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|Articles - March 2011|
|Tuesday, March 01, 2011|
Page 4 of 7
First came the recession, followed by the coldest, wettest summer in 15 years — meteorology that’s not very kind to a company whose flagship product is a salve for poison oak and ivy. Next, president and CEO Steve Smith lost his mother and went through a divorce.
Topping it all off, despite making the 100 Best list at least eight times before, Tec Labs failed to make the cut either year.
“I was very concerned,” says Smith, who founded Tec Labs in Albany with his father in 1977. “When you’re already down, it was just one more kick.”
But at the beginning of 2010, Smith and his 30 employees decided the trench mentality had run its course. Realizing that the company’s strong culture needed to be unhooked from the owner, Smith set up a culture team. Small perks like monthly lunches that had been cut to save money were reinstated. And in the first quarter of 2010, the company paid employees back for an earlier 5% payroll cut.
“You’ve got to take care of your horses first,” says Smith, alluding to his grandfather’s practice of always taking extra special care of his draft horses in the field.
The tribulations of the past couple years have underscored for Smith the important role that Tec Labs plays in the lives of its employees, not only as an employer, but as a place to develop lifelong friendships and become part of an extended family. When you create an environment like that, he says, employees enjoy their work and will go the extra mile — or 10 — in good times or bad.
“It’s like refining gold or silver,” Smith says. “You heat it up and that’s when all the impurities come out. But skim it off and what’s left is pure gold.”
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University
Thursday, July 09, 2015
The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger. About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy. “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”
Friday, July 17, 2015
Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner. The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE
Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.
Friday, June 05, 2015
As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.
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