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BY JON SHADEL
Vigilant enters New Year with a new president.
“We’re not out to make a profit for ourselves but to create value and provide solutions for our member companies,” says Derek Glos, current vice president of operations at Vigilant, a Tigard-based consultancy counseling hundreds of companies in California and the Northwest on employment-related issues. On Jan. 1, 2015, Glos will become Vigilant’s fourth president, taking the reins as clients face a complex regulatory climate and a skills gap in the workforce with baby boomers retiring.
Founded in 1960 by a group of companies in the wood products industry, Vigilant is an essential resource for its members, providing counsel on labor, HR and safety concerns. By offering the expertise of a top consulting firm while being structured like an employer’s association, the company has steadily grown to offer solutions to over 500 employers in a diverse range of industries.
Today, Vigilant serves nearly every sector of the economy, providing legal advice on employment laws, workers’ compensation, claim management, employee benefits and employee relations, as well as offering online resources like legal guides and sample policies. The company offers organizational development services as well. “It’s not just our commitment to providing solutions to our members. It’s our commitment to innovation that really makes us stand out,” explains Glos, noting that their innovation is driven by a sincere passion to solve the challenges employers face.
“With the rate of change in areas like health care reform, we’re having to increase our rate of change,” Glos adds, highlighting how Vigilant is helping employers avoid some of the complexity of the Affordable Care Act by offering creative solutions such as group health benefits.
“Health care reform is front of mind for a lot of employers right now, and it’s not just the Affordable Care Act,” Glos observes. “It has to do with the trend of increased costs over time, and for some companies, that’s just not sustainable. Companies are looking for creative solutions to address this in a meaningful way.” By pooling resources, Vigilant’s unique model makes it possible to address these problems in a cost-effective manner.
Previous presidents have certainly faced a number of difficult circumstances throughout the history of the company. In the 1990s, for example, Vigilant responded to changes in the wood products industry by offering expanded services to a wider range of clients. However, Glos will face a number of unprecedented challenges such as the skills gap caused by baby boomers leaving the workforce. Vigilant has responded with a leadership development program aiming to transfer these skills to a new generation.
As incoming president, Glos is prepared to confidently assume his new role. And it is for his decade of experience at Vigilant and background in labor issues that the board determined he would be the best fit.
Vigilant’s culture runs in Glos’ blood; both his father and grandfather previously served as presidents. There is a consistency in culture from leader to leader, resulting in a surprisingly low employee turnover rate—the average employee remains with the organization for over a decade. “The board has chosen to build on that culture,” says Glos, describing how Vigilant’s commitment to serving its clients is what first attracted him to the company.
“From a personal standpoint, I was attracted to Vigilant because the company’s values are consistent with my personal values of building strong relationships with employees and member companies,” he says, explaining how these intimate relationships are key to long-term success.
Glos exudes enthusiasm for his company and the services it offers members. His sincere dedication to employees and clients makes it clear why the board has chosen him to lead Vigilant into its next era of innovation.
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