Forty companies from across Alabama were honored Monday at Business Alabama’s Best Companies to Work For in Alabama luncheon in Birmingham.
The companies were selected based on extensive surveys conducted by the Best Companies Group.
The winners included 25 in the small to medium category and 15 in the large company category (300 employees or more).
SENTAR IS LARGE COMPANY CATEGORY WINNER
Sentar is a Huntsville-based firm and women-owned business providing cyber security and intelligence solutions to national security clients.
The company has more than 80 employees in Huntsville and about 300 across the U.S. Sentar fosters a culture where team members feel free to ask for help without condemnation and a place where they can focus on their strengths.
The company maintains a talent development program, which includes in-house mentoring and a book club where students and presenters read the same business books together.
Sentar also offers a benefits package that includes health, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, a 401k plan and paid time off that employees can also use for sick days and vacations.
Outside of work, Sentar urges team members to volunteer with charitable organizations in their respective communities.
The new corporate headquarters building in Huntsville, unveiled last year, has space to host events like pizza parties for the teams. Employees had input into the design of the new headquarters.
SWAGELOK WINS SMALL TO MEDIUM CATEGORY
Swagelok, headquartered in Birmingham, is an international organization that designs and manufactures fluid management products, from valves and hoses to regulators and filters. It tops the small to medium category for the second year in a row.
Its team members benefit from the company’s focus on continuous improvement and learning. One unusual benefit to working at Swagelok is its no-layoff policy.
In addition, managers and team members honor fellow team members exhibiting “Extraordinary Behaviors.” Those team members appear in the company’s daily communication, The Swagelok Scoop, and are honored during the company’s monthly business update meeting.
Swagelok’s benefits package includes a 401k matching plan, vacations, paid time off and a quarterly performance pay structure with bonuses based on the company’s performance. Swagelok perks also include free car washes and group and company-wide lunches throughout the year. Team members also get one day off during the month of their birthday.
In what is now a Swagelok tradition, team members can gather at the Birmingham office on Fridays for a half-hour golf-putting contest, which gets employees from different divisions together for 30 minutes.
LARGE COMPANIES, RUNNERS-UP (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
Alabama Credit Union
Tuscaloosa-based ACU provides an array of banking/financial products. In addition to health, dental and vision insurance, Alabama Credit Union contributes to employee long-term disability insurance, life insurance, critical illness care and more. Good work is appreciated in company activities such as Staff Fest, a combination of company business, productivity and enjoying a day together.
Avadian Credit Union
Birmingham-based Avadian is one of the largest credit unions in Alabama. Company goals include transforming worker jobs into careers. In addition to comprehensive insurance plans, 401k, medical leave and holiday pay, Avadian offers a student loan repayment program, tuition reimbursement, flexible work hours and a relaxed dress code.
Headquartered in Sheffield, Bank Independent operates branches there and throughout the Shoals area. In addition to a 401k plan, the bank is one of the few employers still offering a pension package. Its health care plan is free to team members and at low cost to their families. Employee growth and development is aided by formal training such as the company’s Bank Independent University, and also in personal development.
Third-place winner Edward Jones’ associates enjoy flexible, family-friendly workplaces. Community involvement is encouraged and associates embrace causes such as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is a firm-wide effort. An associate-owned firm, Edward Jones offers long-term career and leadership opportunities. Compensation includes trimester bonuses, annual profit sharing and limited partnership. Benefits include paid parental leave for births or adoptions, both for primary caregivers and two weeks for secondary caregivers.
Guardian Credit Union
Guardian Credit Union began in 1958, providing savings and loan accounts to Alabama National Guard members and their families. Today, the full-service financial institution serves 14 Alabama counties. Team member benefits cover paid sick leave, vacation, insurance, tuition reimbursement and more. Guardian also pays employees for charitable volunteer hours.
Max Credit Union
Montgomery-based Max Credit Union serves Central and East Alabama, including Montgomery, Auburn, Opelika, Prattville, Wetumpka and Troy. The company encourages team members to give back to communities. More than $427,000 has been donated through 9,470 employee community hours, in 42 organizations supported.
PCH Hotels and Resorts
PCH Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio spans across Alabama and is consistently among the top properties in their brands nationwide. PCH focuses on internal employee advancement and also offers appealing benefits and employee discounts to take care of the people that create memorable experiences for guests. This includes professional development, parties and get-togethers throughout the year and employee recognition programs.
Birmingham-based ProAssurance offers benefits including formal development programs, multiple medical plans, wellness programs and 24/7 access to an Employee Assistance Program. The company offers two personal holidays and two volunteer days a year, as well as paid parental leave for parents.
Bay Minette-based Quincy Compressor is a designer and manufacturer of reciprocating and rotary screw air compressors and vacuum pumps. In addition to health care, life insurance and paid vacation time, Quincy encourages employee growth through various training opportunities, including its Air Academy program. The company also encourages employee involvement in community service projects.
Rausch Coleman Homes
Rausch Coleman Homes’ Alabama division offers a variety of benefit packages, including innovative maternity leave extensions, parental bonding leave and summer flex schedules. Employee internships, education and career advancement programs are also provided by the company.
SouthState is headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida, with branch locations in Alabama. Among SouthState’s employee benefits are education and tuition compensation, time off for community volunteering and a comprehensive benefits package.
T-Mobile’s culture focuses on strengthening connections, inspiring innovation, developing talent at all levels and providing an environment where employees can always be their whole selves. That includes personal growth opportunities through Magenta University, benefits including a childcare subsidy program and college grants that cover 100% of tuition.
Total Quality Logistics (TQL)
TQL, a freight brokerage firm, has 9,000 employees in 56-plus offices in 26 states. Two of those sites are in Alabama, in Birmingham and Spanish Fort. Employees give TQL high marks for traditional benefits such as health insurance and the non-traditional, such as career-path planning, military veterans’ programs and employee assistance plans. At TQL, 75% of company promotions are from within.
Collaboration, diversity, integrity and kindness are all held in high regard at Warren Averett, the second-place winner in the large division. Flexible benefits, innovative perks and open communications score high in employee favorability. In addition, with 10 years of service and every five years thereafter, workers may take a four-week sabbatical. Offsite time includes no emails, work contact or business phone calls.
SMALL TO MEDIUM COMPANIES, RUNNERS-UP (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
Huntsville-based Aerobotix provides automated robotic solutions for the aerospace and defense industries. It employs 58 people, who maintain proper Department of Defense security clearances. In addition to traditional benefits, stress relievers for employees include axe throwing and go-kart racing.
Anglin Reichmann Armstrong
Huntsville-based Anglin Reichmann Armstrong, the second-place winner among small to medium companies, has accountants and consultants offering a full range of accounting and advisory services. The company encourages professional growth and development for its staff. Perks include fun events and catered lunches throughout the year, including an annual Field Day with competitive games.
The third-place winner in this category, Byars|Wright, a member of the WRM Group, has provided commercial insurance, personal insurance and employee benefits solutions since 1946. The company endeavors to build and preserve a wonderful workplace culture. That includes various team-building events, employee incentives, professional development opportunities, awards and rewards. The company offers unlimited paid time off, closes early on Fridays and provides snacks in the office.
Crow Shields Bailey
Mobile-based Crow Shields Bailey PC is recognized in the communities it serves for its dedication to excellence in serving clients and team members. The company has an open-door policy at all levels. Team members participate in leadership programs, continuing education, mentor and career-advising programs, regular feedback and formal evaluations.
Fintegrate Technologies in Birmingham empowers employees to help reshape the industry, fostering a culture of curiosity and embracing change. The company offers competitive compensation, flexible work arrangements and employee support. Fun events and a flexible environment promote employee well-being.
First Metro Bank
Founded in 1988 in Muscle Shoals, First Metro today has 137 employees and 10 locations in Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale and Limestone counties. Employees may be found wearing jeans on Friday or celebrating “fun” holidays like National Pizza Day, where a branch manager buys them pizza for lunch. In addition, employees are recognized with gifts and meals with events such as Administrative Professionals Lunch, Employee Christmas Breakfast and Employee Appreciation Week.
Flowers Insurance Agency
Flowers Insurance, a member of the WRM Group, has offices in Dothan, Phenix City and Eufaula. The company was established in 1953. Workday stress relievers that are popular with employees include pet days at work and surprise days off. The company also closes early on Fridays and prior to holidays.
Heritage South Credit Union
Heritage South Credit Union was chartered in 1937 as the Avondale Employees Federal Credit Union. Today, it continues to have a strong presence in Sylacauga, Childersburg, Moody and Alexander City. HSCU employees volunteered more than 2,000 hours last year in the 14 counties it serves. The company will pay dues and offers time off for civic group participation. Costume Day is among its fun internal events, as well as popcorn Fridays.
Jackson Thornton is a Montgomery-based certified public accounting and consulting firm. The firm has 187 employees and embraces remote work and flexibility. The company also has a “lifelong learning” culture. Jackson Thornton also has an official Fun Committee to plan events for employees, and it offers “surprise” treats like a visit from an ice cream truck. Other perks include flexible hours and the Jackson Thornton Young Professionals, a group that promotes internal and external networking, and company “allies” who meet one-on-one with employees.
Kassouf & Co.
Founded in 1931, Kassouf & Co. Inc. is headquartered in Birmingham with offices in Auburn, Orange Beach and Baton Rouge. Kassouf employs 100 people, and making work fun and challenging is the goal of leadership. This includes several firm-sponsored family-friendly outings during the year and an on-site employee lounge area with dining area, kitchen and television.
League of Southeastern Credit Unions
Headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions and Affiliates is the regional trade association serving credit unions in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The group offers competitive benefits, professional development funds, a strong work-life balance and team member engagement.
Legacy Community Federal Credit Union
Legacy began in 1955 as University Credit Union to serve the UAB community. Today, anyone in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, St. Clair, Walker, Chilton or Bibb counties is eligible for membership. Its 114 employees like to celebrate what the company calls “fun, silly holidays.” Legacy’s core values of excellence, education, energy and empowerment apply to both their member and employee experience. Employees also receive vouchers to buy teamwear and a birthday and Christmas gift each year.
Auburn-based McShane Construction is a leading national industrial, multi-family and commercial general contracting firm that was founded nearly 40 years ago. Values such as empowerment, proactivity and family drive the employee experience, leading to a strong community-centered environment. McShane combines fun with results, including tailgating at Auburn football games and other regular office outings.
Method Mortgage, formerly Principal Mortgage, specializes in lending services. With 16 employees, Method Mortgage gives back to the community through its corporate giving program, in which it selects a designated charity each quarter that receives a $25 donation for each referral made. Employees are given paid time off to volunteer. On site, the company offers complimentary lunches, snacks, drinks and coffee bar.
O&A Inc. is a management company primarily centered in the automotive industry, with six dealerships spanning Alabama. O&A is intentional in putting others first, adhering to the Golden Rule, which benefits both co-workers and customers. They are committed to the continuous improvement of employees and encourage, support and cultivate talent so individuals can realize their full potential. Perks include flexible scheduling, fun events throughout the year and volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
Headquartered in Birmingham, Petra Risk Management also has locations in Mobile, Sylacauga and Tuskegee, with additional offices in Tennessee and Georgia. Its 41 employees receive chair massages during Employee Appreciation Week and celebrate many holidays with time off and special meals.
Pritchett-Moore Insurance is an independent agency based in Tuscaloosa. The agency is a member of the WRM Group. Pritchett-Moore’s 30 employees are treated to surprise days when they can leave early, in-office cookouts and crawfish boils, among other perks. During periods of high stress, they may get “dance-it-out” breaks.
RFG Advisory is an innovator in the wealth management industry. RFG Advisory prides itself on being a service company first, a technology company second and a hybrid-RIA third. The company’s employees are committed to being a part of the growing firm. In exchange, they are allowed flexible hours or a hybrid schedule, off-site events throughout the year and a popcorn machine in the office in the afternoons.
Roberts Brothers Inc.
Based in Mobile, Roberts Brothers is part of HomeServices of America Inc., the largest full-service independent residential real estate brokerage firm in the country. The company employs 39 people, and once a year they like to go on a company cruise, with plus-ones welcome. There’s also an annual company picnic and many opportunities for personal development throughout the year.
SPOC, based in Trussville, is a family of innovation companies specializing in variable speed drive automation and inverter technologies. The company says it does inspiring, innovative and globally impactful work and that its employees enjoy working together and having fun. That includes the company’s Lift Up awards banquet, free lunches, ice cream trucks, fuel stipends and workplace chaplains.
The American Equity Underwriters Inc.
The American Equity Underwriters Inc., an Amwins company, serves as program administrator for American Longshore Mutual Association Ltd., a group self-insurance fund authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor for waterfront employers in all 50 states. The company focuses on setting employees up for success in the right roles for their strengths and creating a culture that makes them enjoy coming to work. An annual Christmas party and closing early the day before holidays are just two of the ways that’s accomplished.
United Bank, serving Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida, puts community at the heart of all it does. The company has increased starting salaries for new employees and conducted off-cycle salary adjustments. United also enhanced its current benefits package by granting additional vacation days, establishing a sick leave donation program, and expanding its tuition reimbursement program.
Over four decades, White-Spunner Construction has left visible marks in Mobile and surrounding areas. Its project portfolio has grown to include everything from grocery stores to university campuses, auto dealerships, Hank Aaron Stadium, the Mobile Museum of Art and more spanning 28 states. Among other things, its 86 employees enjoy Food Truck Fridays, costumes at Halloween and a cubicle decorating contest at Christmas.
Wilkins Miller, an accounting firm headquartered in Mobile, offers many perks throughout the year, including happy hours, celebrating national days and even themed parties. Employees are also given eight community hours to use at their discretion, and they’re encouraged to take leadership roles in community groups. This year, since the tax deadline landed right after Easter, the company offered Easter basket ordering and pick up for employees.
For a downloadable listing of the Best Companies to Work For in 2023 winners, visit here.
An edited version of this story appeared in the December 2023 issue of Business Alabama magazine.