In an awards ceremony Wednesday evening, NRG Systems of Hinesburg and BioTek of Winooski were the big winners at the 2009 Best Places to Work event hosted by Vermont Business Magazine, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Society of Human Resource Management. The event was held at the Main Street Landing Film House in Burlington. The companies were honored based on the results of surveys given to each company’s employees. The awards honored five large companies (Over 150 employees) and 10 small & medium sized companies (15 to 149 employees). NRG was named the top company to work for in the small/medium sized category and BioTek was named the large company winner. Of the many companies whose employees were surveyed by Best Companies Group from Pennsylvania, only these 15 were named the Best Places to Work in Vermont.The recipients of this year s awards were:Small/Medium Companies: Edward Jones Instrumart MBF Bioscience NRG Systems. Inc Resource Systems Group Inc Small Dog Electronics TPW Management VELCO (Vermont Electric Power Company) VocRehab Vermont Wells River Savings BankLarge Companies: BioTek Instruments, Inc. Gardener’s Supply Company Green Mountain Power King Arthur Flour Company Merchants BankSmall/Medium Size companies (15 – 149 employees)10) VocRehab VermontVocRehab Vermont takes pride in creating an environment that values and empowers all their employees. Their mission is to help people with disabilities find and maintain employment and help employers find qualified job applicants. Their employees enjoy a high degree of autonomy. They trust their judgment and ability to make wise decisions about the services they can provide to their customers. Their belief is that when employees are treated from a strengths-based, holistic perspective, they will do the same when assisting their customers and will achieve amazing results. The fruit of this philosophy is borne out in them being ranked the number one state vocational rehabilitation organization in the country two years in a row.9) Resource Systems GroupGiven that RSG was founded in 1986 by three Dartmouth professors, it s no surprise that their offices have a campus casualness and a buzz of intellectual curiosity and spirited hallway conversation. Their 60+ employees in their White River Junction headquarters and other offices, including Burlington, enjoy dog-friendly workplaces, flexible schedules, varied assignments, and weekly catered seminars to learn about peers and projects. Last year s carbon offset challenge to work and lifestyle choices took their corporate environmental principles and made them personal. With Vermont offices on the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain, loving where they work comes naturally.8) VELCOVelco obviously can t be sure, but they believe they may have won this award because of their commitment to building a collaborative environment built on trust and integrity. That requires honesty. Honesty in sharing with each other what works and the much more difficult task of identifying what doesn t. This honor is particularly meaningful because of the honest feedback from their Associates. VELCO is powered by passionate people in an industry that is in the midst of a transformation and while there is still work to be done, they take great pride in this achievement and are reaffirmed that integrity is the essence of everything worthy of success.7) MBF Bioscience We are honored to receive this recognition,” says MBF Bioscience President Jack Glaser. MBF Bioscience strives to create an environment that fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation, and they recognize that their employees are the most important determinant of their success. Their products are designed to help scientists pursue their research in curing diseases and better understanding human health. Their work environment and the creativity of its employees translates into cutting-edge products and great service for their customer.6) Small Dog ElectronicsThere are many facets to working at Small Dog that would explain why they are one of the Best Places to Work. They are a socially responsible company, which means they have a multiple bottom line the effect they have on the environment, community, customers and employees is just as important as maintaining their profitability. People, planet and profit. Small Dog does not exist solely to make money, they exist to do good, to make good jobs, to have a great workplace, to be involved in their community, to protect their planet and to be a different type of company. They like to think of themselves as a family at Small Dog Electronics. They are committed to providing employees a livable wage and excellent benefits5) TPW ManagementTPW Management remains one of the Best Places in Vermont to Work due to its core principles; Honesty, Integrity and Communication. These principles are valued by all those within the TPW family. As a family-owned, Vermont-based Company, TPW has grown to be the # 1 community management company in Vermont. With better satisfaction of their customers, their motto stands on its own, GO PLAY, LEAVE THE WORK TO US. In addition to a great place to work, TPW encourages its employees to have fun and at the same time be civic minded. This past year the TPW family has helped a number of causes; among the many are the Stratton Foundation, Susan G. Komen VT Race for a Cure, Burr & Burton Academy and the Make a Wish Foundation of Vermont. This, once again, provides the employees of TPW a sense of belonging and reaffirms that TPW is one of the Best Places in Vermont to work . 4) Wells River Savings BankWells River Savings Bank has a caring and understanding environment where decisions are generally made based on what is the right thing to do for staff and less on how it affects the bottom line. Many of their employees have worked together a long time–26% of their staff has been there more than 20 years, with the average tenure of their current staff at twelve years. As a result, they go through all stages of life together, celebrating the good times and helping out in the bad times. This is part of the reason that employees often refer to the bank as being more like a family than an employer. The bank and its employees frequently combine their efforts and resources to help out an employee or community member in need. They have maintained this family atmosphere as they have added employees and branches, all the while keeping pace with advances in technology by continually updating their systems and providing opportunities for growth and advancement for their employees.3) Edward JonesEdward Jones is a partnership possibly the country s largest operating partnership with more than 11,000 limited partners, including more than one-third of the firm s associates. Associates see how they personally have an impact on the firm s success and helping each other is part of that partnership. Sharing the success and supporting each other is great for morale, which naturally is great for business. Everyone has the opportunity to become a partner in the firm, and to earn trimester bonuses and profit sharing when the firm is profitable. Each branch traditionally includes one financial advisor and one BOA, who have the freedom to set their own hours, work on community projects they enjoy, as well as serve clients well the way they best see fit. Many branches employ part-time BOAs, each working different days and times, according to their individual needs. Edward Jones offers a mountain of opportunities and the tools, training, guides and maps to climb it. Associates need only passion, stamina and determination to strike out for lofty goals. Unlimited opportunity is part of the package at Edward Jones.2) Instrumart It is great to have fun at work, but Instrumart takes exceptional care of its employees too. All employees get full health and dental benefits, free gym membership, 401k and profit-sharing, and other “perks” that are unusual for a small business to offer. Employees take Instrumart’s success personally, and everyone there works as if it was his or her own company. Their employee retention rate is 100% over the past 5 years. Although they are now 33 employees strong, it still feels like a “family” business.1) NRG Systems NRG Systems, manufacturer of wind measurement equipment, strives to build and maintain an exceptional workforce and workplace. Their employees share a common goal: to provide a renewable energy future for their children and for the planet. Through their products and practices they aim to walk the talk every day, whether it s through their LEED-gold certified building, their lean operations, or their green benefits. They don t see these as trade-offs to profitability, but rather practices that drive their profitability. The most remarkable aspect of NRG Systems workplace, on the face of it, may seem very basic. It is the sense of challenge, autonomy and responsibility employees feel for their work. It is that essence of meaningful work that keeps turnover close to zero and makes NRG Systems a dynamic and exceptional place to work.Large Companies (150 or more employees)5) Gardeners SupplyGardeners Supply is an employee owned (ESOP), open book company. They couple employee ownership with education, so each employee understands their business and how he or she can make a difference in their results. They also offer extensive gardening education. They foster a culture in which they expect everyone to be an active participant in achieving their company s mission & goals. They have nine staff meetings each year and have an employee newsletter, As The Compost Turns , published about six times a year. Their annual Town Meetings are an opportunity for everyone, in groups of 10-20 employees, to meet with the CEO to ask any question and discuss any topic they would like. They shut down the entire company for their annual shareholders meeting. Their ESOP Committee actively solicits input from employees twice a year in a process called A Brownie for Your Thoughts . They also fulfill their triple bottom line (profits, people and planet) by involving employees in community activities, including employee directed donations and paid volunteer time.4) King Arthur FlourKing Arthur Flour is America s oldest flour company and premier baking resource, and has twice been named Vermont s Best Place to Work. King Arthur Flour offers its employees an open-book management philosophy, a family-friendly work environment, a commitment to social and environmental responsibility, and much more. Perhaps most important to King Arthur Flour s success is the culture of respect and inclusion cultivated through employee-ownership. Employee-owners understand that their contributions shape the success and the future of the organization. Employee-owners are honored for their passion and dedication, and they re empowered and encouraged to share suggestions and concerns, successes and challenges. This respect and caring is felt by customers and business partners, too, who find the passion and enthusiasm at King Arthur Flour inspirational.3) Green Mountain PowerConsistent with its corporate values, Green Mountain Power stands out in the way it has created a positive work environment for all employees. The corporate culture is open, transparent, and nimble. An open physical environment fosters productive personal interactions and creates a team approach to problem solving. Profit sharing engages employees and empowers them to make the best decisions. Employees are given the technology and tools they need to get the job done safely, effectively, and efficiently. A culture of responsibility encourages a team approach to tackling challenges, recognizes and rewards success, while always looking for opportunities to improve. employees are encouraged to participate in community projects, including a company volunteer day packing food at the FoodBank and working with Mobius, The Mentoring Movement. GMP s benefits are consistent with corporate ad social values.2) Merchants BankMerchants was named among the top five “Best Companies to Work for in Vermont” in the Large Company category (150+ employees), recognized for high marks for overall work environment, role satisfaction, corporate culture and communications.”Merchants Bank is honored to be given this award and recognized for its efforts to create a positive work environment for its employees,” commented Merchants Bank’s President and CEO, Michael R. Tuttle.1) BioTekBioTek is more than just a job, it s a second family. Summer barbeques, yearly company parties, and departmental potlucks help foster a fun atmosphere of team building and mutual respect. The owners of the company regularly communicate strategic goals and encourage employee feedback. They are completely involved and know every employee (and their children) by name. The accessibility to executive level leadership and the autonomy and trust that they provide their employees is truly unique.This family atmosphere and culture of mutual respect, as well as flex time, good benefits, and profit sharing contribute to the average 11+ year tenure of a typical BioTek employee. BioTekkers enjoy coming to work and we know that each one of them is making a difference.