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|Articles - March 2010|
|Thursday, February 25, 2010|
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Oregon Cascade Plumbing & Heating // No. 1 Medium Company
Family comes first at this Salem-based HVAC and plumbing contractor, which President Josh Welborn bought from his father 10 years ago. So it’s no surprise to see multiple generations of employees — fathers, sons, grandsons and a daughter — working side by side.
“It’s very important to this company that your family does come first. The reason why you have a job is to support that,” says Julie Davis, executive assistant. “So if you’ve got to take your kids to the doctor or a family outing that you need to attend, you just do it.”
Family values, the annual retreat at the corporate beach house, generous benefits and the fact that the company is 25% employee-owned are just a few of the reasons Oregon Cascade’s 85 employees are happy.
There is also a playfulness that makes work seem fun. Employees play practical jokes on each other (Welborn is fond of shock pens). Frequent officewide contests award an infamous prize to whoever has the best-decorated office or the ugliest shirt. “It’s the most disgusting, ugly Kermit the Frog statue you’ve ever seen,” Davis says. “You really don’t want it because you’ve got to put it in your office. But it’s fun.”
Hospice & Palliative Care // No. 2 Medium Company
It’s easy for hospice care doctors and nurses to eventually feel burned out. The emotional toll the 52 employees of Hillsboro’s Hospice and Palliative Care of Washington County sometimes feel from caring for patients with prognoses of six to 12 months is not lost on CEO Christine Larch.
Rather than working five days a week, employees interacting with patients only work three days a week (and still receive full-time benefits). Workers appreciate the laid-back work environment that includes laughing, hugs and the ability to debrief with supportive and empathetic co-workers. Accommodation and flexibility surrounding family needs are also important. “Last week we had three dogs, an infant and a toddler,” Larch says. “It always seems to work out.”
“I deeply appreciate the ability to balance work and family priorities,” says one worker.
Hospice and Palliative Care is as mission-driven as it is relaxed. Care is provided to patients regardless of whether they are insured or not, even if the impact is felt financially. It is a “core belief,” one employee says, “to do what’s right, not necessarily what’s easy or least expensive.”
Capitol Auto Group // No. 3 Medium Company
The car industry may be tanking, but not the esprit de corps at Salem’s Capitol Auto Group. Ninety percent of the car dealership’s 182 employees donated a total of $30,000 to the United Way last year.
Giving to the United Way is as much a part of working at Capitol Auto Group as selling or servicing cars. “We just believe in giving back,” says owner Scott Casebeer. “We do make it fun.” Casebeer throws a hamburger feed to celebrate the day that pledge cards are turned in. Whether it’s giving to United Way, coaching Little League, or helping the Red Cross, the culture of community involvement creates a family atmosphere that ties employees together.
Employees are also given responsibility in running the dealership by volunteering to serve on committees focused on topics such as workplace safety. Casebeer strives to “manage openly,” and doesn’t hesitate to show the managers the business’ financial statements. “We have a say in what goes on,” writes another worker. Benefits haven’t been slashed, including mental health care. “We try to provide…the best benefit package that is available,” Casebeer says. “I truly believe they care about me and my family,” writes one worker.
Bay Bank // No. 4 Medium Company
No employee at Bay Bank would think of himself or herself as just a number-crunching bank teller. Personal bankers interact directly with customers across from their desks, not through bulletproof glass. And their management listens to employees just as closely.
During a staff meeting, an employee suggested that Bay Bank allow customers to add to their certificates of deposit. “In two weeks, we had it up and running,” says Jim Rathbun, the director of marketing. “You always feel you have a voice,” says one worker.
The bank’s 15 Oregon employees in the Wilsonville and Portland branches enjoy working in a relaxed work environment among co-workers with whom they share a team spirit. But it is those open lines of communication with management that employees most appreciate. “Nothing is hidden or filtered between what is going on at the top and what is going on in the front lines,” says another worker.
Three weeks of paid vacation and an excellent benefits package, including insurance for long-term disability, mental health and alternative care, as well as the profit-sharing and stock options available to 98% of employees, is frosting on the proverbial perfect banking experience.
Click through to the next page for secrets of the 100 Best Companies 2010!
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.
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.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
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The official launch will be Jan. 14.
In a switch on the traditional trade show, representatives from UO departments and local and state agencies will host tables to connect with businesses and vendors. The fourth Reverse Vendor Fair will take place Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Eugene.