Best Places to Work 2015 Companies

Large Companies

1. Edward Jones

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: St. Louis
Website: edwardjones.com
Year Founded: 1922
Company Leader: Jim Weddle, managing partner
Status: Private
Employees in State: 524

Edward Jones, a partnership owned by more than 20,000 associates, is headquartered in St. Louis. It operates in the United States and through its affiliate in Canada. All income after expenses is paid out to associates through bonuses, profit sharing and partnership earnings.

Oklahoma’s Edward Jones financial advisors run their own businesses, like entrepreneurs, without financial investment but aided by extensive firm support. They work in partnership with branch office administrators to achieve goals they set together, even office hours.

Financial advisors set their own schedules and choose their branch locations. Because they usually live where they work, it’s easy to duck out of the office to see an awards assembly or eat lunch with the kids. They work from anywhere using smartphones, laptops and firm-provided remote access. Some financial advisors take Friday afternoons off, and others work a short schedule during summer months when their children are out of school. It is their choice.

The typical Edward Jones branch has one financial advisor and one branch office administrator serving clients in neighborhoods where they live and work. The company pays expenses, installs technology and provides the training and support needed to succeed.

Great perks abound.

“Each year, thousands of our financial advisors earn all-expenses-paid Edward Jones Travel Award trips to exotic destinations across the globe,” said Financial Advisor Mary Maddux, Ponca City. “In 2014, 60 percent of all financial advisors earned at least one of two trips by serving their clients well.”

Financial advisors are paid to study for licenses and then go on salary while earning commissions and bonuses and get subsidized benefits in their early years. They eventually transition to commission earnings supplemented by profitability bonuses and profit sharing and even the possibility of limited partnership. Branch office administrators are paid hourly, but they earn bonuses, get profit sharing and are offered limited partnership, too. All firm associates are strongly supported in their regions and by home-office personnel.

Branch office administrators also can take advantage of a voluntary unpaid leave program, scheduling from five to 40 unpaid days off a year. Some branch office administrators use unpaid leave to create a more flexible schedule while remaining full-time associates with full benefits. Some use it as a way to extend vacations or take care of family needs.


2. Cancer Treatment Centers of America

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Boca Raton, Florida
Website: cancercenter.com
Year Founded: 1989
Company Leader: Richard Haldeman, Tulsa president/CEO; Gerard van Grinsven, system president/CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 715

Cancer Treatment Centers of America has a unique way of encapsulating its mission. It’s called the Mother Standard of care, which means that its employees (called stakeholders) treat each patient the way they would want their own mothers to be treated if they had cancer. It seems to work for the stakeholders themselves, too.

“Many of our patients tell us that our hospital is like their home away from home,” said Richard Haldeman, president and CEO. “Our employees, who we call stakeholders, treat our patients and each other like family; they have a deep connection to one another. We want our patients to heal, meet their goals and return to the quality of life they had before becoming sick. We are truly vested in their outcome, which gives everyone — from the housekeeper to the doctor — a sense of purpose.”

Stakeholder wellness is imperative. When a business is as emotionally taxing as CTCA’s, stakeholders must be physically and mentally healthy to take care of patients. CTCA offers an on-site fitness center open 24 hours a day for stakeholders and patients.

Stakeholders also have access to naturopathic practitioners for consultations and $600 to be used for vitamins and supplements each year. In addition, because CTCA is open 24 hours a day, it offers flexible work schedules to promote a work-life balance.

“Research tells us that happier and highly engaged stakeholders are more productive, which we see manifesting in superior patient care,” Haldeman said. “We have some of the highest patient satisfaction scores in the country and believe it ties back to our stakeholder engagement. We listen and take action on feedback from our stakeholders and patients. We also believe that if we give our stakeholders the freedom to go above and beyond, they will achieve greatness personally and professionally.”

CTCA focuses on fighting cancer and on making sure that its patients are comfortable throughout treatment. CTCA treats cancer and improves patient quality of life with a holistic approach that includes therapies like nutrition, naturopathic medicine, pain management and rehabilitation.


3. Diagnostic Laboratory of Oklahoma

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City
Website: dlolab.com
Year Founded: 2001
Company Leader: Bill Mosteller, CEO
Status: Public
Employees in State: 734

Each year, Diagnostic Labs of Oklahoma takes care of more than 7,000 clients, including clinics, physicians, hospitals, corporations and universities, with a state-of-the-art core laboratory in Oklahoma City, two rapid response labs for STAT and same-day testing in Norman and Tulsa and ten hospital laboratories across the state. It also has a fleet of 65 vehicles driven by diligent staffers who traverse more than 9,000 miles and make more than 1,250 stops each day.

DLO employees must have the proper mindset of quality, empathy and integrity. Of the more than 9 million tests DLO performs each year, 95 percent are conducted in-state, so DLO staffers are Oklahomans serving Oklahomans.

“As a health care organization, DLO organically has a culture of service,” said CEO Bill Mosteller. “Not only does DLO serve its patients, they also serve each other, creating a family atmosphere.”

This culture of service has allowed DLO to be named as one of Oklahoma’s Best Places to Work for 10 years in a row.

In addition to paid holidays and vacation, DLO employees enjoy great benefits and perks such as a matching 401(k) program, an employee stock purchase plan and a goal-sharing plan through which employees are recognized and rewarded for the continuous improvement of the organization. It also continually recognizes personal and professional achievements of its employees and families through its company newsletter.

To improve employee health, DLO offers a comprehensive program called Blueprint for Wellness, designed to educate, motivate and reward workers who act and engage in healthier lifestyles. They also get free lab benefits.

In order to continue the company’s ongoing growth and success, DLO understands it has to attract and retain the best talent. DLO is committed to developing employees by investing in educational goals through a tuition reimbursement program for undergraduate and graduate degree programs for full-time employees.


4. Eide Bailly LLP

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Fargo, North Dakota
Website: eidebailly.com
Year Founded: 1917
Company Leader: Dave Stende, CEO/managing partner
Status: Private
Employees in State: 140

Nationally, Eide Bailly is a top-25 CPA firm in the country, serving 54,000 clients. It has 1,600 employees and 27 offices in a dozen states. How does a company that large ensure its employees — and, therefore, its clients — have a top-notch experience day in and day out? It considers its culture the foundation of its success.

Not surprising for a CPA firm, accountability figures largely in this equation. Its corporate culture statement is a downloadable bookmark that encourages employees to care for one another, conduct themselves with a high level of integrity, trust and support one another and recognize the importance of maintaining a balance between work and home life.

Stende said the company has an open relationship with its partners and staff, so all parties involved have opportunities to contribute to the organization’s collective success.

“We also like to have fun and place much emphasis on civic involvement and giving back to our communities,” said CEO and Managing Partner Dave Stende.

Eide Bailly offers its workers wellness benefits, office parties, chair massages, casual Fridays and fun recognition programs with prizes like gift cards. There’s also a tuition-reimbursement program for CPA exams and payment for study materials. The company also provides significant staff training, which means it’s confident and ready for anything.

One unique initiative that progressive thinkers at Eide Bailly have undertaken is to add more women to its partner and leadership rosters. It does this through a program and process called First Focus.

“We have seen very positive results over the last several years with the retention and addition to leadership roles of females in our firm and expect that trend to continue,” Stende said.

The companywide initiative is a thorough and well-formed plan with buy-in at all organizational levels. Forums, networking opportunities and a revision to the formal corporate training guide have been completed.

“We place significant focus on our people,” Stende said. “Our culture is one of treating all with respect and value and allowing growth opportunities within our firm. We have low turnover, which helps us provide consistency on engagements and growth for our staff.”


5. Capital One Auto Finance
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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: McLean, Virginia
Website: capitalone.com
Year Founded: 1988
Company Leader: Rich Fairbank, founder/chairman/CEO
Status: Public
Employees in State: 450

The Tulsa office of Capital One always put its customers first, but as John Cook, director of extended operations, said, “We want our associates to enjoy their day.”

“We provide our associates with a dynamic environment combined with two key values: Excellence and Do the Right Thing,” Cook said. “We take pride in encouraging our associates to think independently in a collaborative setting and present creative ideas to senior management. It’s this type of innovative thinking that is a major part of our corporate growth as well as the overall success of Capital One.”

Capital One Auto Finance in Tulsa consists of customer care, collections and repossessions departments. The mindset of every associate is to focus on the customers. Keeping clients in their cars and out of repossession proceedings is top priority. Capital One Auto Finance associates have the knowledge and tools to work closely with customers and resolve issues. This can be stressful, and the company goes above and beyond to create an environment that recharges associates.

Associates flourish and thrive while enjoying off-site team-building days that involve activities such as bowling, putt-putt golf, go-kart races and traditional golf along with a robust schedule of company events throughout the year. These take the form of department rallies, town hall meetings, holiday parties, luncheons and more.

Tulsa associates have access to a corporate game room, a gathering place to catch up on latest news and eat lunch or log onto a computer to catch up on a favorite TV show or movie. There is always a friendly competition at the pool and ping-pong tables and the foosball and video game units. In addition, Capital One offers top-notch benefits focused on helping associates be well physically, financially and emotionally. It is one of few large companies that is American Heart Association Gold Certified, and its associates have access to exceptional medical, dental, vision and prescription drug plans with full coverage for spouses, domestic partners and dependents.

“We also take these values into the community, putting an emphasis on volunteerism and community service so that the places where we live and work continue moving in the right direction,” Cook said. “Our associates constantly provide feedback that … being given the opportunity to give back to the community is very important to them.”


6. 180 Medical

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City
Website: 180medical.com
Year Founded: 2002
Company Leader: Ron Howell, CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 257

It’s called the “180 Way,” and it guides each employee of 180 Medical, from the top down, in everything they do and each decision they make. Components of the 180 Way are admirable and include service, compassion, education and integrity.

“I think it starts with getting to be part of something that truly makes a difference in the lives of others,” said Sharon Hodnett, director of human resources. “Todd Brown founded the company out of a passion to help others in situations similar to his after he suffered a spinal cord injury. He was very intentional in creating an environment that is based on relationships, respect, compassion and a lot of fun.”

180 Medical is a medical supply company, which means its customers deal with ongoing and often lifelong health issues. What it does every day improves people’s quality of life. The company makes sure that its employees feel empowered, respected and appreciated because that directly affects customer experiences.

People who enjoy their workplace and have fun with colleagues are better able to go the extra mile and take care to always be compassionate and kind to patients in need.

“We get feedback every day from our customers, saying that they’ve never worked with a company that has taken the time to educate them or show the level of compassion that our employees do,” Hodnett said.

That service level is directly attributable to its quality employees, assets it protects and nurtures. 180 Medical now has 450 workers, and as it has grown, its leadership worked hard to make sure it never got so big that it lost the relationships it so carefully fostered. Its unique corporate culture is a careful balance of a casual and fun workplace and a dedication to putting customers first. Examples of this culture are its participation in The Corporate Challenge, wheelchair basketball and goal shirt day.

Fun perks also abound at 180.

“Besides an on-site gym and free snacks available to all employees, our staff has opportunities to spin a prize wheel when certain goals are met, earn weekly treats such as food trucks and we all enjoy participating in special challenges and themed contests,” Hodnett said.


7. Encompass Home Health & Hospice

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Website: ehhi.com
Year Founded: 1998
Company Leader: April Anthony, founder/CEO
Status: Subsidiary of a public company
Employees in State: 500

Encompass Home Health & Hospice’s mission, “A Better Way to Care,” is at the heart of the day-to-day activities of every employee.

“Our patients are somebody’s parent, child, brother, sister or grandparent, and we are all keenly aware of that. That fact touches and informs our employees on a daily basis. Likewise, we recognize that each of us, as employees, is somebody’s parent, child, brother, sister or grandparent, and we are all keenly aware of that,” said founder and CEO April Anthony.

Helping reinforce its mission and culture is its Encompass Cares Foundation, which allows the company to donate to worthy causes. It is unique in that it also is able to help fellow employees in times of need.

Encompass Cares helps fund medical missions and provides employees, retirees and affiliated partners opportunities to care for the medically underserved throughout the world. Domestically, money raised by Encompass Cares supports programs that help patients and families with costs related to home adaptations, food, medical equipment and household supplies.

A favorite facet of the Encompass corporate culture is that its executive leaders, including the CEO, COO and executive vice president of sales, work hard to ensure they are accessible to employees and they know and interact with them as individuals. With more than 160 offices, that’s a difficult and time-consuming task, especially when considering the fact that most employees spend their days in patients’ homes, not in the office.

“Reinforcing our company’s mission really is a natural byproduct of the services we provide. No formal program is necessary for any of us to see that our work has more meaning than being just a job,” Anthony said. “We all see it in the eyes of our patients and in the expression of gratitude from our patients’ family members each day. We all see it and hear it in the big and small ways that we care and help our teammates out each day.”

One of the ways the executive leadership does this is through Road Show visits to each office at least once a year. These visits are highly anticipated and celebrated by local office employees and managers.


8. First United Bank & Trust

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Durant
Website: firstunitedbank.com
Year Founded: 1900
Company Leader: Greg Massey, CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 643

On Oct. 2, 1900, First United Bank & Trust opened its doors in Blue County, Choctaw Nation Territory, now known as Durant. Over a century later, it is recognized as one of the largest, most well-capitalized banking organizations in the Southwest U.S. with assets over $3 billion. What can that success be attributed to?

“Our employees have the opportunity to reach their true calling,” said First United Bank CEO Greg Massey. “They are empowered to make decisions and supported on their personal path to success. They are encouraged to increase the financial well-being of our customers, develop deeper relationships with our partners and enrich our communities by being active in them.”

Massey’s attitude, along with First United Bank’s purpose of helping others Spend Life Wisely, results in a group of dedicated employees committed to and passionate about company values.

First United is a full-service bank offering checking and savings accounts, mortgage services, commercial lending, insurance and wealth management. It uses a stakeholder model that is a balanced union between First United and five stakeholder groups that contribute to the company’s success. Doing business with First United should be a winning situation for everyone involved.

“We do what’s right for our customers, employees, shareholders, partners and suppliers and our communities,” Massey said. “We inspire and empower others by sharing information on faith, financial well-being, wellness and personal development.”

Perks enjoyed by First United employees include a comprehensive wellness program managed by an on-site wellness director. It encompasses overall well-being and includes things such as free health screenings and health risk assessments, educational seminars, wellness coaching and sponsorship in community events. Employees are also able to earn “well days,” which are paid days off for participating in the wellness program.

First United also offers employee options that pay 100 percent of monthly premiums for medical, dental and life insurance. And an on-site cafe offers staffers healthy menu options daily.

“Other benefits that we have realized from having happy employees include employee retention, customer satisfaction, a large applicant pool, highly motivated employees,” Massey said, “employees that have a true sense of pride in relation to the legacy we are creating.”


9. Mars Pet Care U.S.

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Franklin, Tennessee
Website: mars.com
Year Founded: 1911
Company Leader: Grant F. Reid, president/CEO of Mars Inc.; Larry Allgaier, regional president, Mars Pet Care NA
Status: Private
Employees in State: 149

In 1911, Frank C. Mars began making candies in his Tacoma, Washington, kitchen and established Mars’ first roots in the confectionery business. In 1935, Mars entered the petcare business.

If you have a pet, chances are you know what the good folks at Mars Pet Care make. Eukanuba, Iams, Cesar and Whiskas are a few of the brands under the Mars umbrella. The Mars Pet Care Vision is to Make a Better World for Pets, and in its efforts to realize that goal, Mars Pet Care also has made a better world for its 149 Oklahoma employees.

“Happy and engaged associates are more productive,” said Daniel Klapuch, Clinton site manager.

The Mars Five Principles (quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom) are the foundation of its culture and business approach. They unite Mars associates across geographies, languages, cultures and generations.

This concept has guided Mars associates throughout most of the company’s history. Every day, they put these principles into action through work and relationships with consumers, customers, business partners, communities and one another.

From day one of employment, workers receive benefits, a generous vacation allowance, a 401(k) plan and a pension plan, as do participants in the Mars Volunteer Program, which allows associates to support causes dear to them while pursuing a career.

Associates covered by Mars insurance can take advantage of the Health Tracks Incentive Program. They complete an online assessment, receive a preventative exam that includes biometric data and can earn $500 for following a healthy lifestyle. Spouses also are eligible for this perk. The company takes healthy walks on Wednesdays and starts each shift with stretches. There are Health Tracks Team and individual competitions, and the company makes healthy snacks available and offers healthy eating promotions.

Bettering the planet through green practices is another Mars hallmark. Unsalable food is sent to a hog farm instead of landfills. Cardboard and other materials are recycled.

Associates also enjoy annual bonuses, employee awards programs, town hall meetings, tuition reimbursement, paternity leave, adoption assistance, lactation facilities, on-site personal development and more.


10. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Itasca, Illinois
Website: ajg.com
Year Founded: 1927
Company Leader: Pat Gallagher, CEO
Status: Public
Employees in State: 76

Arthur Gallagher founded Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in Chicago on Oct. 1, 1927. Already a successful insurance agent when he decided to build a business of his own, Gallagher focused on commercial insurance and pioneered the concept of risk management. He knew that by understanding his customers and helping them save money by identifying and reducing their risks, he would build strong relationships.

Fast forward 72 years to 1999: Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. was named the fourth-largest broker in the world by Business Insurance magazine. Growth and innovation continue through this century. The company completed 142 acquisitions, including the four largest acquisitions in its history, from 2010 through 2013.

And in 2012, 2013 and 2014, Gallagher was recognized by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

This snapshot shows you everything you need to know. Gallagher builds relationships, it cares about ethics, it’s always at the forefront of innovation and its employees are among the happiest in the country.

“Our culture and our work environment is extremely important to us,” said company leader Pat Gallagher. “So much so that at our national sales meeting, this was the focus: culture. Protecting, preserving and ensuring, as we continue to grow through both organically hired employees and mergers, that our culture is not harmed in the process.”

Some perks of becoming part of the Gallagher family are a free vacation day within your birthday month, a flexible Friday schedule that allows employees to leave at noon every other Friday, flexible work hours, an annual company picnic, two floating holidays each year to be used in any manner the employee wishes and a social committee.

That last one is busy. It brings in food trucks and plans parties for baby showers, wedding showers, big birthdays, holidays and retirement. Gallagher employees also enjoy celebrating lesser-known holidays. For National Ice Cream Day, ice cream was given away, and for National Ball Point Pen Day, everyone received free pens.

Company leadership knows that treating its employees well is itself a form of risk management.

“The product we sell is ourselves, our attitudes and our knowledge,” Gallagher said. “A happy employee ensures our clients’ needs are met with a smile, a servant heart and a great attitude.”


11. Safelite AutoGlass

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio
Website: safelite.com
Year Founded: 1947
Company Leader: Tom Feeney, CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 91

Safelite Auto Glass has a clear view of its future. Its plan is to become the natural choice for vehicle glass repair and replacement services in the U.S.

Sure, quickly and effectively fixing windshields plays into that, but for Safelite, true success requires more. This company is People Powered, which also is the name of its ongoing training program.

“The goal of People Powered is to drive business performance by putting people first and having an obsessive focus on having talented people who are inspired to deliver great results,” said CEO Tom Feeney.

Its four tenets are leadership, focus, talent and caring.

“We believe we can only achieve our goal of becoming the natural choice if we maintain our reputation for being a trusted and respected company,” Feeney said. “And that means always doing the right thing when it comes to our associates and our customers. We aim to be clear about the behaviors we expect within the business, of each other and of those we work with.”

Two-way communication is essential. The People Powered standard is communicated to all associates through annual kick-off meetings in which leaders share the company’s vision and goals and explain its philosophy that happy, talented people create happy, loyal customers who deliver profitable growth.

The company also created an ethics program, Taking the High Road, which is delivered to 11,000 associates through a video message, pocket guide and written communications. Safelite even has a toll-free ethics hotline that encourages associates to red-flag questionable behavior.

It also offers extensive and ongoing training and fantastic benefits. Safeliters receive annual performance bonuses; lots of paid vacation and personal time off; medical, vision and dental insurance coverage; tuition reimbursement; and paid time off to volunteer in the community. Technicians also receive uniforms, a company vehicle for work and employee discounts with a variety of more than 100 vendors and companies. There is an associate-to-associate financial assistance program for employees in need related to tragic events.

“When we take care of our No. 1 asset — our people — they then can take care of the customer and the rest takes care of itself,” Feeney said.


12. First Fidelity Bank, N.A.

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City
Website: ffb.com
Year Founded: 1920
Company Leader: Lee Symcox, president/CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 350

Seven-time Best Places to Work in Oklahoma honoree First Fidelity Bank knows a lot about keeping its 350 employees happy by treating them right.

“We advertise that we offer big bank products and technology with community bank service, and those values apply to more than just the accounts we offer. We think that we are able to offer all of the robust employment characteristics of a larger company while staying true to our Oklahoma family-owned-and-operated roots,” said Assistant Vice President Lauren Harris. “Essentially, it’s the best of both worlds: great overall compensation and, at the same time, that family feeling. Employees can attain all of the benefits and career development in the world, but it doesn’t mean much if they don’t experience camaraderie and respect and don’t love coming to work every day.”

First Fidelity employees enjoy competitive salaries and great benefit packages, but it goes beyond that. They are offered sophisticated training and career development, financial support for professional organizations they choose to join and generous paid time off.

There also is a discounted fitness membership program with wellness support, an annual employee appreciation week, drawings for concert tickets and more. This year, First Fidelity added a new perk: an employee night out at an Oklahoma City Energy Football Club soccer game. Employees have a lot of fun with that as they decorate their offices and take team photos.

“Happy employees exemplify our company values and provide the best service possible for our clients. Happiness also leads to career longevity, which encourages growth and success,” Harris said. “We are fortunate to have many employees who have been with us for 10, 20, even 30 years. Nearly 35 percent of our employees have been with the company five years or longer. It’s our employees who put us here and make this a wonderful place to be, so we would like to thank them for everything they do to make FFB what it is.”


13. Cintas Corporation

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
Website: cintas.com
Year Founded: 1929
Company Leader: Scott Farmer, CEO; Brad McNeese, group vice president
Status: Public
Employees in State: 367

Cintas knows it isn’t luck that has placed it on the Best Places to Work list for seven years. It’s lots of hard work and dedication to the company’s most valuable asset: its people, which it refers to as partners rather than employees.

“Our partners truly enjoy where they work and want to let others know we are one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma,” said Group Vice President Brad McNeese. “Our partners come to work each day in a safe, clean environment. They are paid fairly and treated with respect. Annually, we provide free, on-site health evaluations for all partners even if they don’t have Cintas health insurance coverage.”

The entire organization strives to adhere to its Principal Objective, or what other companies call a mission statement. It gives the partners guidance to make decisions in the best interest of shareholders, customers and themselves. With a strongly held belief in the Principal Objective, every partner understands their unique and important role in serving Cintas’ customers.

Cintas’ areas of service include supplying corporate identity uniform programs and providing entrance and logo mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and industrial carpet and tile cleaning. It operates more than 400 facilities in North America, including six manufacturing plants and eight distribution centers. Intricate and meticulous logistics combine with excellent customer service to set Cintas apart.

Great partner benefits are another way Cintas distinguishes itself.

Its in-depth health screenings include a 34-panel comprehensive screening, health history questionnaire and age- and gender-specific tests. Participants can receive $15 off their 2016 weekly insurance premiums for participating.

There is also a perks program through which partners and family members receive thousands of discounts on cell phone services, car purchases, movie tickets and amusement park passes.

“Each year, our partners develop an endearment calendar of events,” McNeese said. “The calendar includes monthly informal and formal recognition events and celebrations like ice cream socials, sporting events, holiday meals and Spirit Day activities for partners to recommit to the culture of Cintas.”


14. AAA Oklahoma

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Tulsa
Website: aaa.com
Year Founded: 1920
Company Leader: Neal Krueger, president/CEO
Status: Nonprofit
Employees in State: 250

First-time Best Places to Work in Oklahoma honoree AAA Oklahoma was founded in 1920. It began with a scant 289 members and now boasts more than 360,000 members across Oklahoma

AAA strives to exceed the expectation in everything it does. AAA was founded in 1902 and is a not-for-profit organization of clubs with more than 50 million members in the United States and Canada. It serves its members through a network of 1,100 offices with more than 45,000 employees.

AAA Oklahoma’s 250 employees operate 12 full-service and 32 insurance and membership offices throughout the state’s 77 counties.

“We have a tenured base of employees who believe in our products and services, who take pride in our brand and are dedicated to meeting our members’ needs,” said President and CEO Neal Krueger. “Our employees are connected to the communities that we serve. AAA Oklahoma has offices throughout the state, which allows us to provide support locally while our corporate brand allows us to serve our members on a national and international scale.”

AAA Oklahoma employees enjoy complimentary AAA Plus memberships for themselves and one other person. They can receive tuition reimbursement for higher education, and AAA Oklahoma offers competitive benefits. It encourages community involvement that allows employees to give back in multiple ways and take advantage of local sporting and special events.

Employees especially love AAA Oklahoma’s tradition of free jeans Fridays. Close behind in popularity are quarterly staff celebrations, holiday bonuses, company-paid registration for awareness walks and races, paid time off for community service or volunteer work, vending machines stocked with healthy choices to promote better nutrition and employee walking programs.

AAA Oklahoma is proud to provide the services that have made it a household name and offer new and innovative services. Over the years, AAA has become recognized as the nation’s leading provider of roadside assistance and automotive-related expertise, but it has also become the world’s largest publisher of travel information and one of the world’s largest leisure travel agencies.

It is also one of the most active advocates for the welfare of the traveling public, one of the fastest growing financial products and services organizations in the United States and one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma.


Small/Medium Companies

 

1. Foundation Medical Staffing

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
Website: foundationmedicalstaffing.com, chghealthcare.com
Year Founded: 1999
Company Leader: Matt Rice, senior director
Status: Private
Employees in State: 27

Foundation Medical Staffing has specialized in dialysis services since 1999 and is an industry leader. The company recruits and places dialysis nurses and staff in temporary and permanent positions locally and nationally. It places nurses, technicians and renal dietitians in community hospitals, outpatient clinics, teaching facilities or small rural hospitals — wherever the staff feels most at home. Foundation also offers dialysis personnel placements that are travel opportunities.

“Our singular focus is dialysis staffing. For providers, we deliver the job you want, the benefits you need and the pay you deserve,” said Senior Director Matt Rice. “For clients, we work tirelessly to fill your unique staffing needs with qualified providers.”

Sure, there’s pressure, but Foundation doesn’t let the fast pace drain its employees. Near-constant celebrations and great perks make it a fun and satisfying place to work. Employees celebrate random holidays such as Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. Each year during employee appreciation week, there are free chair massages, free meals and fun activities, and all year long, everyone gets to leave two hours early on Fridays when the team hits its weekly production goal. They have recess every Wednesday afternoon to play games and enjoy team building activities.

Employees enjoy the on-site fitness room, ping-pong table and shuffleboard table. Newly added amenities are a big-screen TV and furniture in a relaxing lounge area. A yearly President’s Club trip is offered to qualifying sales consultants and non-sales employees.

Traditional benefits are also offered to domestic partners regardless of their sex. There is an on-site health coach and a nurse practitioner whose services are free for employees. Foundation also offers tuition reimbursement, a healthy pregnancy program, smoking cessation and the option for pet insurance.

“At Foundation Medical Staffing, the statement ‘putting people first’ lies at the center of our core values. It’s the standard for everything we do, a philosophy that guides all of our decisions and strategies,” Rice said. “We are in a people business, helping to fill health care staffing needs by providing qualified dialysis professionals in medical facilities across the country. Our level of engagement and job satisfaction directly impacts our field staff and, in turn, our clients and their patients.”


2. TBS Factoring Service

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Website: tbsfactoring.com
Year Founded: 2004
Company Leader: Wood Kaufman, CEO/managing member
Status: Private
Employees in State: 140

TBS Factoring Service’s success is truly a team effort. Led by former newspaper delivery boy and avid skier Wood Kaufman, the company finances business, mostly in the trucking industry, by buying invoices at a percentage discount and then collecting from customers later.

It’s a booming business.

And Kaufman knows how to keep his employees happy and motivated.

“We make a point of catching people in the act of doing things right and celebrate their achievement,” Kaufman said. “We have a generous bonus program, 100 percent employer-paid benefits paid for employees, a company picnic, great associate development programs, paid time off for community service, Friday catered lunch from Café 501, our owner and management are accessible (in the trenches) and our year-end associate celebration is the stuff of legend.”

Kaufman has mastered the art of balancing work and fun. In high school, he worked hard but also spent time in video game arcades and on ski slopes. He thought about going to college in Colorado so he could ski but ended up at the University of Arkansas. He spent two years majoring in arts and sciences and then followed his pragmatic side and switched to finance, thinking he would be more likely to find employment.

Fayetteville was a fun place to live but wasn’t great for finance jobs, so after a year of waiting tables, Kaufman went to Dallas and worked for Bear Stearns. In 1997, his father, Dennis Kaufman, had a heart attack at age 42 and was told he had only a year to live. Kaufman came to Oklahoma City and began learning his dad’s business from the bottom up. In ’98, he was instrumental in starting TBS Insurance Agency and, in 2004, TBS Factoring Service. Thankfully, Dennis Kaufman’s doctors got it wrong; he is alive and well today.

The TBS mission is to be the premier provider of compliance, insurance and freight bill factoring solutions that enable our nation’s transportation companies to prosper. It is a family business serving family businesses. Kaufman’s mother and sister are proud TBS employees.

The TBS mission is to be the premier provider of compliance, insurance and freight bill factoring solutions that enable our nation’s transportation companies to prosper. It is a family business serving family businesses. Kaufman’s mother and sister are proud TBS employees.

“We treat our associates like family, and they pass that care and concern on to our customers,” Kaufman said.

Other employee amenities and perks include paid time off for community service and volunteering, a women’s leadership development group, generous bonuses, frequent performance recognition and lots of workplace celebrations.

“When you think about it, people spend more of their waking hours at work than they do with their families,” Kaufman said. “By making TBS feel like one big extended family, we’re able to tap that discretionary energy that people reserve only for causes they truly believe in. We treat our associates well, and they treat us even better.”


3. InterWorks

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Stillwater
Website: interworks.com
Year Founded: 1996
Company Leader: Behfar Jahanshahi, CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 100

InterWorks doesn’t have a traditional mission statement. Instead, this progressive company simply strives to hire the best people to do the best work for the best clients. From servers and storage to development and visualization, InterWorks provides full-spectrum IT and data solutions.

“InterWorks has always been about doing top-notch work all while having fun,” said CEO Behfar Jahanshahi. “Above all else, we value the relationships we forge with our employees and our clients more than anything else. By taking care of them, we’ve made them pretty happy.”

How do you take care of 100 IT professionals? Suffice it to say it’s not the same as how you’d take care of 100 accountants. Jahanshahi does it with corporate ping-pong tables, video games, beer Fridays (or any days) and complimentary tickets to Thunder games, Driller games and other sporting events. Many company-wide events are staged each year, such as a fiercely competitive annual BBQ contest, a back-to-school carnival and its legendary holiday party.

Employees are well cared for during the workday as well. There are fully stocked cereal bars, a spectacular assortment of complimentary beverages and snacks available constantly and frequent catered lunches. To top things off, employees enjoy generous paid leave, full benefits and matching 401K plans.

There’s an authentic spirit of fun and camaraderie at InterWorks. You can look, but you won’t find the traditional, stuffy corporate rules or traditional office protocol here. Instead, you’ll find games, snacks and Nerf guns — all things that help staffers let loose and decompress when they need to. IT can be a very stressful business, and removing stress makes room for creativity and imaginative problem solving.

There’s a sense of ownership at InterWorks that stems from its philosophy. Everyone has the power to determine their own career trajectory. Senior management and ownership embrace new ideas from employees and let them see their ideas all the way to fruition. This creates a company of driven, dedicated people.

“Having happy employees translates into better business. If they’re happy, it’s pretty safe to assume they’re going to strive that much harder to make clients happy,” Jahanshahi said. “It’s all one giant circle. But really, having happy employees makes InterWorks enjoyable for everyone. It’s contagious.”


4. MassMutual Financial Group Oklahoma

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Springfield, Massachusetts
Website: oklahoma.massmutual.com
Year Founded: 1902
Company Leader: Mark Burson, general agent
Status: Public
Employees in State: 34

MassMutual Financial Group Oklahoma was established in 1902 and was led by members of the Wilson family for nearly a century. J. Hawley Wilson ran the company from 1939 to 1991 and was followed by his son J. Hawley Wilson Jr., who led the agency through the most dramatic growth in its history (1962-1991), producing $1 billion worth of insurance in force. From 1996 to 2007, Thomas McCaskill III shepherded the company, its clients and employees through a time of creative growth and innovation.

Today, Mark E. Burson continues that legacy.

Throughout its many years of operation, MassMutual Financial Group Oklahoma has earned an overwhelmingly positive reputation with its clientele, which includes individuals, families and businesses. It is MassMutual Oklahoma’s goal not just to continue, but also to enhance the professional image and reputation of MassMutual and its advisors. The company’s core values and beliefs support the relationship that exists between upholding high ethical standards and the ultimate generation of growing sales and profits. And while growing profits is crucial, it would not happen as easily without great people.

General Agent Burson sees to it that MassMutual Oklahoma’s people are treated well by offering them flexible work schedules, plenty of family time and the ability to work from home if needed. Staff outings, an annual company picnic and an annual awards banquet add to the fun, sense of family and devotion to excellence that MassMutual embodies.

MassMutual believes there is no single, cookie-cutter solution for wealth management and there is no single way to enjoy a career with the company.

“People can choose their path and choose how high they want to climb,” Burson said. “We aren’t weighed down by titles but rather look for talent and people who want to take initiative and advance their careers.”

Putting people first is important to Burson, just as it was to MassMutual Oklahoma’s founders. It is both the company’s legacy and its future. He feels strongly that the company and his clients benefit when he invests in great employees, and evidence supports his notion.

“When employees are happy, they will work from home when a child is sick or come in on a Saturday to help clean out storage and they will look after one another’s well-being,” he said.


5. Industrial Controls of Oklahoma, LLC

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Tulsa
Website: ico-llc.com
Year Founded: 1980
Company Leader: Michael Huckaby, manager
Status: Private
Employees in State: 95

Michael Huckaby’s goal for his company, Industrial Controls of Oklahoma, LLC, is to be a world-class industrial electrical contractor with a high-voltage staff that’s dedicated to its craft. He is well on his way, a fact he attributes in part to having high-wattage, dedicated employees.

Or, as he puts it, “We leverage our vast electrical knowledge and combine it with the superior craftsmanship of our employees to deliver superior construction results.”

Industrial Controls of Oklahoma handles projects involving power distribution, lighting systems, equipment installations, preventive maintenance and incoming power services, including high-voltage substations (13.2kV and above), as well as power system expansions and upgrades and generator, UPS and backup power systems.

In recent years, the company has seen a strong increase in the amount of activity in the electrical construction field. Multiple large projects strained the local labor pool, which is why ICO has prioritized creating an environment in which employees thrive and enjoy working.

He and his employees have a motto they all live by: Do the right thing. They apply it to every business decision.

“We use the same principle whether we’re working with employees, customers or vendors,” Huckaby said. “The trust we build with each employee naturally extends to our customers and vendors, helping all of us be more successful.”

It’s a shockingly successful philosophy.

The idea of treating employees with trust and respect is simple enough but requires constant effort and focus to make it happen on a daily basis. Huckaby said that management must take the first step to create a culture of trust. It must be vulnerable, listen to employee suggestions and be willing to make changes, even when it means pulling the plug on something management thought was great.

ICO employees enjoy four-day workweeks with flexible time off. They participate in an annual ICO day at a Tulsa Driller’s baseball game, followed a few months later by an annual holiday party at Hard Rock Hotel. Add to that paid time off to volunteer with the company’s community service partners, like Rebuilding Together Tulsa, which assists low-income homeowners with repairs, allowing them to live in safe and secure homes. And the icing on the cake? Employees also receive tool discounts and reimbursements.


6. BIS

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Edmond
Website: bisok.com
Year Founded: 1986
Company Leader: Dan Rotelli, president
Status: Private
Employees in State: 100

The enthusiastic mission statement of BIS sums it up nicely: “You name IT, we can do IT.” The company has a unique culture of faith and trust in its employees that is energizing and empowering. It’s important to BIS that employees involved in the organization’s success will be able to achieve their life goals and realize, along with clients, that they are part of something special.

BIS has built a solid reputation as a full-service information technology provider and integrator of high-quality document and data management systems since 1986.

Its employees are encouraged to approach their jobs as entrepreneurs, understand that they are their clients’ professional advisors, try new things and not be afraid of making mistakes and make decisions.

“Our team members aren’t afraid to make decisions. We’re proud that in a day and age where some companies get stuck in that ‘analysis-paralysis’ cycle, our team members have the ability to make courageous decisions,” said Dan Rotelli, president.

BIS employees enjoy a relaxed work environment and many perks. To unwind or clear their heads in order to refocus during the day, employees can enjoy a game of ping-pong or play video games with coworkers.

“Those things are there for our employees so they can be mentally fresh and, let’s face it, have a little fun while they’re working,” Rotelli said. “Periodically, we also enjoy impromptu barbecues, cookouts, root beer floats and other perks like that.”

BIS employees also enjoy a robust traditional benefits package. Employee costs are kept low, and benefits include complimentary dental coverage for employees and company-sponsored health club memberships. On the financial side, BIS workers earn a very competitive wage, and the company match that BIS offers through its 401(k) allows them to be vested immediately.

BIS firmly believes that happy employees are productive employees who will help ensure that the company provides the best products and services to its clients.

“Having them enjoy coming to work … being in the work environment … and talking to existing and potential clients in a positive way while they’re out in the community is an invaluable asset for BIS,” Rotelli said. “The BIS team will design, develop and install a solution that best fits your business.”


7. Citywide Mortgage

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Norman
Website: citywide-loans.com
Year Founded: 2000
Company Leader: Vernon McKown, president
Status: Private
Employees in State: 24

Citywide Mortgage is a family-owned business founded with the goal of keeping customers happy throughout the home buying process. Founders recognized that securing proper financing was the most challenging and unpredictable element in buying or building a home. Citywide was created to ensure that the mortgage process is smooth, simple and even enjoyable for customers, and the company works with homebuyers and the refinance market as well as with Realtors and builders.

“Our goal at Citywide is to give you remarkable service so you walk away from the closing table with a smile on your face and the desire to recommend us without reservation to your family and friends,” said Citywide President Vernon McKown. “To accomplish that goal, we promise to communicate with you in clear terms to answer any questions or concerns you may have along the process.”

The company is a correspondent lender, meaning it works with national lenders to find the best rates for its clients.

“Because of our financial strength and proven record of delivering high-quality loans into the secondary market, we can lock your new home loan at a competitive interest rate when you are comfortable with the numbers,” McKown said.
What can you enjoy as a Citywide employee? Generous vacation time, management that employs a coaching leadership style, employee profit sharing and shortened workdays on Friday as workload permits. Its sister company, Ideal Homes, also works with employees to provide new home purchase discounts. Full and part-time employees, along with their family and friends, receive discounts ranging from 3 percent to 10 percent for employees who have been with Citywide two years or more.

There is also paid time off for community service and volunteer work, specifically American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

“Our employees chose this organization as one they are passionate about in our pursuit of community reinvestment and involvement,” McKown said.


8. Public Strategies

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City
Website: publicstrategies.com
Year Founded: 1990
Company Leader: Mary Myrick, president/CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 83

Public Strategies is a culturally and professionally diverse team committed to helping systems, organizations and individuals reach full potential while maximizing their impact on the public good.

There is a unique section of the company’s website called What Matters. Under this header, readers find the categories innovation and results, people and systems, giving back, worth reading and research and policies.

That’s what matters to every employee at Public Strategies, and it shows in every project they take on.

Public Strategies was established in 1990 as a public relations and event-planning firm. Under the leadership of president and CEO Mary Myrick, Public Strategies has grown from a one-woman operation to a comprehensive project management and communications firm with a staff of professionals from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. The journey from a small firm serving the Oklahoma City Cavalry professional basketball team to a large, multifaceted organization serving dozens of local, state and federal clients has been a fascinating one.

“Public Strategies is dedicated to delivering incredible products, services and experiences for our clients. We also equally committed to our employees, celebrating personal achievements, helping each other overcome challenges and providing opportunities,” Myrick said. “Our employees understand that the leadership at Public Strategies truly cares about their personal well-being and their professional success. Likewise, we understand that our talented team is crucial to our success.”

The Public Strategies philosophy Touch Lives, Drive Change & Do Good Well reflects the organization’s deep and continual pursuit. It is organized around a belief that committed individuals can change both the way the world thinks and the way that change happens in the world. The group approaches its mission with clarity and energy in ways that inspire others to join in. It is a culture of celebration — of holidays, of accomplishments and of people.

Among the benefits employees enjoy are summer hours, competitive benefits, food trucks, gym reimbursements, extended holidays, paid downtown parking, employee recognition programs, casual dress days, holiday and impromptu staff celebrations and tickets to community, entertainment and sporting events.

“Happy employees are motivated, inspired and loyal,” Myrick said. “Plus, productivity thrives when people understand both their company’s vision and how their unique talents and contributions factor into achieving its goals. A warm, vision-rich culture is a central part of Public Strategies’ identity … and what makes it such an incredible place to work.”


9. Nextep, Inc.

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Norman
Website: nextep.com
Year Founded: 1997
Company Leader: Brian Fayak, founder/president/CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 63

Brian Fayak founded Nextep in 1997. Fayak’s move was bold by any standard: He went from a position with a publicly traded company to one where he was it — the operations team, the sales team and the owner. Since those humble beginnings, Nextep has grown to be one of the premier professional employer organizations in the industry, with clients across the country.

A professional employer organization (PEO) is a company that collaborates with businesses to manage key employee-related and administrative roles in order to enable business owners to focus on their company’s growth and bottom line. Nextep’s services include employee benefits, human resources, workers’ compensation and payroll. When a company partners with Nextep, its employees become Nextep’s employees for legal and tax purposes. Nextep assumes 100 percent liability, while clients maintain 100 percent control over staff selection and day-to-day employee management.

Fayak wants his employees to be happy and then some.

“Happy is good, but we’re going for engaged workers. People who have been invested in and appreciated are going to work ten times harder for you,” he said. “They’ll own problems with you and help you find solutions. They’ll contribute, deliver and protect.”

Nextep employees enjoy a beautiful workspace with amenities galore. They enjoy sit-stand desks, a coffee bar, a well-appointed kitchen and lounge area with big-screen TVs and a PlayStation4, a private nursing room for new moms and a quiet room for people who wish to study or read.

“Our engaged workforce treats our clients well, [is] a source for company and employee referrals and allow[s] our management team to be more productive,” Fayak said. “Because our employees get along really well, managers are able to focus on strategic service and growth initiatives rather than on time-wasting personnel disputes and misconduct-related matters.”

Other perks include family-level benefits covered 100 percent by the company, employee-selected anniversary gifts each year, local event tickets, a sno-cone Friday every so often and more.

“Our people are passionate about their work, they have fun with their coworkers and they have a heart to serve our customers well. It’s a culture of purpose, inclusion and engagement,” Fayak said. “From my own experience, as well as feedback I gain from new employees, it is a special culture, one not easily acquired or frequently experienced elsewhere.”


10. Vox Printing, Inc.

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City
Website: voxprint.com
Year Founded: 1971
Company Leader: LaVerna Reid, CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 81

For 43 years, Vox Printing has printed everything. Direct mail pieces, promotional materials, newspaper inserts and bag stuffers are mainstays. One special contract for Vox has come in the form of tray liners and other items for McDonald’s, a relationship that has flourished for more than 40 years.

The company has recently expanded its facility and is now the largest supplier of tray liners in the United States. Other restaurant packaging offerings on Vox’s menu include fry, pie, clam shell and six-corner cartons. In March, 2014, the company purchased a Big Mac of a press: a nine-color flexo press that prints, die cuts, scraps and batches. That’s a lot of lingo, and it boils down to enhanced capabilities and even greater customer service.

Of the many perks offered by Vox Printing, one of the more unique is its company chaplain. Vox President David Reid was inspired by an associate pastor at his church who was involved in a national organization dedicated to bringing spirituality into workplaces. A pastor now visits Vox each week for confidential mental, emotional and spiritual guidance. Vox employees also have enjoyed a company-provided financial management course, which helps them alleviate money woes and stresses.

In addition to being fiscally fit, Vox employees are encouraged to be physically fit. Lunchtime boot camps are held on-site, and there is a workout room on the company’s campus. Employees also receive 50-percent reimbursement on gym memberships and marathon entries. Annual employee celebration events are held each summer and during holidays. Vox also offers tuition reimbursement, pays 100 percent of health insurance premiums and sends bonus checks each October. And the icing on the proverbial cake? You guessed it: Each employee receives a cake on his or her birthday.

“We consider our employees the key to our success, and we go to great lengths to show appreciation for their efforts and contributions. Our culture statement says it best: We enjoy working and are enjoyable to work with,” said LaVerna Reid, CEO. “We have happy customers that have enabled us to grow for 19 years in a row. Employees work well together to continuously improve our products and processes.”


11. Ideal Homes of Norman, LP
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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Norman
Website: ideal-homes.com
Year Founded: 1989
Company Leader: Vernon McKown, cofounder/president of sales
Status: Private
Employees in State: 107

A big part of the American Dream is home ownership. Ensuring that that part of the dream is available to as many Oklahomans as possible is Ideal Homes’ ideal.

It all started over 20 years ago, when two college students, Vernon McKown and Todd Booze, and real estate guru Gene McKown decided to build a few residences. This soon blossomed into Ideal Homes, which is the largest provider of homes to Oklahoma families. With more than 8,000 homes built and counting, Ideal is heavily invested in all of the communities it builds in.

“Building new homes is our passion, and making sure our homeowners are happy is our business,” said CEO Vernon McKown. “Since we live and work in the Oklahoma City metro alongside our homeowners, we are invested in their satisfaction with our new homes. We don’t just build a neighborhood and get the heck out of town.”

Ideal Homes employees enjoy a positive work environment, team atmosphere and a great company culture. Throughout the year, employees attend Ideal Homes-sponsored social events and teambuilding activities.

When requirements are met, profit sharing is distributed evenly among qualifying staff. There are potluck dinners and cookouts, extra days off around holidays, training opportunities, flexible work hours, insurance benefits, 401(k) benefits, paid employee life insurance, company phones and iPads, discounts on a purchase of a new Ideal Homes’ home and advancement opportunities when available.

The company also shares a 5 percent giving commitment with the community, which it does by donating directly to charities, offering fundraising opportunities and supporting the causes that are important to its workers. On staff members’ yearly anniversaries, Ideal gives $10 per year of employment to a charity of their choice. Many have been with the company for 10 or 15 years.

“We feel like having an environment where people love their jobs will only increase the quality of our homes and the experience of our homebuyers. Over the past several years, Ideal Homes has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma,” McKown said. “From Bring Your Kids to Work Days to the social events we put together, we build a friendly work environment that serves us tenfold in creating our quality homes in the Oklahoma City metro area.”


12. High Plains Technology Center

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Woodward
Website: hptc.edu
Year Founded: 1982
Company Leader: Dwight Hughes, superintendent/CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 49

High Plains Technology Center, formerly High Plains Area Vocational-Technical, District #24, was established by a vote of the people of its district in 1981. From there, the State Board of Vocational and Technical Education recognized the district to begin operation under the supervision and administration of the State Department of Career and Technology Education.

The center is part of a network of career technology centers across the state. Since 1982, High Plains has trained individuals for success in the workplace. A variety of courses make career education possible for students from all walks of life. This year marks its first appearance on the list of Best Places to Work in Oklahoma and its first application as such.

It also makes a satisfying and fun-filled career possible for its employees.

“Our employees being happy and engaged allows all of us to do our jobs better and work in a cohesive environment. We are more productive, we have very little absenteeism and very little turnover,” said CEO and Superintendent Dwight Hughes. “Our people love what they do, and it shows. Ultimately, it allows us to work with our students closer and give our students the skills, resources and tools they need to be workforce ready when they complete their training or program.”

Hughes’ pride in his staff is evident, and High Plains empowers its employees at all levels to pursue and enjoy a healthy work-life balance. Plenty of time off, generous opportunities for professional development, a family atmosphere and lots of well-attended employee events and get-togethers combine with competitive salaries and solid benefits to complete the High Plains package. Offering such a wonderful work environment helps ensure that High Plains attracts and retains “phenomenal staff who are in this business for the right reasons.”

“We are one big happy family,” Hughes added. “Our culture is one that everyone knows their job and they go about doing it, but always knowing that if they need help, they can ask and they shall receive. Our staff really come together to help with special events or activities, even when it isn’t within their area of the organization.”


13. Delta Dental of Oklahoma

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City
Website: deltadentalok.org
Year Founded: 1973
Company Leader: John Gladden, president/CEO
Status: Nonprofit
Employees in State: 118

Delta Dental of Oklahoma has earned its place on this list five times, and that’s something to smile about. Its mission is to be Oklahoma’s foremost developer, marketer and administrator of quality dental benefit programs, and its high standards and great benefits helped it take a bite out of its competition.

“Delta Dental of Oklahoma is about people and service. Our people make the difference,” said CEO John Gladden. “From our customers to our employees, everyone is important. We value feedback and always strive for perfection.”

The company’s not-for-profit status allows it to return surplus revenues to customers in the form of lower premiums and richer benefits. Remaining surpluses are used to provide free and low-cost dental care for in-need clients. Over the past 17 years, its charitable foundation has contributed more than $15.5 million to education initiatives, free clinics and events to help those less fortunate in Oklahoma.

“No other carrier can make this claim, and it speaks to our motto: Where the need is great, the giving must be greater,” Gladden said. “We don’t just say it; we live it every day.”

The Delta Dental crew enjoys employee appreciation week and lots of “days”: ice cream day, s’mores day, coffee and smoothie day and hot chocolate day. All those treats are offset by team rowing, human foosball, rock climbing and tricycle races. An on-site wellness area includes treadmills, free weights, a bike and an elliptical machine. To stay well, Delta Dental also offers company-paid flu shots for employees and their families.

“We enjoy having fun together with our carnival, cake walk, tea cup races, office Olympics, carnival booth contest, office golf, mustache contest and speed texting contests,” Gladden said. “Our profit sharing plan contributes more than 10 percent of employees’ salaries to their accounts without them having to contribute any money of their own.”

Happy employees contribute to a great work environment, enjoy their jobs more and are more productive. They also feel that what they do matters and that their contribution to the company helps Delta Dental achieve the mission of improving the oral health of Oklahomans.


14. Integrated Business Technologies, LLC
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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Broken Arrow
Website: integratedbusinesstechnologies.com
Year Founded: 2007
Company Leader: Eric Kehmeier, cofounder/CEO; Bret Grady, cofounder/COO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 29

IBT is a high-tech company with excellent “soft skills” for clients and employees. Its corporate mission is straightforward: It focuses on technology so clients can focus on business.

Its approach to keeping its 29 employees happy is equally simple: Happy employees equal happy clients. Happy clients lead to a sustainable business, positive work-related relationships and endless growth possibilities.

IBT offers technology services and solutions to businesses to outsource IT, product sales, project implementation and more.

“We strongly believe that a company is only as good as its team members, which is why our team consists of hardworking men and women that value their careers, praise the success of others and are constantly seeking ways to better themselves and their team,” said Eric Kehmeier, CEO. “Our employees enjoy working here because we support, encourage and recognize each individual as a valuable asset to the IBT team.”

One “industry secret” IBT shares on its website is that, in the long run, investing in preventative maintenance for websites and other electronic infrastructure costs companies less, which helps them earn more.

It’s the same concept IBT uses to retain a great staff of employees: Putting resources into the staff in consistent and strategic ways makes a company stronger and more proficient.

“In order to improve work performance and employee satisfaction, we provide our team with the following: a fully stocked kitchen, chair massages every two weeks, training labs for technicians and any necessary tools/equipment,” explained IBT Partner Bret Grady. “We also have an open-door policy to encourage an open flow of communication and maintain closer working relationships between management and employees.”

IBT employees enjoy surprise ice cream breaks, food truck lunches and — perhaps to offset these indulgent treats — access to treadmills, elliptical trainers, pool tables and foosball. Employees who go above and beyond might find themselves the recipient of a generous gift certificate or even a pedicure by way of thanks.

This marks IBT’s third year of recognition as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma, evidence that the IBT philosophy works. Customer testimonials consistently use words like excellence, honesty, professionalism, thinking, consistent and timely.


15. Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City
Website: okcic.com
Year Founded: 1974
Company Leader: Robyn Sunday-Allen, CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 145

More than 40 years ago, a group of volunteer physicians came together to fill a healthcare void by providing services five hours a week to Central Oklahoma’s underserved American Indian population. At that time, the closest American Indian health care clinic was 40 miles away and it was almost a two-hour drive to the two nearest native hospitals.

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC) was incorporated in 1974 and moved to a 7,500 square-foot storefront downtown. Over the next 20 years, the clinic grew to a staff of 38 full-time employees, including two full-time providers, a pharmacist and a dentist. That dedicated staff handles 35,000 annual visits.

OKCIC provides patients with culturally sensitive health and wellness services. Dedicated staff members serve nearly 20,000 patients representing over 220 different tribes per year. By making American Indians healthier, the clinic strengthens the city, the state and the nation.

For their dedication, and because the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic cares about its workers and wants to retain them, employee benefits and perks are fantastic. Medical and dental premiums are paid at 100 percent for employees and their families. Paid time off is generous and ranges from 15 to 42 days. Beyond that, there are 11 paid holidays and everyone gets a day of leave on his or her birthday.

December is a big month at OKCIC. Its employee appreciation breakfast is held at a premium restaurant, there are bonus checks given and the clinic opens late so staff can enjoy personal time.

OKCIC also reimburses employees for registration fees for non-clinic marathons and walks. There are weight loss and fitness challenges and Halloween activities with prizes, costume contests and food, and a third holiday is chosen each year for celebration activities. All employees are eligible to receive a performance bonus annually based on their review score. There are holiday bonuses, too.

Several fitness and weight loss programs are offered throughout the year with incentives and administrative time given to enable participation. In addition, to address safety, self-defense classes are offered twice per year and all employees are CPR-certified.

Employees receive 30 minutes of paid administrative time each day for physical activity, and an on-site wellness center provides cardiovascular equipment, weights, circuit training, personal training and yoga classes.


16. Foundation HealthCare

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City
Website: fdnh.com
Year Founded: 1996
Company Leader: Stanton Nelson, CEO
Status: Public
Employees in State: 105

Foundation’s founders and leaders recognize that the success of the organization is largely due to its talented employees and their dedication to their work and the commitment to the vision of the company.

“Our motto is ‘Do the right thing … Do it all the time,’” said Stanton Nelson, CEO of Foundation HealthCare. “Our purpose is to create and grow income and growth opportunities for our shareholders, physician partners and employees by owning and operating surgically focused hospitals that facilitate and enhance the surgical experience and outcomes for physician partners and their patients.”

Foundation HealthCare goes to great lengths to create a family culture in which everyone understands that each person is important and critical to the company’s success. It values its employees and the tremendous work they do to serve the company’s partners (physicians) and their patients.

“We strive to demonstrate our thanks to our employees by providing them the best working environment and benefits and encourage their participation by sharing ideas on how to make our organization the best among health care companies,” Nelson said.

Staffers enjoy health and retirement plans and generous paid time off. The company pays for its employees’ family or individual gym memberships. Add to that regular holiday and birthday parties and you have a recipe for happy employees and a great place to work.

Employees are provided flexible working hours along with a full benefits package including stock in the organization.

There is also tuition reimbursement for employees seeking to attain college degrees and opportunities to attend educational conferences and seminars. Foundation financially supports employee certification education and testing, resulting in many being certified in their fields of expertise.

“It sounds obvious to some, but a happy and healthy employee is a productive employee,” Nelson said. “We believe that our employees are the key to Foundation’s success. Our employees have a voice in our organization, and by providing them the opportunity to grow and flourish in their work and giving them the tools to be successful, they bring energy and drive each day to make Foundation the successful organization that it is.”


17. Republic Bank & Trust

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Norman
Website: rbt.com
Year Founded: 1988
Company Leader: Chuck R. Thompson, president/CEO
Status: Private
Employees in State: 144

Republic Bank & Trust was established in 1988, and in the years since, it has opened four more locations in Norman, Noble and south Oklahoma City.

It is the only bank originally chartered in Norman, which means it’s the only one not owned by out-of-towners. Its staff and leadership truly believe that the health and welfare of Norman, and of the communities they serve, is vital.

“We work hard to support community activities and programs that enrich the quality of life in our schools and neighborhoods and foster growth, development, employment opportunities and social and cultural enhancement in our schools and neighborhoods,” said Republic CEO Chuck R. Thompson. “We carry this same philosophy into Noble, south Oklahoma City and Moore.”

Norman’s Republic Bank & Trust finds and keeps excellent employees by training and empowering them and providing them with a rewarding, productive, happy place to work.

“We are honored by the affirmation of our bankers that this is a great place to work,” said CEO Chuck R. Thompson. “As Norman’s local community bank, we know firsthand the challenges and rewards of providing an atmosphere that fosters growth, identifies individual strengths and approaches each opportunity with a team philosophy. At Republic, we know that our best assets go home each night.”

Banking on the notion that great employees know other people who would make great employees, Republic instituted its Banker Bounty program, wherein current employees who refer applicants who are subsequently hired earn $200 at hiring and $200 more at the completion of 90 days.

Investing in employee health and fitness is also important at Republic. There’s an expense-reimbursement program to offset the cost of participating in health programs, health club memberships and health equipment. Similarly, Cash for Crayons is a reimbursement program for back-to-school clothing and school supply expenses. Both are offered to full- and part-time employees.

“At Republic, we feel that happy employees are productive employees. As Republic Bankers, we have a profound responsibility to each other, our communities (including past, present and potential customers) and our shareholders,” Thompson said. “The win-win relationship between these three is at the core of who we are as an organization. If one of the three is losing, all three will lose.”


18. Sunbeam Family Services

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U.S. Corporate Headquarters: Oklahoma City
Website: sunbeamfamilyservices.org
Year Founded: 1907
Company Leader: Jim Priest, president/CEO
Status: Nonprofit
Employees in State: 135

First-time honoree Sunbeam Family Services provides help, hope and opportunity to people of all ages at all stages of life. For more than 100 years, Sunbeam Family Services has served central Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens and is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for the poor and working poor in our community.

All services are provided on a sliding-scale fee basis or free of charge and include counseling, early childhood education, foster care and senior services.

“We know that because we’re a nonprofit, we have to be creative with the ways we offer extra benefits to our staff,” said Executive Director Jim Priest. “For several years, we have closed our offices from Christmas Eve until after the New Year to allow our Sunbeam family to enjoy their personal families. We also have a very generous time-off package and are always striving to offer competitive salaries and benefits.”

Diversity and transparency are important components of Sunbeam’s corporate culture. The agency is diverse in every way, from its team of professionals to the clients it serves and the areas in which its programs are offered.

“Humor is a large component of our culture. The work we do is serious, but we know we don’t always have to be serious in the process,” said Erin Engelke, chief external relations officer. “We like to celebrate our accomplishments and recently launched an internal recognition social networking program that allows employees to publicly recognize a colleague for a job well done. We also regularly integrate the family concept into everything we do, from our all staff training days to Breakfast with Jim (our CEO).”

Employees receive a generous benefit package including very affordable medical coverage for less than $20 a month. Sunbeam recognizes one or more employees each month at board meetings as a Beamer Living the Mission with a certificate and gift card. Employees are also recognized for exemplary work by being featured in CEO Jim Priest’s Monday Message email that goes to all employees and board members.

Sunbeam Family Services embraces the concept of lifelong learning. Working at Sunbeam is such a ray of light that a number of staff who retire or move to other positions return to the agency with new skills and new ways to serve.

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