Employersofchoice 2013

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THE COURIER

EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

www.wcfcourier.com

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Employers of Choice all Bergan Paulsen & Co. deserving of top honor Forget rankings. That was the decision of representatives of the business community who volunteered to pick the winners of The Courier’s sixth annual Employers of Choice awards. They’re all deserving of the honor, the panel decided, so why not opt for a solution that was, literally, as easy as Jim Offner A-B-C? So, you’ll is the Courier find them listed business editor. in alphabetical Contact him at order. jim.offner@ Why rank wcfcourier.com. them, anyway? The passion radiating from each nomination form made it obvious that each company was unrivaled, from the perspective of its employees. And who could be a better judge? Eliminating rankings was not the only change the committee made this year. It was decided to make the award just a touch more selective and, therefore, to narrow the field of winners from the traditional 20 to 15. That workers, with everything else they have to do, took the time to heap praise on their employers speaks volumes to the quality of the workforce and those who employ them across the Cedar Valley. To the 66 workers who nominated their companies as Employers of Choice, the employer-employee dynamic is nothing short of a partnership. A panel of representatives from a cross-section of the Cedar Valley business community — Dan Beenken, director of UNI’s Small Business Development Center; Chris Harshbarger, of Think ’N Think Inc.; Julie Hayes, chief financial officer of Kirk Gross Co.; Carol Lilly, executive director of Community Main Street in Cedar Falls; and Kathy Flynn, vice president for advancement at Hawkeye Community College — graciously and generously

Employers of Choice ■ Bergan Paulsen & Co. ■ CBE Group ■ Cedar Falls Utilities ■ Cedar Valley Hospice ■ DISTek Integration Inc. ■ Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa ■ Grundy County Memorial Hospital ■ Hellman ■ Network Control ■ Networking Solutions ■ Redfern, Mason, Larsen & Moore PLC ■ Unity Point Health ■ Waverly Health Center ■ Western Home Communities ■ Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

donated their time to sift through and thoroughly discuss the small mountain of nominations in a process that determined the region’s top 15 places to work. As has become a kind of tradition in the Employers of Choice program’s six-year history, the honored employers fell into a variety of sizes, business models and categories. The services or products they offer are many and varied; the common thread they share is that they recognize building relationships with their own people contribute to the success of each organization. Angst over the economy continues to dominate the landscape, even in the Cedar Valley, which has consistently registered some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Employers of Choice may provide a glint of insight into the reasons things aren’t so bad in this region. Amid worries over fuel prices, uncertainty about taxes and other financial matters, there are legions of content and appreciative workers across the Cedar Valley. Perhaps that’s the most important function Employers of Choice performs: a dose of reassurance that the local workforce is reaping riches that transcend simply making a living.

BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer

Ann Chappo, right, and Cheryl Klahsen work at Bergan Paulsen in Waterloo. By JIM OFFNER jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

WATERLOO — A company fixated on numbers also balances its human ledger, according to employees of Waterloo-based accounting firm Bergan Paulsen & Co. PC. “We’ve probably said this for years, but we know our most important asset goes home every night,” said Dave Happel, partner with firm, which is based in downtown Waterloo. “We try to have them engaged in what they’re doing, that they know they make a difference in how the firm does and how the clients do.” Bergan Paulsen has used Gallup’s StrengthsFinders tool to identify how each of its employees can benefit themselves by helping the organization, Happel said. “We identify and discuss what everyone’s top five strengths are and try to utilize and plug them into what they’re going to be best at,” he said. “We just take a personal interest in our employees and look at work life success that you can have a balance between

what’s going on at the office and the important things going on at home.” Among the fruits of that effort, Happel said, is a low turnover rate. “The industry average for CPA firms is around 17 percent and we’ve been in single digits pretty consistently,” he said. The secret to building a successful, contented work force is by paying attention to details, Happel said. “You keep doing the small things, recognize employees when they’ve done a good job and just all kinds of little things like baby showers for when they have their first baby,” he said. “People are getting married, and we have a wedding shower for them. Little things like that all add up.” The company has enjoyed a growth period over the last year, having merged Jan. 1 with Johnston-based accounting firm Gegner & Associates and opened there under the Bergan Paulsen banner. The company added 10 employees in that transaction, Happel said. Denise Bouska nominated

Business bio ■ ADDRESS: 100 E. Park Ave., Suite 300, Waterloo. ■ PHONE: 234-6885. ■ WEBSITE: www.berganpaulsen.com. ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 90. ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: CPA firm primarily for businesses. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: “As we’ve grown and gotten larger, we want to make sure we don’t get big and clumsy,” partner Dave Happel said. “We keep outstanding client service in mind.” ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: Participation in nonprofit boards and committees; school and church activities; Main Street Waterloo, United Way.

Bergan Paulsen as an Employer of Choice, saying her company “walks the walk regarding flexibility of work hours. This allows parents to juggle family time as needed and empty-nesters to enjoy life. The firm encourages community volunteerism increasing the quality of life for the Cedar Valley.”

See BERGAN, page 4


Thank You Associates Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is a strong, diverse and inclusive health care provider that strives to be the health care provider of choice and the preferred partner for associates and physicians. Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare promotes an environment where differences are valued and integrated into daily operations. We are proud to have talented and skilled individuals from diverse backgrounds as part of our team.

Join us! Visit WheatonIowa.org/Employment for open positions.

Thank you for honoring us as a 2013 Employer of Choice.

Covenant Clinic

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Covenant Medical Center

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Sartori Memorial Hospital


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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

CBE Cos.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Business bio ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: “Congress brought in a consumer-oriented agency that’s regulating financial institutions and other industries, of which ours is one,” Penaluna said. “We can actually sit down with those people and offer solutions that seem to be working very well.” ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: Leader In Me, United Way, monthly “pay-it-forward day.”

■ ADDRESS: 1309 Technology Parkway, Cedar Falls. ■ PHONE: 234-6686. ■ WEBSITE: www.cbecompanies. com. ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 1,000. ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: CEO Tom Penaluna describes CBE Cos. as a “business process outsourcer, or BPO. You could describe that best as we work on client backoffice problems.”

By JIM OFFNER jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

WATERLOO — Things are changing at CBE Cos., which, at one time, was known simply as a debt collector. Now, the company is diversified as a “business process outsourcer (BPO) that helps clients with their “back-office problems,” said Tom Penaluna, the Cedar Falls-based company’s CEO. “It’s more the stuff that happens behind the scenes, whether recovering receivables, moving into care service, providing software solutions,” he said. Penaluna said the company still is primarily a call-center business, but it’s moving into other areas, including cloud-based products and software. “We were primarily into thirdparty debt collection field and felt strongly there needed to be changes in the field, so we’ve been going through this change over the last four to five years and it’s interesting to see what’s come around,” he said. The company, which employs about 1,000 workers, including 700-800 in the Cedar Valley, works hard to be contributing member of the community, Penaluna said. “I just found out this year we’re the fourth-largest giver to the United Way in the area,” he said. “Every year we seem to break the next year’s record.” The company also has a monthly “pay-it-forward” program in which employees go into community and get involved in organizations, Penaluna said.

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he said. “It’s fun to watch them go through that process.” Julie McDonald, a 14-year CBE employee, nominated her company as an Employer of Choice. “It was a much smaller company when I started, but they

have managed to keep their ‘family’ approach despite significant growth,” McDonald said. “I feel CBE truly cares about me as a person, not just an employee.”

See CBE, page 5

Our Patients Only Recommend

The Best… And So Do Our EMPLOYEES

COURIER FILE PHOTO

Supervisor Shelton Rowe shadows a call with associate Justin Cook at the CBE Group in Cedar Falls. “We’ve become a true conscious business where it isn’t just about making profits for the stockholders; we have an obligation to the community we live in,” he said. “People are donating money and their time, whether through United Way or the Leader In Me program in all the schools, we’re

big supporters of the Boys and Girls Club. I could go on and on.” Employees have donated $5,000 to $8,000 to charity causes they choose, Penaluna said. “We’re not dictating where this money should go; it’s a team of employees that sit down and make their case for their charity,”

When it comes to choosing health care, we know you listen to family and friends. And that’s why we’re honored to be one of the Top 20 Most Recommended Critical Access Hospitals* in the country for the second year in a row. When it comes to choosing a health care environment to work in, our employees have nominated GCMH as a Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier Employer of Choice, also for the second year in a row. Thank you to our patients and our employees. We’re honored to have earned your trust. *National Rural Health Association, 2013 & 2012

BERGAN From page 2 Professional development is part of life at Bergan Paulsen, Bouska said. “Audit and tax are constantly evolving, so learning new skills happens all the time,” she said. “Weekly departmental meet-

ings, monthly staff meetings and an annual firm-wide retreat keeps employees up-to-date on the company and provide recognition for a job well done.” Brian Aronson, a five-year Bergan Paulsen employee, describes his employer as “compassionate” and “community-driven.” “They consistently go above

and beyond what they would have to do to keep employees happy and make them feel like part of the family,” Aronson said. “Bergan Paulsen is also very supportive of the extra activities that employees are involved in and contribute as sponsors or event participants, as well as encourage time off for those events.”

201 East J Avenue, Grundy Center www.GrundyCountyHospital.org Best Outcome, Every Patient, Every Time.


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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Cedar Falls Utilities By JIM OFFNER

Business bio

jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

CEDAR FALLS — Cedar Falls Utilities is an Employer of Choice, perhaps mostly, because the staff there believes their bosses serve them, just as they do their customers. That’s why 19-year CFU employee Molly Cormaney nominated the company as an Employer of Choice. “As a lifelong resident of Cedar Falls, I never gave much thought to the utility provider until I started working at CFU,” Cormaney said. “I knew we received good service, our lights hardly ever went out and our bills seemed inexpensive, but, like many people, I took CFU for granted.” It wasn’t until Cormaney started working at CFU that she came to realize how much work went into keeping the utility humming, she said. “I can honestly say that people here take their jobs very serious-

CBE From page 4 Matthew Bell also nominated CBE for the award. “They care and develop their employees to be better individuals, as well as employees,” he said. “There is tons of room for advancement and new opportunities to learn and develop skills.” Brooke Wegner said CBE “is the best in the Cedar Valley because I work with friendly people and have the flexibility I need to go to college while still working full-time.” Tyler Benson said CBE had “revolutionized” the debt-collection industry. “The approach the company has should be mirrored by all companies throughout the country,” he said. “That approach relies on putting the customer first and striving to better yourself every day in the area of ethics.” Karissa Fullerton, who also

BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer

■ ADDRESS: 1 Utility Parkway, P.O. Box 769, Cedar Falls. ■ PHONE: 266-1761. ■ WEBSITE: www.cfu.net. ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 188. ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: Public utility serving Cedar Falls and rural communities north and west of the city. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: “We put a lot of emphasis on providing good value to our customers, i.e., pricing,” General Manager Jim Krieg said. ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: “Our board are representatives of our customers and those decisions are made locally for what’s best for our customers,” Krieg said.

Zac Timmerman and Bob Frickson carry boxes of school supplies to a van for transport to Irving Elementary School in Waterloo. Cedar Falls Utilities employees donated the supplies. ly; they have pride in their work Cormaney said. and in the community and they “CFU employees pull together truly care about the customer,” during times of crisis to ensure Cormaney said. the customers are taken care of,” CFU employees also look out Those values were most “vivid” she said. for one another, which is imporduring the major flooding that inundated the Cedar Valley in 2008 and a windstorm that rumbled through the region in 2009, nominated CBE, said she feels as if her opinion matters, not only to management but colleagues, who “have my back with everything that I do. I have never felt so comfortable and happy with a job as I do now at the CBE Group.” Nick Michael, a 15-year employee, said he has had opportunities to go elsewhere but has declined. “CBE is the most dynamic and exciting opportunity I’ve had,” he said. “At CBE, we understand that for us to be successful, our people have to be successful, satisfied and engaged. We spend a tremendous amount of time making sure that happens.” Kayla Matice pointed out the company provides an opportunity for bonus and commission incentives throughout the year. “The company has many shifts available to its employees, to allow for flexibility,” Matice said. “There is most definitely an opportunity to learn within the company and to grow.”

tant, Cormaney said. “There are several employees of CFU who have suffered personal tragedy or hardship, and the employees here are most generous about helping their coworkers,” she said. Employee satisfaction begins with a clear plan, said Jim Krieg, general manager at CFU. “It’s a lot of different things, but the first thing you’ve got to do is have a clear vision statement and your employees have to understand where you want the organization to go,” Krieg said. “As long as they understand that vision statement, this lays the foundation for a positive work culture.” It also helps to hire people who exhibit “positive” attitudes, Krieg said.

See UTILITIES, page 6

Experts in Off-Highway Control Systems Thank you to our employees. Your talent and dedication have made us successful over the last 21 years!

Creators of:

www.distek.com | 319-859-3600


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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Cedar Valley Hospice By JIM OFFNER

Business bio

jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

WATERLOO — Good care begins on the front lines, leaders at Cedar Valley Hospice say. Toward that end, they work closely with their 150 fulland part-time employees to make sure their concerns are addressed and their needs met. That way, there are no distractions from the clients, on whom the real focus is, said Marvin Fagerlind, executive director of Cedar Valley Hospice in Waterloo. CVH offers multiple services for palliative and hospice care to patients and their families and offers grief support, as well as case management for people with HIV-AIDS. Fagerlind says he sees himself not so much as a manager but as a “support person” at CVH. ”My job and the job of others in management is to make sure people have the resources to do their jobs,” he said. “If one to look at an organizational chart, the vast majority would be at the top, the staff, because they’re the ones making a difference in people’s lives, day to day.” Employees at the typical Employers of Choice winner say their companies strive to help them achieve a proper balanced focus on work and family. Fagerlind said CVH has an advantage in that area by virtue

UTILITIES From page 5 “That’s important for people you work with but also to the external customer,” Krieg said. “We stress the importance of those kind of attributes when we’re filling positions. We also make it clear to employees that these are the attributes we’re looking for when openings occur, to have a good positive work culture.”

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Cedar Valley Hospice employees provide patient updates at a meeting at the hospice office in Waterloo.

■ ADDRESS: 2101 Kimball Ave., Waterloo. ■ PHONE: 272-2002. ■ WEBSITE: www.cvhospice.org. ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 150. ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: Multiservice agency that provides palliative and hospice care to people and their families, along with grief support and medical case management for people with HIV-AIDS. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: “That would be staff recognizing that service quality is important and that one would want to serve patients and their families in the exact same way if it was your own family member who was getting service from somebody,” executive director Marvin Fagerlind said. ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: Volunteer activities, free grief-support services.

of its mission. “We’re all about serving families — Our palliative program does that, our hospice program does that,” he said. “So, when it comes to the workplace, family of staff is just as important. If people need some time off because of a family situation, we’ll cover for them. That’s the way it should be.” “There isn’t any question in our mind. If a parent has to be at home with a sick child, for instance, they’re able to tap their sick leave for that pur-

pose,” Fagerlind said. An employer has to be adaptable to the unexpected, Fagerlind said. “You have to be able to flexible when people need to be away and have the resources for others to do their job,” he said. One way to do that is to keep employees aware that the bosses — and peers — appreciate them. “We’re getting to where we think we’d like to be as an organization,” he said. “We send out birthday cards and do holiday

greetings for staff. We have staff get-togethers on occasion. We started a STAR program a few years ago. Staff can be nominated as a Star by co-workers, by patients or clients they’ve served, and we then, as those nominations come in, we acknowledge those to staff and built in some things. When one really stands out, it’s appropriate that they be recognized.” Paula Steimel, a 22-year employee and business manager, nominated CVH as an Employer of Choice.

“Normally after that many years, you would think everyone is just happy doing what they do best; yet, at Cedar Valley Hospice, I was offered an opportunity take on a different role as the volunteer coordinator,” she said. “Even after 22 years, they could still see potential in their employee to advance themselves and the program. It was with great price and honor I accepted the position.”

Krieg said he meets with each CFU employee quarterly to hear any concerns. The company cares about its employees, which also is central to the work culture, he said. “You’ve got to care about them both in their personal life and their professional life,” he said. Employees also are encouraged to get involved in the community, Krieg said. “The things we encourage our employees to do is give back and be engaged with their commu-

nities, whether through United Way, (Greater Cedar Valley) Alliance, Community Main Street or other organizations,” he said. “They also have the schools and activities, and they do this on their own time.” CFU also encourages healthy lifestyles among its workers, Krieg said. “It’s a proactive plan in trying to control health care costs but also to provide healthy employees and healthy family members as they go home at night,” he said.

“If we can show employees the results of that healthy lifestyle, it’s a good thing.” The health-focused program has lowered insurance costs, and, thus, allowed CFU to give all of its workers a one-month “premium holiday” on their health insurance contributions, Krieg said. “Our trend has been very positive that way,” he said. “If we continue to reduce our health care costs, that savings goes back to the employee and the company.” The utility maintains an “open-

door policy” between management and the workers, Krieg said. “It’s critical to listen and engage your employees and keep them informed about changes on the horizon,” Krieg said. “They are the ambassadors for our organization and, to be successful and communicate with customers, they need to know the direction of the organization. That’s why we keep very open and transparent conversations with virtually all employees when virtually any issue comes up.”

See HOSPICE, page 8


THANK YOU Courier Communications is proud to honor the 15 businesses that have been nominated by their employees as the top businesses to work for in the Cedar Valley! As publisher of The Courier I personally would like to acknowledge Courier employees as the best employees to produce area news and information for the Cedar Valley. I am honored to work with current Courier employees and thank them for their contributions to produce this newspaper, our digital products and specialty magazines.

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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

DISTek Integration Inc. By JIM OFFNER

Business bio

jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

WATERLOO — Another year, another Employer of Choice award for DISTek Integration Inc. Not that the company takes the award for granted. Indeed, employees say the company, which provides custom embedded software design services, modeling expertise and test systems to the “off-roadâ€? industry, keeps trying to build on its previous accomplishments. Besides, it’s not old hat to everybody at DISTek. Kyle Ross, for example, said he has been there a little over a year and is impressed. “I’ve never been in a company more interested and geared toward support for family and exibility for family issues and events,â€? Ross said. That’s just part of the picture, though, Ross said. “Flex time, overabundance of holidays and vacation, satisfying salary, great health beneďŹ ts and more make working for DISTek enjoyable because I know I am treated so well,â€? he said in nominating the company for Employer of Choice. There also are professional advantages, Ross said. “I am still continuously learning new, valuable and exciting things each day,â€? he said. “DISTek has recently implemented a realtime environment for employees to recognize their co-workers for a job well one and collaborate well amongst each other via PDF documents, links, commentary,

HOSPICE From page 6 Elizabeth Wilson says CVH is the ideal employer for her. “Sure, I could make more money somewhere else, but I am sure I would not ďŹ nd the caring, exible and supportive environment,â€? she said. “Here, I am trusted to do my work without

■ADDRESS: 6612 Chancellor Dr, Suite 600, Cedar Falls. ■PHONE: 859-3600. ■WEBSITE: www.distek.com. ■NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 93. ■WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: Provider of custom embedded software design services, modeling expertise, and test systems to the off-road industry. ■HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: “DISTek serves as a trusted engineering partner, working with customers to make sure they get the comprehensive solution that they need,� CEO Matt Dickinson said. ■HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: “Casual Days� for charity; sponsorship and involvement in student robotics clubs; individual volunteer roles; holiday donation program; training room availability for volunteer groups.

The work culture DISTek leaders have tried to create is one in Kevin Vogel designs an end of line tester at DISTek Integration in Cedar Falls. which co-workers are friends etc.â€? can work with people of similar spend with families, friends, and work and home life someIn toto, it makes for a satisfying interests, and when they can go community involvement, exer- times overlap, Dickinson said. professional experience, he said. home with a feeling of accom- cise, etc., is also respected and See DISTEK, page 9 “Overall, I enjoy getting out plishment,â€? he said. valued.â€? of bed most mornings knowing That’s a strong asset, said DISthat get to make quality software, Tek employee Sandy Sutterer. achieve many career goals, gain “Not only does the compaextreme experience, learn many ny offer interesting projects to skills and enjoy every minute of explore while on the job — backed it,â€? Ross said. with the training and collaboraCEO Matt Dickinson said it’s tive teamwork needed to promote important, for both the com- professional success — but it also pany and its employees, to feel recognizes the importance of as if they are making important employees having time to renew contributions. their energy away from work,â€? “I think people want to Sutterer said in nominating DIS‘belong’ when they can see their Tek as Employer of Choice. work ďŹ nally pay off, when they “As such, the time employees MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

# $

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having someone look over my shoulder. There is support if and when I need it. The management is incredibly supportive and exible when it comes to personal and family matters. I can’t imagine a better employer.� AnotherlongtimeCVHemployee, Laurie McCallum, who has been with the organization for 20 years, said CVH’s capacity to care for people extends to everyone.

“They are one of the most caring organizations I have ever seen, not just in how we care for our patients, but that care extends to their employees, as well,â€? she said. “They offer beneďŹ ts that could match the top employers in the country. They continually provide us with what we need to perform our jobs, and they are always encouraging us to do the best we can do.â€?

Thank You Pioneer Employees! !"!


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa By NANCY JUSTIS newsroom@wcfcourier.com

Business bio ■ ADDRESS: 2640 Falls Ave., Waterloo. ■ PHONE: 234-4626. ■ WEBSITE: www.gwneia.org. ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 660. ■ WHAT IT DOES: Goodwill Industries assists individuals with disabilities and social disadvantages through job training programs, residential services and retail stores. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: Goodwill Industries is part of a worldwide movement designed to build opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged persons through the solicitation of material donations. The processing/recycling of donated goods generates the revenue that fuels the agency’s mission. ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: Goodwill purchases locally and encourages staff to join community organizations and activities.

WATERLOO — Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa has been in existence since 1960. Its mission is “To be the leading provider through uncompromising dedication to quality services that strengthens the capacity of Iowans to work and live independently in their community of choice. “But the most important thing we offer is opportunity. At Goodwill, everyone has a chance to work, and everyone has a chance to succeed.” And that not only holds true for its clients and customers, but also for its more than 600 employees. “I feel very secure in that I have great direction when I am doing my job,” said third-year employee Dominique Roe, a payroll specialist who began her Goodwill career as a community trainer. “I have never felt “I have never felt happier at ignored (and) feel empowered a workplace and it shows in all when I come up with new and areas of my life,” she continued. more efficient processes. “I can see myself retiring from

DISTEK From page 8 “We have a number of afterhour groups/clubs that people enjoy participating in, such as softball teams, golfers, wellness groups, etc.,” Dickinson said. “Our people enjoy being around each other.” Achieving a proper balance between work life and home life is crucial, Dickinson said. “Our first rule on attendance at work: flexible,” he said. “As long as our customer and their needs are being met, we can be very accommodating with employee hours. The family comes first, so if a child is sick, the employee takes sick leave to care for him. We are all professionals, and recognize a need to get the job done, but we also know that the job isn’t always the most important aspect

of one’s life.” A contented workforce is central to the company’s success, Dickinson said. “Our success is wholly based on the expertise and mind-set of our workforce, so being content is more than a nicety; it’s a major requirement,” he said. “We work hard to maintain that feeling at all times.” In terms of volunteerism, DISTek leaders stress the importance of being part of a larger community, but they’re also cognizant that each employee’s ability to contribute may vary from another’s, Dickinson said. “Community involvement is important in the large picture, but we realize that at certain points in peoples lives they may have more pressing issues,” he said. “Overall, as a company, we encourage company involvement, but we cannot ask that a father of four

COURTNEY COLLINS / Courier Staff Photographer

Brad Reicherts, left, and Jenna Nagel sort through containers in the warehouse at Goodwill Industries in Waterloo. Goodwill and I am happy to say that I love my job!” As the staff helps to build life and work skills to assist clients

in their goals to be produc- maintaining “a strong team and tive citizens, Goodwill presi- mission connection.” dent and CEO David Boyd says See GOODWILL, page 10 the organization works toward

young children be expected to donate the same number of hours as some of our empty-nesters, so we have no fixed requirements.” Sutterer said DISTek encour-

ages intellectual growth and development. “Co-workers draw on each other’s knowledge and skills to learn new information and solve prob-

lems,” Sutterer said. “This process provides recognition while developing relationships, trust and self-confidence. Open-door communications are the norm.”

Thank You to Our Employees for Making Us an Employer of Choice. www.networkingiowa.com 888-356-2295


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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Grundy County Memorial Hospital By LINH TA

Business bio

newsroom@wcfcourier.com

GRUNDY CENTER — What makes Grundy County Memorial Hospital a great place to work is plain and simple, employees say. “Our people, period,” said Brian Kellar, CEO and president of the hospital. Grundy County hospital won the Courier’s Employer of Choice Award, thanks to its “peoplefirst” culture and engaging opportunities, Kellar said. “No matter what your position is, or your title, we’re involved with discussing with you,” Kellar said. “It’s everyone looking at each other and asking, ‘How can we do better?’ Everyone says they can do that, but you need to be able to walk the walk.” Keely Harken nominated her workplace because, “working among the professional and compassionate caregiver of Grundy County Memorial Hospital makes me truly happy to come to work each day.”

GOODWILL From page 9 It offers “a professional work environment; staff is open and friendly … and staff works together as a team and promotes the philosophy of ‘all for one and one for all’. We recognize the privilege of working together to better the lives of those we are privileged to serve.” Vice president for Human Resources Sharon Samec said,“We are also encouraged to develop our skills both personally and professionally by attending conferences and external training on specific topics related to our positions. “I am reminded daily of our mission and how my role impacts those individuals we serve. I am given the opportunity to stretch myself professionally, knowing that if I need support, I have it. I have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, no matter what my day entails, knowing that

■ ADDRESS: 201 East J. Ave., Grundy Center. ■ PHONE: 824-5421. ■ WEBSITE: www.grundycountyhospital.org. ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 220. ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: Hospital serving Grundy, Butler, Hardin and Tama counties. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS

FIELD: President and CEO Brian Kellar said the hospital is committed to involving and constantly improving all of its employees, no matter their job description. ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: Through its diverse range of employees, Kellar said everyone has a desire to treat everyone that walks in like a person, and not a number.

BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer

Grundy County Memorial Hospital staffers, from left, registered nurse Amy Reel; Dr. David Hagedorn; Jeanie Larson, registration; and JoDee Knox, registered nurse. There are a variety of initiatives and programs some workers at the hospital enjoy, including “Spot Cards,” which recognize a job well done, said Susan Weldon, nominator and hospital employee. Additionally, there are initiatives for community involvement through Blue Zones, Live Healthy Iowa, Relay for Life

and local parades, Weldon said. “I am grateful to work in a caring environment where I can give my supervisor my children sporting events (schedule), and then I am there in the bleachers, cheering on my kids,” Weldon said.

my life was touched by those individuals Goodwill serves.” Boyd says he always has operated with a “family first philosophy” and encourages employees to attend to personal and family needs as necessary. Roe backs up that philosophy. “I have a son who recently left for the Navy. … While he was only five hours away, I was able to manage my time so that I could leave early Fridays on the weekends that I could go spend with him...Goodwill Industries deeply cares for all who are employed here...I feel sincerely cared about when life issues arise.” While training individuals to live a productive life locally, Goodwill staff and the organization as a whole build strong roots in the Cedar Valley. They purchase locally, of course, and staff is encouraged to join community organizations and be involved in its activities. Goodwill participates in the annual “Polar Plunge” to help

raise money for Special Olympics. Persons from other organizations are invited to attend the annual picnic in support of “goodwill feeling amongst all who work in this field or with our consumers in some capacity,” said Roe. Items that aren’t sold in the various outlet stores are recycled. A large amount of items from the plant location are sent to various places to recycle in bulk amounts, such as metal, cloth scraps for cleaning rags and old shoes, in support of the environment, Roe noted. “The services we provide to individuals in employment training, supported community living and for individuals who need 24/7 care in their own homes are mirrors of the code of ethics,” said Becky Quistorff in her nomination for Goodwill’s selection as an Employer of Choice. “The support, caring and flexibility is modeled top-down. It’s a great second family to many.”

See GRUNDY, page 11

78


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

GRUNDY

Hellman

From page 10

By JIM OFFNER jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

WATERLOO — At nearly 80 years old, Bob Hellman says he still runs up to 20 miles a week. It’s that focus on health that keeps Hellman’s eponymous ad agency going strong, according to employees. Some underlings describe Hellman’s longstanding devotion to baseball for fostering a teamoriented work ethic. “Bob Hellman would be the first to say he is quick with the baseball analogies when it comes to talking about our company,” said Dwight Fritts, executive vice president of business development at Hellman. “Hellman fosters a team atmosphere and recognizes the individual achievements that collectively make up a great company. Bob Hellman launched his company in 1967 and only recently passed the day-to-day leadership duties to new copresidents Tony Luetkehans and David McNurlen. Nothing about the company’s philosophy has changed, Luetkehans and McNurlen said. “It really only means that different people will carry it on,” Luetkehans said. “We are all committed to keeping the culture here creative and collaborative.” A sense of teamwork has built a culture employees have wholly embraced, McNurlen said. “Along with great pay and benefits, we encourage every employee to embrace the new technologies that will keep them current and successful, but it’s also more than that,” he said. “Through teamwork and collaboration there is a family feeling at Hellman that is hard to find anywhere else. We support each other and enjoy working together. It’s evident not only in our work, but also in our great parties and summer cookouts, and the fact that we celebrate every work anniversary and birthday.” Balancing personal and business lives is a key to success for

PAGE 11

THE COURIER

BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer

Daryl Sanders, David McNurlen and Tony Luetkehans demonstrate a collaborative workplace environment at Hellman in Waterloo.

Some employees also enjoy the hospital’s commitment to its patients, by constantly encouraging improvements, said Darla Huisman, a nominator. She said the hospital provides scholarships to its employees so they may further their education, and continue to serve patients the best way possible. “I have worked at GCMH for over 30 years, and feel a dedication to this hospital for its caring service that is provided to the patients and employees,” Huisman said. Though Kellar is new to the hospital, the minute he first walked into his workspace, he knew he was in for a treat. “The first person that greeted me was the housekeeper,” Kellar said. “That was the very first impression I got when I walked in the door, was a genuine warm welcome.”

Business bio ■ ADDRESS: 1225 W. 4th St., Waterloo. ■ PHONE: 234-7055. ■ WEBSITE: www.hellman.com. ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 36. ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: Advertising and marketing firm. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: Longest-tenured marketing agency in the Cedar Valley. ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: Build Our Ballpark, a nonprofit Bob Hellman began in 2008 to improve kids’ lives through the opportunity to learn baseball, softball, teamwork and commitment on quality fields, as well as numerous other organizations.

Hellman employees, Luetkehans said. “It’s a must,” he said. “The leaders here understand that it’s crucial to be happy in your life outside the office, too. They work around appointments and kids’ activities as much as possible, and vacation is encouraged. There is also an amazing level of family inclusion at events.”

See HELLMAN, page 12

...to our dedicated stafff who make CBE an

Employer of Choice E in the Cedar Valley! Find Your New Career at CBE

and Apply Online Today at CBEjobs.com

Equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Background check and drug testing required.


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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Network Control By JIM OFFNER jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

WAVERLY — A little over a year and a half after he bought his company, Waverly-based Network Control, Mark Hearn learned it had won an Employer of Choice Award from The Courier. He said the faith he has in his work force of 49 is evident in that he can run the company from Walnut Creek, Calif. “I’m very much a team-driven entrepreneur,” said Hearn, who purchased Network Control in January 2011 from Mike Deneui, who had launched the telecommunications management company in 1998. “If I don’t get

HELLMAN From page 11 If employees look forward to coming to work, it’s bound to show up in their work, Luetkehans said. “Hellman takes steps big and small to ensure the office is a pleasant place to be, which makes us look forward to coming in and working on our wide variety of projects,” he said. “We enjoy a unique facility in a remodeled historic church that has both individual and collaborative workspace. We make sure each employee has the tools, training and technologies they need.” The company strongly encourages community involvement, McNurlen said. “Everyone has the opportunity to be involved in the community in some way — it’s a piece of life’s puzzle on which Hellman places great value,” he said. He cited Bob Hellman’s Build Our Ballpark nonprofit, with which numerous Hellman staffers are involved, either as board members or volunteer contributors. “We are also a Partner in Education with the Walter Cunningham School of Excellence, donating time and support to the school,”

their thoughts and ideas and concerns, that’s not going to work. That also allows them to have buy-in and ownership.” Network Control numbers Oracle, Diamond Foods, Levi Strauss and other global companies among its clients. Prior to buying Network Control, Hearn had been active in the telecommunications management industry for more than two decades. He started one of the first software based telecom expense management (TEM) companies and served as president and CEO of two successful consulting and TEM software companies. “I sold my software company after 23 years and wanted to stay

in the industry,” he said. He had sold software that facilitated the management of phone bills, he said. “Old software required a lot of people to do that,” he said. “Why pay a lot of people to do that? We provide a lot of resources for a much lower cost.” That’s what happens inside the office. Workers get out, too, and Hearn joins them on outings. Employees and their families recently rode a company float in a recent parade through town, he said, adding that they went to a Waterloo Bucks game in July. The company also tries to give back to the community, he said.

COURTNEY COLLINS / Courier Staff Photographer

Peggy Hall works at her desk at Network Control in Waverly. “We get employees who say my son is in Scouts and is looking for some money or the senior ball at high school,” he said. “If you have a special charity that’s looking for money, let us

know and once a quarter we’ll do a distribution. We also put out an article in the local paper announcing that.”

See CONTROL, page 13

McNurlen said. “Outside of these at a much slower rate than Iowa result of Hellman efforts. It is not creating a culture of health within opportunities, most of our staff is averages. I feel that is a direct about reducing costs; it is about the organization.” involved in at least one organization in the community.” Employees say they also appreciate the company’s focus on their personal well-being. “As employers across the country are facing challenging new expenses due to health care reform and its impacts, employers are facing the question of cutting operational costs or cutting employees; Hellman has taken a different route,” said Russ Bruno, who works in Hellman’s Golden, Colo., satellite office. “In an effort to keep health benefits manageable, Hellman has worked toward reducing health care impact in a much more organic and longterm way.” Bruno said the company provides gym memberships and makes flu vaccines available at work, as well as offering nutrition coaches and paying entry fees for 5K runs. The focus on health pays monetary dividends, too, Bruno said. “While companies across the country are reducing health benefits to manage costs, Hellman is reducing premium increases by increasing the overall health of the team,” he said. The past couple of years, our premiums have grown


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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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PAGE 13

Networking Solutions By NANCY JUSTIS

WATERLOO — Networking Solutions’ tag line is “Benefit from the Experience.” Management’s philosophy has been adapted from the Golden Rule “treat others as you’d like to be treated”. Many companies certainly could profess the same attributes and goals. How does Networking Solutions live up to its mission? “Our tagline is two-fold,” said marketing director Kelly Kimmich. “People — clients and employees — benefit from the actual experience through open communication and regular company gatherings. The other part of our tagline is the fact that we have a deep level of expertise in various areas that we can bring to our clients. This allows our employees to focus on things that really interest them, knowing they have a full team of skilled, caring individuals behind them.” Partner Rich Eckstein says providing the best possible customer experience is accomplished through being “flex-

CONTROL From page 12 Employees also collect goods for local charities and, in June, donated 238 pounds of food to the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Hearn said. Workers have a chance to grow with the company, Hearn said. “Like parenting, your children are only going to flourish by example,” he said. “If they see the work I’m putting forth and see the company grow, they’ll prosper, financially and personally.” Employees get professional growth training, and each worker takes an assessment test, which is designed to show each individual’s strengths, Hearn said. “You know how to work with somebody on their terms,” he said. “As we learn how each personality is, it allows us to work better with them. They learn how to work with a peer, how to work through conflict, how to deal with stress in the office.” A happy, motivated workforce

ness goals.” “We really focus on explaining IT issues in a way that our clients can understand,” ■ ADDRESS: 100 East Park Ave., Suite Kimmich said. “Additionally, we are 200, Waterloo. ■ PHONE: 234-0521. focused on providing long-term solu■ WEBSITE: www.networkingiowa.com. tions tailored to our clients’ business ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 35. goals, not a boxed solution or just a quick ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: A fix.” full-service information technology firm Networking Solutions has grown to be that can help with all networking needs, the largest tech company in the Cedar including 24/7 support. Valley and was recognized in 2012 by Inc. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: magazine, which ranked it no. 2,670th Locally owned and operated, was ranked 2,670th in Inc. magazine’s sixth annual in the annual 500/5000 list of the 500/5000 list of the nation’s fastest-grownation’s fastest growing private compaing private firms in 2012. nies. On Aug. 21, Networking Solutions ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMannounced it had been ranked 3,827th on MUNITY: Provides discounted consulting Inc.’s 2013 list. services, donates tens of thousands of Eckstein says what has made Networkdollars annually to support community and ing Solutions stand out and what has charitable causes and gives employees contributed to its growth is “customer paid time off to volunteer. service (and) non-commissioned sales people … most people that start with us ible with our service options, technical stay … most importantly, when things go solutions and we strive to learn how our wrong we make it right — all resulting in customer works, becoming an extension a great customer experience.” BRANDON POLLOCK / Courier Staff Photographer of them. Our goal is to be a part of their Justin Knox takes a call at Networking Solutions in See SOLUTIONS, page 14 Waterloo. team, helping them achieve their busi-

Business bio

newsroom@wcfcourier.com

Business bio ■ ADDRESS: 2704 Fifth Ave. NW, Waverly. ■ PHONE: 483-1100. ■ WEBSITE: www.network-control.net. ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 49. ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: Telecommunications management services. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: “We provide a full life cycle offering not to be found in our industry,” CEO Mark Hearn said. ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: Waverly Chamber of Commerce, highway cleanup, monthly “pick-a-charity,” food bank donations.

makes economic sense for the company, Hearn said. “Happy workers make productive workers,” he said. “They don’t spend their time complaining about the office politics. They’re more focused on their jobs and the success they can provide to that job. They’re not living in fear, wondering what’s the future of the company. They

recognize that management believes in them.” Peggy Hall, a three-year employee, nominated Network Control. “The nature of the telecom business means there is always a new challenge and something new to learn,” she said. “My hours worked are flexible, as well,

enabling me to attend my family’s events. I am impressed how the management listens to the worker’s concerns and genuinely want to help make our jobs as easy as possible.” Hall said communication is strongly encouraged. “I feel like I can approach my managers and teammates alike

with any issue, and they would help,” she said. “There is continuous training as needed to remain knowledgeable in our field. There are opportunities to grow with the company, and that is important to me. Mark Hearn, as well as the management team, are always quick to compliment a job well done.”

Thank You to Our Employees for Being MORE Than Bean Counters. www.berganpaulsen.com 800.741.7087


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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Redfern, Mason, Larsen & Moore PLC By JIM OFFNER

CEDAR FALLS — Redfern, Mason, Larsen & Moore PLC is the latest iteration of a law firm that has operated continuously in Cedar Falls since 1898. Employees attribute that longevity to the bosses’ commitment to them, as well as their clients. “Our staff enjoys a pleasant working environment due to the friendliness and respect with which the attorneys and the whole staff treat each other,” the employees said in jointly nominating the firm as one of The Courier’s Employers of Choice. “We are proud to be a part of a team that forms positive relationships with our clients throughout the Cedar Valley and serves them with confidence and professionalism.”

SOLUTIONS From page 13 Technology consultants aren’t commissioned salespeople but are to provide solutions. “Networking Solutions uses a teamwork approach where our people can bounce ideas off each other and share in their knowledge and experiences to help benefit the client with a positive experience,” tech consultant Mark Oliver said. Eckstein says in order to provide the best customer service, Networking Solutions’ employees “truly act as a team, mentoring and growing both customer service and technical skills. We provide a minimum of 40 hours of professional development of some type yearly,” he added. “We think we are one of the best around when it comes to rewards, pay and benefits. We have the standard benefits like most — a 401K with four percent match — but where we are different: we reward the staff and their families. Diner and comedy club, golf outings and kid-friendly events like taking everyone to Lost Island,

eight partners in a firm with 10 attorneys and 15 employees who fill support roles. ■ ADDRESS: 415 Clay St., Cedar “We have the greatest staff,” Falls. ■ PHONE: 277-6830. Mason said. ■ WEBSITE: www.cflaw.com. Support staffers are essential to ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 25. the firm’s success, Mason said. ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: “A law firm is a service organiLaw firm. zation, and the lawyers are out ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS front, but our staff is wonderFIELD: “We’re known for quality ful, knowledgeable and dedicatrepresentation and taking care of ed,” Mason said. “They’re very our clients’ needs,” partner Dave Mason Sr. said. loyal to our organization and ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE to our clients; they make a big COMMUNITY: “We all have differdifference.” ent volunteer interests, and everyMason said there’s an air of one is encouraged to follow those selflessness and service to colinterests,” Mason said, citing leagues that has permeated the involvement with local nonprofits law firm for generations. and churches as an example. J.B. Newman, a graduate of the law school at the University nothing has changed about the of Iowa, started the practice in corporate culture over the years, 1898. said Dave Mason Sr., who joined See REDFERN, page 16 the firm in 1971 and is one of

Business bio

jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Kandi Soldwisch talks on the phone at the Redfern, Mason, Larsen & Moore PLC law firm in Cedar Falls. The firm’s attorneys set a good example, the staffers said. “They are deeply involved in the community and clearbowling, baseball games, etc. We work hard but play hard.” “Networking Solutions is very practical and open-minded when it comes to team members’ requests,” Kimmich said. Oliver says Networking Solutions is a great place to work. “If you’d like to be a part of a fun and fast-paced working environment in the technology industry with a company that has been growing then you should seriously take a look at Networking Solutions.” “Networking Solutions is an honest company — across the board,” Kimmich said. “Partners will always be straightforward with the vision of the organization and employees are encouraged to offer frank feedback if they see places for improvement.” “NS offers more than a paycheck,” said Eckstein. “A stable and growing company that has made some smart decisions over the past 11 years. We have always had the same core values — honesty, treating employees and clients how they want to be treated, the desire to always grow from a financial aspect as well as learning.”

ly instrumental in its success,” the employees said. The firm is a first-time winner of Employers of Choice, but

What a great honor to share the spotlight with the Employers of Choice. I send my humble thanks to all 671 employees who are part of fulfilling our mission of helping people to remove barriers to independence. Every member of Team Excellence is an employee of the year because Goodwill Industries of Northeast Iowa, Inc. is your employer of choice.

Thank You!

David E. Boyd President and CEO

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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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UnityPoint Health By JIM OFFNER jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

WATERLOO — Names may change, but the mission is constant at UnityPoint Health, leaders and employees there say. In April, Allen Hospital’s parent organization announced a change in nomenclature, from Iowa Health System to UnityPoint Health. “Iowa Health System is growing, and we have really outgrown the Iowa Health System name,” spokesman Jim Waterbury said when the change was announced. “We are in Illinois now, and I anticipate we will soon be in other states, as well.” The change affects about 300 entities, including clinics, home health, palliative and hospice care facilities. Hospital foundations and Allen College also fall under

long-established. “When I came to Allen, I spent a lot of time just trying to listen to people on what we need to do to deliver care to patients, and it became clear to me to provide a workplace people enjoy coming to work at translates into better care for the patients.” Delagardelle said she has worked at maintaining that type of environment. “We have taken care to create a workplace for people to be challenged and have an opportunity to grow and learn,” Delagardelle said. Hospital leaders have worked to encourage a “love of the workMATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor place,” Delagardelle said. Physical therapist Julie Reeder, right, helps Roger Linsey during a “We have been very deliberative rehabilitation session at Allen Hospital in Waterloo. in focusing on our workplace envithe UnityPoint Health umbrella. Employers of Choice. ronment over the last six months,” Some things don’t change, CEO Pam Delagardelle said she said. though. The hospital system she came into the job knowing See UNITYPOINT, page 16 once again is one of The Courier’s that a strong worker culture was

because it’s about living

Business bio ■ ADDRESS: 1825 Logan Avenue, Waterloo. ■ PHONE: 235-3941. ■ WEBSITE: unitypoint.org. ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 1,800. ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: Coordinated care for patients and families at all Allen Hospital, UnityPoint Clinic and UnityPoint at Home locations. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: Allen Hospital has won six national awards for clinical care during the past 12 months. ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY: Free clinics for Eastside Ministerial Alliance and The Salvation Army; sponsors for the American Heart Association Hear Walk and Go Red for Women; corporate sponsor of the Kaleidoscope programs for youth at Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.

Our family of employees at Cedar Valley Hospice share compassion in caring for you and your loved ones. We are proud to be an Employer of Choice and your community hospice since 1979.

ask the questions. make the call.

800.617.1972 :: cvhospice.org waterloo . grundy center . independence . waverly . hospice home


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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Waverly Health Center

incorporated that into our strategic planning meetings,” Richards said. Wellness and flexibility are built into the system, Richards said. “We know people have lives out-

side work and we try to bring in different aspects that they can be flexible,” he said. “We’re always putting in wellness activities for families. We try to bring families into different activities that WHC

really believe in the health center and can convey that to the patients,” he said. “They treat ■ ADDRESS: 312 Ninth St. SW, them as they want to be treated. Waverly. ■ PHONE: 352-4120. If we treat them well, that reflects ■ WEBSITE: www.waverlyhealthin our care.” center.org. Waverly Health Center has a busy ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 430. schedule of community activities, ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: including wellness seminars and Regional critical-access, 25-bed support groups, Richards said. hospital that serves Bremer, Butler He said it’s part of its overall and Chickasaw counties. commitment to the region. ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS FIELD: “We’re really focused in on “We encourage involvement in the patient-centered care access,” the community,” he said. CEO Kyle Richards said. “We’re the Employee Sheila Rosengarten only designated Planetree hospital described Waverly Health Center in Iowa.” as an “amazing” employer. ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE “The friendly atmosphere is COMMUNITY: “We really try to what I enjoy most about working focus in on the health and wellness here,” she said. of our communities and try to reach Christie Poppe said WHC allows out through our speaker series and other events,” Richards said. staff to grow professionally and offers many opportunities for staff does.” involvement within the organizaEmployees respond positively, tion and the community. Richards said. See WAVERLY, page 18 “We have team members that

people went online and talked to us, which was a great increase in the number who responded,” she said. Eight-year employee Steve Cusher nominated UnityPoint for Employers of Choice. He said he has seen a lot of changes, but one thing has remained constant.

“The one thing that I have seen as a constant is UnityPoint Health-Allen’s commitment to its associates and to the community,” he said. He cited, as an example, Allen’s leadership with the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk. “Allen and its associates are

always the lead contributor to this event,” Cusher said. “In the last couple of years, the organization has had a carnival day to help raise money for the event and encourage associate participation.” The hospital reflects the Iowa “small-town” culture, said 10year employee Chris Clayton.

By JIM OFFNER

Business bio

jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

WAVERLY — Waverly Health Center proudly proclaims its status as a “patient-centered” health facility, and leaders there say they build that reputation through strong relationships with its more than 400 employees. “I think the more we can involve our team members in our decision making process, the better,” said Kyle Richards, who, in August, completed his second year as CEO of the 25-bed critical-access hospital. “We have a lot of committees our team members are involved with.” Leaders worked with staff in yearly planning sessions recently, Richards said. “They gave input, they really narrowed down the focus of each of the areas we were looking at, they gave examples of what they’d like to see in the future and we

UNITYPOINT From page 15 Workers are regularly surveyed about what they perceive are strengths and weaknesses of their work environment, Delagardelle said. “In the last one, 86 percent of

REDFERN From page 14 The general practice law firm, which has a twin focus of business/transaction and litigation, has other histories of service, Mason said, noting former longtenured Cedar Falls mayor William McKinley was a partner with the firm for a number of years. “We’re known for quality representation and taking care of our clients’ needs; I feel we have an excellent reputation,” Mason said. Employees are involved in the community in various ways, from serving on boards of nonprofits to

MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor

Deb Toyosi works on cultures in the Waverly Health Center lab.

church organizations, Mason said. “There probably are few organizations in our community that our firm doesn’t touch through the volunteer of our lawyers and our staff,” Mason said. Over the generations, the firm has built a corporate culture that employees want to be a part of, Mason said. Turnover occurs but is relatively rare. “We have people in our firm who spent a career here,” he said. “We have a lady in our tax department who worked here over 40 years. We have a senior legal assistant who has been here over 35 years. It’s not uncommon to have people stay 10 or 15 years or more.”

“There is a purpose and mission to care for our patients, family friends and neighbors,” Clayton said. “Leadership demonstrates this through investing in employees, allowing balance for time away from work and creating an environment where employees know they make a difference. Allen is the best.”

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

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EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

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PAGE 17

Western Home Communities By JIM OFFNER jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

Business bio ■ ADDRESS: 420 E. 11th St.,

CEDAR FALLS — At Western Cedar Falls. ■ PHONE: 277-2141. Home Communities Inc., suc■ WEBSITE: www.westernhomecess is about relationships, and communities.org. that includes strong connecNUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 550. ■ tions between management and ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: employees, leaders there say. Continuing care retirement com“Life is all about relationships, munity. so if we don’t have relationships ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS with all the folks that are involved, FIELD: “It’s all about our culture and our tremendous employees and it just doesn’t work. We seem to how they feel about, rather than have a little magic going that way,” choice, our whole thing is about said Kris Hansen, CEO at Western people-first,” CEO Kris Hansen said. Home. “We certainly try to lead.” ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE But one has to lead in “the right COMMUNITY: Greater Cedar Valway,” Hansen said. ley Chamber & Alliance; Greater “So, you hold yourselves to Cedar Valley Coalition; Leading Age pretty high standards,” he said. Iowa; Hawkeye Community College Western Home focuses on Foundation. retirement care, which includes independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and home Making sure those services are health services. delivered properly begins with

COURTESY PHOTO

Employees Megan Steepleton, Erica Ostwald and Kat Bell lead singing at a recent outdoor social held at Western Home Communities. establishing strong relationships with all employees, Hansen said. “It’s about making sure we’re doing the best we can for our people so our ultimate customers get taken care of,” he said. Two operating philosophies that

guide Western Home are “people first” and “empathy,” Hansen said. “People-first is all about employees,” he said. “We have some pool parties, Christmas parties and other get-togethers. I

think family maybe gets a little bit overused, but we truly try to have a familial atmosphere here.” Carolyn Martin nominated Western Home as an Employer of Choice. “It is a family friendly company with emphasis on empathy, compassion and integrity, whether dealing with residents, their families or employees,” Martin said. “There are many opportunities to try new things, learn new skills and keep previous ones sharp. The CEO and COO are out and about and visiting employees, as well as residents. Their commitment to being a good community partner, leading with a servant spirit, financial integrity and putting people first in all decisions sets a vision that trickles down to all employees.”

See WESTERN, page 18

Our vision at Western Home Communities:

life fulfilled. Our mission is to create fulfilling lifestyles for those we serve, their families and our employees. The Employer of Choice honor belongs to all those who live that mission every day, creating a culture that has propelled us forward for 101 years.

www.WesternHomeCommunities.org


PAGE 18

THE COURIER

EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE 2013

www.wcfcourier.com

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare By JIM OFFNER jim.offner@wcfcourier.com

WATERLOO — Helping others begins at home, say employees who nominated Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Iowa as one of The Courier’s Employers of Choice. That helps comes in a variety of forms, said Andrea Barker, the Waterloo-based hospital system’s director of marketing and communications. Wheaton Franciscan also stresses the importance of a proper work-life balance and encourages flexible scheduling, Barker said. “WFH shows appreciation for associates by making them part of decision processes,” Barker said. For the community at large, Wheaton Franciscan offers nearly $17 million in benefits, including free health screenings and education across the community to address a growing incidence of chronic diseases like diabetes and

WESTERN From page 17 WHC has grown, and so has its outreach efforts with workers, said 12-year employee Kim Schilling. “Since (2001), it has doubled in size, and I see no change in the way the staff is treated,” Schilling said. “Either the CEO or the COO try to meet all of the new employees on the first day they start, keep in mine we hire five to seven people

WAVERLY From page 16 “WHC is my employer of choice not only because of the opportunities they provide, but the welcoming feeling you receive each day and the quality care we provide to our patients and community.” Mary Mihm said her co-workers are like “an extension” of her

on employees begins at orientation, when he meets with new employees. ■ ADDRESS: 3421 W. Ninth St., “I really want people to be here Waterloo. ■ PHONE: 272-8000. for the right reasons,” he said. ■ WEBSITE: wheatoniowa.org. “I tell them, ‘If you’re here for ■ NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: the paycheck, I wish you weren’t About 3,000 in Cedar Valley. here.’ I do it with some humor, ■ WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: but they understand I mean it. Health care provider, here to help And the associates catch it.” others. Community involvement is ■ HOW IT STANDS OUT IN ITS strongly encouraged, Dusenbery FIELD: “We have wonderful longterm associates and physicians said. that really care about their neigh“Over time, it spreads out,” he bors in the community,” CEO Jack said. “If we added it up, I know Dusenbery said. we have associates every time I go ■ HOW IT’S INVOLVED IN THE somewhere.” COMMUNITY: “I don’t think you It all makes a difference to sixcould find an example where we’re year employee Amy Hetherton, not involved,” Dusenbery said. MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor who nominated Wheaton FranRegistered nurse Deb Teske administers medication to Evelyn Caloud at ciscan as Employer of Choice. Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo. right thing for patients and fami“It is the first job in my career lies,” Kavalier said. where I’ve felt the work/life balheart disease, Barker said. do the right thing for associates, Jack Dusenbery, CEO of Whea- ance is a priority set by my leadMary Jo Kavalier, a 33-year who, in turn, are here to do the ton Franciscan, said the focus ers,” she said. employee, said Wheaton Franciscan’s loyalty to its employees is strong. “There is a consistent desire to

Business bio

weekly.” Western Home has been won Employer of Choice awards before, but longtime employee Linda Bowman said the organization never rests on its past accomplishments. “We are progressive and innovative; that alone makes Western Home Communities a top employer,” Bowman said. “Toss a compassionate, family-centered environment into the mix, and you have a stellar employer.” family. “We help each other whenever possible or when needed,” she said. “There are several programs in place to recognize employees for ‘above and beyond’ their normal duties.” Employee recognition is a regular part of the program at WHC, said Heidi Solheim. “Our employees are recognized in many ways, including monthly Spotlight on Values awards.”



Why we’re an Employer of Choice Longevity We’ve been here for over 47 years, which says we love what we do … and do it well.

Creativity Everything we do requires problem solving, creative thinking, and playing with the latest technologies. It’s just plain fun.

Variety It’s different every day. From agriculture to medical to environmental to nonprofit … we get to do some of everything.

We’re always on the lookout for the brightest talent – and we know our success is because of the amazing people we hire. After all, it’s our own employees who nominated us for Employer of Choice. We’re also on the lookout for savvy account executives who can help make us Agency of Choice with new clients. If that’s you … let’s talk. To join our winning team, please apply online at

www.Hellman.com


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