100 Best: Evanta gives employees "everything"

| Print |  Email
Archives - March 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007

NO. 6  LARGE COMPANY: EVANTA

Best07Evanta.jpg

A pumped Bob Dethlefs, president of Evanta, leads the cheering in his  Friday morning “praise progress meetings.

Photo by Leah Nash

There’s a framed paper napkin hanging on a wall in Evanta’s headquarters on the 10th floor of Portland’s KOIN Tower.

It comes from a Thai food lunch 3½ years ago, where company founders Bob Dethlefs and Don Sader decided to create the business. The napkin — the type of rectangular white napkin found at any unassuming restaurant — was their notepad for a list of must-haves for employees: profit sharing, flexible hours and telecommuting. The list went on and on until square handwriting covered almost the entire wrinkled surface of the napkin.

As he shows off the framed memento, 42-year-old Dethlefs, the company’s president, could almost be described as giddy talking about how the business has been able to provide everything on the list, plus all-expenses-paid trips, company cruises and big bonuses. “You’re going to get everything you want if you work here,” he says.

Evanta creates and runs invitation-only leadership conferences for chief information officers (CIOs) from the world’s largest companies. Dethlefs describes those executives as wallflowers who’ve been thrust into the limelight by advances in technology. Additionally, federal legislation that followed the infamous accounting scandals six years ago has drawn CIOs into the legal web of who is legally accountable for a company’s financial data, a responsibility that has led to more executives looking to share and learn from each other.

Evanta started with two conferences in 2003. In 2007, there will be 22 across the United States, plus one each in England and Australia. Each is chaired by a handful of CIOs from $1 billion-plus companies, such as Chevron, Pfizer and Coca-Cola, who dictate the content and speakers. Only CIOs from $250 million companies and above, or those who directly report to CIOs at a $1 billion companies, are invited to attend.

Nancy Hess calls them the rock stars of the executive world. She’s a program director who oversees, among other summits, Evanta’s Houston event, and she doesn’t hold back when she talks about her job: “I have a fair amount of business experience, but I’ve never worked in an environment like this. Never.”

It’s an open, sometimes intense environment. Hess describes it as a “secret sauce” that combines leadership and like-minded people who feed off each other both when times are challenging and rewarding. Everyone’s cubicles — yes, even Dethlefs has a cubicle — are clustered near each other.

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

Laurie Perdue, vice president of content development, says knowing that everyone can hear her phone conversations pushes her to deliver. “You have to have as much energy as they do,” she says. “That drives a lot of people.”

When it comes to that drive, she says she’d rather lose the perks of the job — even the eight-day cruise to Central America that all employees and their spouses just took — rather than lose the companywide expectation that people be personally committed to their job.

In Dethlefs’ sparsely decorated cubicle there is a photocopied motivational chart entitled “Guide to Success!” After pulling it off the wall, he points to one side where it says “employee satisfaction” in big black letters.

Last year, Evanta did $10 million in sales, and DMG World Media bought the company for an undisclosed amount. While he’s obviously proud of those facts, Dethlefs insists that the satisfaction of the people who work with him will always be a key indicator of success for him.

Hess is an example of the satisfaction Dethlefs is hoping for. With her long background in sales and sales training, she marvels at how she’s able to work at a place where so many people, from the person answering the phone to the program directors, have such an impact on what the company produces.

“That is a result of leaders who create an environment where everyone is valued equally,” she says. “I can’t imagine doing it without that leadership foundation.”

— Abraham Hyatt


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

 

More Articles

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...

Streetfight

News
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

Corner Office: Marv LaPorte

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.


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