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Presenting the 100 Best

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Archives - March 2006
Wednesday, March 01, 2006

2006 100 Best CompaniesPresenting the Best

What makes a winner? To find out, just look to Weston Dealerships and U.S.Cellular, the small and large companies that took the top spot in this year’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon. They got there by providing excellent benefits, a worker-oriented culture and myriad ways to learn and grow. The rankings of these No. 1 companies and the rest of the Best were determined through confidential employee surveys and a benefits report completed by a company representative.

Oregon Business research editor Brandon Sawyer and research partner Davis Hibbitts & Midghall used the results of the surveys and the reports to calculate the 100 Best rankings.


The 2006 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

Top 50 Large Companies Top 50 Small Companies

Top 10 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon

Large Small
1. U.S. Cellular 1. Weston Dealerships
2. The Personnel Department 2. Bridge City Legal
3. Edge Wireless LLC 3. Northwest Newborn Specialists PC
4. Barco Medical Imaging Systems 4. Conkling Fiskum & McCormick
5. Carr Auto Group 5. United Human Capital Solutions
Complete list of Large Companies Complete list of Small Companies



100 Best facts and figures for 2006:

Who participated in the survey


Roughly 40% of employees surveyed identified themselves as non-supervisory, while only 2.7% were senior execs or owners. At small companies though, bosses held larger sway, 6.5% of those surveyed.

{safe_alt_text} “High school” or “other” is the
highest educational level for 39% of small-company participants vs. 33% at large companies.

As reported in the benefits survey, 32% of senior managers are women, compared to 64% of employee survey participants. About  90% of employees said they were white, compared to 87% of senior management.

The perks: Everybody loves ’em

What have you done for me lately?

A lot, if you’re at a 100 Best company, where perks are plenty.

Neurology Associates in Eugene offers in-chair massages, discounted oil changes and dry cleaning pickup at their offices. Vernier Software and Technology loans out the owners’ Sunriver condo. Edge Wireless has two ski passes to Mt. Bachelor that can be checked out. Portland’s Becker Capital covers all medical expenses. The Randall Group in Portland offers $1,000 for the best suggestion it gets in a given year.

The warm-climate cruise is popular. Contractors Insurance Services is taking all of its employees on a week-long cruise to celebrate its 20th year. Symantec in Springfield will publish your book for you at the in-house press, provided it’s about security issues. And not to leave any constituent unloved, Henningsen Cold Storage offers up pet insurance.

Keeping healthy

Wellness is now the hot benefit. It’s a no-brainer for employers trying to head off larger health care costs down the road and competing for workers in the LOHAS (Life of Health and Sustainability) demographic, as marketers term those people who value physical fitness and environmental ethics.

Half of the 100 Best companies offer some subsidy for fitness centers and gyms, including 58% of large companies on the list. Companies are also beginning to do on-site health evaluations, such as periodic blood pressure and cholesterol check-ups. The crème de la crème in wellness is, of course, Nike, which will lower individual health care premiums in exchange for regular workouts at the company’s top-notch facilities.

Industry, region and ownership


Service industries lead the charge of companies making the list this year: Banks, credit unions and other financial companies are the biggest group on the list, followed by staffing firms.

The list included only a few manufacturing companies, and just 16, all large, with union employees.

In terms of organizational structure, 69 are privately held, 24 are public companies and seven are nonprofits.

For geographic distribution, 73 are located in the Portland Metro region, 16 in the Willamette Valley, six in Southern Oregon and five in Central Oregon.


Training for the future

As employers ready for baby boomer retirements by training the next generation of managers and skilled workers, it’s not only large companies that are getting innovative about education.  The company “university” is a popular trend among big companies. Small outfits are bringing the university to the office. Casca{safe_alt_text}de Employers Association in Salem brings in faculty from Willamette University’s Atkinson School of Business for a mini-MBA program. At Cintas, employees with initiative at any level of the organization can take online training  that prepares them to move up in the company.

Time-off policies

More companies are opting for paid time-off plans vs. traditional vacation/sick leave. Among the most liberal with time off is Performance Health Technology in Salem, which offers a total of five weeks for beginning employees. Point B Solutions allows employees to work as much as they want, bill for their hours and take time off as they please. About half of the companies on the list offer sabbaticals. Autodesk in Tualatin gives six weeks off every four years.



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