100 Best: Quango employees work hard — and nap hard

| Print |  Email
Thursday, March 01, 2007

NO. 10 SMALL COMPANY: QUANGO

Best07Quango.jpg

Dave Anolik, Quango’s creative director, takes advantage of the nap room, which also doubles as the president’s office.

Photo by Leah Nash

It’s mid-morning in Quango’s cramped offices in Lake Oswego. The design and marketing company is slowly getting ready to move and boxes are scattered between cubicles.

In the office of vice president and creative director Dave Anolik, a handful of the company’s 18 employees are gathered around his desk, drooling over posters for the Portland Jazz Festival, one of Quango’s clients.

They’re gorgeous: handmade by a third-generation letterpress printer in Minnesota. On some, the printer brushed across the still-wet ink, creating deep texture in the orange-ish background. They’re individually unique works of art, made for framing, not phone poles.

Off to one side stands a small, 23-year-old woman with a cheek-splitting smile. Ashley Carter designed the posters and just came back from three days in the Midwest, where she took part in the printing process. Carter bubbles with excitement when she talks about the trip and her shock when Anolick asked her if she wanted to go. She’s so blissful that it’s not hard to believe her when she says it was the best experience of her professional life — which started six months before with an internship at Quango.

Thirty-six-year-old president Sean Henderson started Quango six years ago. Two years later Anolik, 44, came on board. The two of them are almost excited as their employees. Anolik came from Intel and a small design company; Henderson’s done nearly every job in the industry, from pressman to executive account director at an ad agency. Both say their job at Quango — which billed for almost $3 million in services last year — is to be mentors to a creative group of employees.

And since they’ve hired 100% of their interns, that mentoring starts soon after they begin perusing candidates from the nation’s top design schools. It’s a paid, highly competitive program that requires interns to be ready to work on big-name-company projects right off the bat. There are no menial tasks, only the expectation to play a significant role in a company whose clients range from Hewlett-Packard and Dell to Adidas and Lego.

Quango doesn’t just mentor its interns. Henderson and Anolik describe how they try to turn even the most mundane job for a client into a teaching experience. Their goal is to give designers the tools they’ll need for whatever work they do at Quango or beyond.

The company also intentionally takes on jobs that let its staff designers grow creatively, like the Portland Jazz Festival. “One reason we’re doing this is because we’re big music lovers, but this lets people spread their wings,” says Anolik. “It’s also very public: national magazines, the web, posters, banners.”

WINNING PROFILES

No. 1 large: U.S. Cellular leads the pack — again...

No. 1 small: River City Travel, freedom isn't just a concept...

No. 6 large: Evanta gives employees "everything"...

No. 2 small: Columbia Printing nurtures a growing
family...


No. 7 large: Walsh builds success on
shared values...


No. 10 small: Quango, a place for
hard work — ­­and naps...


THE LIST

The top 50 large companies to work for in Oregon

The top 50 small companies to work for in Oregon

THE INDEX

Alphabetical index

Category winners (Top 10s)

Methodology

And it lets someone like Carter, who joined Quango as an intern in July last year and was hired in October, fly to Minnesota to hang out with a typesetter who uses printing equipment that’s more than 100 years old. She says the friends she graduated with are jealous of the work she’s doing and the environment she works in.

“We can wear what we want, we can have blue hair,” she says. “They don’t have jobs that have this kind of creativity.”

But it’s not all fun and blue hair at Quango. Henderson says the amount of benefits they offered from the first day made it much harder for the company in its early years. He and Anolik know it’ll be a challenge to maintain the company’s creative culture as the need for a human resource director and employee handbooks looms.

But the men are radiant when they talk about their future growth. And soon the company will have a new space near downtown Portland. The offices have four decks overlooking the Willamette River and a nap room — a must for those working the occasional 80-hour week.

— Abraham Hyatt


Have an opinion?
E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Quick Question...Guest 2013-09-26 00:21:11
What exactly does Quango do? If it was mentioned in the article, I missed it...
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 Oregon Business research editorGuest 2013-09-27 01:01:48
Quango does graphic design and marketing, website development, animation and videos
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

Car Talk

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.


Read more...

Shades of Gray

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Are we too quick to diagnose corruption?


Read more...

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...

Get on the bus!

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER

How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.


Read more...

Foundations perspective

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Martha Richards, executive director of the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation.


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS