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|Archives - March 2009|
|Sunday, March 01, 2009|
MARCH 2009: THE 100 BEST
BUILDING THE BEST
BY BEN JACKLET
When Todd Woodley and Greg Huston took over Slayden Construction in 2002, they inherited a solid family business with a strong record of placing power in the hands of employees.
“Whatever you felt you could do, the company supported you,” says Woodley, who worked as an engineer and project manager for Slayden for 11 years before becoming president. “If you wanted to take on a $10 million job and you had never done anything like that before, the attitude was always, ‘go for it.’”
Between the generosity of the company’s benefits and its rare ability to offer job security in these times, it’s not surprising that Slayden did so well in its first year of participating in the 100 Best survey. The company employs 52 people permanently and ramps up to 200-plus field personnel depending on the size of the contracts it lands.
To explain Slayden’s successful debut, Woodley defers to employees, and their enthusiasm tells the story emphatically. “You look at my Facebook page and it says I work for the best company in the world,” says office manager Heidi Minten. “That’s really how I feel.”
Perhaps the most concrete example of Slayden’s company commitment to family is the new dependent-care benefit. Slayden offered up to $5,000 per employee starting in 2008 and paid out $110,000 directly to child-care centers in the program’s first year. “It was like getting a bonus,” says contract administrator Angie Porter, who has been with the company four years and has two children, 6-year-old Maile and 3-year-old Carson. Her monthly day-care costs dropped from $510 to $95 per month. “It makes us feel like they care about our families,” Porter says of the owners.
When a classmate of Minten’s son named Collin Callsen became ill with a rare form of cancer, Slayden spent $20,000 on a dinner and auction that raised $150,000 for the family. That effort ultimately resulted in the recent creation of the nonprofit Slayden Community Fund.
And then there is the fun stuff. “There are so many things to look forward to here,” says property manager April von Backstrom. “How many companies in the world take all their employees to Cabo or Disneyland?”
To keep the perks flowing in hard times a company must be fortuitously situated. Under Woodley, Slayden has expanded from schools and buildings into engineered public works such as wastewater treatment plants. Slayden has completed over 30 treatment plants, about as recession-proof a service as a business can provide.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Seven tidbits of information from an agency partner and co-founder of Waggener Edstrom in Lake Oswego.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE
Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.
Friday, October 24, 2014
A majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
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