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2009 Winners

Small/Medium Sized Companies

10|VocRehab Vermont

Company Overview:

Assist Vermonters with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain meaningful employment. Help employers recruit, train and retain employees with disabilities.

Best Practices:

We have a formal process that allows any employee to nominate another for a merit bonus. Bonuses range from $200 to $2000. We also have an informal system that allows managers to distribute $100 or a day off for good performance. We have several health care options for employees to choose from: an indemnity plan, a point of service plan, a preferred provider organization plan, and a safety net plan, all with varying costs and co-pays. For specific projects employees may be granted permission to work from home. Some employees are given permission to work 4 ten-hour days. We have a childcare reimbursement program. Our Waterbury, Burlington and Rutland Offices have on-site exercise facilities. Wellness screenings are conducted by registered nurses and available to all employees at their worksites. We have an eldercare cost reimbursement program for employees who spend at least $50 for immediate family members who are aged 62 years or older. We offer tuition reimbursement for up to $350 per credit for up to 4 three-credit courses per year. Employees are permitted to work 8 paid hours per year with human service organizations that serve the same populations that we serve. VocRehab Vermont is a great place to work because employee empowerment is the core value that underlies all our successes.

9|Resource Systems Group Inc.

Company Overview:

RSG provides insightful consulting services for the planning, analysis, and management of transportation, natural resources, technology, and business. We design sophisticated approaches to collecting, modeling, and communicating meaningful, nuanced data that organizations and governments at every level can use to make informed policy and operational decisions.

Best Practices:

Resource Systems Group strives to distribute profit in an equitable way. In addition each employee receives company shares worth approximately 3% of his or her total annual compensation. All healthcare benefits begin on first day of employment. The Health Care Reimbursement Account and Dependent Care Assistance Plans are available through RSG’s Cafeteria Plan. RSG allows telecommuting on a case by case basis. A compressed workweek allows full-time employees to work longer days for part of the week in exchange for shorter days or a day off each week. RSG offers employee-subsidized yoga classes on-site twice per week. Also on-site are private showers and an "RSG Bike Shop" to promote cycling. All employees are eligible for an annual training and professional development benefit after six months of employment. RSG will provide significantly more tuition reimbursement for graduate school if the employee agrees to return to RSG and stay for a specified duration. RSG provides employees with flexibility to participate in activities during the business day & 1 day of paid time off each year to get involved in community service. Part of being a good corporate citizen includes making charitable donations in the communities in which we work and live. RSG believes profitability is important but so is work/life balance, expanding professional horizons and listening to staff.

8|VELCO (Vermont Electric Power Company)

Company Overview:

VELCO operates and maintains Vermont's electric transmission system, as it has since 1956. We are a transmission only company based in Vermont and we seek employees who strive to be a part of a dynamic organization where associates are empowered and encouraged to drive change and deliver results.

Best Practices:

When we conduct reviews a “collaboration meeting” takes place where the leadership team engages in structured and challenging but constructive exchange about VELCO associates. We offer a competitive medical package which include three options for medical and two options for vision coverage. We offer our Associates flexible schedules, compressed work weeks and a work from home option. VELCO’s Behavioral Health Program (BHP), Associates are provided confidential access to professional counseling services. VELCO's facilities do not have exercise equipment on-site though we have procured the services of a personal trainer to provide Strength Training classes. We also procure a Nutritionist to provide education on health and wellness in addition to an At Work Weight Watchers program. VELCO offers paid time-off for adoption purposes. We offer two Flexible Spending Accounts - Health Care and Dependent Care. VELCO also support education outside of the workplace and offers a lucrative tuition reimbursement program. We afford our Associates up to 8 hours of paid time off to participate in volunteer or community related activities. Our employees are smart, honest, funny and driven. The work is incredibly demanding, interesting and comes at a hinge of history for energy policy. Success saves money and helps Vermont.

7|MBF Bioscience

Company Overview:

MBF Bioscience designs quantitative imaging software to help scientific researchers reach their objectives faster and more efficiently. We are the recognized experts at customizing integrated imaging analysis software and microscope peripheral systems. Founded in 1987, we are a global business.Best Practices:

Each year a set amount of profits are disbursed into employees 401k accounts. Fully vested after 6years. 100% of health insurance cost is covered by MBF HRA - $1000/employee which covers, co-pays, prescriptions etc. Bi-weekly yoga sessions are held for anyone who would like to attend. Time is given for going to a fitness center. A reduced rate has been negotiated with a local gym and is paid through payroll deduction. MBF will pay 100% of tuition and books if relevant to your work. Employees have the flexibilty to volunteer throughout the year in many areas. MBF offers a flexible schedule, sick days for family members, FSA, Dependent Care coverage, HRA ($1000/year). MBF provides a low stress environment for its employees. Often employees are heard laughing together, they eat lunch together. Many employees comment that MBF is the best place they have ever worked.

6|Small Dog Electronics

Company Overview:

Small Dog Electronics is an Apple Specialist, one of the larger Apple resellers in the US. We specialize in all things Macintosh, including Apple refurbished products. We are a socially responsible company which means we have a multiple bottom line—the effect we have on our environment, community, customers and employees is just as important as maintaining our profitability.

Best Practices:

We provide bonus based upon profitability of the company, as well as departmental performance regardless of profitability. We have an onsite gym and squash court. We fund training, study materials and certification costs for all of our technical/service staff. We require one full 8 hour day of community service from each of our employees annually and pay them at their regular rate of pay. We have a job shadowing program and support cross-training of all employees, in every department. We hold an annual e-waste recycling day which helps to recycle multiple tons of electronics waste annually and we cover the cost. Our organization supports each employee contributing to our many newsletters and blogs geared toward communication with all of our service and retail customers. We have a monthly employee spotlight which recognizes and rewards employees who go above and beyond. We offer three weeks paid maternity leave and one week paid paternity leave to all employee following one year of service. We offer a dog friendly work environment. We have a relaxed and casual work environment. We do monthly community potluck lunches. Our company operates based upon a triple bottom line- People, Profit, and Planet. We all love dogs! We promote an environment of open communication. We do what is best for our customers, community, and employees to create a truly sustainable business operation.

5|TPW Management

Company Overview:

TPW Management provides professional community property management and construction management services, concentrating on the needs of resort area second home communities in the Stratton, Manchester, Mount Snow, Okemo, Burlington, Smuggler's Notch, and Killington areas. TPW offers certified managers of community associations, construction management, professional engineers, certified public water operators, and a full-service maintenance staff.

Best Practices:

TPW has an incentive bonus program wherein all TPW employees are eligible for a performance bonus equal to 0-3% of their annual salary. We offer telecommuting on a case by case basis. We have started offering a 4 day work week to some of our hourly employees to save on child care and gas costs. Full-time employees continuing their education in a related field may apply for reimbursement of the costs up to a max of $750 per year. During each summer season, TPW sponsors exchange students from Slovakia through the Cultural Exchange Network. We offer a number of part-time jobs that work well for retired individuals. TPW will allow employees to take one day of normal work time to participate in an approved community service activity each six months. TPW relies on open communication, internally and externally, throughout the Company's staff, customers, and vendors. TPW promotes a healthy work/life balance through it's allowed "flex schedules", extensive Paid Time Off (PTO), and the flexible use of Holiday time off for Salaried Staff members. In other words, TPW allows staff members to manage their own time as long as they are fully accountable for their work volume, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

4|Wells River Savings Bank

Company Overview:

Deposit products including checking, savings, NOW, HSA, money markets, CD, IRA, and Loan products including consumer, mortgage, home equity, and commercial.

Best Practices:

Our medical coverage is a high deductible ($2500/$5000) with preventive care and an HSA. The Bank contributes to the HSA $1,450 for single and $2,450 for family. Short-term disability is self-funded at 100% up to the amount of the FMLA leave. In Wells River, we have a gym with a treadmill, bike, bow flex, gazelle, weights, TV, DVD player, and locker rooms.  We have just added a yoga class. We also provide onsite flu shots every fall that are free to all employees and their families. All regular employees are eligible for assistance for college degree or educational programs costing more than $1,000 per year, up to a maximum of $5,000 per employee per year. Employees participate in community support activities during working hours whenever work schedules can accommodate their requests and are paid at their regular wage. In 2007 we donated $80,000 to local groups but we also donate our time to projects that are important to our employees. We have two formal programs to encourage the development of our staff: the Bank Intern Program (BIP) and Job Shadowing, aka “The Big Picture Show.” In addition to their earned time, employees are paid for personal medical appointments and to accompany family members to theirs. Employees are respected as assets of the organization, and their personal and professional development is as important as the financial success of the bank.

3|Edward Jones

Company Overview:

Edward Jones is the nation’s largest financial-services firm in terms of branch offices, with more than 9,200 U.S. locations. Every aspect of firm business, from investment types to branch locations, is designed to cater to its more than 7 million individual investors in communities where they live and work. Financial advisors work with clients to understand personal goals and create long-term, well-balanced, buy-and-hold investment strategies.

Best Practices:

Associates who perform well participate in a trimester bonus program. In 2007, the record-setting bonus fund was $247 million. Nearly 100% of U.S. home-office staff earned a bonus in 2007. Edward Jones devotes 24% of net profits – $127 million in 2007 – to profit sharing. Edward Jones offers high-deductible medical plans that include inexpensive or free well-care exams and allow associates to open HSAs. The EAP provides confidential counseling and referral for full-time associates and families, helping them deal with anxiety, stress, marital problems, substance abuse or parenting issues. Through the YMCA Corporate Membership Plan, Edward Jones subsidizes 75% of the initiation fee and $15 a month toward dues. The firm offers $5,000 in tax-free assistance for each adoption, to be used for travel, legal, medical or other necessary expenses. Volunteerism is part of the firms culture. In branches, the business model encourages community volunteerism. Edward Jones strives to be environmentally responsible by minimizing use of natural resources. The firm strives for transparency in sharing information. When the firm’s principals hold a monthly meeting, for example, it is broadcast to regional leader principals. Edward Jones was founded on the principle that associates are the source of its success. The belief permeates all firm practices, including sharing profits, culture of caring and partnership.

2|Instrumart

Company Overview:

Instrumart is an online catalog of industrial test, measurement & control instruments. Products include temperature controllers, flow/level meters, pressure/temperature instruments, infrared thermometers & thermal imagers, and more. We employ 16 Applications Engineers to help customers choose the right products, and we support those products with free lifetime tech support.

Best Practices:

Instrumart's Applications Engineers are paid a base salary plus a commission/incentive based on the entire team's sales performance. All employees receive an annual raise, annual bonus and a holiday bonus each year. Instrumart has a profit sharing program for all employees. Instrumart pays 100% of the premium for health and dental insurance for all employees and their dependents. Instrumart pays 100% of employees' and their families' costs for health club membership. Instrumart offers employees the option of flexible spending accounts (pre-tax) for healthcare and childcare expenses. Instrumart pays the tuition of employees taking work-related courses. Instrumart allows all employees up to 40 hours of paid time off per year for community service or volunteer work. On average, Instrumart donates approximately 3% of net profits to charity. Instrumart has very informal but very effective internal communication. We firmly believe in an “open-door” or “no door” policy. Employees are granted generous paid leave and 10 company holidays, and flexible time to deal with family emergencies, appointments, etc. Instrumart treats employees like family, while offering the competitive pay and benefits of a large corporation. We work hard, laugh hard, and share a commitment to a fair work/life balance.

1|NRG Systems, Inc.

Company Overview:

NRG Systems, an independently-owned manufacturer, has been in the wind energy industry for over twenty-five years. Its wind measurement equipment can be found in 130 countries, serving electric utilities, wind farm developers, research institutes, government agencies, and universities.

Best Practices:

NRG Systems’ monthly profit sharing program gives employees a direct stake in company performance and rewards employees for their individual contributions to our company’s success. NRG has a cafeteria-style benefits plan where full-time employees receive a monthly allowance of $800 in their paychecks to spend on a pre-tax basis on benefits of their choice. In 2008, NRG Systems created a comprehensive program to allow for flexible work schedules and reduced commuting, benefiting both the environment and our employees. We have an on-site fitness room with an endless lap pool available to staff 24 hours a day. Our building features extensive natural daylight, environmentally-friendly building materials, and superior air quality. We serve on-site healthy lunches free for all employees. NRG reimburses employees $200 toward the cost of participating in the University of Vermont's "VTrim for the Community." Employees may use a flexible spending account for eldercare expenses. To support lifelong learning, NRG pays for training that will enhance job skills or performance. Employees serve the community in a variety of ways during work hours. This includes participation in the annual United Way campaign, Green Up Day, community events, and education on wind energy in public schools. NRG fielded requests from hundreds of organizations and granted funds to a few dozen, including the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, the Fairbanks Museum, and the Vermont Humanities Council. Once a month, employees gather for all-staff meeting where we share financial information (i.e. open-book management), reports from each department, and updates about the industry and legislative affairs. Long-term employees are recognized for their service with a six-week paid sabbatical at their 10th anniversary (and every five years thereafter). We encourages people to drive less by providing employees and members of their immediate families up to $500 each year to cover public transit. With the energy efficiency benefit, employees are eligible to receive $300 each year to cover expenses associated with improving the energy efficiency of their homes. Each employee is eligible to receive up to $2,000 per year ($1,000 per item) towards the purchase price of the following: a Toyota Prius, a home wind turbine, solar PV, solar hot-water, a 150cc motor scooter, or a wood pellet heating system. Unique to our company is a spirit of celebration. For example, the manufacturing department cooks a monthly breakfast for the company to celebrate record shipments. Company owners Jan and David Blittersdorf also celebrate employees throughout the year with special events, including an annual ski day, scoop day with Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s, the holiday party, and summer barbecue – all of which are open to family members. In addition, NRG holds monthly educational workshops where speakers, including our own employees, present to the staff on various topics. Our employees share a common goal: to provide a clean, safe, renewable energy future. It is this passion and authentic action that makes NRG Systems a great place to work.
Large Companies

Large Sized Companies

5|Gardener's Supply Company

Company Overview:

Founded in 1983 by Will Raap, Gardener’s Supply Company is the largest U.S. direct-to-consumer gardening company. The earth-friendly, employee-owned company has won many awards for its patented products, online content and innovative management style. The three tenets of the Gardener’s Supply brand are: Innovative Gardening Solutions, A Partner in Your Gardening Success and Improving the World Through Gardening.

Best Practices:

All regular & some repeat seasonal employees receive an equal amount of profit sharing when we reach a certain level of profits. The company pays 100% of the monthly health premium for full-time employees. We consider telecommuting options on a case-by-case basis. We have space for a weekly yoga class, gardening plots, ping-pong, bocce, lunch time basketball games, pick-up soccer games. We have made arrangements with the largest health club in the area for a reduced membership fee for our employees and their families. We will pay up to $5,000 towards the cost of qualifying adoption expenses. We offer a medical reimbursement account for medical, dental or vision care expenses that are not covered under an employee's insurance plan. We also offer a dependent care reimbursement account for child care costs. Tuition reimbursement is available to regular employees. We encourage employees to be active contributing members to the community by providing up to 8 hours of paid time each year for employees to volunteer at the non-profit organization of their choice. We believe in open-book management. We have an ownership culture. Each employee thinks and acts like the owner they are, taking responsibility and pride for their work, understanding how their role fits into our success.

4|King Arthur Flour Company

Company Overview:

Employee-owned King Arthur Flour is America's oldest flour company and premier baking resource. Our hallmark is naturally pure, consistently high-quality flour. Our Baker's Catalogue offers over 1000 ingredients, mixes and baking tools; kingarthurflour.com offers a wealth of recipes and resources; and our on-site and traveling educational programs have reached over a million people, making us the largest educator of home bakers in the world.

Best Practices:

When the company performs at or above plan, a budgeted profit sharing pool is paid to eligible employees based on salary/wages. King Arthur Flour offers two medical plans for employees to choose from - an HMO Network Plan and an HSA plan. In addition to paying a high percentage of the premium for each plan, King Arthur Flour pays 50% towards the annual deductible - $2500 for individuals and $5000 for a family. All members of our sales team telecommute and several others work from home some days as part of their regular schedules. King Arthur Flour subsidizes on-site yoga and pilates classes, keeping the cost at just $5 per class per participating employee; we also facilitate an average discount of 15% at several local fitness centers. Our tuition and educational support program is available to employees who have been employed here for at least two years. Each year, we make donations to more than 200 nonprofit organizations, sharing 5% of our profits. Our Life Skills Bread Baking Program has taught over 85,000 young students to bake bread and give to people in need. What makes King Arthur Flour truly special and unique is the feeling of family we cultivate through employee-ownership. We believe in each other and everything we do, and we work hard together in hopes that we’ll prosper together.

3|Green Mountain Power

Company Overview:

Green Mountain Power transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont’s population. It serves approximately 94,000 customers.

Best Practices:

Bonus program for exempt employees tied to performance against annual goals or specific project targets. Company and employee share cost of medical coverage. We cover acupuncture as an alternative treatment technique. We also have a medical tier discount that provides employees a discount on their medical premium contributions if they attest to annual wellness activities: annual physical, exercise, no smoking, healthy weight. Almost every employee has a laptop computer and are encouraged to build telecommuting options into structure of work to balance personal and work needs, and also reduce commuting environmental impact. Locker & shower facilities provided at all facilities. One facility - Colchester - which hosts the most employees (140 of 193) has workout equipment and hosts weekly onsite yoga class. If an employee achieves a C or better, we reimburse 80% of tuition cost up to the IRS taxable limit for the calendar year. We provide for each employee to use 4 hrs of paid time for volunteer activities. On an annual basis we contribute $100,000 to local non-profit and community organizations. On a monthly basis our CEO hosts "town meetings" in each district. Green Mountain Power provides excellent benefits and pay, but more importantly has a workforce of talented and passionate people that make it fun, interesting, and energizing to come to work every day.

2|Merchants Bank

Company Overview:

Independently owned statewide community bank with a branch-based system that includes 36 community bank offices and 44 ATMS throughout Vermont, Personal Bankers dedicated to top-quality customer service and streamlined deposit and loan solutions for Personal and Business.

Best Practices:

Each eligible employee will be rewarded an incentive of 2% of base salary if the earnings equal the budget. For each incremental earnings increase of $200,000 eligible employees will yield an additional 1% of base salary. The Bank funds a medical HSA up to 57.5% of the deductible amount. The Bank pays 75% of the premiums for full time employees. We are as flexible as possible with hours. We have quite a few employees who have been granted special schedules to accommodate family life, etc. We have showers in our Service Center for those who exercise during the day and returning to work. We reimburse employees up to $150 per year for programs that encourage healthy activities. We offer up to $1,000 a year for eligible employees who wish to further their education through college or Center for Financial Training. Last year, we offered to pay our employees for up to 4 hours of volunteer time for a United Way partner. MB Foundation provides financial support towards education programs and human services organizations. Senior management is accessible to all employees with offices within their respective areas of responsibility. Management recognizes that happy employees contribute to happy customers. Exceptional customer service is one of the cornerstones of Merchants' mission.

1|BioTek Instruments, Inc.

Company Overview:

BioTek Instruments, Inc. is a global leader in the development, manufacture and sale of microplate instrumentation and software. BioTek has emerged as a global leader in bioanalytical, and laboratory systems focused on microplate instrumentation, automation and software and is a privately held, family-run organization.

Best Practices:

20% of every dollar that is above 95% of the BioTek Quarterly Operating Income Plan will be distributed to BioTek domestic employees in equal portions. Our employee contributions to health car premium costs are minimal - less than 10%. Our flex time policy allows for employees who have extenuating circumstances to condense their work weeks if they request it and we can accommodate. We've offered on-site health fairs, wellness seminars on topics such as menopause, stress management, smoking cessation and we've had on-site Weight Watchers several times throughout the years. BioTek supplements employees' cost at two different health club facilities. We offer premium conversion, medical and dependent daycare flex spending accounts. We offer 100% tuition reimbursement to employees who receive a grade of B or better for post-graduate courses and C or better for undergraduate courses. BioTek is an affirmative action employer and we actively seek and recruit women and minorities through advertisements that clearly state we are an "EOE/AA Employer". Our average age in production is over 55. Of our 11 Executive Staff members more than half were promoted to their current position. BioTek's average tenor of employees is over 10 years. More than 40 of our 280 global employees have been with the company more than 20 years. We pay employees for their time when donating blood or serving jury duty. We have also sponsored programs to raise money for charities such as Make-A-Wish - we've raised enough to grant approximately 5 wishes to Vermont children. We feel we have a unique company culture that nurtures a strong sense of loyalty, commitment and dedication of our workforce. We produce a company wide calendar each month that lists all employee birthdays AND their anniversary dates so that we can all congratulate and celebrate these milestones together. Each year we hold a company wide event - lunch or breakfast - where we formally recognize employees' years of service. We give a gift for 5 years of service (an engraved Cross Pen), a watch for employees who achieved their 10 year anniversary and the highlight of the event is the recognition of the employees who've been with BioTek 20 years, a cash bonus of $2,000 is given. We at BioTek believe that families come first - above and certainly beyond any obligation to the company. We support our employees' dedication to their own families by allowing them to work as flexible a schedule as they need and that can still meet the jobs demands. BioTek's unique corporate culture, the sense of family and belonging, truly makes us unique. Our employees take great pride in everything they do resulting in exceptional customer service unparalleled in our industry. As evidenced by our many long-term employees and exceptionally low turnover, our employees are dedicated and loyal.