Best Companies to Work for in Colorado 2013: Large

1. Edward Jones

To look at an official analysis of the perks that place Edward Jones on many “best places to work” lists, it seems pretty obvious.

It all comes down to cash, right? The company devotes 24 percent of its net profits – a tidy sum – to profit sharing for its full-time associates.

But if you ask the regional leaders and others with the company what makes it such a great place to work, money isn’t the typical first mention. That might seem odd, given Edward Jones is a financial service firm. Its associates help clients handle money, assisting them in planning everything from saving for their children’s college funds to ensuring their retirement is accounted for.

The answer is a bit less cut-and-dried.

 “It’s the people who work for the company, and the people we’re serving, that make this a great company to work for,” says Donna O’Bryant, regional leader for 52 offices in southeastern Colorado.

“I’ve always told my kids when they were traveling, ‘If you get into any kind of trouble, call the local Edward Jones people, and they will help out,’” says O’Bryant, who has been with the company for more than 25 years. “We are truly a family.”

It’s a sentiment shared by many. The associates at nearly 11,000 locations across the company – which caters to nearly 7 million individual investors – are all members of that same family.

“It’s a career field where you can change people’s lives,” O’Bryant says. “We build strong personal relationships with our clients, and we look at each other as associates, not competitors.”

The stories of co-workers and people from the corporate office reaching out to help each other could fill a novel.

During a corporate meeting in the mountains, an adviser got word that his son had collapsed in Las Vegas. When he landed there, one of the first calls he received was from another adviser based in Nevada, offering help.

When adviser Bob Gibson and his family were evacuated from their home during the Black Forest fire, the first call he received was from a member of the Edward Jones disaster relief team.

That loyalty inspires friendships, says regional leader Scott Wilson, based in Loveland.

He feels fortunate that most of his closest friends are from within the company.

“At the end of the day, you get paid to do good for people,” Wilson says. “All of us love what we do so much because of it.”

Another perk, Wilson says, is that it’s a great company to work for if you’re raising a family.

“It’s nice to be able to control your time, so you can show up to your kid’s baseball game or any other function,” he says.

Professional and personal rewards ensure Edward Jones shows up year after year on lists like ColoradoBiz and Fortune’s Best Places to Work, O’Bryant says.

“I’ve told a number of folks that are looking at Edward Jones that I think it’s the best business opportunity in America,” O’Bryant says.

“We have the ability to build a branch office, and the backing of a firm that supports us with training and technology, along with all the support necessary for us to do great work.”


2. Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado

Founded: 1993

Location: Grand Junction

Leadership: CEO and President Christy Whitney

In a Nutshell: Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado offers physical, emotional and spiritual care to individuals coping with serious illness, and support for family and friends. A staff of employees and volunteers help thousands of people in Delta, Mesa, Montrose and Ouray counties. Services include comprehensive support from an interdisciplinary team for those with a six-month prognosis, palliative care for those with serious diseases who are not ready for hospice, and bereavement for those who have lost a loved one.

What’s special: The organization offers a free, comprehensive employee assistance program, which features confidential assessment, consultation and referral services to help employees cope with personal and work-related issues. Annual gifts are awarded to those who work more than 20 hours a week. For several years the gift was a $1,000 match per employee to his or her retirement account.

2012 rank: 4

3. Pricewaterhouse-Coopers

Founded: 1998

Location: Denver

Leadership: Market Managing Partner Katrina Salem

In a Nutshell: PricewaterhouseCoopers is the world’s largest professional services firm, with offices in 776 cities across 159 countries. The company provides industry-focused services for public and private clients, focusing on audit and assurance, tax and consulting services. In the U.S., the company’s services include human resources and consulting services.

What’s special: The company has a strong mentorship program. Each new employee is provided a “buddy mentor,” as well as a coach who can help the new hire reach his or her goals. The company’s “Just-In-Case” program helps employees find resources for emergency backup care for children and dependent adults. It also provides reimbursement for the cost of the care.

2012 rank: 3

4. CoBank

Founded: 1989

Location: Greenwood Village

Leadership: CEO Robert B. Engel

In a Nutshell: CoBank delivers flexible, comprehensive financial solutions to its customers, which include agribusinesses, agricultural cooperatives, farm credit associations, rural energy, communications and water companies. The bank business – with more than $92 billion in assets – is the largest financial services institution headquartered in Colorado.

What’s special: CoBank sponsors a party every December for children and grandchildren of employees. Festivities include entertainment, food and gifts. CoBank also encourages its employees to give back to the community and promotes public transit use with EcoPasses for its employees.

2012 rank: 5

5. DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc.

Founded: 1999

Location: Denver

Leadership: Chairman and CEO Kent Thiry

In a Nutshell: DaVita is a leading provider of kidney care in the U.S., delivering dialysis services and education to patients with chronic kidney failure and end-stage renal disease. DaVita operates and provides administrative services in nearly 2,000 dialysis facilities that serve approximately 153,000 patients across the nation.

What’s special: The Village Vitality Program aims to improve the health of employees and their dependents by creating and sustaining a culture of health awareness, prevention and health improvement. DaVita also offers $3,000 general tuition reimbursement per year, and offers other development assistance programs as well.

2012 rank:  6