight hours a month—and do something other than work; do something that is inspiring, such as education, a seminar, shopping, hiking, volunteering, coaching … you name it.”

City Paper Logo PMS 7110C Teal Black

City Paper Group Shot

Nominator Haley Lasseter (pictured on front row in grey shirt) is proud of the local philanthropic work supported by company owners Paul Friedman, Jr. and Mark Friedman (back row, second and third from left) and the City Paper team.

Top Executives

Paul Friedman, Jr., CEO/President and Mark Friedman, COO (joint owners)

Type of Company

Distributor

Location

Headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama; additional office in Atlanta, Georgia, and reps in Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Tennessee

Website

www.citypapercompany.com

Year Founded

1897

Total Employees

38

Company Motto

“A Customer Should Last Forever”

Perks

Vacation and sick leave package

Quarterly employee awards with bonus opportunities

Free and discounted promotional items

Casual dress code

Healthcare benefits

Matching 401 (k)

A fun, casual atmosphere that welcomes creativity

WHAT EMPLOYEES SAY ABOUT CITY PAPER: “I love working at City Paper Company because of the people,” says nominator Haley Lasseter, who has been at the company for two years. “Every day feels like a gathering of close friends and family who happen to work side by side. There is a great feeling of camaraderie among employees that is not limited by departments or titles. This is truly the first place I have worked in my career where we have fun virtually every day even when the stress levels are up, the deadlines are looming and the phones won't stop ringing. In fact, I would say that is when we have the most fun.”

City Paper Company first opened its doors in 1897 and is now run by the fourth generation of the Friedman family. “Our history makes us one of the oldest companies in Birmingham and in the state of Alabama,” Lasseter says proudly. “Over the years, our owners have sustained the business through world wars, the Great Depression and a number of recessions, and through it all, the company pushed the envelope to survive. [Last year] was one of our best years ever in our 119-year existence.”

What truly makes City Paper different from other companies is the amazing team of people that walk its halls every day, she adds. “The commitment, enthusiasm and desire to succeed together as a team, the creativity and ideas we share and the laughter that flows throughout our halls all translate to our customers. As a result, they experience a genuinely warm and responsive City Paper team. Plus, how many people have live music and a dancing Santa Claus with elves (our warehouse guys) at their holiday party?”

HOW IT DIFFERENTIATES ITSELF AS AN EMPLOYER: Lasseter says her team loves to win. “And we love to watch each other win. That truly is my favorite part of City Paper and our culture. We share wins on a mobile app called GroupMe, where we post new logos and welcome customers to the City Paper family. Ideas are constantly exchanged through this app as well. It generates healthy competition, along with a great support system.

Lasseter also credits the company’s generosity in its community as another reason she nominated it for PPB recognition. “A few years ago, at the request of many employees, the company created City Paper Supports, a philanthropic division that raises money, awareness and donates time, clothing, food and support to those in our community, our state, our nation and our world,” she says. “Homelessness, specifically women and children who are homeless, is a cause that I truly believe in supporting,” she explains. “I voiced this to our CP Supports team and this past December, shortly after Christmas, our entire team packed up boxes and boxes of food, toiletries, clothing and toys and brought them to Jessie’s Place women and children’s shelter, where we also served meals.” She says it was a good feeling for employees to be able to share their successes and blessings, plus a number of promotional products and apparel samples, with those who needed help. In the past few years, they have supported organizations and causes like Child Aid Africa, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Jimmie Hale Mission Homeless Shelter for Men, Jessie’s Place, the YWCA of Birmingham, United Way, YouthServe of Birmingham, The Lupus Foundation. “Soon we’ll be doing our very first Habitat for Humanity [project]. Our executive team believes that more we grow, the greater our responsibility becomes to share our successes with those who need it most.”

THE EXTRAS THAT COUNT

The City Paper Celebration Committee showers employees with City Paper promo items, lunches, birthday cakes, baby showers and celebrations to mark anniversaries and other milestones. The company also regularly recognizes employees who go above and beyond each quarter with the City Paper Employee of the Quarter award. “This further contributes to the supportive feeling that circulates throughout our company,” says Lasseter. From chili cook-offs to breast cancer awareness walks, the team just genuinely enjoys being together, she says, adding that everyone in the company, plus customers and vendors, are all considered a part of the City Paper family. “Many of them have been with us for decades, which is in itself a testament to our organization.”

OmniSource Logo

Group shot cheering omnisource mktg

OmniSource Marketing Group President Janie Goldberg (seated on sofa, far left) has established a company culture that embraces collaboration and employee innovation.

Top Executive

Janie Goldberg, President

Type of Company

Distributor

Headquarters

Indianapolis, Indiana

Website

www.PromoInTheCloud.com

Year Founded

1989

Total Employees

43

Company Motto

“Promo Cloud—Rethink Branded Products™”

Perks

Collaboration Café serving local, organic coffee, free Pepsi and Frito-Lay munchies

Kid and dog-friendly environment

Lactation facilities for nursing moms

Monthly team breakfast

Annual company picnic

Account managers can work remotely

Healthcare benefits

Child care spending accounts

401(k) with match

Paid time off and flex time

WHAT EMPLOYEES SAY ABOUT OMNISOURCE MARKETING GROUP: “Our agency is owned by a woman who is 71 years old but is just hitting her stride,” says nominator and 17-year employee Kendal Summers. “Janie Goldberg is a forward-thinking, collaborative leader who is revolutionizing the way promotional products are curated and purchased. She has evolved our distributorship into a promotional marketing agency model and is helping our Fortune 500 clients protect their brands and streamline spend by uploading promotional merchandise to the cloud—making items that are on-brand, on-strategy and on-budget simple to find, easy to buy and quick to ship.

“Our culture and our leadership provide an infrastructure that talented people can leverage to succeed beyond our wildest expectations. It's like a trampoline—if I bring the energy, the device is designed to help me soar!” he says.

The company also just opened a new facility which physically matches its culture. “We now not only act like a collaborative, creative agency—we look like one,” says Summers. Visitors to the company’s Indianapolis offices don’t encounter a receptionist desk upon entering; they walk into a collaborative space with a fridge stocked with PepsiCo products (the largest client) and a large community table—for collaborating with clients, suppliers and fellow associates.

HOW IT DIFFERENTIATES ITSELF AS AN EMPLOYER: Summers says Goldberg is the company’s primary differentiator. “She recruits top, talented people and then finds their high-impact role within our agency. She promotes from within, giving everyone an opportunity to grow their responsibilities and grow their income.”

Summers adds that as he networks with associates at other companies, he notices the lack of two very important things that make OmniSource a great company to work for: a culture of sustainability and a culture of integrity. He explains: “Janie Goldberg and our executive team run a viable, sustainable operation that thrives because having processes that sustain our business is in the best interest of all of our stakeholders. Our No. 1 source of talent is referrals by our supplier reps and multi-line reps who know we are a company with integrity. We pay fairly, we pay our people on time, we pay our suppliers on time, we pay our taxes on time. And we don't look for ways to ‘short’ our salespeople on their successes.”

THE EXTRAS THAT COUNT

The agency doesn’t just talk about teamwork. Its new office, completed in January, is designed with an open concept to encourage collaboration, break down barriers and create cross-disciplinary work flow. Company videos pulse from giant screens throughout the space. Collaboration areas are nested beneath artwork by local artists. The signpost for the sales department is a tribute to the role of typography in branding—a floor-to-ceiling pillar of the word ENGAGE crafted from repurposed shells of giant, lighted outdoor signage letters. The words SUPPORT, DESIGN and INNOVATION are painted in giant letters down entire walls. The modern work space also features exposed ceilings punctuated by architectural “clouds” that pay homage to the company’s motto.

OrigAudio logo no origami

Origaudio photo

OrigAudio founder and CEO Jason Lucash (pictured front row, far left) couldn’t be more pleased with his team’s diversity and creativity. “I think this for sure represents our randomness and awesomeness,” he says of his team’s snapshot.

Top Executive

Jason Lucash, CEO

Company Type

Supplier

Location

Headquarters in Huntington Beach, California; additional offices in Dublin, California

Website

www.promotionalspeakers.com

Year Founded

2009

Total Employees

20

Company Motto

“Why be like everyone else when you can be different?”

Perks

Quarterly and annual bonuses, plus commission

401 (k)

Dog-friendly work environment

Employees can wear whatever they want to work

Happy hours, company outings, extra vacation time

WHAT EMPLOYEES SAY ABOUT ORIGAUDIO: Nominator Huey Hoang, who’s been at the company for almost five years, says, “OrigAudio consistently strives to be the best company not only because of its products but because of its team and clients. Each day brings a different set of challenges, yet with an awesome team, we inspire each other to become better on a professional and personal level. As the company is continually growing, OrigAudio remains open to new ideas from all levels of the team, whether it is about products, marketing or creative initiatives. OrigAudio started with a small team and is gradually becoming a truly wonderful family.”

It’s this teamwork, he says, that becomes crucial during the extremely fast-paced fourth quarter when the company receives a huge influx of orders and also produces a catalog. All employees, including the two co-founders, contribute to the catalog. “Although there are plenty of projects in the works, everyone goes above and beyond to add each and every detail to the catalog,” he says. “As it is a collective effort, we use each experience to teach one another something new—challenging the company to be greater as a whole. Big or small projects, everyone comes together to help one another. Not only is the team there for our clients, but we are there for each other.”

HOW IT DIFFERENTIATES ITSELF AS AN EMPLOYER: Hoang likes the fact that OrigAudio fosters everyone’s individual interests and professional goals, and says the co-founders often inquire about each team member’s aspirations and encourage them to grow. He also says the company excels at adapting quickly to the market, on a product and strategy basis. “At the end of the day, the co-founders care and listen to their employees. From new marketing ideas to creative direction, from product names to alternative production strategies, the company is very open to new ideas and empowers their team to create greatness on all levels.”

THE EXTRAS THAT COUNT

Hoang says the company’s culture is very easygoing. “Day to day, it feels like I’m walking into a new episode of a hilarious office sitcom as everyone has their crazy stories and set of jokes. Even though we all have different backgrounds, we find common ground in our ability to make each other laugh.”

See the video.

Pro Towels/Superior Decorating/ Kanata Blanket

Company_Photo

Pro Towels—which includes Superior Decorating and Kanata Blanket Co.—is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with additional facilities in Abbeville, South Carolina, Richmond, British Columbia and Camarillo, California.

Top Executive

Kevin Nord, Owner and President

Type of Company

Supplier

Location

Headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with additional offices in Abbeville, South Carolina; Camarillo, California and Richmond, British Columbia.

Websites

www.protowels.com; www.superioridealine.com; www.kanatapromo.com

Year Founded

Towels Etc., founded in 2001, purchased Professional Towel Mills in 2006 and became Pro Towels. It acquired Superior Decorating in 2010 and Kanata Blanket in 2015.

Total Employees

275

Company Motto

“Our mission is to become your business partner and provide you with the solutions to best fit your promotional needs.”

Perks

Heathcare benefits

Paid holidays, personal and vacation days

Appreciation lunches and dinners

Monthly potluck

Dinner and gift cards at Christmas

Employee of the Month Award with t-shirt and $25 gift card for the winner

Monthly paid lunches for production team in California

Massages in California

Thanksgiving turkey in the U.S.

Subsidized fitness club membership in Canada

Basketball and volleyball leagues in South Carolina (games are held during work breaks)

English and computer lessons in South Carolina

WHAT EMPLOYEES SAY ABOUT PRO TOWELS, SUPERIOR DECORATING AND KANATA BLANKET: Twelve-year Kanata Blanket employee Bryson Rochelle, one of 43 employees who nominated the trio of companies for the honor, says the management-supported culture is what makes the companies a great place to work. “Ownership always takes the time to listen to all employees regardless of the department they work in. Everyone’s opinion is always welcome and people feel that they are part of moving the company forward—a true team effort.” His colleague and fellow nominator, Minne Tutor, works at the reception desk and has been at Kanata Blanket for five years. “The accounting department enhanced my skills and taught me invoicing, billing and collecting payments,” she says. The ability to learn new skills is also noted by nominator Edith Oropesa, an 11-year employee at Pro Towels, who says, “I love working at this company because it has given me the opportunity to use my knowledge and skills. My company recognizes, values and appreciates me and my work performance.” She adds, “There is also the feeling of belonging—being a part of the whole company rather than just being an employee.”

Nominator Sharon Griffith, a 15-year employee who is now vice president of marketing for the U.S. and Canada, was working for Kanata Blanket when it was acquired by Pro Towels in August 2015. “When Kanata Blanket became part of Pro Towels, I was concerned we’d lose our family feel and just become a corporate division and not listened to at all,” she says. “That absolutely has not happened. Kevin Nord, owner and president, communicates regularly with all locations and is willing to listen to suggestions, openly discuss issues and implement changes. It’s no easy task to ‘gel’ four locations and systems together but he makes Kanata feel part of the larger team and that our opinions and experience matters.”

HOW IT DIFFERENTIATES ITSELF AS AN EMPLOYER: The company’s mandate is to never miss a delivery date, says Griffith, and employees often go above and beyond to achieve this—even hiring a small plane or driving 12 hours themselves to make a delivery. “That makes it easy to give customers the confidence they need for our product and service. When Kanata joined Pro Towels last year, Pro Towels promoted from within to create a new position to ensure all employees were properly trained and came together as one. Nominator Stacey Fleming, a 17-year employee, says that during some of the hardest economic times, the owners and managers pinched every penny to keep from having to lay off people or shut the doors. “They are very aware of the needs of their employees and try their best to keep that in the forefront of their planning,” she says. “We have grown through the years and have added machinery and jobs which in turn has helped the economy in our small town. We mostly have long-term employees, which says a lot for our company. People want to work here.”

Connie Scott, a nominator and two-and-a-half-year employee, thinks her company is head-and-shoulders above others. “Instead of losing benefits, such as 401(k) and insurance, we seem to add benefits,” she says. “Our voices are heard here. Each time a new position becomes available it is offered to the employees to apply for before we go outside looking for someone. This allows anyone and everyone an opportunity to move up or simply to move to a different shift or position.”

THE EXTRAS THAT COUNT

Nominators across the board, from five-month employees to 17-year company veterans, cite the camaraderie that exists within Pro Towels/Superior Decorating/Kanata—not an easy feat for a company spread across four locations in the U.S. and Canada. Despite the miles and diversity of the team, team work is an intrinsic part of the company’s culture. “Every department is willing to help other departments when they are in need,” says nominator Leighanne Scott, a 10-year employee, adding that, during the busy season, the customer service team has come in on the weekends working in the printing plant to help relieve some of the stress on the other employees. “I believe these efforts to help another department’s day run a little more smoothly is what makes our company different,” she says.

See the video.

New SS logo

Debbie Belenss 2nd lady from left2016 BW ss employeeAshleybrianKaylaLucyBrittanyFullSizeRenderJeanneShari ss

Even with employees scattered across four states and many working from home, the Stackable Sensations team thrives on shared creativity. Top row from left: Debbie Belen, Lauren Cook, Jessica Ibsen; second row: Ashley Verrone, Brian Aboyoun, Kayla Pelham; third row: Lucy Fish, Sabrina Bogovic, Brittany Richie; bottom row: Shannon Wolfe, Jeanne Dranchak and Shari Verrone.

 

Top Executive

Shari Verrone, President

Company Type

Distributor

Location

Headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey; additional offices in Louisiana, New York and Florida

Website

www.stackablesensations.com

Year Founded

2003

Total Employees

12

Company Motto

“Creativity is our forte and we love to WOW our end users with unique items and superior customer care.”

Perks

Birthday as a paid day off (“Our owner loves her birthday and thinks everyone should enjoy theirs.”)

Incentive trips and shows/dinners

401 (k)

Paid vacation time

Contests with prizes and gift cards for a great job

WHAT EMPLOYEES SAY ABOUT STACKABLE SENSATIONS: Nominator Jeanne Dranchak, who has been at the company for nearly three years, is thrilled with her choice of employer. “I’ve been in the promotional products industry for 18 years and have never been happier than I am here at Stackable Sensations,” she says. Dranchak, one of several employees who works remotely, says she can call on colleagues from across the U.S. to bring their unique view and new ideas to the table. “Being in an event-driven business with tons of deadlines can get pretty stressful but we have a great team with a “can do” attitude that comes together so we always exceed our customer’s expectations.” Nominator Jessica Ibsen, a one-year employee, says the company is a dynamic and creative powerhouse, filled with skilled industry professionals who specialize in creative promotional marketing and unique ideas to help their clients grow their brands. “I often think of our core group as ‘Shari’s Angels,’” she says. “Shari, our company president, is our main sales force, while Shannon, Jeanne, Lucy and I work diligently to provide clients with the perfect promotion and often meet impossible deadlines and insane requests. Yet, the four of us have only been together once. We work remotely from our respective locations in Louisiana, Florida and New Jersey as a cohesive team that is strong independently as well as cooperatively.”

HOW IT DIFFERENTIATES ITSELF AS AN EMPLOYER: Nominator Brian Aboyoun has been at the company for less than a year but already has been powerfully inspired Verrone’s energy. “Shari Verrone is absolutely an amazing person to work for and to be around,” he says. She understands people’s needs, understands employees’ feelings and knows how to get the best out of others.” Ibsen adds, “Our company works out of four different states in home offices as one smooth-running business. We have cloud-based CRM software for client management, presentations and purchasing that allows other team members to collaborate or jump in if one person is not available that day. I personally love the freedom working from home brings as I do not have to battle a daily commute and am home when my children get home from school.”

THE EXTRAS THAT COUNT

“My boss, [Verrone], is a great mentor,” says nominator and newbie Shannon Wolfe. “She has taught me so much about how to sell not only awesome products, but also client service. She is always inspiring us to think about how we can offer traditional products with a new twist. I have learned how to look for the best and newest items on the market, and to promote them to the appropriate clients before they even ask. She encourages us to use our creativity and loves hearing our ideas. She also has fun competitions for us with cool rewards. She inspires us to work together as a team and to support each other.”

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TPS

The work environment at TPS Promotions & Incentives is relaxed and friendly—even the company’s office dog, Mandy, feels welcome.

Top Executive

Aaron Moscoe, CEO, Andrew Rotenberg, Principal, and Karen Nixon, Vice President

Company Type

Distributor

Headquarters

Markham, Ontario

Website

www.tpscan.com

Year Founded

2013

Total Employees

33

Company Motto

“We deliver innovative promotional solutions and create value by driving measurable results. We foster a team environment that encourages employees to develop and excel.”

Perks

Healthcare benefits

Wellness program

Monthly pizza lunch town hall meetings

Spontaneous employee recognition for “catching someone doing something right”

Summer hours

Casual dress on Friday

Annual holiday party

Birthday as a paid day off

Religious allowance day off

Pet friendly

Company-sponsored social events (i.e.: Blue Jay Games)

WHAT EMPLOYEES SAY ABOUT TPS PROMOTIONS & INCENTIVES: “Our company culture is very open,” says nominator Jeffrey Ho, who has worked for the company for nearly two years. “Our management listens to all suggestions and keeps improving the environment to fit all of us. We all enjoy the freedom and flexibility—that’s so different from the previous companies I worked for.” Another nominator, Peter Brcko, a three-year employee, says the management team leads by example with effort, integrity and respect, and believes the company’s open-door policy inspires much of the creativity. “We have weekly meetings where everyone can ask for suggestions, ideas and share successes and best practices,” he says. “The model really works.”

HOW IT DIFFERENTIATES ITSELF AS AN EMPLOYER: “Other companies that I have worked for were split up internally into groups and teams that stayed to themselves,” explains Brcko. “People did not share information and they worked exclusively within their groups like they were competing against the other groups in the same company. Everyone laughs and enjoys each other at TPS!” Ho adds, “All our co-workers at TPS are passionate about their work and enjoy what they are doing. Teamwork is important.”

THE EXTRAS THAT COUNT

Brcko explains what impresses him most about the company: “TPS Promotions & Incentives was purchased by a large marketing company five years ago and unfortunately, through no fault of TPS, the company went bankrupt due to other departments that lost very large contracts. This bankruptcy came quickly and everyone was locked out of the building within a few hours after the news. The original owners and management team restarted TPS the next day in one of the owners’ living rooms. Everyone kept their jobs, no one left, no one received a pay cut and everyone was paid on time. The ownership team mortgaged their houses and put everything that they personally could into the business to continue the operation like nothing had happened. Everyone who works for them saw firsthand how dedicated they are to the staff and the business. What we were able to accomplish despite the hardships was incredible and the staff was so proud to be a part of something so special.”

The perks listed with each profile are included as examples of the benefits offered to employees. They are not intended to be a comprehensive list of all benefits.

Tina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB.

 

Forever The Greatest Companies To Work For

PPB’s 2011-2015 Honorees

Companies selected by PPB as the industry’s top workplaces retain that honor perpetually—they don’t have to be named to our list every year. In fact, companies can only be nominated and selected once. Here’s the full list of PPB’s Greatest Companies To Work For since the competition’s inception in 2011.

Distributors

Activate! Promotions + Marketing

AIA Corporation

Akran Marketing

Allegra Print & Imaging

American Solutions For Business

Axis Promotions

Blink Marketing

BrandVia

Bullpen Marketing

Club Colors Buyer

Commotion Promotions

Concepts & Associates, Inc.

Cotton Candy

ePromos Promotional Products

Geiger

HALO Branded Solutions

The Image Group

Image Masters

Imperial Marketing

Indoff, Inc.

Jack Nadel International

Mercury Promotions & Fulfillment

Motivators, Inc.

National Premium

Pinnacle Designs

Pinnacle Promotions, Inc.

Progressive Promotions

PSA Worldwide

Sonic Promos

Spartan Promotional Group, Inc.

Tic Toc

Walker-Clay, Inc.

Sunflower Marketing

Talbot Marketing

Suppliers

A+ Wine Designs

AAA Innovations

ADG Promotional Products

The Allen Company

American Ad Bag

Ariel Premiums

Ash City

Atlas Embroidery

Ball Pro Promotional Group

The Book Company

Bristol ID Technologies

Crown Products, Inc.

Evans Manufacturing

Gemline

Graphco Line

iClick

Journalbooks/Timeplanner Calendars

Mid-Nite Snax

Picnic Time

Pinnacle Designs

Raining Rose, Inc.

SanMar

Showdown Displays

Business Services

Essent

 

filed under june-2016 | ppb
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Comments (3)
Chuck
June 1, 2016

So awesome to see OrigAudio on the list, one of the best suppliers in the industry and a true representation of innovation. Love these guys!

Maureen Dwyer MK Marketing
June 1, 2016

Congratulations! What a fantastic story and a great inspiration to start my day. It is always so pleasing to hear of employees actually liking their jobs!

I am on the supplier rep, side of the business. I too have a passion for what I do!

Wishing you continued success!

Cheers!

Maureen Dwyer

MK Marketing, Inc
Plymouth, Michigan

Quote of the day... People will most often forget what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Matt Saunders, Britannia
September 1, 2016

Congratulations TPS, good to see you doing so well in the promotions industry!

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