101 Best and Brightest Metro Detroit Companies Show Dedication to Employees

How do the best of the best companies treat their employees in the face of economic uncertainty?

Very well, actually. Instead of slicing away benefits, drastically downsizing payrolls, and such, they engage in proactive, positive programs designed to improve health and wellness, keep their employees informed and engaged, and many continue to pay competitive wages.

Metropolitan Detroit’s “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” include staffing firms, public relations and marketing agencies, automotive suppliers, nonprofit organizations and more. Their names may be quite familiar to most Michiganders -“ such as Easter Seals Michigan and Henry Ford Health System -“ to some that might be lesser known, but are still important to the state’s economy including the Altarum Institute or Halo Group. As a group, the winners use innovative strategies that represent the best practices in human resources.

An independent research firm evaluated each company’s entry based on key measures in various categories including communication, community initiatives, compensation and benefits, diversity and multiculturalism, employee education and development, employee engagement and commitment, recognition and retention, recruitment and selection, small business, and work-life balance.

The winning 101 companies also vie for 10 elite awards, one granted for each category. Also an overall winner, who has excelled in all categories, was honored with a “Best of the Best” award. The elite award winners were announced during a luncheon Sept. 29 at the Dearborn Inn Marriott.

Elite Winners:

  • Best of the Best — Arrow Strategies

  • Communication -“ Turner Construction Co.

  • Community Initiatives -“ Easter Seals Michigan

  • Compensation and Benefits -“ Michigan First Credit Union

  • Diversity and Multiculturalism -“ Henry Ford Health System

  • Employee Education and Development -“ Skanska

  • Employee Engagement and Commitment -“ Plex Systems Inc.

  • Recognition and Retention -“ Digitas

  • Recruitment and Selection -“ OpTech LLC

  • Work-Life Balance -“ Rehmann

  • Small Business -“ Shazaaam!

Jeff Styers of Arrow Strategies accepts the Best of the Best Overall Elite Award from MCs Rhonda Walker and Devin Scillian of WDIV Local 4 and Jennifer Kluge of MBPA.

“This year’s 101 award recipients stand out from most businesses in that they have exceeded traditional human resource practices to recruit, develop, motivate and retain their employees. They acknowledge the value their employees have on affecting the success of their company,” said Jennifer Kluge, president of the Michigan Business and Professional Association. “We are very impressed by the commitment that they have demonstrated to their employees.”

This year’s winners include: A.E. Mourad Agency, Advantage Technical Resourcing, AGIS Michigan Agency LLC, Altair Engineering, Altarum Institute, Amerisure Insurance Co., Angott Search Group, Arrow Strategies, ASG Renaissance, Atlas Oil Co., Barton Malow Co., BDO USA, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, The Bower Cos., Bridgewater Interiors, Brightwing, and Brown & Brown of Detroit.

Other winners are: Cambridge Consulting Group, Cintas Corp., Clayton & McKervey PC, Community Choice Credit Union, Community Financial, Computer and Engineering Services Inc., Computer Consultants of America Inc., Computerized Facility Integration, Compuware Corp., Delta Staffing, DeMaria Building Co., Detroit Athletic Club, DFCU Financial, Digitas, Domino’s Pizza, and DTE Energy.

Some more winners include: Easter Seals Michigan; Educational Data Systems Inc.; Employees Only; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; The Epitec Group; ePrize LLC; Etkin Equities; Family Home Health Services; Farbman Group; Fifth Third Bank, Eastern Michigan; Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber; Flagstar Bank; Gallagher Benefit Services; Garden City Hospital; Ghafari Associates LLC; Gordon Advisors PC; Grant Thornton LLP; Greenleaf Trust; GreenStone Farm Credit Services; G-Tech Professional Staffing; Halo Group; Harada Industry of America Inc.; Harley Ellis Devereaux; The Harvard Drug Group; Henry Ford Health System; Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP; and Human Capital LLC.

Other winners include: Image One; ImageSoft Inc.; Inergy Automotive Systems USA; JARC; KPMG LLC; McGraw Wentworth; Menlo Innovations LLC; Michigan Financial Cos. Inc.; Michigan First Credit Union; MiPro Consulting; MyInsuranceExpert.com; Nemeth Burwell PC; Netarx; New Horizons Rehabilitation Services; NTH Consultants Ltd.; Oakwood Healthcare Inc.; OpTech LLC; Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment; OtterBase Inc.; Plex Systems Inc.; Plunkett Cooney; and Polk.

The remaining winners are: Red Level Networks; REDICO LLC; Rehmann; Seco Tools Inc.; Service Express Inc.; Shazaaam!; Skanska; Soil & Materials Engineers Inc.; Stout Risius Ross Inc.; Strategic Staffing Solutions, The Taubman Co., Tognum America Inc. (MTU Detroit Diesel Inc.), Turner Construction Co., UHY Advisors MI, University of Michigan Health System, US Foods; Valassis; w3r Consulting; Walbridge; and Warner Norcross & Judd LLP.

Below are descriptions of the various winners based on their answers to a Corp! magazine questionnaire, supplemented by information from their websites. In some cases, when the award winner did not respond by the deadline, efforts were made to contact them and information may have been completely based on the firms’ websites.

A.E. Mourad Agency Inc.
Madison Heights
A.E. Mourad Agency Inc. is an independent insurance agency of experts who create custom-designed employee benefits solutions for customers. Based in Madison Heights, it is one of Metro Detroit’s largest family-owned and operated insurance agencies. Its specialties include creating employee benefit programs for medium to large organizations; offering medical, dental, prescription drug, vision, life, short and long term disability insurance; as well as voluntary programs on a fully-insured or self-funded basis. “We are extremely honored to be awarded as on of the 2011 Metropolitan Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For this year,” said Vice President Steve Mourad. “Our employees are the cornerstone of our success and we appreciate all of their hard work and dedication.”

Advantage Technical Resourcing
Bloomfield Hills
The staffing firm Advantage Technical Resourcing of Bloomfield Hills has a global network with main offices in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Japan plus satellite offices in Australia, Poland, Dubai and China. It serves businesses all over the world in nearly every field. In Michigan, it provides technical staffing services to the automotive industry. The firm implemented several innovative approaches, such as flexible schedules based on employee needs, to keep workers satisfied. If employees meet or exceed their weekly goals, management offers a weekly paid-time-off incentive, where an employee gets a bonus time-off outside the regular paid time-off schedule. On July 8, 2011, Advantage Technical Resourcing hosted an outing at Detroit Yacht Club during the time of the APBA Gold Cup races on the Detroit River, which is the oldest active trophy in all motor sports. “This was a great way to close our successful year and celebrate team achievements,” noted CEO Ian Driscoll. “We host our pot-luck lunches every first Wednesday of the month. It is always a fun time.” Employees actively support local and global charities. For years, it has been a part of the United Way’s “Live United” charity program. Every Friday is “Jeans Day” where every member donates $5 for wearing jeans that day. At the end of the year, Advantage matches the amount donated by employees and the funds are sent to United Way. Earlier this year, the company helped Australian flood and Japanese tsunami victims. Advantage was a platinum sponsor at this year’s Angels of Hope Annual Golf Outing, which gives financial and emotional assistance for families of children with cancer.

AGIS Michigan Agency LLC
AGIS Michigan Agency LLC was founded in 1978 by CEO Michael J. Kirchner. It is a full-service independent benefits agency, representing more than 60 qualified insurance carriers, with more than 1,000 clients at more than 75 professionals in offices in Detroit as well as in Florida (through AGIS of Florida LLC). AGIS’ range of products is tailored to meet customer needs. With offices in three states (including Indianapolis), the company’s benefit programs include plan design, benefit analysis, Section 125 plans, employee communication and enrollment, renewal preparation, COBRA services, claims and administrative assistance, and legislative updates. “We pride ourselves on our highly dedicated service and support staff, professionals with a unique understanding of industry issues and market trends,” said Kirchner. “We invest in long-term relationships with our clients, as well as in the technology, resources and professional personnel necessary to execute unmatched client service.”

Altair Engineering Inc.
Altair Engineering Inc. of Troy is a privately-held company with more than 1,500 employees at 40 offices throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. It has a 26-year track record of delivering to its clients’ high-end software and consulting services for engineering, computing and enterprise analytics. “Currently, Altair’s workforce comprises employees in more than 40 offices throughout 16 countries,” noted James R. Scapa, chairman, president and CEO. “Each individual’s religious beliefs and cultural customs are accommodated during business hours.” Employees receive a compensation and benefits package that exceeds industry averages, according to the American Society of Employers and LSG Insurance Partners of Michigan. Rewards consist of not only traditional, quantifiable elements but also more tangible, non-cash, elements, such as career opportunities, learning and development, work challenge, and a supportive culture. Altair seeks to hire diverse, well-rounded and extraordinary individuals and tries to rotate them around the world. This practice provides employees the opportunity to travel overseas and learn from colleagues or bring colleagues to Altair’s Michigan headquarters to train on new methods or applications. “Promoting diversity with talented individuals from all over the world is vital to Altair, just one aspect that makes Altair one of the best places to work,” Scapa added.

Altarum Institute
Ann Arbor
The nonprofit Altarum Institute of Ann Arbor serves clients in the public and private sectors. It employs more than 400 individuals and has additional offices in the Washington D.C. area; Sacramento, Calif.; Atlanta; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas. Career progression at Altarum is an integral part of its commitment to providing diverse and fulfilling growth opportunities. Advancement at Altarum can be achieved by demonstrating leadership and planning/independence in management, marketing, or technical expertise within an employee’s field of work. All employees who are eligible may enroll for and begin receiving their benefits on the first day of employment. Altarum pays for many of the benefits. Those that are not entirely company-paid have reasonable employee contributions and many can be paid with pretax dollars.

Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co.
For the sixth time, Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. of Farmington, one of the nation’s leading property and casualty insurance groups, has been named one of Metro Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. “Amerisure is honored to be named one of the ‘Best and Brightest’ companies in southeast Michigan,” said Angela McBride, vice president of Human Resources. “Year after year, we strive to ensure that our human resource practices meet and exceed the expectations of our employees to allow them to excel in their careers. Each individual is encouraged to participate in formal training and professional development that will enhance their skills, enabling them to take on more responsibility and advance within the company.” The average length of service for active employees is more than 10 years, such longevity is an indicator of the company’s stability and its success for nearly 100 years. Amerisure was founded in 1912. Amerisure and its affiliates serve mid-sized commercial enterprises in manufacturing, construction and health care across the United States.

Angott Search Group
Angott Search Group (ASG) of Rochester is one of the nation’s largest management search firms with clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations. Founded in 1981 by owner and President Mark R. Angott, the company uses a variety of resources such as video conferencing, texting services, social media and upgrading its CRM (customer relations management) database. ASG offers opportunities for employees to meet with potential clients and candidates through Skype Videoconferencing and Go-To-Meetings. “We understand the importance of our team members to have the ability to connect with individuals in their network in the best fashion,” Angott said. ASG’s marketing department uses social media to market to a variety of candidates and clients. Recently the company purchased MaxHire, a CRM database, which provides its employees with training exercises and tutorials to help them advance their skills. The company’s incentive programs include the person of the month, quarter and year; along with daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly contests with such rewards as cash prizes, gift cards or a trip for the entire office for a long weekend. “We also encourage telecommuting for various team members where certain life situations have required them to work remotely from our Rochester, Mich. office,” Angott said. “This has helped ASG expand geographically, meet more client expectations and as allowed several team members to stay dedicated to our business in turn, they are able to improve their work-life balance.” To promote team building, twice a year all remote employees are brought together for meetings and annual business planning events. ASG’s core values include honesty, integrity, professionalism and enthusiasm, while its mission statement is to create partnerships with its candidates and client companies. “This drives us to develop high standards for selection and recruitment to help attract top performers,” Angott said. “The success of the Angott Search Group has its roots in those core values that are practiced every day by every member of the team.” ASG is a family-oriented business and Angott and other managers take time to get to know employees outside of the work environment. Numerous company functions such as cookouts on the patio and occasional Friday night dinners foster both friendship and great teamwork.

Jeff Styers of Arrow Strategies says a few words about winning the 2011 Metro Detroit Best of the Best Overall Elite Award for the third consecutive year!

Arrow Strategies
Bingham Farms
As a full service staffing firm, Arrow Strategies of Bingham Farms recognizes that its people are the driving force of the company. “We are in the business of finding, hiring and retaining dedicated and talented employees,” said President Jeff Styers. “Our prime focus is identifying people that stand out among their peers; people that possess valuable attributes including work ethic, attitude, skills, talent, and a team player mentality. Our internal staff possesses these same attributes and has been handpicked because of their collective belief in our values and mission.” Programs offered by Arrow Strategies allow employees to focus on themselves and teach them how to live healthier. The Biggest Loser program, discounts to gyms, Weight Watchers memberships and nutrition seminars are a few of the ways Arrow Strategies promotes a healthier lifestyle. Employees are also encouraged to use flexible scheduling to help them balance their personal lives with their work lives. Every employee is provided with remote access into the company’s system, allowing them to telecommute when needed. Also, all employees have either a laptop or a BlackBerry to give them the opportunity to work outside of the office and during non-traditional business hours.

ASG Renaissance
Farmington Hills
ASG Renaissance of Farmington Hills is an international professional services firm that offers clients a suite of services including marketing communications, human capital recruiting, performance management and diversity services. Founded in 1987, ASG has more than 200 employees and received numerous honors and awards. It continues to be competitive with respect to salaries and merit pay increases, but also provides important non-financial incentives like flexible work schedules to keep employees satisfied, noted Lizabeth Ardisana, CEO and co-founder. ASG’s flexible work schedules allow employees to work remotely from home, opportunities for employees to increase their pay through generous referral benefits. In 2000, ASG created its “Building Blocks” recruiting and retention program that focuses on career building, advice to create a financially secure and healthy future, plus balance work and life needs. “ASG’s Building Blocks looks at the needs of our employees from a holistic view and provides them with answers to their most important questions,” Ardisana said. A sample of ASG’s employee programs include: candidate referral bonuses, anniversary gifts, associate recognition awards, associate’s and bachelor’s degree completion bonus, flexible work schedules, job share, employee discounts on vehicle purchases, and discounts to various museums and attractions. For more than 20 years, ASG has recruited retiring executives and senior managers and placed those workers on projects where their experience and knowledge could make significant, meaningful contributions to the outcome. “Our flexible work schedules provide these workers with the freedom to work when and where they want -“ which provides a win-win-win for ASG, the employee and our clients alike,” Ardisana added. “Since they are working more flexible schedules, these late career employees also tend to be very generous to the next generation of employees by sharing their experience and expertise and providing mentoring.”

Atlas Oil Co.
Headquartered in Taylor, Atlas Oil Co. supplies fuel to nearly 400 gasoline convenience stores throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. It also transports fuel to businesses, municipalities and government agencies in 23 states. It has operational centers in Taylor and Niles, Mich.; Hammond, Ind.; Toledo, Ohio; and Houston, Texas, with satellite offices in Minneapolis, Minn.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; La Feria and Odessa, Texas; and Albuquerque, N.M. The company has been a repeat winner of the “101 Best and Brightest Companies” and earned similar recognition from the Detroit Free Press. Inc. 5000 listed it as one of the fastest growing private companies in 2009 and 2010. “With the help of our wonderful partners at Gallagher we established a holistic view to our team members benefits, which support our core values and promote long term total wellness,” said Sam R. Simon, CEO and owner. Its employee programs include full coverage medical, wellness programming, prescription drug, dental, orthodontic, vision, etc. The company provides days off for volunteering and birthdays; subsidized lunch and clothing programs, legal services, flexible spending accounts, tuition reimbursement, life insurance and more. Atlas Oil hosts after-hours events at local restaurants and pubs where team members meet 5-7 p.m. Employees can participate in different initiatives, celebrations, or events and they receive a themed rubber duck (for example a “Red Cross” duck for its blood drive or a Hawaiian duck for its Jimmy Buffet after-hours program). At the end of the year, all ducks are signed and put into a pool. Ducks are pulled out of the pool to create up to four employee teams that compete for prizes. Starting at 9 a.m. Friday, a 15 minute meeting called “What’s Rockin’ Atlas” is webcast nationally. Then Atlas Oil has its Sammy Awards where employees nominate individuals for going above and beyond their normal duties. A team of three “Sambassadors” runs the program and each quarter an employee wins a “Sammy” in each of the five key areas -“ which are determined by the Sammy Academy (a group of 20 co-workers). “At the end of the year we will hold a Red Carpet/Black Tie Sammy Awards Ceremony where we select the Annual Sammy Award winners,” Simon said. “Winners get an all-expense paid cruise for two, airfare and transfers included along with spending money and a crystal Sammy Award for their desk.” The company also has a bonus plan, training sessions and more.

Barton Malow Co.
The construction firm Barton Malow Co. of Southfield has some 1,300 employees in 13 offices in the United States and Mexico. With annual revenues exceeding $1.5 billion, its industrial division focuses on heavy industrial customers including manufacturing, automotive, energy, renewable and other industrial facilities. Employee benefits include health and wellness programs; medical, dental and vision insurance; paid time off for holidays, vacations, and sick time; income protection including life and supplemental life insurance, dependent life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, long- and short-term disability plus long-term care insurance; health savings accounts; tuition reimbursement, professional licensing, auto discounts and more. To facilitate career progression and experiential learning, the company moves people throughout the divisions to meet business and individual development needs. “We believe in a holistic approach to employee development,” said Ben Maibach III, chairman and CEO. Job rotation, webinars and classroom training are provided. “We also encourage professional association leadership, community participation, article writing, cross-training, peer presentations and research. Collectively these opportunities help build a great company and advance career fulfillment,” he added.

The Certified Public Accounting firm of BDO USA LLP has a long history, tracing back to its founding in New York City in 1910 as Seidman & Seidman. By 1917 it had established an office in Michigan. As the firm grew over the decades it formed partnerships with other accounting firms in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany. In 1973 these firms created BDO (Binder Dijker Otte & Co.). Today, BDO USA has an office in Troy, Mich. -“ one of its 1,082 offices in 119 countries. To build a good relationship with its employees, BDO has an employee engagement survey called Pulse. The survey gives BDO employees a chance to anonymously provide feedback on everything the company does, from local leadership to firm-wide initiatives, so management can identify the effectiveness of its programs and meet the needs of its professionals. “By gathering continued feedback from our employees, we hope to create engaged employees who are motivated for continued success with BDO,” noted CEO Jack Weisbaum. “BDO also takes great strides to create, implement and sustain innovative strategies to bring out the best in our employees.” Some of these initiatives include BDO’s Total Rewards such as health, dental and vision plans, paid time off, life insurance, short-term and long-term disability coverage, plus a wellness program. The firm offers educational loans programs, travel insurance, CPA reimbursement, adoption assistance and pet insurance. Starting July 1 BDO began providing “Back-Up Dependent Care,” where employees will have access to center-based child care, in-home child care and in-home adult/elder care through Bright Horizons. Another initiative is “Secondments,” where senior associates and above have the option to work in a different BDO USA or BDO International member firm office for a period of time, ranging from three months to two years. This program allows participants to share best practices among offices and develop their professional and personal skills in a different environment, while still remaining a part of the BDO team. The firm’s internal news site, BDONews, provides information on firm news, initiatives and successes. The company offers day-to-day flex, which can be used on an as-needed basis for small changes, and a more formal flex option where an employee and his or her manager agrees upon a long-term change in where, when or how the employee works. Through “Formal Flex,” employees can work longer hours four days a week and take Fridays off, or work from home full time to save money on a long commute. BDO also provides a career counseling program, Web-based training courses, a program for new managers, and an internal leadership development program.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
With 150 hospitals and nearly 30,000 physicians in its network, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the largest insurance system in the state. Founded in 1939, the “Blues” has about 7,000 employees with 4.3 million members in Michigan and 1 million out of the state. It processes more than 81 million claims annually. “As a nonprofit, BCBSM also plays a key role in the communities we serve and whose social mission is helping people throughout Michigan build healthier lives,” said President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp. “Employees are an integral part of our social mission. Our work environment is centered on seven cultural beliefs that help align employees’ jobs with the company’s key goals.” Employees are awarded recognition and offered education opportunities. Among BCBSM’s employee initiatives are its work-life management programs such as flexible work schedules, ride share programs, and employee sponsored events. It provides onsite and offsite resources and supporting policies to help employees manage their life issues with their jobs -“ whether it’s obtaining a higher education, finding care for an aging parent or being afforded time to participate in a child’s school event. It has wellness initiatives, recognition and awards, and employee learning opportunities. For example, its award-winning First Call Resolution program helps build customer service skills, as well as saves the additional costs of second and third calls. Another example is KnowIt -“ a collaborative, social website that provides interactive information on the company, its industry and business topics targeted to all employees. “Two ongoing efforts to ensure the transfer of knowledge across employee generations are succession planning and interactive repositories of company, industry and business knowledge. BCBSM laid the ground work in 2010 for a succession planning program,” Loepp said. “The program’s purpose is to continuously fill the leadership pipeline with high-performing talent so that every leadership level has an abundant and diverse candidate pool from which to draw, thus ensuring ongoing success of the organization. Additionally, building business acumen among our employees empowers them with the knowledge needed to better serve our stakeholders and stay up-to-date in the complex ever-changing health care industry.”

The Bower Companies
A premier provider of human resource and benefit solutions. SERPEO, a division of The Bower Companies, has been “helping people succeed since 1991.” The company provides complete human resource solutions tailored to its clients’ needs. In turn, TBC gives back to its employees. “We are a small company with a lot of heart,” said CEO John Bower. “TBC managers freely give of their time to each employee.” Each manager has regular contact with employees on a daily basis. The company’s reward and recognition programs honor and employees while giving them the flexibility to balance their home and work life. These initiatives include tuition reimbursement, Spirit awards, paid time for volunteer efforts, and Bower power breakfasts that educate employees. It offers paid time off (PTO) for full- and part-time employees plus flexible work schedules, job sharing, health, dental, vision, life, and supplemental insurance programs. “TBC believes that employees are most satisfied when they are able to exceed their basic need components and focus on enhancing their lives both at work and at home,” Bower said. “We implement an individualized approach when addressing our employees wants and needs. TBC provides cost sharing programs for benefits that enable our employees to affordably care for their entire families’ health and well-being.” The company cross-trains employees within each department to understand the essential functions of critical programs and processes to ensure that knowledge is passed from one person to another.

Bridgewater Interiors LLC
Formed in 1998 as a joint venture with automotive supplier Johnson Controls Inc., Bridgewater Interiors LLC of Detroit is one of the largest African American owned companies with about 1,000 employees. It supplies car seating for General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and Honda of America and has three locations nationwide. Using the expertise of an outside consulting firm, Bridgewater annually surveys its entire workforce to assess the perspective of its employees. Feedback is collected on six key measures: involvement and belonging, communication, recognition and rewards, employee engagement, safety, and quality and continuous improvement. This data is utilized by company leadership to assess and coach managers, update internal processes, and drive better operational results. “Despite the challenged economy, survey results have improved in each of the past two years,” noted Ronald E. Hall Sr., president and CEO. “Specifically, improved communication of business results, recognition of long-serving employees and regular employee appreciation events at each of the four manufacturing facilities are among the innovative approaches we have undertaken to preserve employee morale.”

Bridgewater’s business is highly dependent upon the conscientiousness of its workers. Human craftsmanship is very important during seating system assembly, yet its customers are extremely cost conscious. To engage employees beyond traditional wage and benefits adjustments, Bridgewater has an on-site, fully engaged owner who promotes a culture that ensures employees know they are valued. Open-door access to senior management, public praise and sharing of accolades, and responsiveness to employee concerns and suggestions all contribute to an environment where people feel appreciated and know their contributions matter. The role of racial diversity in the company’s success cannot be overlooked. As a certified minority business enterprise (“MBE”), workplace rules are regularly updated to reflect input from employees, and provide as much flexibility as possible to facilitate the myriad needs and wants of employees in managing their lifestyles away from work. Bridgewater has vigorous workplace health and safety systems in place and thorough tracking metrics in place to assist senior leadership in quickly addressing any issues that arise. The company provides succession and personal development planning occurs for persons at senior through lower management, and a comprehensive quantitative evaluation process is leveraged to promote from within whenever possible. As evidence of this, many current managers are former assembly line employees. All employees have access to a tuition reimbursement program for college studies, and successful coaching of subordinates is a key component of evaluating every manager’s performance.

A staffing and training company, Brightwing of Troy has received numerous awards. In addition to being a Corp! 101 Best and Brightest Company -“ which it also won in 2009 and 2010 — it has received honors from Crain’s Detroit Business, Inc. Magazine, and Winning Workplaces. Brightwing represents more than 550 consultants and clients nationwide. The company has offices in Dallas and Weston, Fla. “At Brightwing we view people holistically and strive to promote and satisfy their educational, health/wellness and creative endeavors,” said Aaron Chernow, CEO. “Similar to a concierge service, we offer employees the ability to choose work/life programs that fit their needs as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach.” Brightwing funds employee skills development classes. For instance, consultant sales training is given to all business development managers. All employees receive communication coaching and advanced software training plus they are encouraged to apply for and maintain formal certifications and take advantage of opportunities for webinars and other educational venues. “We try and create an environment that supports the diverse health and wellness needs of our employees,” Chernow said. “We have a lactation room for nursing mothers. We also have a lounge outfitted with couches, a television and Xbox to encourage employee relaxation and decompression.” The company’s in-house workout facility is open 24 hours a day and on Mondays and Thursdays is staffed with a Yoga and Pilates instructor. A professional life coach is available on a monthly basis to all employees. Brightwing covers the cost of smoking cessation classes and regularly engages the services of a dietician, financial planner and mortgage expert for the staff.

Brown & Brown of Detroit
Sterling Heights
Brown & Brown of Detroit is a wholly owned subsidiary of Brown & Brown Inc., the nation’s seventh largest insurance intermediary, but its Michigan roots stretch back to Allied, which was founded in 1948. Headquartered in Sterling Heights, the company reaches out to its employees in a variety of ways including the yearly “state of the firm” offsite meeting, monthly town hall meetings, intranet, open door policy, and regular performance reviews. Management engages employees with paid time off and monetary awarded suggestion programs, summer and holiday outings, river cruises, and museum tours. Brown & Brown has a hiring bonus program, employee run committees, company sponsored education opportunities, and mentoring programs. “We provide organization discounts, paid Sunshine/early close days, and employee and family events, opportunities for community involvement,” said CEO Gene LoVasco. “We believe that all of the above helps to keep our employees satisfied, engaged and motivated.” The firm encourages the continued growth and development of its employees through programs such as management development, to give the resources and tools to achieve a long lasting, fulfilling career at Brown & Brown of Detroit; encouraging continued growth and development through programs such as an extensive sales program, tuition reimbursement, one-on-one mentoring program, formal training, licensing and credits, and educational seminars; plus employee recognition programs with a variety of bonus and incentive programs. The firm promotes community involvement and many employees work on school and community service projects including student mentoring programs, food and clothing drives, blood drives, jean day charity, and Habitat for Humanity. Brown & Brown strives to maintain a consistent level of service and experience. “As part of our succession plan we pair less experienced employees with more experienced and seasoned professionals,” LoVasco said. “We offer our seasoned employees the option of having reduced schedules and job sharing as they transition into retirement.”

Cambridge Consulting Group
Cambridge Consulting Group is one of the largest independent insurance agencies in Michigan. Founded in 1985 by Albert W. Papa and Ralph W. Eagle, it grew from a one-room office in Mount Clemens, to where it has a headquarters in Troy and additional offices in Grosse Point Farms, Farmington Hills, and New York. It has been named one of the best places to work in Southeast Michigan for more than five years. During the last week in April, the agency held an employee appreciation week with each day consisting of a gift from the executive team. For example one day was titled “Thanks a Latte” and each employee received a Starbucks gift card. Every Friday is bagel day and the company provides numerous lunches throughout the year. “Many of our employees have been with the company since inception and several of our top manages have become shareholder at Cambridge,” noted Al Papa, chairman. “We are creating a performance culture, built upon the foundation of teamwork and accountability. In this culture participative leadership empowers each and every employee to strive toward excellence. We are a work-hard, play-hard environment.” The agency’s benefits package includes full medical benefits, life insurance, short-term and long-term disability, 401(k) and profit sharing. Cambridge gives each employee a full three weeks of paid time off on Jan. 1 of each year regardless of how long an employee has been with the company. Employees who have been with the organization over five years receive four weeks of vacation; and over 10 years, five weeks. Employees can take advantage of flex time, starting anywhere between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and complete day between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The company also offers part-time, work from home and job sharing options. “Cambridge believes that employee retention is the key to transfer of knowledge,” Papa said. “We also encourage job shadowing to train and educate. Cambridge offers an educational assistance program.”

Cintas Corp.
Cintas Corp. operates more than 430 facilities in the North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia -“ including six manufacturing plants and eight distribution centers -“ and employs approximately 30,000 people. Family-owned, its main headquarters is in Cincinnati and its Michigan regional office is in Westland. Cintas considers every employee to be a partner, noted Scott Farmer, president and CEO. “We act with honesty and integrity in everything we do,” he said. The company’s benefits include medical, dental, vision and disability insurance; 401(k) with company match; profit sharing; an employee stock ownership plan; paid vacations and holidays; corporate discounts on goods and services, and more. Cintas is also diverse, with 42 percent of its employees women and 39 percent persons of color. “Our partners come from many countries around the world and speak more than 20 different languages,” Farmer said. “We have given many of our partners their first jobs in America. We proudly hire women and men as they complete their military service to our country.”

Clayton & McKervey PC
Clayton & McKervey PC provides accounting, tax and business advisory services to growth-driven, middle market entrepreneurs with global reach. The Southfield-based firm provides employees with opportunities for lifelong learning via internal and external trainings. With a flexible schedule, many employees can have a career, time for family and friends, and time for themselves. Clayton & McKervey uses the best technology available including the flexibility to work remotely from anywhere. With an open door environment, management keeps the staff apprised of the firm’s outlook and asks for input. “Everyone is really friendly and it’s not stuffy,” said Donald H. Clayton, managing director. “You don’t have to call me Mr. Clayton. Please call me Don. Clayton & McKervey is like a family comprised of a diverse group of employees that makes coming to work fun. There is a true sense of caring that permeates throughout the organization.” The firm’s core values include a passion to help others succeed, a can-do attitude, fun, and performance.

Community Choice Credit Union
Farmington Hills
Starting during the Great Depression by friend and neighbors who put five dollars into a fund from which anyone could borrow in time of need, Community Choice Credit Union provides its members a variety of services including savings, checking, lending, mortgages, business services, mobile banking, and more including a foundation that provides college scholarships. For its workers, the Farmington Hills-based CCCU engages its employees in a variety of ways including quarterly roundtable sessions where senior managers address subjects raised by employees, a morale committee that rewards and recognizes team members, and a leadership team that ensures coaching and development is happening. “All initiatives that are offered within the organization align with our strategic initiatives, values and our culture,” said Rob Bava, CEO. “We know that in order to truly have engaged team members, who are committed to those same business principles and satisfied, it has to be a relationship of give and take.” Employee benefit offerings include external and internal development programs. “Community Choice believes in ‘Giving Big’ to the communities we serve and our team members value that same belief,” Bava added. “We compensate (employees) with volunteer time to ‘Give Big’ to our communities. Team members are allotted up to 24 hours of paid time each year.” Give Big is the credit union’s term for its efforts to support charities. For example, this year CCCU had its third annual Give Big Weekend with a walk to support the American Diabetes Foundation, beautifying the grounds of Vista Maria, a donation to the Gleaners Community Food Bank, a walk to support the Canterberry on the Lake Senior Home, and helping to beautify Kensington Metropark. Recognition and incentive programs include incentive pay, time off and recognition lunches with the senior management team. To help with the work-life balance, CCCU has different programs such as “Choice Time” — paid time off. Paid time-off hours are rolled into one bank of hours for team members to use how they need to use it rather than dividing it between vacation and sick time. All employees are given three days off for the birth or adoption of a child. There is a “Quiet Room” at its headquarters for employees to re-group and re-focus throughout the day. No phones, pagers, or socializing are allowed in the room to truly support the “quiet” environment. Team members have utilized that room for various reasons including completing homework, reading a book, or even taking a nap while on their lunch or scheduled break time. “Flex time and 4-10 hour work days are highly encouraged when possible. This allows team members more flexibility when scheduling appointments, attending school, daycare, or just spending time rejuvenating,” Bava said. Finally, during the winter months the credit union has hosted instructors for a physical fitness “boot camp” sessions after hours for team members to attend.

Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union
Celebrating its 60th anniversary, Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union provides its members with competitive dividend rates on checking and savings accounts, as well as attractive loan rates. Its roots go back to 1951 when it was formed as the Daisy (Air Rifle) Employees Federal Credit Union. Once Daisy moved out of state in 1958, it became the Plymouth Community Federal Credit Union. Its membership range expanded over time to include several surrounding communities and after a merger in 1983 with Montsego Credit Union, it expanded its membership to Northern Michigan’s Montmorency and Otsego counties. In 2003, the Plymouth-based credit union officially changed its name to Community Financial. It has received various awards for being one of the best companies to work for in Metro Detroit for several years in a row. “We were formed sixty years ago by community members who wanted to borrow and save together,” said President and CEO Bill Lawton. “We have grown from those humble beginnings to a credit union serving over 47,000 people in several communities. We pride ourselves in proving an outstanding service experience at every opportunity we are given.”

Computer and Engineering Services (CES) Inc.
Rochester Hills
Computer and Engineering Services (CES) Inc. of Rochester Hills provides professional staffing services to Fortune 500 companies in diverse industries nationwide including automotive, aerospace, banking, architectural, government, pharmaceutical and service. Its skilled candidates have successfully passed a stringent, quality controlled hiring process. They are personally interviewed, reference checked and skill assessed. CES is ISO 9001:2008 certified and all full-time employees are offered a competitive compensation package.

Computer Consultants of America
Incorporated in 1994, Computer Consultants of America is a “Woman Owned” firm certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Based in Southfield, it specializes in building sophisticated business software. “CCI constantly strives to improve our employees’ experience through innovative and competitive compensation and benefits,” noted John Wheeland, chairman and CEO. CCI offers the employees medical, dental, flexible spending, dependent care reimbursement, life insurance, group long-term disability, short-term disability, lead generation bonus, vision benefits, and more. Within a month of employment, workers automatically receive up to 16 hours of paid time off. For the year, employees have up to 24 hours of paid time off for vacation, personal or sick time. CCI does not believe in a use-it or lose-it policy so unused hours can be rolled over into the next year. “CCI believes in investing for the future with our employees,” Wheeland said. “We provide a tax deferred pension plan based on the 401(k) regulation of the Internal Revenue Code to help employees plan for a financially sound future.” CCI’s plan allows the employees to contribute anything from 1 percent to 100 percent of their pay on a pre-tax basis, with some corporate matching funds too. Employees can receive various discounts on goods and services, including credit union, General Motors Corp., BMW, Verizon, Brook’s Brothers, and GMAC Insurance. “CCI is built around our employees,” Wheeland said. “Our organization encourages all employees to achieve higher education and training to keep current with the ever changing technical advances. This includes career planning and unlimited dollars based on client needs.” The company provides assistance in both the planning of personal development as well as provides financial assistance as a reward. CCI’s culture promotes family and a work-life balance such as company sponsored events and social activities in which many employees are respected and acknowledged.

Computerized Facility Integration LLC
Providing consulting and information technology integration services for corporate real estate and facilities customers, Computerized Facility Integration LLC of Southfield was founded in 1990. CFI uses several approaches to keep employees satisfied, such as a fun but exciting work environment that is free from the stresses of layoffs and downsizing. How? CFI’s annual growth rate exceeds 20 percent. It promotes a “team first” mentality that encourages mentorship and peer support. “We also value employee input -“ requesting feedback several times a year and evaluating it regularly,” said President Robert Verdun. Its compensation and a benefit package includes 401(k), medical, dental, life and disability insurance plus paid holidays, vacation, and sick time. The company offers flex scheduling as well as the option to work remotely. “Our largest office is actually ‘home offices.’ This allows employees the ability to avoid a commute and manage the rest of their lives while still contributing to the company in a very real way,” Verdun added. Continued training is highly recommended through several internal programs such as CFI University. CFI University educates employees on the goals, processes, service offerings, philosophies, techniques, applications and the company’s mission. The program has an orientation program, boot camps, business management training, technical training, and other courses.

Compuware Corp.
Compuware Corp. of Detroit was founded in 1973 and serves the world’s leading IT organizations, including 46 of the top 50 Fortune 100 corporations. With more than 4,100 employees in 75 offices and 30 countries Compuware offers extensive training and development programs along with a corporate commitment to promoting from within. The company has a host of benefit package to set a rhythm between work, lifestyle and personal needs including leave of absence programs; flexible work arrangements; free, confidential, 24-hour access to professional advice on a variety of topics; while “Commuter Assistance” provides information about a variety of potential cost-saving commuter options. There are extras for U.S. employees including the group legal plan that provides legal assistance for many common legal needs; voluntary group insurance discount programs allow employees to save money purchasing insurance, including auto, home, renters, long-term care and pet insurance; employee discounts for health/fitness clubs, vehicle purchases, entertainment, mortgage/financial services, and more. There is a wellness program plus personal learning programs on financial planning and college saving. Compuware C.A.R.E. provides a single point of contact for quick and correct answers to human resource, payroll, professional development and other related questions. Also, employees can access their payroll and W-2 statements via the Web at any time of any day. Its world headquarters employees have additional perks including a 40,000-square-foot fitness facility with professional-level strength equipment, cardiovascular machines, racquetball courts, indoor track and a full-size basketball court; on-site daycare for children aged 6 weeks through kindergarten, as well as holiday and summer care programs for school-aged children (6-12 years old); a medical clinic, chiropractic and physical, occupational and massage therapy; etc. “We’re innovative, we’re fun, we’re motivated and we share and deliver on common goals and objectives achieved through collaboration and hard work,” noted Peter Karmanos, chairman and CEO. “Employees worldwide spend countless hours volunteering for a variety of charitable organizations-¦ and inclusion is not a stand-alone initiative, nor is it a special program-”it is who we are.”-¨

Delta Staffing
Delta Staffing of Clarkston works to provide the ideal environment for both the client and contract employee. Its precision hiring system finds the proper candidates suited for clients. Delta recruiters have technical backgrounds as engineers, designers, programmers and managers in high-tech automotive, IT, aerospace and military organizations. As an employee of Delta Staffing, for every hour worked, you earn paid time-off credits, noted Brad McKouen, president, who is nicknamed “Mr. Delta.” Full-time employees can earn up to two weeks paid vacation time for every 50 weeks of 40 hours worked. Delta Staffing also provides full-time employees paid time off for many holidays after 30 days of employment. An array of health, dental and vision benefits are available to contract employees.

DeMaria Building Co.
A multiple year winner of the “Best and Brightest” award, the DeMaria Building Co. was incorporated in 1969 and handles construction projects ranging from $50,000 to $50 million. The Detroit firm’s expertise includes creating assisted senior living, athletics and entertainment, automotive, energy, medical, manufacturing, education, laboratory, multi-unit housing, municipal, parking, research and development, university, and waste water management structures. “Talented individuals who work well in teams are committed to exceeding client expectations,” said President Joseph A. DeMaria Jr. “This is the culture of DeMaria. Professional excellence is continuously promoted. So strong is this belief, DeMaria promotes employee growth and advancement through regular training, reimbursement of continuing education, rewards and recognition programs, and career advancement opportunities.”

Detroit Athletic Club
Established in 1915 to “get the men of the automobile industry out of the saloons on Woodward Avenue” (as the president of the Packard Motor Car Co. and DAC member No. 1, Henry B. Joy once joked), the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC) is one of the premier organizations with a membership roll that includes a number of Detroit’s regional business leaders. “Work is a social activity and the DAC is a social organization that is well suited for providing an environment that emphasizes relationship building and camaraderie,” said J.G. “Ted” Gillary, DAC’s executive manager. “Because we have a great kitchen and culinary staff, a lot of our social moments have to do with food. We provide meals, eat together, and enjoy special staff appreciation days when management cooks and serves.” The club provides clear expectations for work performance and thorough training. Management holds open discussions on how to improve as a team from regular broad-based meetings to one-on-one personal progress interviews; it assures that information is accurate and timely for continuous improvement both at the team and personal levels. A multi-year winner of the “Best and Brightest” award, the DAC has earned many other accolades. A personal approach is evident at the DAC, with employee birthdays being recognized with a personal card from Gillary, and help when a funeral or illness occurs within employees’ families. The club recognizes its employees have personal lives outside the building and tries to help them find a good work-life balance.

DFCU Financial
DFCU Financial is Michigan’s largest credit union. Headquartered in Dearborn, it has issued $90 million in dividends for five consecutive years -“ the largest amount in its history. The credit union, with $3 billion in assets, has an employee activities committee to provide after-hours/weekend activities for its employees and their families including, sporting events, movies, zoo trips, amusement parks, cider mills and more. “The majority of our team members participate in activities,” said Mark Shobe, president and CEO. “Given the economic climate in Michigan, our gainsharing program is likely the exception, not the rule.” Gainsharing, based upon the organization’s profitability, is awarded in addition to merit increases. DFCU’s Branch Team Development program provides career development through training and work proficiencies. Annually there are all-employee “in-service” days to provide information about the credit union’s performance and future projections. “We truly value our employees and do what we can to provide them with training and competitive salaries and benefits,” Shobe noted. “Of great value to employees is our robust benefits program.” DFCU funds 88 percent of medical benefits while other benefits, such as dental, are 100 percent funded. It offers employees flexible scheduling for personal reasons or to attend school, employee activities, and a paid time-off program -“ three weeks after the first year of employment. The credit union has an in-house training department, and opportunities for employees to participate in cross training and job rotation.

Digitas won the Metro Detroit Elite Award for Recognition and Retention.

Digitas of Detroit is a supplier of integrated strategy, technology and marketing solutions to Internet-based, e-commerce companies. “Digitas believes strongly that, in addition to the benefits provided to the employee to increase the quality of life outside of their work environment, we owe it to our dedicated employees to provide them with benefits that add to the quality of their lives at work,” noted CEO Laura Lang. The company’s “Reward & Recognition” (R&R) program acknowledges employees who have gone “above and beyond by taking on additional job responsibilities, exhibited excellent leadership, or have worked extensive overtime. The company’s “Recognition Time” program allows managers to give employees additional time off when they sacrifice personal time to get the job done. Digitas also recognizes employees who have reached their one, three-, five-, ten-, 15-, 20- and 25-year anniversaries. The Detroit office honors employees on their birthdays and anniversaries with a celebration featuring homemade cake. Digitas honors employees through its annual “Heart of the Company” award to one individual in each office who was nominated by their peers for inspiring others to take action. The recipient receives an engraved glass heart. “Our leadership team conducts informal coffee chats with small groups to get to know employees personally and understand what’s important to them” Lang said. “Quarterly focus groups are held by the HR team to assess employee satisfaction and listen to their thoughts regarding process improvements, training and development needs and best practices.” Digitals provides an anonymous question box and a public journal for sharing relaxation tips. Recognizing that community involvement activities help keep employees feeling fulfilled, the company encourages its staff members to host charitable efforts internally while also supporting their participation externally. “Our staff owns and leads activities like birthday parties, peer-nominated awards, sports teams and team outings,” Lang added. “Staff involvement in affinity groups, volunteer and fundraising activities and their own personal development encourages employees to take ownership in creating a unique office culture and community focused organization.”

Domino’s Pizza
Ann Arbor
Domino’s Pizza began nearly 50 years ago as one small pizza shop in Ypsilanti. Today it has more than 9,000 stores worldwide in more than 60 markets. “That kind of growth doesn’t happen by accident,” noted Chairman and former CEO Dave Brandon. “It takes leadership, commitment and an ever-evolving team of passionate people who love what they do. Our success is accomplished when our exceptional team members wow our customers.” Domino’s has more than 170,000 employees in 600 corporate-owned stores, a system of more than 5,000 domestic franchise-owned stores and international franchise base that operates more than 4,000 stores. There are 13,000 corporate employees, with some 400 who work at its headquarters in Ann Arbor. A repeat winner of the “101 Best and Brightest” award, the company has earned recognition from Entrepreneur magazine as third on its list of America’s Top Global Franchises and No. 1 in the pizza category. Domino’s was named “Chain of the Year” by Pizza Today magazine, the leading publication of the pizza industry. It’s also important to Domino’s for employees to have a good work-life balance, so they offer benefits, such as adoption assistance, bonus days given to extend summer holiday weekends (known as Domino’s Days), free use of the fitness center, and mother’s room. On-site conveniences offered to the Domino team members include dry cleaning, hair salon, post office, manicures and massages, cafeteria, free parking and free coffee and soda.

DTE Energy
The Detroit-based electrical and natural gas utility DTE Energy avoided broad layoffs in response to the recent recession by redeploying employees from areas where less staff were needed to areas where the company could make opportunities available. In some cases, employees were asked to fill new roles and responsibilities and the utility’s workers stepped up to the challenge. “Redeployment has been a win-win proposal for employees and for DTE Energy -“ helping us keep dedicated employees, and building their loyalty and appreciation. Thus far, DTE Energy has successfully re-deployed over 250 employees,” noted Gerry Anderson, chairman, president and CEO. “During the economic crisis, while businesses around us laid off masses of employees or slashed benefits, we asked our employees to help identify $150 million in sustainable cost and revenue improvements. And they did it.” Two years ago, the utility has set the goal of reaching “top decile” status in the Gallup Survey’s employee engagement rankings of energy companies. The company’s priorities include building an engaged workforce, continuous improvement, and achieving the highest level of customer satisfaction. Conducting an annual engagement survey of all employees, DTE Energy analyzes issues and creates action plans to improve engagement. Every company leader attends a two-day “Engaging Leadership” program that teaches them new concepts, skills and techniques. “We train a cadre of ‘engagement champions’ embedded throughout each business unit who encourage, coach, train, and ensure application of the Engaging Leadership concepts and skills by leaders,” Anderson said. Plus there are “strength coaches” who advise leaders on how to understand and utilize each employee’s strengths. And all managers receive continuous improvement training. The utility also has a wellness program for employees and encourages teams to do community service projects.

Easter Seals of Michian is presented their Elite Award for Community Initiatives.

Easter Seals Michigan
Auburn Hills
Easter Seals Michigan is the leading nonprofit provider of services for individuals with disabilities, mental illnesses, emotional impairments, autism and other special needs. Since 1920, the Auburn Hills-based Easter Seals has helped Michigan families. Recognition, engagement, as well as a competitive compensation and benefit package, are all key components found in the successful employee retention practices at Easter Seals Michigan’s (ESM). Easter Seals’ workforce engagement initiatives encourage employee dialogue, enhance performance and improve communication. In addition to traditional, employment acknowledgment events like family picnics, service award ceremonies and staff retreat, there is a peer recognition program. Employees present “You Rock” cards to co-workers who go above and beyond their required job responsibilities. A copy of the “You Rock” card is given to the employee’s supervisor and the agency’s CEO. Staff members who received the “You Rock” cards are entered into special prize drawings held during monthly staff meetings. The distinctive program promotes both camaraderie and performance affirmation. “Our staff is what makes Easter Seals such a great place to work,” said Brent Wirth, president and CEO. “They’re energetic, compassionate and loyal -“ not only to the people we serve -“ but to each other. One of the most important aspects of our culture as an agency is the understanding that each individual employed by Easter Seals represents a necessary component to the team’s success in supporting and serving people with disabilities.” The agency provides several, advanced resources for employees to further their skills through on-site training and professional development programs. For example, DiSC is a dialogue and development tool used to identify employee strengths, promote teamwork and help provide them with a better understanding of their own behavior and how it can be modified to improve job performance. Easter Seals’ comprehensive and competitive benefit programs effectively respond to the need for “family-friendly” and “employee-friendly” benefit packages. The diverse options help meet the changing needs of its workforce, while assisting employees in successfully balancing their work and personal lives.

Educational Data Systems Inc.
Educational Data Systems Inc. is a diversified services company that provides workforce development program services, management consulting services and workforce consulting services. Founded in 1979, the Dearborn-based company has placed more than 25,000 individuals into jobs. EDSI’s network currently employs more than 400 people in eight states and Washington D.C. in the manufacturing, automotive, public transit, utilities, aerospace, logistics, transportation, building and construction, retail, food service, and training business sectors. “EDSI managers go to great lengths to be exceptional listeners,” noted Kevin Schnieders, CEO. “The individual employee always comes first.” During quarterly and annual reviews, each person is asked about his/her satisfaction level within and outside of work. Every effort is made to have employees engaged in work that brings energy and happiness 90 percent of the time. The “Predictive Index” assessment tool is used to understand an individual’s specific behaviors and motivations. When employees are happy and engaged, and their individual talents and interests are put in the best possible place, the overall company is more effective. The company’s three core values are show up, smile and support one another. “You have to show up to be relevant,” Schnieders said. “When we do, clients come to trust our consistency. We arrive at all of our meetings on time, and work hard to end those meetings in a timely fashion. At EDSI, smiling means always looking for a solution. If we are taking a positive perspective that something can be done, we will find our path to the right answers.” All employees are encouraged to participate in at least one community service event each year. Employees look forward to group outings, such as baseball games, bowling, picnics, Laser tag and more. EDSI provides a flex program where employees can work 80 hours in nine days and have a day off every other week, tuition reimbursement for additional education, plus “lunch and learns” to help employees with issues such as better nutrition and financial planning. Surveys are sent out regularly to obtain feedback on how employees feel about the company.

Employees Only
Auburn Hills
Employees Only of Auburn Hills is a human resource outsourcing company. It handles its clients’ non-core business functions that are required by federal, state and local rules including payroll and payroll tax processing, insurance, benefit administration, human resource requirements mandated by law and workers’ compensation. “Our company strives to continually upgrade and respond to the needs of its staff,” said Mario D. Apruzzese, CEO. Recognizing the need to offer a work environment that attracts top talent, the company’s employees programs include flexible and mobile work schedules. Mobile access and a shared electronic file system allow employees and customers to always remain in contact while receiving the most up-to-date information. Employees Only offers reimbursement for educational expenses, encourages certifications and professional degrees, as well as, provides monthly employee recognition, rewards, and gifts for outstanding performance. Finally, in an effort to truly listen and respond to our employees, an internal non-management employee group was formed to bring new ideas for improving their workplace to management. “Our overall goal is to provide a responsive and flexible work environment that encompasses our needs for a highly trained and productive staff, with employees’ needs for a good work-life balance,” Apruzzese said.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Farmington Hills
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a subsidiary of Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental agency in North America. Enterprise Holdings is headquartered in St. Louis but it has regional subsidiaries, such as in Michigan. The company has been listed as one of the top entry level employers by CollegeGrad.com. It has won numerous other accolades including being a previous “Best and Brightest” awardee.

The Epitec Group
The Epitec Group of Southfield is a technology services and staffing provider, serving not only companies looking for the right people but also its own employees. For the fifth time, Epitec’s employees designated the company as one of the “Best and Brightest” companies to work for. “Employees are not only our biggest asset but our core business, so our various approaches to keeping employees satisfied, both individually and as groups, are very significant,” said Jerry Sheppard, founder and CEO. “The Human Resources team ensures that Epitec remains a best-in-class employer and human resources team. The awards that we receive are critical to retain year after year. We have a reputation for caring about our employees… Even while our economy changes, our strong commitment to our valuable employees never will.” Epitec empowers each person to contribute through formal and measurable processes using best-in-class tools and a high performance workspace. It embraces change, encourages forward-thinking, and recognizes that both our customers and employees represent the infrastructure of its organization. “We value proactive interaction, timely feedback and meaningful communication with our customers, employees, and partners,” Sheppard added. Every Epitec Group employee receives a customized compensation package that is built utilizing an ala carte menu system. Employees choose among options such as pay rate, amount of paid time off, holiday pay options and insurance participation options. Depending on the assigned client, employees may have flexible work hours that can include a summer hours program. When possible, telecommuting is made available to employees wishing to work from home.

ePrize LLC
Pleasant Ridge
Founded in 1999, ePrize LLC of Pleasant Ridge creates promotional and loyalty programs for its clients, the company expanded into the social media and mobile marketing channels to allow brands to reach consumers through a suite of online and interactive promotions. When Matt Wise joined as CEO in 2010 he focused the company on strategically expanding its offerings to integrate social networks, micro sites, and mobile communications. ePrize’s “mess hall” program allows employees to order food from up to three restaurants daily, have it delivered directly to the office, while the cost is automatically deducted from their pay. Laptops and iPhones are provided to virtually all team members allowing them the freedom to work and meet anywhere, such as our outside sundeck or at one of our two large kitchens. If people want to sit outside in the sun and work, they are encouraged to do so. “If they would like to sprawl out on a couch to get their work done, we provide spaces that will allow them to do that,” Wise said. “We have a La-Z-Boy lounge and a number of other areas outside of typical desk spaces. Our intranet has a link that lists out all of the ongoing perks for team members.” These perks include clothing and other retail discounts, travel (hotel and vacation packages), cars, insurance, technology and cell phone plan discounts, restaurants, etc. Unlike most companies, ePrize does not block Facebook or other social media sites. In fact, employees are required to spend at least 30 minutes a day on social networking sites to stay in touch with others and keep informed of media trends. “ePrize’s greatness comes from our staff, therefore it is important to us that our team members have time to relax, therefore we offer weekly onsite massages and a number of social activities throughout the year that include eating contests, celebrations, spirit week, etc. Our dress code in virtually anything you could imagine. We provide the flexibility to allow team members to dress the way they want to show their individuality,” Wise added.

Etkin LLC
Etkin LLC of Southfield is a commercial real estate firm that develops, acquires, manages and markets office, industrial, retail, hotel and mixed-use properties. Formed in 1982, the company also handles fee-based property management and development services on behalf of third party owners. The 2011 “Best and Brightest” award marks the fourth year that the company has received this honor from the Michigan and Professional Association. The firm uses many, different approaches to keep employees satisfied, including treating employees like individuals not like one large group. Flexibility and an open-door policy helps. More than 20 different perks and discounts save employees’ time and money. Additionally Etkin supports continuing education programs and encourages employees to continue skills training, noted Curtis B. Burstein, president.

Family Home Health Services
Providing medical care to those who are injured, aged or disabled, Family Home Health Services of Plymouth employs registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and medical social workers. Its specialty programs focus on diabetic management, fall prevention, emotional wellness, and transitional care. “At Family Home Health Services, we have a strong belief that it is our duty to provide the best benefits available at the most affordable prices,” said CEO Kevin Ruark. “We know that health insurance rates are expensive but necessary. We gladly pay the employee premium for all full-time employees on both their health, dental and vision insurance. This allows our employees to worry less about their own health and more about our patients.” FHHS works to provide cutting edge tax-free benefits to its employees through a flexible savings account, health savings account through Blue Cross Blue Shield and 401(k). To encourage long term retirement savings, FHHS matches, dollar-for-dollar, an employee’s contribution up to 4 percent of his annual compensation. Every full-time employee automatically receives $25,000 in life insurance for themselves, $10,000 for their spouse and $5,000 for each child. FHHS provides long-term disability coverage, through MetLife, for all of full-time employees plus paid short-term disability benefits. The company hosts a variety of annual events such as our company softball game, sponsored benefit 5k and marathon runs, serving Thanksgiving meals to seniors, Christmas breakfast and Secret Santa celebrations. The company also offers performance-based incentives.

The Farbman Group
The Farbman Group is one of the largest full-service real estate organizations in the Midwest. With more than 200 real estate professionals, the Southfield firm’s services include brokerage, property management, development and construction. Making sure that employees have a voice in the organization, the “Farbman Think Tank” is a program that gives employees the chance to talk about ideas, problems and solutions to help improve the company in an open forum format. Another program, “Farbman Bright Idea,” allows employees to submit an idea to help the company and every quarter these ideas are reviewed and a prize is awarded the individual whose idea is selected as the winner. The company also supports a number of charity programs aimed at helping the well-being of its employees, clients and the community. For example, it has partnered on walks to support the American Diabetes Association, sent care packages to soldiers as part of the “Thank a Soldier” project, held the “Pennies from Heaven” benefit to support Homeward Bound, which is an animal rescue organization, and more.

Fifth Third Bank, Eastern Michigan
Fifth Third Bank, Eastern Michigan is metropolitan Detroit’s sixth largest bank and has $6.37 billion in assets, $4.6 billion in deposits, $1.2 billion in custody assets, and actively manages $611 million for its personal, corporate, and not-for-profit clients. With its eastern Michigan headquarters in Southfield, the bank serves customers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Shiawassee, Livingston, Genesee and Washtenaw counties. It has banking centers and more than 120 ATMs throughout the region. The Fifth Third name has stood for high performance and great service for more than 100 years. Fifth Third’s roots go back to 1858, when the Bank of the Ohio Valley was formed in Cincinnati. That bank became the Third National Bank in 1871 and merged with the Fifth National Bank in 1908 creating the Fifth Third name.

Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc.
Farmington Hills
Established in 1956, Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc. (FTC&H) employs more than 360 people, who provide a full range of civil engineering, environmental, architectural engineering, construction management and related services to both public and private clients. “One key aspect of employee satisfaction comes from our commitment to remain employee-owned, to control our own destiny and not be managed from afar,” noted James A. Susan, president. “Our staff appreciates the ability to work on complex technical projects that challenge themselves and their team.” Based in Farmington Hills, FTC&H supports continuing education, training, and certifications to enhance their professional career, which adds to the firm’s accreditation. The firm continually supports upgrades to software and equipment so staff members have the most up-to-date tools. The availability to work with flexibility around their personal and family schedules as well as the confidence that many can work from home also has added satisfaction to staff. “Our employee-ownership and the general work itself leads to satisfaction and challenges that our staff thrive on,” Susan said. “The general sense of accomplishment and the effects their projects have on the communities they live in provide for a feeling of affiliation to our firm.” FTC&H consistently seeks improvement and progress. The firm’s core values include enthusiasm and intensity; honesty and integrity; innovation and excellence; a concern and respect for people and their personal and professional growth; and exceptional client service.

Flagstar Bank
Flagstar Bank of Troy is one of the largest banking institutions headquartered in the Midwest, with assets in excess of $12.7 billion. It has nearly 3,000 employees at 162 banking centers in Michigan, Indiana and Georgia. “Flagstar is more than just a place to work; it’s a community of professionals who are truly committed to the growth of the company and have an invested interest in its success,” said Joseph P. Campanelli, chairman of the board, president and CEO. “It’s a place where ambitious, smart, and independent people can make their mark.”

Gallagher Benefit Services
Bingham Farms
Gallagher Benefit Services of Michigan is a subsidiary of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., which plans, designs, and administers a full array of customized, property and casualty insurance plus risk management programs. The company assists clients in all areas of their employee health/welfare and retirement plans, such as plan design, funding and administration. Based in Bingham Farms, Gallagher Benefit Services uses a number of “other than salary” incentives to reward employees and keep them engaged, including full-time “business casual” dress to save its people money and maximize their comfort during the work day; a “Fridays off in July” program allowing everyone to take three-day weekends with full pay; monthly “50/50” raffle drawings; monthly “Wine-Down” Thursdays where the office closes at 3:30 p.m. and employees enjoy beer, wine and cheese in our board room; in-office concierge service for dry cleaning; summer internship opportunities for both high school and college students; in-office social activities including NCAA basketball, Super Bowl and Tiger broadcasts and lunches; and more.

“We recognize the need to transfer knowledge from our seasoned baby boomer leadership team to the next generation of leaders in our industry,” noted James W. Durkin Jr., president. “Toward that end, we developed a paid college intern program for six students each summer.” Encompassing a nine week period, the internship program offers future students a paid summer job in a business office environment, opportunities to meet and work directly with team members at all levels of the company, a chance to do a meaningful “live” project work as opposed to clerical tasks, mentoring opportunities and more. “Over the years, we’ve hired 60 percent of our former interns upon graduation from college,” Durkin said. “We are very proud of this program, and believe that it represents a pro-active and intelligent investment in the next generation, as well as in our community.” Other Gallenger employee benefits include a full range of health and welfare coverage, 401(k) with company match (never suspended), generous “paid time off” program, employee stock purchase program and numerous discount programs through company, tuition reimbursement for selected, business related course work, and a chance to select from multiple Gallagher locations throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and South America. Gallagher operates from offices throughout the United States and in six other countries, as well as through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants in more than 100 countries.

Garden City Hospital
Garden City
Garden City Hospital, in the Detroit suburb of Garden City, has been recognized as a “Best and Brightest” company four straight years and has received other awards including being ranked as a Top 100 teaching hospital in the nation with 200 or more acute-care beds. The hospital’s “KUDOS” program recognizes staff and volunteers who go above and beyond their duties. The American Heart Association recognized Garden City with a National Gold Achievement Award, designating it as a “fit friendly” company. There is continued growth and participation in its wellness programs with 400 employees participating in third annual Pedometer Challenge, and it held its third annual employee wellness fair.

Ghafari Associates LLC
Ghafari Associates LLC is a fully-integrated firm with diverse experience and offices located around the world, offering a variety of services including architecture, complete engineering capabilities, construction and consulting. Its Dearborn headquarters has been recognized as one of the Detroit region’s “Best and Brightest Companies” for several years. This year, its Chicago office also received a “Best and Brightest” award. The firm has earned a reputation of excellence by recruiting top talent and promoting continuous improvement. It encourages employees to develop their skills and further their education through in-house training programs, continuing education and seminars, undergraduate and graduate tuition reimbursement, and professional registration and membership reimbursement.

Gordon Advisors PC
Established in 1954, Gordon Advisors PC is one of Michigan’s leading public accounting and business consulting firms, offering a full complement of services from business financial and tax advice to accounting, auditing and information technology services. Gordon also received the “Best and Brightest” award from 2001-2006, and in 2009 and 2010. The firm has many programs for its employees, including a wellness program, a health newsletter, and encourages its people to participate in the Detroit Marathon and other activities. They offer employees flexible hours through their “flex program” in order to tend to family and personal commitments. In preparation for the knowledge transfer to younger employees, Gordon Advisors has implemented its Emerging Leaders Academy.

Grant Thornton LLP
Grant Thornton LLP of Detroit specializes in auditing, management consulting, corporate finance, risk management and information technology. To retain the talent, Grant focuses on its people as much a priority as is delivering the Grant Thornton Experience for its clients, noted Stephen Chipman, CEO of the U.S. operations. This translates into five key areas: offering meaningful and challenging work assignments, providing career development to support their professional growth, recognizing what work its people do and paying them fairly, creating an environment where people feel connected and appreciated, and fostering a culture of pride. “Coaching is a critical component in delivering the Grant Thornton Experience for our people and our clients,” Chipman said. “All of our people are assigned to a coach who will act as a facilitator to understand the firm’s culture, an advisor to assist in career development, and a mentor to foster an environment of trust and respect as well as an evaluator to provide performance feedback.” Annually, the firm gives employees the chance to provide confidential feedback; leadership reviews and acts upon such comments. Each quarter the firm recognizes those that have gone above and beyond in a communication to the office with gifts, such as tickets to a Tigers game, plus partners informally write out personalized thank you notes. Grant Thornton also has created the “Stay Connected” program so even if someone leaves for a period of time, they can remain in contact with the firm. The program allows those who qualify and who have voluntarily left the firm access to technology and resources for up to five years after separation, continuing education and networking opportunities.

Greenleaf Trust
Greenleaf Trust of Birmingham is one of Michigan’s few trust-only banks and has more than 70 employees working in offices in Kalamazoo, Holland, Grand Rapids, Southeast Michigan and Northern Michigan. It provides asset management for trusts, estate settlement and comprehensive trust administration services. Greenleaf views its offices as communities of team members who look out for each other not just at work but on a personal level, noted Ronald N. Kilgore, CEO and senior trust officer. Greenleaf’s “Diamond Drops” program is a formal way of recognizing employees who exemplified the bank’s core values and gone above and beyond. “We hold one another accountable for our actions and we have fun together,” Kilgore said. “As we continue to grow, we seek to provide opportunities at all levels to engage each other and strengthen the cohesiveness of our team, within and beyond the workday. This esprit de corps creates a family feeling bond that compels us to help one another with anything that needs to be done to ensure the greatest benefit to our clients and to each other.” The bank strives to communicate with its employees and clients, but underpinning these worthwhile initiatives is its embrace of continuous improvement. All Greenleaf Trust team members are encouraged to participate in internal work groups that research and implement best practices and actions. Workgroup leaders communicate progress to the entire team on a monthly basis at all-staff meetings, present their findings to the executive team every six months, and provide an in-depth review of progress at the year-end company-wide strategic planning meeting. One of its workgroups, “Communication & Culture,” was created as a result of employee feedback in 2005 that identified the need for greater communication among employees and management. The bank has an employee of the month program, while other activities include a family-focused event in October where employees can bring their families to the office for crafts, snacks and games; a bagel and coffee event that welcomes new employees; monthly “Get to Know You” team-building activities; an annual summer barbeque; monthly birthday breakfast celebrations, and more. Throughout the year, there are opportunities for employees to participate in department-specific training programs such as talent-development coaching sessions. Greenleaf Trust has been creative in its employee work schedules for various and beneficial reasons. “We enable working moms to have a compressed week so as to allow for more time at home with their family,” Kilgore said. “We also provide remote access for those traveling or working from home for personal reasons. We do everything within reason to accommodate reduced work schedules.”

GreenStone Farm Credit Services
East Lansing
With 37 branches throughout Michigan and Wisconsin, GreenStone Farm Credit Services is America’s seventh largest association in the Farm Credit System. Headquartered in East Lansing, GreenStone provides financial services to the agricultural industry including equipment and building leases, life insurance, crop insurance, accounting, tax, and appraisal services residential and country home loans. “At Greenstone innovation is not about inventing the wheel,” said David B. Armstrong, president and CEO. “We take best practice ideas and customize them to the unique needs and desires of our employee population.” Since Greenstone is a financial cooperative owned by its members, it maintains long term relationships with them and the employees who serve them. “Leaders at GreenStone feel a responsibility to the preservation of our Employee Value Proposition even during times of economic stress like we experienced in 2008/2009,” Armstrong noted. “In fact during that time, we did not lay off talent, have a hiring freeze, or cut pay and/or benefits.” GreenStone carefully and constantly analyzes workforce demographics, strategic recruiting and ongoing skill development in its succession management practices. It recruits new talent while developing its current staff members so knowledge can be transferred over several years.

G-Tech Services Inc.
Founded in 1986, G-Tech Services Inc. is a staffing firm that places highly technical professionals with client firms on a contract and direct hire basis. G-Tech Services expresses the company’s culture and values to its employees during the beginning of their employment at a full orientation. They want to have a positive work environment that acknowledges the relationship of high performance and a balanced work and personal life. Besides encouraging a healthy lifestyle for all employees, G-Tech Services believes in cross-training their staff and to share knowledge throughout the company. The company also brings in young, college graduates giving them opportunities to be mentored and grow in their careers.

Halo Group
Halo Group of Novi was founded in April 2004 by Bradley Waite, George Moilanen and Camille Elliott. They started Halo on the simple premise that leading organizations will always require experienced information technology experts. Their goal was to build strong relationships with clients and the local IT community providing clients and candidates with a single source for IT services. Remarkably, the company was profitable by its second month of operation, and has grown considerably every quarter since its inception. The company has also won numerous awards.

Harada Industry of America Inc.
Harada Industry of America Inc. of Novi is a subsidiary of Harada of Japan, a supplier of antenna systems for many of the world’s major automakers. For 2011, Harada enhanced its employee benefits package in several ways including expanded medical care options with the choice of either an HMO or a PPO medical benefits plan; a bonus program for all employees based on company, departmental and individual performance objectives; and a flex schedule program where employees can start work as early as 6:30 a.m. or as late as 10:00 a.m., which allows them to choose a schedule that best fits their personal and family needs, along with any commuting variables. “We maintain a family-oriented working environment where our team members genuinely feel that they are a part of the Harada ‘family’ -“ to be achieved via our family values system, robust company culture, and keeping the fun in the family,” said Paul Sasaki, president. “Harada values and strives to take all necessary steps to protect and maintain employment security, as it is integral that the ‘family’ feels they are being taken care of.” The company has recognition initiatives, competitive compensation, benefits, and advancement opportunities. Harada’s “three-winged” approach for future organizational resources planning includes procedural reference documentation, executive management succession planning, and organizational succession planning. Standardized documentation serves as reference material for the ongoing performance of work functions and for the training and the transfer of knowledge among team members. This supplements its ISO/TS 16949 quality management system (which emphasizes defect prevention plus the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain) and Sarbanes-Oxley documentation control requirements. “As part of succession planning at Harada, we take measures to identify potential future lead and executive management candidates,” Sasaki said. “These individuals will undergo development and mentoring activities, to strengthen their skills and capabilities for future opportunities -“ derived either from traditional business growth opportunities or via executive management succession planning recruitment activities, as contained within the succession plan.” To enhance the overall team-oriented family and work environment, Harada provides a wide spectrum of employee activities such as health screenings, wellness fairs, summer barbeques, Hawaiian Luau, holiday parties, cultural pot-lucks, and so on. Harada partners with local vendors to offer free or discounted items, such as dancing lessons and golf lessons. Additional benefits are made available as part of corporate memberships with various organizations, such as the Michigan Business and Professional Association (MBPA).

Harley Ellis Devereaux
Founded in 1908, the architectural firm Harley Ellis Devereaux handles all facets of architecture, from planning and design to construction, plus offers strategic planning, program management, real estate services, sustainable design, quality review and construction services. “We believe that one key to employment satisfaction in our industry is to ensure every employee understands their unique contribution to design and to provide employees an opportunity for new project experiences and professional growth,” said Gary L. Skog, who is the firm’s principal and a member of the board of directors. “To that end, we have identified and promoted a focus on client intimacy and our ‘one firm network’ as two of eight key elements in our defined business strategy. Because each client and project is unique, allowing team members to interact with clients in order to gain a specific knowledge of their needs and then to share their professional expertise to create a collaborative deliverable that exceeds client expectations, helps keep our employees engaged in the work, creates passion around the deliverable, and ultimately leads to satisfaction about their contribution in association with the firm.” The focus on “one firm network” helps employees to create synergies across office boundaries, leading to more personal and professional bonds throughout the organization. These enhanced relationships and sharing of knowledge, help maintain and develop employee satisfaction based on positive personal and professional experiences. “We also share candid business communication throughout the firm to help employees understand management decisions and every employee’s role in the company’s progress,” Skog said.

The Harvard Drug Group
Founded in 1967, The Harvard Drug Group is the second largest generics-focused pharmaceutical distributor in the United States. It has more than 400 employees and supplies generic and brand pharmaceuticals to more than 6,000 retail customers.

Henry Ford Health System

Jan Harrington-Davis of Henry Ford Health System accepts the Elite Award for Diversity & Multi-Culturalism from event MC Chuck Stokes of WXYZ Channel 7.

One of the nation’s leading health care systems -“ providing both health care and health insurance -“ the Henry Ford Health System includes its main 802-bed hospital in Detroit plus hospitals in Ferndale, two hospitals and five health centers in Macomb County, Henry Ford West Bloomfield and Henry Ford Wyandotte hospitals. The Henry Ford Medical Group has 1,200 physicians and researchers in 40 specialties, who staff Henry Ford Hospital and 29 Henry Ford medical centers. Henry Ford has more physicians listed as “Top Docs” than any other hospital in metropolitan Detroit in the book “America’s Top Doctors.” With more than 23,000 total HFHS employees, the hospital addresses different employee needs with tailored programs, such as its “Move to Improve” wellness program that provides various programs and incentives to promote positive lifestyle choices, said CEO Nancy Schlichting. “We provide various specially negotiated discounts and savings offers including innovative ‘Life Midtown’ which provides financial incentives to buy, rent or improve housing in Detroit’s economically challenged Midtown area where Henry Ford Hospital, HAP (Health Alliance Plan) and our corporate headquarters are located,” she said. “This further underscores HFHS’ strong commitment to the workforce and to the community.” Through HAP, about 85 percent of Henry Ford’s employees met the health qualification standards and received lower co-pays and out-of-pocket costs. The wellness program improved employee health and productivity while lowering costs. A charitable initiative -“ Helping Hands -“ is supported entirely by employee contributions and provides financial assistance to members of the workforce who experience a catastrophic life event. Henry Ford benefits and retirement programs include a variety of medical/vision options, dental options, life and disability options, flexible spending accounts, same sex domestic partner coverage, retirement savings and pension programs. They also provide tuition assistance, generous and flexible paid time off programs and voluntary benefit options that include a wide range of offerings such as discounted auto, home, insurance, long-term care insurance, pet insurance and group legal insurance. Corporate culture teaches respect for people, communicating openly and honestly with patients and employees, embracing diversity of its patients, community and workforce, plus stressing high performance as well as continually developing employee talents and skills.

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
Founded in 1946, the law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP has attorneys practicing in more than 50 different areas, mostly specializing in business law. Headquartered in Detroit, Honigman also has offices in Lansing, Oakland County, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo. “We strive to satisfy our employees by fostering a culture of active engagement and participation through open communication initiatives, a culture of continuous feedback, robust professional development and training programs, and special recognition programs that reward exceptional performance,” noted David Foltyn, chairman, CEO and partner. The firm’s communication and best practices initiatives include regular, periodic meetings of practice groups and administrative departments, focus groups, lunches with the CEO, e-newsletters, and a town hall type meeting. These activities provide the foundation for friendly, open and collaborative communication. The goal is to keep everyone informed and involved in important happenings. “Our culture of continuous feedback supports our performance management system, which provides clarity of performance expectations firm-wide and is integral to providing exceptional service to our clients, and ultimately, our continued success,” Foltyn said. During 2010, Honigman’s workforce participated in thousands of hours of in-house professional development opportunities, resulting in a 62 percent internal promotion (16 of 26 open positions were filled internally). To emphasize the importance of continuous learning, the firm recently hired two learning and organizational development professionals to establish a formal approach to firm-wide learning. During 2010, the firm recognized many of its team members with a “S.T.A.R.” award, which is Special Thanks and Recognition for performance that contributes to extraordinary service, innovative ideas, or improved efficiencies. Also in 2010, Honigman paid out two cash bonuses to its entire workforce in recognition of a very successful year.

Human Capital LLC
Rochester Hills
For more than ten years Human Capital LLC of Rochester Hills has been taking care of its customers’ outsourced administration tasks. As a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), the company was founded on the principle that: “Employees are the greatest asset of any business.” Its services include human resources, benefits, payroll, payroll tax compliance, staffing, placement and risk management administration. Unlike other businesses that have a “take it all or leave it policy” on purchasing its services model, Human Capital focuses on meeting the specific needs of the client, noted Seth Seidell, president and general counsel.

Image One
Oak Park
Image One of Oak Park is a print management services company that is an HP Office Printing Solutions Elite Partner. Its specialties include assessing, optimizing, and managing its clients’ internal print equipment. “We believe in things like exceeding expectations, giving back, and being grateful,” said Rob Dube, who is company president plus co-owner with partner Joel Pearlman. “We made these ideals themes in our daily existence and culture. This year the theme is ‘Good Turn Daily,’ which was kicked off at the beginning of the year with a blog, thought of the day e-mails, and a team meeting where all employees were given iPads preloaded with our Good Turn Daily presentation.” Even employees at its satellite offices around the country received an iPad and were able to share in the presentation. Every employee is also given a day off throughout the year to contribute or give back to the organization or charity of their choice. “We’re happy at Image One and think our innovation comes from placing priority on sustaining that happiness as a huge part of our business model and company culture,” Dube added. “We all show up here every day to do great work and exceed expectations, but it’s pretty cool to also witness real change and growth in progress simply by incorporating simple themes into daily practice.”

ImageSoft Inc.
Celebrating 15 years in business, ImageSoft Inc. of Southfield offers IT solutions to streamline and improve its customers’ workplaces. Along with generous wage and benefits packages, ImageSoft offers a number of innovative employee perks such as bonuses and merit-based incentive pay to keep employees happy, plus flexible scheduling. All employees are given eight hours per year of paid time off to volunteer in the community for the cause of their choice. “We recently implemented a recognition program to acknowledge employees for their dedication and years of service to ImageSoft,” said Scott Bade, president. Each employee reaching a five-year service milestone receives a commemorative award as well as a monetary gift. The company’s paid wellness initiative provides a comprehensive health evaluation and fitness assessment, monthly workplace lunch-and-learn sessions on a variety of health and fitness topics (free lunch included), personal nutrition and fitness consulting, prizes and rewards for achieving health goals, plus a dedicated fitness room in the new ImageSoft corporate headquarters, which this year will be outfitted with a variety of equipment for use by employees. “We incorporate fun into the work week by holding events such as a summertime ice cream social or cookout, or by celebrating milestones in our employee’s lives -“ like the birth of a new baby or a wedding -“ with an at-work shower and luncheon,” Bade said. “Finally, we relocated this year to a spacious, contemporary, new HQ building that provides an inviting, enjoyable place for our team to work. Our new office is a bright, colorful, open work environment that goes a long way in making our employees happy.” The building boasts two kitchens, which are amply stocked daily with complimentary snack foods, fresh fruit, candy, soda, coffee and other beverages.

Inergy Automotive Systems USA
Inergy Automotive Systems USA of Troy is a division of Plastic Omnium, a global Tier One supplier of plastic fuel systems to the automotive industry. The parent company is headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France. It employs approximately 4,000 people worldwide and operates 25 manufacturing facilities in 18 countries. In 2010, Inergy delivered 11.9 million plastic fuel systems.

Farmington Hills
Based in Farmington Hills, JARC is nonprofit, nonsectarian agency dedicated to enabling people with disabilities to live full, dignified lives in the community, and to providing support and advocacy for their families. It operates 20 group homes, has independent living programs for adults, and serves more than 450 families with a child or adult with a disability who is living at home. “In order to achieve our goal of providing the best possible care and the highest quality of service to individuals with disabilities, we must have a strong and dedicated staff,” said CEO Richard A. Loewenstein. “We recognize the magnitude of this responsibility and strive toward providing whatever is possible for our staff. At JARC, our motto to staff is, ‘We’re the best, because you’re the best.’ We set the bar high and compensate with the highest hourly rate for direct support staff in the Metro Detroit area.” JARC offers a health care plan at no cost to the employees (rare in its field) and dependents can be added with a reasonable contribution by the employee of 10 percent of the premium. Staff members are recognized many ways throughout the year with gold longevity pins, annual anniversary gifts, awards of excellence, among others. “Because our homes and programs are 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, it is our responsibility to ensure that we take work-life balance into account,” Loewenstein said. “We encourage our staff to take advantage of accrued sick/personal days as needed, to allow some flexibility to be with loved ones or take care of a sick relative.” Managers rotated employees on weekends to increase the time the employees spend with their families. Teamwork is emphasized as a key component to its success.

KPMG LLP of Detroit is part of the KPMG International is a global network which has 137,000 professionals, including more than 7,600 partners, in 144 countries. In the U.S., the company provides tax and advisory services; it has 87 offices with more than 23,000 employees and partners. “Our job is to take the client’s knowledge and turn it into an actionable plan,” said Gabe Mesanza, a director in KPMG’s Transactions & Restructuring U.S. practice in an interview posted on the company’s website. Mesanza specializes in the automotive industry. “I’m working closely with KPMG people,” he noted. “We share best practice and support each other. But at the same time it’s necessary to have conversations with the client at the highest level and you have to walk the floor.”

McGraw Wentworth
McGraw Wentworth of Troy is an employee group benefit brokerage and consulting firm. The company focuses on providing exceptional service for its highly valued employees. The firm welcomes communication and open discussion. “Because we have stayed the course, even in tough economic times, our high performing staff stayed,” noted Thomas P. McGraw, president. “To show our appreciation and recognize their commitment to McGraw Wentworth, we have instituted a new employee bonus program valued at $150,000.” The bonus pool will be distributed to 55 non-executive, service-centric staff based on a straightforward payment formula weighted for each employee’s tenure and pay scale. To be eligible, an employee must simply have one year of service and be actively employed on the December payment date. The company has a merit-based environment in which high performers are rewarded, retained, recognized, empowered and promoted for their effort and for what they know. It has a disciplined recruiting process and then provides training, education, candid feedback to employees during annual reviews, and encourages its people to grow. “In the end, people enjoy knowing that they’re working as part of a winning team and that each team member is pulling their weight,” McGraw said. “The relevance of this approach is tracked in our bi-annual employee satisfaction survey. In 2010, 100 percent of our employees agreed with the statement ‘My co-workers are committed to doing quality work.'”

Menlo Innovations LLC
Ann Arbor
Inspired by Thomas Edison’s “Invention Factory” -“ his laboratory formerly in Menlo Park, N.J. (though now it’s at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich.) -“ Menlo Innovations LLC is a custom software design and development firm. Founded in 2001, it is located in Ann Arbor and in 2007 was named one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing privately-held firms in the U.S. and received Corp!’s “Economic Bright Spot” award earlier this year and the “Best and Brightest” award last year. It has about 20 employees. “One of our team members, who has many decades of experience in the software industry, made an interesting observation the other day,” said President Richard Sheridan. “He said, ‘You know, Rich, I’ve worked a long time and in a lot of places, but I’ve never worked in a place that has as much laughter as we do here at do at Menlo.’ Looking around the room, you often see smiles and hear laughter.” The business value of joy leads to a more engaged and productive workforce, he added. Quality improves and absenteeism drops. One example of this is Menlo’s policy permitting new mothers to bring their babies to work. “It requires others to step up and help,” Sheridan said. “For example, a mother may be a project manager in a meeting with a client. Her first choice, which she is welcome to do, would be to go pick up her child if there was a problem. But if she was unable to step away for whatever reason, it’s just as likely that someone else would go pick up the baby and determine what the problem is. With the exception of feeding, there’s not much we can’t or don’t do to help out.” Menlo maintains a work pace of 35-40 hours per week and does not ask team members to take work home with them. This enables them to be present in the home lives. Furthermore, the company has never denied a vacation request in its 10-year history.

Michigan Financial Companies Inc.
Michigan Financial Companies Inc. of Southfield delivers a variety of services such as retirement counseling, investment advice, life and disability income insurance, estate planning, business continuation programs, executive bonus plans, and employee benefits. To encourage staff members and keep them motivated, Michigan Financial Companies has a program that communicates the company’s profitably on a quarterly basis and awards bonuses to employees for its success. To keep their workforce more engaged, MFC sponsors different employee activities. For example, they have played bocce ball in Lake Orion, attended a show at the Fox Theater or played on a golf adventure in Garland. They believe in supporting other Michigan companies while taking care of their own.

Michigan First Credit Union is the Metro Detroit Best & Brightest Elite Award winner for Compensation and Benefits.

Michigan First Credit Union
Lathrup Village
Based in Lathrup Village, Michigan First Credit Union serves more than 86,000 members and has more than $590 million in assets. Founded in 1926 as the Detroit Teachers Credit Union, it provides financial services to people living, working or worshipping in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, as well as local businesses. “At Michigan First Credit Union, the key to keeping employees satisfied is a combination of all that is offered,” said Michael Poulos, president and CEO. The credit union offers a generous health care package, market or above-market wages, consistent annual salary increases, bonuses and monthly incentives. It invests in the education, training and development, mentoring and the advancement of employees, plus provides regular contests to our retail and lending team members to cross sell products and services to increase income. “Each team leader has the ability to recognize strong performers with discretionary bonuses, gift certificates, free lunches and other such perks,” Poulos said. All of Michigan First’s facilities feature state-of-the-art training equipment and technology and are kept clean and organized. The main office has a fitness center complete with a locker room and showers and a recreation room with foosball, a pool table, darts, air hockey and more. Many employees have the flexibility to move in and out of full or part-time schedules, giving them better control over their work-life balance. “We have a liberal vacation and sick-day policy and encourage all team leaders to accommodate and be flexible with team member schedules,” Poulos added. “We offer up to $5,000 per year in educational reimbursement and we actively encourage use of the program to promote education and personal improvement.” Employees are asked to attend outside seminars and training sessions to achieve the goal of an average of 40 hours of training per team member per year.

MiPro Consulting
Founded by some of PeopleSoft’s most senior executives, customer service and consulting professionals from the Midwest region, MiPro Consulting of Milford is nationally recognized. Its core business units include PeopleSoft (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and MIPRO BI, a business intelligence practice. With consulting professionals who have been identified as leaders in their respective fields, MiPro consulting serves businesses ranging in size from mid-market to Fortune 100 companies. “I think out most important program is pay for performance,” said President Christopher Bishop. “While many companies claim to have such a program, our employees are given information about our program immediately upon hire. Our consultants are eligible for bonuses based on the number of billable hours they achieve each quarter; other employees and their managers discuss quarterly goals which allow them to develop professionally as well as earn bonuses.” Every quarter, Bishop sends out a personal letter to each employee thanking them for their efforts. Because of deadlines and client demands, some consultants work 50-60 hour weeks, usually at client sites from Monday to Thursday and fly home Thursday evening so they can take care of administrative tasks on Fridays from home. “We do quarterly management surveys, in which our employees are free to say whatever they wish about the management team -“ either as a group or individually,” Bishop added. “This helps us keep the finger on what we are doing right -“ or wrong. All project wins are shared with all employees within a week of receiving the contract.”

With more than three decades of experience, MyInsuranceExpert.com of Troy offers insurances services and support throughout the United States. It is important at MyInsuranceExpert that “tribe members” feel like they have the ability to take the time that they need to do things with and for their families. The firm sponsors events and charities, provides a generous time off package and support employees’ interests and needs inside as well as outside of the office. It also provides free memberships to a local community center so employees can get in shape and enjoy time with their families. MyInsuranceExpert has an intensive and thorough training program to make people into top producers. “It is a collaborative effort to obtain the recognition and growth that we have been able to over the past year,” noted CEO Lorne Zalesin. “We could not accomplish this unless all of our tribesmen were rowing in the same direction and had a strong sense of ownership in what we do and what we accomplish as an organization. Because of our culture and values, employees are happy to get up every morning and work hard to continue to grow our organization.”

Nemeth Burwell PC
Founded in 1992, Nemeth Burwell PC has 16 attorneys and three law clerks specializing in management labor and employment law. Not only has the Detroit firm earned numerous accolades, founder Patricia Nemeth was named one of the Best Lawyers in America in 2010 while Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly picked her as one of the 25 outstanding “Leaders in the Law” in 2009. “We believe that the most innovative approach for employee satisfaction is that we promote equality for all staff, regardless of position,” Nemeth said. “For example, the receptionist and the managing partner have the same insured benefits plan; there is no premium plan available only to partners or attorneys.” All staff members can be eligible for bonuses for new work brought into the firm, regardless of whether that individual ultimately works on that client matter. The bonus incentive plan ensures that all of employees have a stake in the firm’s continued growth. “It also fosters a team approach between our employees,” Nemeth added. “When everyone is performing well, each individual employee has a greater opportunity for bringing in new clients. The firms’ entrepreneurial approach in the marketplace is directly aligned with this internal entrepreneurial program. It is consistent with our philosophy that the client comes first and client service is our number one priority.” The firm has a tuition reimbursement plan and pays 100 percent employees’ health care.

Netarx LLC
Auburn Hills
Netarx LLC of Auburn Hills was founded in 1997 and provides information technology services for its clients. The company’s annual revenues have now grown to nearly $60 million. In July 2011 it was bought by the international IT firm Logicalis Group. Netarx has more than 250 certified professionals who are experienced in nearly all industries and advanced technologies. The company has received the “Best & Brightest” award for six consecutive years, plus other honors.

New Horizons Rehabilitation Services Inc.
Auburn Hills
Providing vocational training and job placement in Michigan since 1964, New Horizons Rehabilitation Services Inc. is a private, not-for-profit agency that prepares people with disabilities for competitive employment and provides the necessary skills for long-term success. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, the nationally recognized agency has six branch locations and serves people in Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair, Tuscola and Wayne counties. “One of the most innovative things we do to keep (employees) satisfied is quite simplistic, but it makes a huge difference,” said Stan A. Gramke, president and CEO. “We hold new hire orientations where I talk to our new hires as a group to make them comfortable here and to let them know we truly do have an open door policy. I also meet with them individually to share the passion I have for what we do and to hear their ambitions.” New Horizons’ Employee Value Proposition includes competitive salary, medical benefits where the agency covers a generous portion of the deductible and co-pay amounts, paid time-off benefit, 403(b) with 100 percent match and an informal profit sharing program. Personal development opportunities include its new hire mentoring program where seasoned staff works with new employees coupled with online training where staff can complete tasks at their leisure. Plus the agency offers tuition reimbursement to those that wish to continue their education. “We support the family and home life of employees and encourage outside activities with their families, volunteering both inside and outside our organization, we have high family values and support those activities by being flexible with work schedules,” Gramke said. “We realize that having a work environment where they feel supported, safe and secure is a huge part of their overall quality of life.” New Horizons’ succession mentoring plan identifies talented staff and mentors them up through the roles of management. It actively participates in community leadership training opportunities so staff members can enhance their management skills.

NTH Consultants Ltd.
NTH Consultants Ltd. is an employee-owned engineering firm that specializes in geotechnical, environmental and facilities engineering. It has more than 250 professionals with offices in Detroit, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. NTH values education and offers tuition reimbursement, as well as continuing education courses and seminars. Additionally it has training and mentoring programs for staff, and distributes monthly in-house newsletters to keep employees informed about new procedures, upcoming social events, seminars, staff achievements and announcements. Its employees come from diverse backgrounds and NTH provides flexible and part-time schedules to accommodate employees’ individualized personal needs. Other benefits include non-standard features such as matching 401(k), dry cleaning services, an employee recognition program, and community service programs.

Oakwood Healthcare
Oakwood Healthcare operates four acute care hospitals with 1,267 beds, 52 primary and specialty care centers, plus a rehabilitation center. With 1,308 physicians, 9,375 employees and 1,200 active volunteers, it has been ranked as suburban Wayne County’s second largest employer. Headquartered in Dearborn, Oakwood has received the “101 Best and Brightest” award for eight consecutive years. “At Oakwood, we have always believed that our team is the key to our success,” said Brian Connolly, president and CEO. “We appreciate the hard work they do every day in providing excellent care to the people we serve.” Oakwood has a broad Service Excellence program that is designed to foster a great working environment for employees and volunteers and to encourage them to build their leadership skills as well as to improve care for patients and their families. Oakwood has several programs that recognize employees for their efforts, from the ‘Bravo!’ program where employees can thank their colleagues for going above and beyond their duties, to the Every Day Hero program, which recognizes staff members who have had a lasting impact on the lives of patients, to programs that cultivate their diversity and talents, such as the creative writing and employee art programs offered through Oakwood’s Arts for the Spirit. The “Cool Ideas” program, aligned with the strategic plan, seeks to engage the workforce in developing innovative approaches to support high performance work. Creating a culture of workforce engagement involves creating an environment where the workforce wants to work. Workforce Engagement Teams, integral to Oakwood Healthcare’s Service Excellence Program, include employees from different units and jobs, nursing and non-nursing, union and non-union. Team members offer their feedback and solicit opinions from coworkers on system and division programs. They initiate actions, recommend and implement new programs. J. Paul Conway, senior vice president, human resources of Oakwood Healthcare, said valued employees and successful organizations are inextricably intertwined. “If you have a diverse, engaged, and satisfied workforce you will provide better service-”no matter what line of work you’re in,” Conway said. “We’re proud to receive this distinction again because it is a validation of our continued commitment to our staff, our patients and our community. It shows that not only is Oakwood a great place to receive quality care, it’s a great place to work.”

Daniella Ortiz-Lalain accepts the Elite Award for Recruitment & Selection on behalf of OpTech LLC from Chuck Stokes.

OpTech LLC
OpTech LLC of Detroit is a technology consulting firm that provides business process re-engineering, application maintenance outsourcing, enterprise resource planning solutions and eBusiness solutions. OpTech’s employee teambuilding and retention program combines training, mentoring, bonuses and recognitions to motivate and retain the highest caliber talent. OpTech’s retention rate is 95 percent. Employee benefits and incentives include Detroit Tigers or Detroit Red Wings games, a breakfast welcome wagon to introduce new hires to their team, “Meet & Greet” breakfast orientation, smart technology tools for telecommuting, flexible schedules, an annual employee holiday party, quarterly appreciation luncheon, and anniversary dinner and gift. “OpTech’s culture is family comes first but performance is key,” said President and CEO Ronia Kruse. “We created a very friendly work environment where employees can excel at work and yet have a healthy work-life balance. We are able to achieve this by offering flex time, ability to telecommute from home, engage in family events throughout the year, and pampering perks.” OpTech has received Working Mothers Magazine’s “25 Best Small Companies for Women” for offering female employees a day at the spa. “We want all of our employees to have a very positive work experience at OpTech,” Kruse added.

Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment Inc.
Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment Inc. (OHM) is an award-winning architectural, engineering and planning firm. Founded in Livonia in 1962, it now has offices across Michigan plus Tennessee and Ohio, with nearly 200 employees. Its team includes architects, mechanical, electrical and civil engineers, surveyors, urban designers, planners, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professionals, graphic designers and information technology professionals. “We host fun activities including summer barbeques on the patio, picnics and milestone celebrations,” said John Hiltz, president. “More importantly the company strives to obtain challenging work that engages our professionals’ problem solving skills. Although many of our competitors saw staff migrate to other states over the last few years, most of our staff is rooted deeply in their communities, places that OHM also serves. We are believers in Michigan.” The firm has a range of comprehensive benefits, wellness, and telecommuting options. It also supports employee volunteerism including its “Give-back” program. This matching-fund program allows employees to raise capital for their cause, and then apply to the company for a matching grant. Beyond serving local communities, this program has helped fund a rainwater collection system in Haiti and a school in Africa.

OtterBase Inc.
Grand Rapids
The staffing firm OtterBase Inc. was founded on basic principles: honesty, respect, commitment and work ethic. The Grand Rapids-based firm has realized significant growth within the supplemental staffing industry by remaining committed to these guiding principles. This philosophy applies to every aspect of its business -“ from the way it treats its employees to its business partnerships to the client relationships. Even through difficult economic times, OtterBase has secured more market share and hired more employees.

Plex Systems Inc. won the Metro Detroit Best & Brightest Elite Award for Employee Engagement & Committment.

Plex Systems Inc.
Auburn Hills
Founded in 1995, Plex Systems Inc. of Auburn Hills delivers all of the software needed to run a manufacturing company over the Internet, providing its customers with an entire suite of manufacturing operations management systems (MOMS) programs it calls Plex Online. Plex Systems serves the automotive, aerospace, defense, electronics, industrial, medical device, and food/beverage industries. Plex has begun to embrace the “servant leadership” philosophy, where the organization achieves success by giving priority attention to the needs of our employees, but the tricky part is figuring out what our employees want. “The simple answer? We ask them -“ and we put them in charge of filling the gaps,” said Mark Symonds, CEO and president. “In the true spirit of empowerment, employees are told, ‘This is your company. If you see something wrong in your company, then fix it. If you have an idea, voice it. If you see an opportunity for improvement, then do it. If you don’t know something, then learn it. If you know something, then teach it.'” Plex employees learn to share their knowledge, skills and wisdom with each other. This not only makes the company even more successful, it makes the entire workforce more successful personally and professionally -“ in fact, “knowledge hording” is against the company rules. To pass knowledge along, the company provides co-op/intern opportunities for students at local universities through a program that it has expanded annually. About 7 percent of its workforce is interns or college students. Internal volunteer committees organize many family-oriented employee activities such as holiday parties and picnics with fun themes. For example, during the 2010 World Series, human resources organized a Nintendo Wii Home Run Derby contest that resulted in employee engagement and fun competition. The company holds an annual Take Your Kids to Work Day, with events for kids ages 5 to 14. In response to employees’ concerns about personal finances, and the stress they’ve been feeling as a result of the Michigan economy, Plex Systems treats all employees to free lunch-and-learn sessions during a financial and physical wellness week in April. The event includes expert talks on everything from estate planning, to self-defense, to 401(k)s, as well as financial “check-ups” and health screenings. The company instituted a corporate philanthropy program that focuses on fund-raising (with company matching funds) and participation in charitable events. Employees were even asked about the design and plan of its new office building, thus there are no cubicles, but the space is flexible and has ad hoc meeting areas, a pair of gaming rooms, an exercise room, and much more.

Plunkett Cooney
Bloomfield Hills
The law firm Plunkett Cooney was founded in 1913 and employs more than 160 attorneys in nine Michigan cities, plus Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The Bloomfield Hills-based firm provides a range of transactional and litigation defense services. Martindale-Hubbell -“ the leading, international directory of law firms -“ gave Plunkett Cooney its highest rating. U.S. News and Best Lawyers in America also gave the firm high marks. Plunkett Cooney created specific working groups to implement its strategic initiatives with a cross section of all employee classifications. The working groups focus on testing, implementation steps, training and getting employee feedback. This helps employees feel “part of things” and empowers them to be invested from the beginning of the process. “Our associate development committee has been created to address our associate attorney professional development issues and integration into the firm culture,” noted Henry Cooney, president and CEO. “The management team values this feedback and supports the Associates as future leaders in the firm.” A few years ago, the firm created the women’s initiative committee to address women specific professional development topics, health issues and marketing strategies. The purpose of the committee is to explore initiatives that support women in the legal profession from business development, work and life balance issues. Mentoring programs have been implemented for associate attorneys and legal secretaries. These mentoring programs share information and helping the younger generation of workers transition into the firm. “As our population ages, we have discussed adding training and development working groups to address this area more formally especially as it relates to the use of technology and client service needs,” Cooney added.

Polk provides automotive and marketing information. Privately held and based in Southfield, the company collects and interprets global data, and provides extensive automotive business expertise to help customers understand their market position, identify trends, build brand loyalty, conquest new business and gain a competitive advantage. Polk serves automotive manufacturers and dealers, automotive aftermarket companies, finance and insurance companies, advertising agencies, media companies, consulting organizations, government agencies and market research firms. It has operations in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Polk offers a formal telecommuting program that enables most of its employees to work from home one day per week; flexible working schedules; while some full-time positions can be remotely worked from home. “How else does Polk positively affect a work-life balance? We offer several other opportunities such as conducting stress management classes onsite as well as through our Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) provider,” noted Stephen Polk, chairman, president and CEO. As part of its wellness program, Polk has weight management classes, free access to its onsite fitness center plus other seminars about body metabolism, nutrition, smoking cessation and healthy-eating. The company also has mentoring and coaching programs. To transfer knowledge from one generation of workers to another, Polk uses lean activities to identify and document key business processes so it becomes less dependent on the level of employee seniority and more reliant on its business processes to ensure future success.

Red Level Networks
Red Level Networks of Novi is a full service information technology firm that designs, installs and provides ongoing network support for small and medium sized businesses. It is a Certified Microsoft Partner. Red Level Networks strives to provide substantial benefits while maintaining the small business feel. Last year, a 401(k) and profit sharing program was introduced for all employees. New to Red Level Networks in 2011 and 2012 are flexible spending accounts as well as better dental and vision plans. “We aim to provide above-average benefits for our employees, in addition to company perks,” said David King, founder and president. “Our company culture is very much about excellent work ethic but also a reasonable work-life balance. We provide our employees with a bartering account through an outside organization that allows them to get every day needs taken care of for free. When an employee’s job performance is especially positive, he or she will receive more ‘dollars’ toward that account and can get more services done free of charge. We value our employees beyond their lives at work.” Red Level Networks offers flexible working hours too. Every new employee is assigned a mentor or guide. Red Level Networks compensates its employees for any technical training they engage in that benefits their work performance and increases knowledge related to their position.

Founded nearly four decades ago, REDICO LLC of Southfield is a diversified real estate development, construction and property management company. It handles office, retail, residential, industrial, entertainment, and public works real estate sites across the United States; its portfolio exceeds $1 billion in value and encompasses over 13.5 million square feet. Its services also include legal, interior design, upgrades and repairs, leasing, acquisitions and sales, space planning, marketing, maintenance, government approvals, redevelopment, and risk management. With many traditional employee programs already in place, REDICO recently implemented a flexible summer schedule aimed at boosting employee satisfaction. The initiative was developed by a team of six employees who were charged with selecting one innovation that would make a positive impact across the organization. Their initiative was accompanied by a business plan and presented to the CEO Dale Watchowski and Executive Team. Once approved, it took a lot of planning to figure out how to offer the flexible summer schedule option to all employees. Ultimately, 65 percent of the staff signed up for the program. Employee feedback was very positive. “We also offer voluntary benefits such as prepaid legal and identity theft protection,” Watchowski said. “We understand that employees like to be recognized for their contributions and use our W2G (Way to Go); NTMU (Nice To Meet You) and Team Corner sections of our newsletter to get the word out about specific accomplishments of our employees.”

Rehmann won the 2011 Metro Detroit Elite Award for Work-Life Balance.

The Troy-based CPA firm Rehmann was founded in Saginaw in 1941. It now has about 16 offices in Michigan, Ohio and Florida, approximately 600 staff members and reported revenues of approximately $80 million in 2010. “We encourage associates to never stop learning and demonstrate our commitment to continuous improvement by reimbursing tuition for work-related courses at accredited institutions,” said Steve Kelly, chairman and chief executive. The firm repays associates for the cost of joining professional organizations and attending professional seminars and increases an associate’s base compensation by $1,000 when he or she passes the CPA exam. If they pass the exam within two years of hire, they also receive a $1,000 bonus and 100 percent reimbursement of all exam fees and expenses. This pay increase is also given to associates who earn a new certification in their industry. Rehmann tries to identify associates’ future career opportunities using “Career Path,” a program developed by the firm’s retention committee. “The committee compiled input from functional disciplines throughout the firm and created a ‘what the future will look like’ template that meshes with our existing values and core competencies,” Kelly said. “This customized-by-employee template becomes the career path that associates use to develop and prosper within our employer-of-choice organization.” The Career Path program does not advocate an up-or-out philosophy; rather, expectations are spelled out for associates striving to achieve a particular employment level. It is not a requirement to pursue advancing levels to have a career at Rehmann.

Seco Tools Inc.
Seco Tools Inc. of Troy is the U.S. operation of Swedish-based Seco Tools AB and manufactures and supplies carbide cutting tools and associated equipment for a variety of industries. To keep its employees engaged and satisfied, Seco offers a comprehensive wellness initiative to help employees create a good balance between their personal and professional lives. This initiative encompasses everything from physical health to personal finance. For example, the company offers concierge services, such as dry cleaning, personal massages and low-cost healthy meals, on site. Seco has developed an employee self-service website where they and their enrolled family members can access health benefits information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The site contains summary plan descriptions, relevant contact information, W4s, paycheck information and much more. “Seco places high value on passion for the customer, personal commitment and family spirit,” noted Kurt Nordlund, president of the NAFTA region and member of the Group Executive Management of Seco Tools AB. “Therefore, we provide employees with opportunities that allow them to learn, develop and grow despite their length of employment or where they sit on the pay scale.” The company has a paid-time-off policy that includes paying employees for community volunteer work. Seco uses open lines of communication -“ including executives attending field sales meetings, executive engagement in steering committees and executive team involvement in the wellness program and eating lunch in the employee lunchroom -“ to motivate its staff and build a team environment. Seco hosts regular town hall meetings where leadership discusses the “state of the business.” In 2009, the company’s commitment to communication proved highly beneficial during the recession. “Seco understands its employees want to know the company’s expectations and understand their connection to the company and its goals,” Nordlund added. To retain talented employees, Seco has a “Talent Pool” training program where select employees gain a broad 360-degree view of the company’s business, access to top executives and international exposure. Its “Peer2Peer” program encourages employees to nominate co-workers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty while on the job. Also Seco’s CEO recognizes the nominees at all-employee meetings and awards are presented throughout the year. The “President’s Club” rewards top sales team performers, which includes the recognition of an employee’s spouse for supporting Seco’s mission. And last but not least, the Little Improvements From Everyone, or LIFE, program honors those employees who make improvements to current company processes.

Service Express Inc.
Farmington Hills
With an annual revenue growth rate of 20 percent during the past decade, Service Express Inc. (SEI) delivers customized service solutions for on-site data center maintenance, focusing on mainframe, midrange and Intel based servers for IBM, DEC, HP, Sun, Dell, as well as EMC and STK storage. Based in Farmington Hills, the company’s clients include mid- to large businesses companies in the manufacturing, education, health care, government, and financial institutions. “Our number one innovation is our vision, which is to work with our employees to help them achieve their personal, professional and financial goals,” noted Ron Alvesteffer, president. “When employees tell us their goals, we work for them.” SEI’s culture is based on empowering employees to take initiative and give their best; having fun and celebrating small success; acting with honesty and integrity in every encounter; taking ownership of the company and customer success; and putting the heart and mind into our work to get the best possible results. “Every employee has the opportunity to choose a path and have a meaningful impact on our company, which in turn, creates great opportunities for him or her to determine and achieve their goals,” Alvesteffer added. SEI invests a lot of time, energy and funds into developing our employees through learning and enhancing skill sets. The peer mentor program creates an exceptional learning partnership between more knowledgeable engineers, with all their vast experience in the field, to our newer engineers. Extensive training programs and cross-training also promote an open system of support and learning between teams.

Shazaaam! is the 2011 Metro Detroit Elite Award winner for Small Business.

West Bloomfield
Shazaaam!, a public relations and marketing firm located in West Bloomfield, offers traditional and non-traditional services such as social media programs for its clients. Its professionals serve industries such as aftermarket and OEM automotive customers, professional and financial firms, consumer packaged goods, entertainment and media, food service, franchises, government entities, real estate, retail, nonprofits, and more. It was also selected as a “Best and Brightest” winner in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Sarah Griffin accepts the Elite Award for Employee Education & Development on behalf of Skanska.

Skanska USA
Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development companies in the country with expertise in construction, civil infrastructure, public-private partnerships and commercial development initiatives in select American markets. With its Southeast Michigan headquarters in Southfield, it has been in the Detroit market for more than 70 years and has built many landmark commercial, educational, health care and entertainment facilities throughout the Midwest. In 2008, a three-year Skanska Employee Ownership Program (SEOP) was introduced to further strengthen Skanska’s attractiveness to new and existing employees. It was aimed at all permanent employees, for the purpose of attracting and retaining employees and strengthening their affinity with the company. During the third year of the program, membership increased to 19 percent of group employees.

Soil and Materials Engineers Inc. (SME)
For the fourth consecutive year Soil and Materials Engineers Inc. (SME) received the “101 Best and Brightest” award. Based in Plymouth, it is a full service geotechnical, environmental, and building materials consulting firm with more than 200 employees with nine offices in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Founded in 1964, SME supports clients at every stage of development and ownership, from site acquisition, design and construction, to maintenance, restoration and redevelopment. It assists clients by providing practical solutions to the most challenging sites and building related problems from land use, brownfield redevelopment, green buildings to alternative energy sources. It covers the commercial, education, energy, health care, industrial, retail, state and local government, telecommunications, transportation, and agriculture markets.

Stout Risius Ross Inc.
Stout Risius Ross Inc. is a financial advisory firm that specializes in investment banking, valuation and financial advice, dispute advisories and forensic services. Its clients include Fortune 500 corporations to privately held companies in numerous industries around the world. Founded in 1991, SRR has offices in the Detroit suburb of Southfield plus Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. It encourages employees’ professional growth through technical training, career-related seminars, and reimbursement for continuing education. Employees are offered a benefits plan that includes medical, dental, and vision coverage; life and disability insurance; flexible spending accounts; and a 401(k) savings plan with an employer match.

Strategic Staffing Solutions
Headquartered in Detroit, Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3) is one of Michigan’s largest women-owned companies. It has been ranked as the seventh largest diversity staffing company in the nation by Staffing Industry Report and has earned numerous other awards including being a previous winner of Corp!’s “Best and Brightest” honor. Employees receive an extensive range of benefits and vary slightly depending on what is available in the countries it operates in. The benefits may include: a 401(k) plan, long- and short-term disability, a vacation package, technical training, flexible spending account, health care, tuition reimbursement, dental benefits, and life insurance. One example of their innovative approaches is the “S3 Club,” which is offered to the entire workforce and shows appreciation for their hard work. Employees are recognized for their anniversaries with the company with a commemoration gift. Its headquarters features a full workout facility with showers and a children’s play room to help employees find a healthy work-life balance.

Taubman Centers
Bloomfield Hills
Taubman Centers is a real estate investment trust that develops, leases, and manages regional and super regional shopping centers. Headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Taubman has 26 U.S. owned, leased and/or managed properties, serving major markets from coast to coast. Taubman is committed to creating an atmosphere where employees enjoy coming to work. Some of the special programs offered at many of its work sites include casual Fridays, lunch program, flexible work arrangements, wellness program, employee and family events, recognition program, and community outreach programs. Comprehensive benefits include 401(k) with employer match, medical, dental, vision, long-term disability insurance, health and dependent care reimbursement accounts, PTO Program (paid time off), life insurance and tuition assistance.

Tognum America Inc.
The name and ownership may be different, but Tognum America Inc. (MTU Detroit Diesel) has been a Detroit automotive institution for decades. The Tognum Group of Germany is one of the world’s leading suppliers of engines and propulsion systems for off-highway vehicles but it also owns MTU, which began building diesel engines in Germany as far back as 1909 and in North America in 1938. As General Motors Diesel -“ and later Detroit Diesel -“ it produced lightweight, two-cycle engines for power, industrial and defense applications and later heavy duty engines. By 2000, MTU and Detroit Diesel combined its off-highway operations into a single, global organization (Tognum America). The company received the “Best and Brightest” award several times. “Given the economic climate and regional expansion our company has been preparing for over the past year, I see this award as a strong testimonial to our commitment to our employees,” noted Patrick Kapusta, MTU Detroit Diesel’s senior manager, Human Resources. “To continue to receive very positive feedback from employees, even in uncertain economic times, is what I am most proud of,” says Kapusta. “Our employees are our most important resource and it is their commitment to the company that allows us to set standards in our industry. It is only appropriate that our human resource programs and benefits set standards as well.”

Tracy Hagen accept the Elite Award for Communication on behalf of Turner Construction.

Turner Construction Co.
For nearly 110 years, Turner Construction Co. of Detroit has remained on the cutting edge of construction management helping to pioneer the sustainable construction movement and advancing the use of 3-D technology in construction coordination. With annual construction volume of $8 billion, Turner ranks first or second in major segments of the construction industry. Turner maintains a nationwide network of offices and a staff of more than 5,000 employees, performing work on over 1,200 projects each year. The Associated General Contractors of America recently named Turner as one of the nation’s safest construction companies. This is the second time Turner received a first place finish in the “Over Four Million Hours” category. Key elements of working at Turner are opportunities to build relationships and network. Activities include summer outings, organized sports, holiday celebrations, book clubs, movie clubs, dinner clubs, and business unit outings. Additionally, Turner is a strong supporter of community service activities.

UHY Advisors MI Inc.
Sterling Heights
The certified public accounting firm UHY Advisors MI Inc. of Sterling Heights recognizes that Michigan is one of the few states with a double digit unemployment rate so its focus is on maintaining jobs. The Michigan office is celebrating its tenth year being a UHY affiliate, though its roots go back to the CPA firm (Follmer Rudzewicz) founded in 1968 by Gordon Follmer. As the seventy largest CPA firm in Southeast Michigan, UHY Advisors gives back to the community. For example, it closed both of its offices in Southeast Michigan at noon one day so all of its employees could perform four hours of service for St. Vincent de Paul. “Community outreach continues to be important to our culture as we also have a 501(c)3, UHY Cares,” said Anthony (Tony) Frabotta, CEO. “Our employees continually amaze us as they dig into personal funds to help others in need in our community. We are still faced the challenge of keeping jobs and clients. We again accomplished most of this through flexibility in schedules, furloughs, etc. during the summer months.” Even before the recession, UHY allowed its professionals to turn bonus dollars into additional time off for their personal needs. That coupled with an aggressive advertising campaign allowed the firm to stay competitive and kept its workforce intact. The tax season is the busiest for UHY with three and a half months of long hours and short deadlines. Dealing with this stressful time, the firm does not mandate how many hours employees need to work each day. Also, it adds additional staff members -“ who receive intensive training -“ to help carry the workload. “Then we add special items like specific food days, fruit, hot dog and nachos, ice cream,” Frabotta said. “Then at the end we give bonuses to those below manager to take more time off, or they can get a bonus instead.” The firm hires both seasoned professionals and new CPAs fresh from college. “We think the important point is to treat people’s needs in the moment. Tomorrow will come no matter what,” Frabotta added.

University of Michigan Health System
Ann Arbor
With more than 22,000 faculty and staff and more than 120 clinic and offices throughout Michigan and Northern Ohio, the University of Michigan Health System is one of the top U.S. research schools with 45,000 inpatient hospital stays and 1.8 million outpatient visits and surgeries. Based in Ann Arbor, the hospital system has focused on creating the ideal patient care experience along with the ideal faculty/staff experience. “No matter what role you play in this very large and complex organization, service excellence applies to you,” said Tony Denton, executive director of University Hospital and chief operating officer, U-M Hospitals and Health Centers. Denton noted that every employee at U-M Health System should watch “Creating the Ideal Patient Care Experience at the University of Michigan Health System.” This award-winning video emphasizes the importance of providing high levels of service and compassion, anticipating needs and solving problems with an exceptional commitment to teamwork. The hospital’s core values include creating a culture of institutional best practices. To achieve this vision, it offers staff members a variety of resources to assist in ongoing growth and development. “Whether it be our online learning management system (that) provides access to our vast array of resources in continuing personal and professional growth or through our Human Resource Development program where you can choose from more than one hundred programs and courses designed to teach you new skills to help advance your career,” said Dr. Ora Hirsh Pescovitz, executive vice president for Medical Affairs and CEO, U-M Health System. “We regularly exam how we are engaging the hearts and minds of our employees by conducting an annual employee engagement survey.” The survey results are shared broadly across the health system to create transparency and develop strategies to address problems. “We achieve service excellence when every patient names U-M Health System as the place they want to receive care, and we are the most referred to and recommended health care provider in the state. It’s an ambitious -“ but achievable -“ aspiration,” Pescovitz added.

US Foods
US Foods, which has a food distribution facility in Wixom, is one of the leading nonprofit organizations that helps feed needy children and families. The organization in September changed its name from U.S. Foodservice. About one in six Americans face hunger, according to research by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization with more than 200 food banks in 50 states and Puerto Rico. Last year, U.S. Foodservice donated more than $4 million in food and cash to Feeding America. Since 2007, when it became an official partner of Feeding America, U.S. Foodservice has donated more than 22 million pounds of food to the organization.

Founded in 1970, Valassis is a media and marketing services company that reaches nine out of ten American households through the mail. “At Valassis we see no contradiction between having fun and achieving tremendous business success,” said Alan F. Schultz, chairman, president and CEO. “In fact, having fun is one way we inspire and promote camaraderie and collaboration. Our worksites have patios and decks, complete with picnic or café tables and barbecue grills.” Valassis’ headquarters in Livonia introduced WiFi on the patio and in its café to help mix work and fun. In 2008, when Valassis tried to reduce its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) ratio from 5:1 to 3:1 in three years, it launched its “Amazing Race to 3:1” campaign. In Michigan, associates went on their own “amazing race,” using “passports” that doubled as tickets for prizes like iPads, big screen TVs, canoes and Tiffany jewelry at a company party. Also as part of this campaign, one lucky associate won a 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid in a “Publisher Clearinghouse-style” complete with a presentation from the CEO with car keys in hand. “By the spring of 2010, Valassis reached our goal and we partied from coast to coast,” Schultz added. Valassis has other contests to make the workplace fun. Its employee rewards program is based on performance, competitiveness and fairness. It is designed to be adaptable as company needs and goals change. At the same time, Valassis supports its employees varying needs both inside and outside of work. In July 2010, the company expanded its wellness program, offering additional free wellness assessments and access to wellness tools. Three of its Michigan locations have fully-equipped onsite fitness centers, which are available for use by associates and their families, at no charge. Valassis also offers a host of convenience services to help its associates strike the right balance between work and home, such as the needs for haircuts, oil changes, mailing, banking errands, dry cleaning and more.

w3r Consulting
Headquartered in Southfield, w3r Consulting is an information technology staffing and consulting company that is a member of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), the Chicago Minority Development Council (CMBC), the South Central Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (SCOMSDC), the Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council (VMSDC) and the Louisiana Minority Supplier Development Council (LMSDC). It provides its employees with health, vision, dental, life, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance along with a host of retirement savings plans, dependent and medical reimbursement, educational services and more. For example, w3r employees can receive monthly reimbursements for their home Internet connection.

Celebrating 95 years in business, Walbridge of Detroit is one of America’s top construction firms and has more than 1,000 personnel. Privately-owned, the firm’s expertise covers the automotive, aviation, cultural, education, government, health care, hospitality, manufacturing, office, power, and wastewater and sewerage segments. It has offices in South America and the Middle East. “We select each project team with care, balancing experienced professionals with emerging talent, while carefully considering personalities and synergies,” noted John Rakolta Jr., chairman and CEO. “As a result, our teams spend less time learning to work together and more time learning from one another and focusing on customers’ needs. These ever evolving teams drive improved processes and create exciting projects. While these ideas often create their own rewards, we further expand the reward with beyond compensation bonuses, recognition opportunities and fun events tailored to the group.” Walbridge has a lower than industry average turnover rate. Safety is Walbridge’s number one core value. In 2011, the company received its second Star Award for single-site safety program excellence from the Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s MVPPC program. The new award recognized Walbridge for its excellent safety performance at the Alice Lloyd Residence Hall renovation project at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
Headquartered in Grand Rapids, the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has six offices and 220 attorneys in Michigan serving clients in virtually all areas of law. Among its list of accomplishments, Warner is ranked among the Top 200 by The National Law Journal; has 62 partners listed in the 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. During the recent recession, the firm retained a long-term focus, making changes that had the least impact on attorneys and staff while concentrating on business development and expense control. “We did not eliminate or decrease benefits, we did not conduct a layoff, we did not decrease or freeze pay and we did not retract employment offers,” noted Douglas E. Wagner, managing partner. “We had never taken these measures in the past and we were committed to weathering this storm without doing so. The members of the firm noticed, allowing us to retain high levels of morale and engagement. Ultimately, this translates into better service for our clients.” For staff members, the firm provides flexible start and end times, paid time off policies, while attorneys can work a reduced schedule without it impacting their ability to become a partner. “Our technology allows us to work from remote locations seamlessly, we embrace job sharing, the support staff is able to make up time instead of taking vacation for short meetings or events, to help during times of crisis we have a time donation program, and this is merely a sampling of what is available to meet the needs of firm members,” Wagner said. The firm has five medical plans to choose from. As a result, Warner Norcross’ firm-wide voluntary turnover was 2.5 percent in 2010, with no voluntary turnover in our southeast Michigan offices. Warner Norcross scored at the 99th percentile in the “Work-Life Balance” section of the “2011 Summary Report for the 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For -“ Metro Detroit.” The firm is committed to diversity and inclusion practices. Another essential component to providing its staff members with what they need is its focus on wellness. “Our Employee Assistance Program provides free counseling services to our families as well as a wide array of work/life tools, information and resources on-line, on-site or on-call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Wagner said. “We provide countless educational opportunities, including a financial fitness series, retirement planning workshops and lunch-and-learn sessions on topics like nutrition, exercise and stress management. We hold a number of wellness challenges throughout the year to encourage people to eat right, exercise and make other healthy lifestyle choices.” Along with its wellness programs, Warner Norcross has a holiday aid committee that holds year-round fundraisers and distributes money to local charities. There are nearly continuous drives for food services, school supplies, eye glasses, blankets, pop can tops and other items needed by those in our communities. The youngest lawyer at Warner Norcross & Judd is 26 and the oldest is 85. In addition to hiring experienced lawyers in needed specialties, the firm annually hires young lawyers, fresh out of law school, to ensure it has the right balance between retaining the best of the old while remaining open and flexible enough to learn from the new.

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Richard Blanchard
Rick is the Managing Editor of Corp! magazine. He has worked in reporting and editing roles at the Port Huron Times Herald, Lansing State Journal and The Detroit News, where he was most recently assistant business editor. A native of Michigan, Richard also worked in Washington state as a reporter, photographer and editor at the Anacortes American. He received a bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan and a master’s in accountancy from the University of Phoenix.