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2008 Winner | National Life Group

A long time institution in Vermont, National Life Group has called Vermont home since 1848. This deeply-rooted company provides insurance, annuities, mutual funds and financial planning services. Currently, the company is lead by a Board of Directors allowing the business to be uniquely connected to the interests of the community. National Life Group emulates the spirit of this award; in fact, Deane C. Davis worked at the company for nearly 30 years, serving as President for 17 of those years. During his time there, Davis instilled his beliefs in the importance of community involvement, employee satisfaction and attention to the environment. These beliefs have been carried through to this day, landing National Life Group in the top three Vermont businesses of the year.

This rock-solid company has proven its ability to evolve with the changing economy over the last century and a half. National Life’s dynamic qualities have allowed sales growth to continue steadily. Over the last five years, the business has seen a 21 percent increase in overall sales. Even more impressive, there was a 53 percent increase in 2008, a time when the financial industry was becoming increasingly uncertain. With a rise in sales must come an increase in workforce and National Life grew this by 17 percent since 2004. The skill to change with the current economic environment fueled National Life’s decision to purchase Citizens’ Advisors socially responsible mutual funds. This move solidified National Life’s commitment to strengthening the company and ensuring longevity.

National Life understands that the success of any company depends on the strength of its workforce, and therefore places great importance on the welfare of its employees. From open communication involving focus groups and regular meetings, to the promotion of wellness programs and a full calendar of events, National Life aims to promote the happiness of its employees. This commitment to job satisfaction is proven in the career longevity of the staff. Many people have several family members working at the company, one person even claiming 11 members of their family over three generations. Fostering a healthy work environment is crucial but the company’s caring reach stretches beyond the front doors. National Life enacted a company policy addressing community service to make it easier for its employees to volunteer their time during regular work hours. On the company level, National Life donated a large sum to the creation of the cancer treatment center at the Central Vermont Hospital and helped rebuild the Barre Opera House. In 1992, when Montpelier was devastated by major flooding, National Life offered local business owners $1000 to help with repairs and donated food every day to workers rebuilding the area.

National Life has established a commitment to growth and a vow to its workforce and the community but also a dedication to the environment. When Deane C. Davis was president of the company, he oversaw the construction of the new building ensuring it met all environmentally-friendly standards at the time. Since then, National Life has made certain that the building is continually updated in accordance with evolving criteria. In 2008, the business installed over 400 solar panels and their recycling volume hit 68 percent. If the 50 year old building obtains the LEED certification they have applied for, it would be the oldest building in the nation to claim that status. National Life also promotes a transportation program, offering incentives to employees that carpool, use public transportation or work from home. A commitment to environmental awareness does not stop with the building and employees; National Life is an active member of the Vermont Green Building Network and a partner in the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership.

National Life Group has an acute awareness of the Vermont quality of life that balances a savvy business sense with well-being, environmental and social responsibility. Undoubtedly, National Life Group meets the criteria of the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year award and outlines itself as a strong contender in this trio of business excellence.