Wonderful Workplaces 2018

What is it that makes you excited to walk into work each day? Is it the new foosball table in the break room? Or is it something more intangible—like culture—that truly makes the difference? To help answer this question, our editorial team scoured the region to find the premier places to work. Along the way, we found treadmill desks, Nerf guns, and coffee bars, and were metwith warm handshakes, friendly faces, and one-of-a-kind workplace cultures.

No matter how different each approach may be, all of 269 MAGAZINE’s 2018 Wonderful Workplace winners prove that you can find out-of-this-world culture right here in Southwest Michigan.

In The Business Of Giving Back

WSI, a nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting agency, helps local candidates find suitable employment and grow in their careers.

Though its team is dedicated to matching clients with the perfect job, that passion is driven by WSI’s commitment to building a better community—in and out of the office. To accomplish this, WSI holds quarterly “Days of Caring,” when its whole team volunteers for a local cause.

How A Hello Can Become A Lasting Relationship

When you dial the phone number of Wiser Financial Group, you will always be greeted with a cheerful “Hello” and never a machine.

This philosophy of fostering real, human connections is also behind the tray of fresh-baked cookies that greets guests in the lobby.

Building A Better Workplace One Interaction At A Time

The architects and engineers at towerpinkster have helped design some wonderful-looking workplaces since the company’s founding in 1953.

However, for President and CEO Bjorn Green, a workplace is measured not by its appearance, but by the quality of day-to-day interactions within its team. “I think it’s all about building relationships with one another,” emphasizes Green. “When you have a challenging project, you need to have a strong relationship with the people you work with. You have to be able to trust them and communicate with them.”

Fielding New Players To Fill The Roster

Ron Jackson Insurance was founded by a former Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox player in 1962 and has stayed in the Kalamazoo area, and in the family, ever since.

Today, the organization is staffed by members of the Jackson family, but it has also expanded its ranks to include new “family” members. “We are one big family. But on two levels,” states Ron Jackson’s son, Mark Jackson, who serves as the company’s president alongside his sister, Operations Manager Jennifer Jackson.

Energized Workspaces Plug In To Client and Employee Needs

Upon entering the lobby of Midwest Energy and communications (MEC), the client experience truly begins.

Visitors are greeted in the “Internet of Things (IOT) Room,” which sports the latest high-tech gadgets. Why? Providing electricity and high-speed internet to rural areas is part of what MEC does every day, and MEC employees use the IOT room to introduce their clients to the possibilities high-speed internet affords, like connecting to an Amazon Alexa, colored smart lights, and even a smart crockpot.

A Perfect Blend of Core Values and Coffee

Kruggel Lawton is not your standard accounting firm.

Come tax season, work may not be all fun and games, but Kruggel Lawton tries to keep things light even in the most hectic time of the year. On Fridays during tax season, the firm’s St. Joseph office caters in lunch for everyone, so the team can unwind. And on April 15, when it’s all over, the company hosts a firm-wide Tax Day Party featuring an evening of music, games, food, and celebration for the entire team.

Putting Others First To Make A Difference

Keystone Solutions Group, a West Michigan-based product development and medical device contract manufacturing company, finds that its employee-centric culture helps it to focus on what’s most important: its customers.

“I know that what I do each day matters. It matters to my team, my customer, and my company,” says Product Development Manager Jason Barr.

A Little Latitude Goes A Long Way

For GT Independence, self-determination is everything.

“Think of the choices you make every day,” explains Holly Carmichael, chief operating officer at GT Independence. “You choose when to take a shower, what you want to eat for lunch, and so on. But even those basic things aren’t always afforded to people with disabilities. That’s where we can help.”

A Married Business and Workplace Culture Knows No Limits

Words are just as important as the numbers at Greenleaf Trust, a privately held wealth management firm with specialized disciplines in asset management, trust administration, and retirement planning services.

For a business that deals with people’s livelihoods and the volatility of financial markets, this is a place where team engagement and communication are must-have assets.

Walking Into Work Like You Own The Place

Gibson team members pride themselves on being advisors and consultants, not just commercial and personal insurance brokers.

They offer solutions to guard against risk, helping their clients protect what’s most important to them, like their homes, businesses, and employees. And to ensure the company provides the best service possible, and to drive engagement and responsibility within its team, it has a unique internal structure.

Open Work Environments Jump-Start Communication and More

In Battle Creek, 3,000 people report to work daily at DENSO Corporation’s manufacturing hub.

The site is where DENSO, the world’s second largest mobility supplier, produces all of its thermal systems in North America. To manufacture its advanced automotive cooling and heating systems while staying on the forefront of the fields of electrification and automated driving, the company remains steadfastly committed to a culture of continuous improvement in its highly-automated processes as well as the ability of its people to communicate directly at a pace of well over 60 miles per hour.

Wellness Investments Pay Out In Dividends

Consumers Credit Union understands that a healthy team produces healthy results.

In recent years, the credit union has expanded to 19 locations across Southwest Michigan. Last year, it unveiled its state-of-the-art headquarters in Texas Township. There, Consumers team members can be seen interacting in real time with clients, grabbing a healthy snack from the kitchen or walking together in “Team Consumers” gear to a fitness class at the on-site gym.

Somebody (Or Something) To Lean On

If you have never visited the offices of Child & Family Psychological Services (CFPS) before, you may be surprised by the animals you meet there.

Patients are sometimes encouraged to bring emotional support animals with them for their visit, and for those who don’t have a pet, Grady, a gentle African grey parrot, is there to take them under his wing. Over the years, the staff has seen everything from cats and dogs to a baby reindeer!

Check In To A Great Day At Work

BDO, a global accounting network, has offices all over the world. In order to function optimally across locations, the company has come up with some innovative solutions.

Located in the heart of the city’s downtown, BDO’s Kalamazoo office decided to tear down its grey cubical walls to let in more light and opportunity for collaboration. “The office is very open now and allows for people to come in and mingle,” says CPA and Tax Senior Josh Light. “And coming in every day with such a great view of downtown gives me a better connection with the city and the community I grew up in.”

Fun as a Core Value

Bowling lanes, go-karts, a four-person human gyroscope, and even a virtual reality roller-coaster are just a few set pieces at this workplace.

“At Airway Fun Center, all 125 of us come in with smiles on our faces. That passion comes so easily because the only thing we’re selling is fun,” says Executive Manager James St. John. At this sprawling hotspot for fun of almost every variety imaginable, team members may help patrons navigate the high ropes course, a laser maze, and a mind-bending escape room, all in the same week.

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