Posted: August 01, 2012
2012 Best Companies, large: Nos. 4 through 10By Eric Peterson
4. Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado
LOCATION: Headquartered in Grand Junction, with several Western Slope locations
CEO: Christy Whitney, R.N.
COLORADO WORKERS: 261
IN A NUTSHELL: Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado (HPWC) was founded with a seemingly simple mission in mind, "to enhance the quality of life of those facing serious illness and grief." Employees and volunteers support patients and their loved ones through a difficult time. In 2011, more than 1,950 patients received hospice care or palliative care coordination from HPWC, which brings hospice care to twice as many patients, for nearly twice as long, as the national average.
WHAT’S SPECIAL: HPWC provides up to $1,000 per year tuition reimbursement to employees. The company also pays for many educational and conference opportunities for its staffers.
PERKS: HPWC offers employees such discounts as fitness membership discounts, dry cleaning services with free pick up and delivery, hotel discounts, movie and concert ticket discounts. Employees also receive discounted tickets to HPWC fundraising events, including galas and golf events.
2011 RANK: No. 6
LOCATION: Headquartered in Greenwood Village (with 12 other offices in the U.S.)
CEO: Robert Engel
COLORADO WORKERS: 508
IN A NUTSHELL: With more than $85 billion in assets, CoBank is the largest financial-services institution headquartered in Colorado. Customers include agribusinesses, agricultural cooperatives, Farm Credit associations, and rural energy, communications and water companies. Unlike most financial institutions, CoBank is a customer-owned cooperative.
WHAT’S SPECIAL: Employees may work with their supervisors to agree upon a schedule that allows them to start the work day as early as 6:30 a.m. or as late as 8:30 a.m. Exempt employees can take up to four hours off for personal reasons on any given day and make up those hours during the same week.
2011 RANK: No. 10
CEO: Kent Thiry
COLORADO WORKERS: 1,083
IN A NUTSHELL: DaVita, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading provider of kidney care in the United States, delivering dialysis services and education to patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage renal disease. As of the end of 2011, DaVita operated or provided administrative services at 1,809 dialysis facilities serving approximately 142,000 patients.
WHAT’S SPECIAL: DaVita offers a variety of bonuses to reward individual performance, including Core Value Awards (for exemplifying one of the company’s values), Shining Star Awards (for exceptional clinical caregivers), Village Paradise Awards (all-expenses-paid vacation up to $1,000), and others. The company’s profit-sharing program pays an average of $100 million each year in profit sharing to teammates below the director level.
2011 RANK: no. 9
7. The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies
LOCATION: Headquartered in Mayfield Village, Ohio
CEO: Glenn Renwick
COLORADO WORKERS: 1,805
IN A NUTSHELL: Progressive offers insurance for personal and commercial autos, motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles and homes. It’s the fourth largest auto insurer in the country, the largest seller of motorcycle insurance and a leader in commercial auto insurance.
WHAT’S SPECIAL: "Gainshare" gives all Progressive people the opportunity to earn salaries that are better than the market by providing bonuses based on the company’s growth and profitability. The program can pay up to two times the target and everyone in the company is eligible for at least an 8 percent target.
VALUES: In response to employee interest, and to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Progressive’s "Employee Resource Groups" include the Asian American Network; the Progressive African American Network; the Progressive Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Network; the Network of Empowered Women; and Progressive’s Latin American NETworking Association.
2011 RANK: No. 8
CEO: Lynn Powers
COLORADO WORKERS: 300
IN A NUTSHELL: Founded to promote personal development, wellness and environmental responsibility, Gaiam began as a lifestyle media company and today is a leader in yoga products and media and videos that promote spiritual health. Its distribution network includes 80,000 physical locations, a digital presence, and 8 million direct customers.
WHAT’S SPECIAL: Gaiam provides free yoga and fitness classes for employees (and the general public) at its retail locations. Professional fitness development is also offered internally and externally.
PERKS: Gaiam welcomes employees to bring their dogs to work at its Louisville
campus. On breaks, there are trails on campus that are quite popular with these canine cohorts.
New to the list
9. Quest Diagnostics
LOCATION: Headquartered in Madison, N.J., with a Denver office
CEO: Steve Rusckowski
COLORADO WORKERS: 539
IN A NUTSHELL: A Fortune 500 company, Quest Diagnostics is the nation’s leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services that patients and doctors need to make better health-care decisions. The company’s national network consists of about 30 regional laboratories, 150 rapid response laboratories, and more than 2,000 patient service centers.
WHAT’S SPECIAL: Blueprint for Wellness is the company’s comprehensive health assessment program. The program provides an easy way to start improving health or simply to monitor progress. And it costs nothing: Blueprint for Wellness is provided free of charge to all Quest Diagnostics employees and their spouses or domestic partners.
VALUES: The company aims for every employee to have a "Development Plan" as part of an ongoing push for self-improvement. The next step: Quest created IntelliQuest, an initiative for employee training and development that is a repository for a bank of more than 450 classes and online training.
New to the list
10. Merrick & Co.
CEO: Ralph W. Christie, P.E.
COLORADO WORKERS: 288
IN A NUTSHELL: Merrick & Co. is an employee-owned, multidisciplinary professional services firm specializing in the energy, national security, nuclear, life sciences, and sustainable infrastructure markets. The firm provides engineering, architecture, design-build, surveying, and geospatial technologies services.
WHAT’S SPECIAL: Merrick provides financial assistance for continuing higher education. The company reimburses student-employees up to $5,250 a year.
VALUES: Merrick has a formal recognition program call the Merrick Way, based on the official value system of the company.
New to the list
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com