Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce announced the ranking of the top thirty Best Places to Work in Vermont 2015 Thursday evening at an awards ceremony at the Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center before over 270 attendees. The companies represented all have the honor of saying they are a Best Place to Work in Vermont.
The awards program was created in 2006 and is presented in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management, Vermont State Council, (SHRM), the Vermont Department of Labor and the Vermont Department of Economic Development and Best Companies Group.
This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Vermont, benefiting the state's economy, its workforce and businesses.
To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:
- Have at least 15 employees working in Vermont;
- Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity;
- Be a publicly or privately held business;
- Have a facility in the state of Vermont; and
- Must be in business a minimum of 1 year.
Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the Best Places to Work in Vermont. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company's workplace policies, practices, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75 percent of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in Vermont and also analyzed the data and used their expertise to determine the final rankings.
2015 Best Places to work in Vermont winners in ranked order are:
Saslow Lufkin & Buggy, LLP
Vermont College of Fine Arts
ASIC North, Inc.
Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning and HR Intelligence
Vermont Economic Development Authority
Gallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP
Basin Harbor Club
Vermont Public Radio
Wells River Savings Bank
Wild Apple Graphics
Liquid Measurement Systems, Inc.
Union Mutual Fire Insurance Company
Farm & Wilderness Foundation
(150 OR MORE EMPLOYEES)
1 Edward Jones
2 LORD MicroStrain
3 Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
4 Okemo Mountain Resort
5 King Arthur Flour
7 Stowe Mountain Resort
8 Southwestern Vermont Health Care
9 Country Home Products
10 Dealer.com, a Dealertrack Technologies Solution
SMALL TO MEDIUM COMPANIES
1) SASLOW LUFKIN & BUGGY, LLP
With stunning views of Lake Champlain, Saslow Lufkin & Buggy’s employees have an enticing environment when they come to work.
Saslow fosters an e nvironment that allows employees to challenge themselves in their career as well as maintain a steady work/life balance.
-tuition reimbursement and a
-bonus for passing the CPA exam
-A flexible work environment
–a kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and plenty of coffee
-fun activities like ice cream breaks
Saslow Lufkin & Buggy provides a vibrant environment that attracts hardworking, committed and loyal employees.
Fuse is a youth culture marketing agency that connects brands with teens and young adults. Fuse’s services include brand strategy, public relations, event marketing, design, and social media.
The creative environment Fuse provides allows employees to share ideas, insights, and inspiration!
Various benefits and perks help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance,
Full-time employees receive generous benefits including:
- health and dental insurance,
- liberal vacation time,
- season’s pass to a local mountain resort of their choice,
- annual fitness reimbursement, and
- paid time off for volunteering.
Employees also have flex time, and half-day Fridays in the summer.
3) SEVENTH GENERATION
Seventh Generation is one of the nation's leading brands of household and personal care products.
Seventh Generation is family friendly - the company looks for parents & grandparents to employ. Employing an aging workforce provides balance in the decisions and messaging as a company.
That high energy-varied workforce accomplishes wonderful community service.
-They raised funds for Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf that was the equivalent to 10 thousand pounds of food!
-Over half their staff helped build & maintain Camp Ta-Kum-Ta property and their new chapel.
Employees led the cause in supporting VT’s Toxic Free Families Act last year. Their help was recognized as crucial to the bill’s success. The Governor even signed the bill into law at their office!
4) Vermont College of Fine Arts
Vermont College of Fine Arts is a national center for education in the arts, fostering the excellence of emerging and established artists, while advancing the arts to create a more humane world.
Employees understand both short and long term institutional goals. There is flexibility and transparency. They maintain this by their 100% open door policy. This even includes the President's Office.
VCFA takes care of the health of their employees. They have their own ping-pong table, treadmill, and there are numerous walking and hiking trails on the school’s property. They offer discounted rates with fitness clubs.
There are regular departmental luncheons and gatherings and holiday parties.
Staff is given time off in appreciation of their work they do over and above. AND their environment is green friendly and pet friendly!
5) ASIC NORTH
ASIC North is extremely proud to again be named as one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont! ASIC North. provides design services for companies with semiconductor-based needs.
ASIC North was founded upon the fundamental belief that the strength of the company relies on the employees being cared for and enabling them to be productive and successful.
To that end they provide:
- generous benefits and compensation package
- generous paid time off
- flex time
- contributions to retirement accounts
Health benefits include a nutritionist and massage therapist on site and discounted gym memberships.
There is also an annual incentive program based on the growth of the company.
6) HICKOK & BOARDMAN
At Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning & HR Intelligence the employees deserve credit for creating an environment of trust, camaraderie, and fun. This is not your typical workplace. It is a family of passionate, highly skilled, and fun-loving people who care about the wellbeing of their teammates, clients, and community.
They sustain their workplace environment and culture by:
-offering flexible schedules
- hosting an annual food drive for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
-encouraging outdoor "walking meetings" and stair challenges
- educating employees in their financial wellbeing
-offering fun opportunities like playing laser tag and bocce ball.
-hosting breakfasts with healthy food options on casual Fridays.
-having employee appreciation events, such as chocolate making at Lake Champlain Chocolates!
7) VERMONT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
VEDA is very pleased to be recognized as one of the 2015 Best Places to Work in Vermont. For over forty years, VEDA 's employees have worked to meet the financing needs of Vermont's commercial and agricultural businesses, helping them to grow and thrive.
The leadership team at VEDA provides a professional workplace that includes enjoyable on-site and off-site opportunities to celebrate accomplishments together.
-professional development and
-lifelong learning opportunities
-competitive salaries, and
As a result VEDA’s Staff members are dedicated and disciplined.
They know how to stay sharp, rejuvenate and simply: have fun! Think hula hoops, holiday parties and Pizza Days - with or without the salad!
8) GALLAGHER FLYNN
Gallagher Flynn continues to live by their vision statement: “to strive to be the best by contributing profoundly to the success of their clients, employees and community.”
Gallagher Flynn is passionate about their staff. They strive to treat each of them fairly and with dignity. The staff is encouraged to live the Gallagher Flynn values by being of service to their community by providing time off and financial support for individual volunteering.
The company keeps a healthy perspective about life by fostering a positive and enjoyable work environment. There is a track and two softball fields at their office.
There are holiday parties and recognition for all employees celebrating years of service.
9) CATHEDRAL SQUARE
Cathedral Square is a company with a heart and a purpose.
Cathedral Square is a recognized leader in service enriched housing. They provide a quality of life to elderly and disabled individuals.
They live by their mission: creating healthy homes, caring communities, and positive aging.
They want to make a difference in the lives of others.
They want to make a difference in the lives of their employees too.
Cathedral Square provides a positive atmosphere, always encouraging employee self-growth. They value their employee’s ideas and accomplishments.
What sets them apart is:
-the excellent benefit package,
-their genuine care for creating a family friendly atmosphere.
-their wellness program, which includes On site showers, Discounted Gym Membership, and a Biggest Loser program.
10) BASIN HARBOR CLUB
Basin Harbor Club is located on Lake Champlain nestled in between The Green Mountains and The Adirondacks. Basin Harbor is committed to creating memorable experiences at their resort that keep their guests, members and their employees happy.
They strive to provide excellent customer service to their guests always remembering that fellow staff members are customers too.
Employees have use of the property amenities in the summer - as in golf… kayaking… bikes…lake front swimming… boats…ropes course and use of their fitness center!
They even provide business education workshops and/or conferences.
And then there is always the end of season staff dinner and party.
11) VERMONT PUBLIC RADIO
Vermont Public Radio is a remarkable place to work.
Their mission of public service drives and inspires them to help make their community a better place to live. Every member of the VPR team is committed to that excellence.
As a member of the VPR Staff, you get a voice, and not just on the radio! VPR offers the guidance and the resources employees need to accomplish their goals.
Employees are able to balance work and life with:
-Generous Paid Time Off
VPR has truly caring offerings like:
-staff bbq's & pie days
-Employee Appreciation Celebrations & cakeable moments
-even an on site employee garden
SunCommon’s mission is to tear down the barriers that have made renewable energy inaccessible. They make going solar easy and affordable, so that all Vermonters can together create a healthy environment.
SunCommon is committed to the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. The majority of our 65 employees work out of the Energy Mill, New England's largest net-zero office building.
The field staff are provided with hybrid vehicles.
Employees are honored with:
- solid benefits, including all of their family's health and dental insurance.
- Lunch is provided weekly,
- weekly all-company meetings with open-book financials being shared
SunCommon celebrates work and life with frequent parties, recognition and appreciation. And they even have their own bouncy house!
13) WELLS RIVER SAVINGS BANK
Wells River Savings Bank is a locally owned mutual savings bank founded in 1892. The bank is dedicated to honoring their tradition of friendly, personal service and strong commitment to the community. They accomplish this from the inside out. Various programs in the bank allow employees to integrate their personal, family, and community commitments with their work. These include:
-paid short-term family leave
-promoting from within
- “Day of Service” for volunteering at a non-profit of the employees choosing.
-many opportunities for extra paid time off
At Wells River Savings Bank the employees have created an organization that is more than just a place to work—it’s a family.
14) WILD APPLE GRAPHICS
Wild Apple Graphics finds, creates and delivers great art for the world. Achieving that vision simply would not be possible without the hard work, dedication and creativity of their staff. The company does their part by creating a casual, creative, fun and fast-paced environment.
Not surprising that they believe in family-first. It is evidenced in their generous paid time-off, quarterly profit-sharing for all employees, and paying 100% health insurance premiums.
They have open book financials and everyone participates in company planning and goal setting.
They try to live by the Golden Rule, and if that isn’t good enough…they get to consume extraordinary amounts of chocolate!
15) LIQUID MEASUREMENT SYSTEMS, INC
Liquid Measurement Systems is a leader in the design and manufacture of fuel management systems for commercial and military aerospace markets. At this family-owned business the employees come first. Liquid Measurement Systems knows that it owes its success to its employees – the LMS team – to their skill, creativity, experience and integrity.
They honor that employee dedication with:
-an excellent benefits package with
-plenty of personal time off,
-compensation that is at or slightly above the market average
- a Vacation Stipend that encourages employees and their families to get away from it all, the company even helps with those vacation expenses!
The employees themselves say that what they like most about LMS at LMS are the people they work with, and the feeling of community and team spirit they find there. Rah! Rah!
16) UNION MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY
Union Mutual of Vermont Companies has been doing business in central Vermont for over 140 years! That longetivity is all about fostering long term relationships. And it is built on the foundation of its dedication to the employees, their customers, and the community where they live.
The Company offers:
- a professional work environment,
- -competitive salaries, and a
- comprehensive benefits package that goes well beyond the expected.
While employees are respected as individuals, the overall spirit is that of teamwork. Fun ways they achieve that is through:
-Spring Spirit Week,
-random summer BBQs on sunny days,
They are thrilled to be receiving this award for a second year in a row – they know who to thank: Their employees!
17) RHINO FOODS
First time winner Rhino Foods is a global leader in the development and manufacture of bakery-style ice cream ingredients. Rhino is known world-wide as the company that created chocolate chip cookie dough for ice cream. (OK, ‘Nuff said!)
Rhino is a Certified B Corporation, with their main investment being their human capital.
Their employee camaraderie includes: Rhino Company Family Bowling Party, Rhino Company Family Summer Picnic, Rhino Monthly Employee Birthday Celebrations, Rhino Employee Garden of Sharing, Reduced rate Rhino gym memberships, Monthly Rhino Employee newsletter called "Rhino in the Works"…I think I’m seeing a trend here…all Rhino events involve ice cream??
18) FARM & WILDERNESS FOUNDATION
Employees at Farm & Wilderness enjoy working there because their colleagues are kindred spirits. This nonprofit’s mission and values resonate closely with their personal views. Farm and Wilderness have green and community best practices built right into their workday responsibilities that speaks to all things Vermont. Things like:
- Having an organic farm to witness the seasonal cycles
- maple sugaring in the spring
- planting and harvesting gardens in summer
- haying and wood splitting in autumn
And if that isn’t enough fun-loving connections to foster bonds, there are also informal monthly potluck lunches, holiday cookie swaps and all-staff meetings with THEMES that include lots of games.
19) ALLEARTH RENEWABLES
AllEarth Renewables believes that almost everyone wants to work somewhere where their work really does make a difference. They are all about being that “Someplace” where the business mission is very much in-line with personal passions, working for that greater good.
And those very impassioned employees are the ones who make AllEarth Renewables one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont.
AllEarth shows their gratitude by offering:
- a benefits package that includes profit sharing,
- -a free healthy family-style lunch program,
- -a wellness allowance,
- -free tickets to a variety of Flynn performances.
Their innovative REWIRE program keeps right in line with that mission statement - paying their employees to maintain a low carbon footprint. Who wouldn't want to work for and with a team like that?!?
TPW’s slogan of “Go Play, Leave the Work to Us” applies not only to its customers, but also to its dedicated staff of 95 employees. A positive work-life balance remains a key part of the 25-year family business' core values.
TPW's four Vermont locations resorts in Killington, Stratton, Okemo, and Mount Snow, is where you'll find staff splitting time between work and play, with family time always a priority.
Benefits to support the stellar TPW staff include:
- bonuses for bringing in new business;
- Reimbursement for College Programs
- Announcements of employee accomplishments and successes
- Flexible hours to accommodate family appointments and events
Did you know Edward Jones values its associates so much that it offers them ownership?? About half of all firm associates are now limited partners!
Edward Jones provides flexible, rewarding work. Associates can even earn all-expense-paid trips to exotic destinations across the globe for serving their clients well!
The company supports a healthy lifestyle in many ways.
Their latest fitness challenge is called Get Fit on Route 66 where participants virtually travel a Chicago-to-LA route, exercising to earn miles,
Family is first at Edward Jones and volunteering is a fundamental part of the culture.
One paid day off annually for home-office associates to volunteer – formalizes this. In branches, volunteerism during the workday is common and expected.
For almost 30 years, LORD MicroStrain has provided cutting edge sensors technology to customers around the world.
Among the many employee perks and benefits are:
A company-wide Wellness program that encourages exercise, de-stressing, and a healthy diet. Many employees go as a group to volunteer at places such as Habitat for Humanity and Dragonheart Vermont.
A robust benefits package, including Friday flex-days, a generous vacation & holiday schedule, and comprehensive health care.
All employees are eligible for prizes: Extra efforts for performance, can be rewarded with gift cards or a bonus.
There are Summer cook-outs and picnics, with their always-popular Cornhole tournament
…and the famous Bagel Fridays!
3) VERMONT ENERGY INVESTMENT CORPORATION
VEIC is dedicated to reducing the economic and environmental costs of energy use. They work with utilities, government agencies, and foundations in the design and delivery of energy efficiency and renewable energy services.
They have been named among the best places to work in Vermont five years running. Noted for their open workspace, meaningful work, and dedication to work/life balance, VEIC presents opportunities for staff to learn, grow, and pursue a path that serves the individual, the organization, and their mission.
Volunteering is a big component to VEIC’s culture. Staff recently worked with COTS to prepare lunchtime meals.
Fun and health are key components at VEIC. There are Family Picnics in the Park, gym memberships and $15 fifteen-minute massages and of course, the annual Halloween party.
Okemo is in the people business! The organization is family owned and operated. They get to share their passion and help make memories with guests and with each other.
Okemo employees embrace their Core Principles of forward thinking, integrity, and responsibility.
The Okemo culture is truly focused on family: there is Back-up child or elder care available as needed. Flexible hours help take care of family needs.
Incentives abound at Okemo: employee recognition, skill development, special prizes and a grand prize drawing for a trip to the US Virgin Islands.
The employees ARE “The Okemo Difference” – they have a positive attitude, they work together as a team, and always give the extra 1% in everything they do.
5) KING ARTHUR FLOUR
The employees are at the heart of King Arthur Flour: they’re the folks responsible for making sure their products are top-notch.
They are employee-owned. And as owners, there’s no one who cares more about ensuring the success of the company than the employees. Every employee-owner, is given 40 hours of volunteer time each year.
They are the official flour for the Cookies for Kids Cancer and Bake Sale Heroes campaigns.
There is a solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging station at no charge.
There are bikes available when commuting between buildings.
They have an on-site exercise room. It includes treadmills, ellipticals, exercise balls and hula-hoops!
Are they ever honored to once again be recognized as a leader in workplace practices!
In KPMG’s Burlington office, they like to say that they have the best of both worlds with a small-company culture and large-company resources.
Their culture exemplifies open and honest communication, teamwork, respect, and integrity.
Knowing that people are their greatest asset, KPMG has invested in a robust mentoring program, professional trainings and development, corporate discounts and flexible work arrangements.
Employee recognitions are informal events that keep their people motivated and engaged. There are published acknowledgments of professional milestones, there are get-togethers: bowling parties and summer celebrations. There are group volunteer projects, casual days, and afternoon ice cream socials.
7) STOWE MOUNTAIN RESORT
Stowe Mountain Resort is one of the best places to work because they know how to work hard and they know how to have fun!
Not hard to see how their employees must be happy. The location, Location, LOCATION is one of the most beautiful in the state of Vermont.
They truly give back with Free Recreational use for military members and families and an Annual Fund Raising event for Wounded Warriors.
To keep their employees happy and healthy there is an Annual Wellness Fair on site. All employees are given pedometers for their walking program.
Most importantly, they are proud of what they have to offer their guests and they get to share that enthusiasm with them every day.
8) SOUTHWESTERN VERMONT HEALTH CARE
At Southwestern Vermont Health Care, health and fitness are the cornerstone of what makes them tick. There are healthy eating challenges and deep discounts on healthy foods at the café for their employees. There are regular departmental pizza lunches and ice cream socials.
They have their own garden with fresh veggies available to employees.
They have a variety of fitness challenges. Eligible staff can join and earn up to $400 for participating in preventative care, and other wellness opportunities.
The hospital supports the local cancer initiatives including Susan Komen Race for the Cure and the local Relay for Life.
Southwestern Vermont Health Care is so proud to have been named one of Vermont’s Best Places to Work.
9) COUNTRY HOME PRODUCTS
Country Home Products is a national and international retailer of its DR Power and Neuton brand lawn and garden equipment.
Country Home Products is very proud of their dedicated employees who make their company successful. Everyone in the company has the opportunity to make a direct and meaningful impact on the company’s success and their own success as well.
Best practices include:
- casual dress code - jeans day everyday
- generous benefits offering
- a weekly fresh, organic veggie delivery
- fun parties & events
- onsite foosball tables
- free onsite tax preparation
- onsite massages and chiropractic services
Those are just some of the reasons that Country Home Products has won the Best Places award six times!
10) Dealer.com, a Dealertrack Technologies Solution
Since 1998, Dealer.com has grown to nearly 1,000 employees. There is good reason why the company attracts and retains stellar employees. Company culture is aimed at fun, community, health and wellness.
Their energetic and inspiring work environment includes:
-paid volunteer days
-e-Waste Day where they responsibly collected TWO TONS of electronics to be re-furbished, re-purposed or recycled.
-The Spectrum Sleep Out to raise money and awareness to fight youth homelessness.
--“Slim it to Win it" wellness program
-Annual Summer Party and Fall Family BBQ at Shelburne Farms
- Halloween party with a pumpkin decorating contest and costume contest.
VERY TOP PHOTO: Fuse photo by Katie Kittell.
Pictured with the honorees are Leila Zayed of Best Companies Group, VBM Publisher John Boutin and Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott. (Photos by Nino Abbott)