Atlantic Progress Magazine’s 2011 list of “Best Places to Work in Atlantic Canada” includes five companies headquartered, or with offices in, Burnside and Bayers Lake Business Parks.
This year’s listing of 29 companies is part of an annual regional program the magazine undertakes in partnership with the Best Companies Group. It’s a survey and recognition program dedicated to finding and recognizing Atlantic Canada’s best employers. Included on that list this year is: Servant Dunbrack McKenzie & Macdonald Limited; Dillon Consulting; VistaCare Communications; CAA Atlantic Limited; and Atlantic Tractor & Equipment Ltd.
Over the years, ranking on the list has become a coveted feather in the business cap. Employees complete the survey and fill it out with complete autonomy.
In order to be eligible for consideration on the list, companies must meet a basic profile, which includes being a for-profit organization. Not-for-profit and government entities aren’t eligible. The company must be publicly or privately held and have at least one facility in Atlantic Canada. The company must have been in business for a minimum of one year and have a minimum of 20 employees.
Placing seventh on the list, Servant Dunbrack McKenzie & Macdonald Limited (SDMM), land surveyors and consulting engineers, are located at 36 Oland Crescent in Bayers Lake Park. The company has 33 employees and is led by Raymond Landry, who first started working at the company 10 years ago as an engineer. He served four years as vice president before taking over the president’s position.
According to the Best Places to Work listing, SDMM pays 100 per cent of the premiums on medical, prescription, dental, vision and life insurance for employees and their dependents.
Landry is quoted as saying, “People enjoy working here… We’re taking an approach of being interested in ideas rather than focusing on what’s wrong… New ideas need to be nurtured. Employees may not have all (the) decision-making power, but they should be able to bring an original idea forward…Life’s too short to be stuck in a job that makes you unhappy.”
Coming in at 13th on the list, Dillon Consulting (consulting engineers) have offices at 137 Chain Lake Drive in Bayers Lake. The company employs a total of 104 employees at various locations and is led by Gary Komar, president, from a head office in Toronto.
According to the Best Places to Work listing, Dillon directs corporate charitable donations to local charities. The company offers telecommuting options, job sharing and compressed work weeks.
VistaCare Communications Services of Canada, located at 27 MacDonald Avenue in Burnside, occupies the 15th spot on the list. The IT and telecommunications company has 103 employees and is led by Edward Webber, president.
According to the Best Places to Work listing, VistaCare performs yearly performance appraisals, offers on average 240 hours on employee orientation and an average of 20 hours annually on training and development per employee.
The 16th ranking is held by CAA Atlantic Limited, which has offices in Burnside Park. Steve McCall, president, leads this team of 112 employees from a head office in Saint John, N.B.
According to the Best Places to Work listing, CAA offers bonuses to employees who refer new hires and additional paid time off for community service activities and volunteer work.
“We’re honoured we were chosen by our employees as one of the Best Places to Work in Atlantic Canada,” says Gary Howard, vice president of marketing and communications for CAA Atlantic. “Without them we would never be in such an enviable position in our markets. It’s because of our employee's dedication, commitment to service excellence and amazing loyalty that we continue to be chosen as one of the Best Places to work in Atlantic Canada.”
In return, Howard says CAA strives to ensure it provides a challenging yet rewarding environment for employees, including competitive compensation plans, a family-like working environment and a strong commitment to providing them with the right technology, educational programs and support tools they need to get the job done.
Atlantic Tractor & Equipment Ltd., located at 175 Akerley Boulevard in Burnside, holds down the 21st spot on the list. The construction equipment company employees a total of 390 employees at various locations and is led by Gary Oickle, president, from the head office in Burnside.
According to the Best Places to Work listing, Atlantic Cat provides semi-annual employee-information sessions with (the) executive team and conducts employee-opinion surveys each year.
Beth Lahey, people and organization consultant at Atlantic Cat, says this marks the company’s second consecutive appearance on the list.
“It’s a great honor to be on the list,” she says. “We take great pride in being a safe, respected employer and a community partner, and being part of this group reinforces that we’re on the right road to having a satisfied and engaged workforce.”
Lahey says treating employees as people, not just as employees is key to success.
“Our results show that staff feel they’re treated fairly and respected by their superiors and management. Safety is a number one priority for us. Everyone knows that and is comfortable raising any concerns or suggestions for improvements. They know that suggestions will be reviewed, considered and implemented if it makes sense.
"Our staff have told us through the survey they're content in their roles and have a good understanding of how they contribute to making our company a success. In short, our strength is in our people and the contribution they make every day. We value team work, work-life balance and we recognize a job well done."