2012 100 Best Companies best practices

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

Aim High Academy of Martial Arts

One of Daniel Sikkens’ 20 instructors at Aim High Academy of Martial Arts is also a stunt double for the filmed-in-Portland TV shows Grimm and Leverage. If ever that instructor gets a little too roughed up and needs a break, there’s always someone at Aim High who will gladly step up to fill the void.

“Everyone around here just works together all the time,” says Sikkens, executive director. “It’s like a family.”

A former Intel employee who founded Aim High in 2005, Sikkens has grown the academy into a large nonprofit teaching multiple martial arts disciplines to more than 500 students. He says the student-focused mentality and mission of the academy keeps all employees working together.

“There’s a lot of ego and pride in the martial arts industry,” says Sikkens. “We have some of that, but what really separates us is that we are 100% here for the students.”

Aim High makes a point to never turn a student away and to foster a welcoming, family atmosphere. Sikkens says that approach ends up bringing his employees that much closer together.

“We’re all very well bonded and work together as a family,” he says. “It’s the kind of approach that could work in anything. We could be selling donuts.”

Wieden+Kennedy

In its first season, the comedy show Portlandia did a little send-up of Portland ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, following star Carrie Brownstein through an over-the-top labyrinth of W+K office parties, air guitar sessions and disc-golf flings.

Though the show may have exaggerated the agency’s notoriously cool vibe a little much, managing director Tom Blessington says kegs on the rooftop, morning yoga classes and nap rooms are indeed part of the picture for W+K’s nearly 600 Portland employees. But rather than just simple perks, such accents actually serve to stimulate the creativity W+K thrives on.

“I think they’re emblematic of the chemistry and culture here,” says Blessington. “Around here, we are obsessed about creativity, and those kind of things just add substance to all that we espouse.”

Because W+K isn’t publicly held, as many similar-sized agencies are, Blessington says employees here aren’t beholden to shareholders — and they enjoy that independence. He compares the W+K workplace to a Montessori classroom, and says that working for well-known clients and brands like Nike and Old Spice is an alluring part of the job.

“While we take our work seriously,” he says, “we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

 



 

More Articles

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...

Sun set

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night. 


Read more...

Frothy Battle

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

Latest development in Nestlé plant saga sparks debate about the value of water.


Read more...

Hall of Flame

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Nine lives

Linda Baker
Friday, May 22, 2015
0f4f7bfBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.


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