Southern States Bank and construction firm Gray took home top honors in the 2014 Best Companies to Work for in Alabama awards ceremony and reception July 31 at the Hyatt Regency-The Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham. Eighteen other firms also earned awards in the annual competition, which ranks companies based on employee and employer surveys.
Peter Burke, director of workplace assessments at Best Companies Group, the Pennsylvania firm that superintends the competition, served as the keynote speaker for the event. He described how the five-year-old competition had been a “game changer” in Alabama, recognizing excellence and motivating companies to improve. “Each year it’s getting harder and harder to make this list, so be proud you made it this year, ” he said during the presentation.
Erica West, editor of Business Alabama, which is a major sponsor of the awards, told the group of winning company leaders: “You all are to be commended for what you do to make your company a great place to work.”
Representatives of the top 20 small-to-medium and large companies were called up individually to accept the awards.
Gray was the No. 1 ranking company in the large category. “We are proud to be in Alabama, and we’re proud to have won this competition for the second time in a row, ” said Alex DeMartini, Gray’s manager of business development.
The top company in the small-to-medium category was Southern States Bank. “I feel privileged to accept this honor for our team. We appreciate the recognition for what we do to create a great work environment, ” said Lynn Joyce, chief financial officer for Southern States Bank.
ABOVE LEFT Peter Burke, of the Best Companies Group, explained the competitive process of the awards.
ABOVE RIGHT Alex DeMartini, manager of business development for Gray, accepts the top honor in the Large Company category.
ABOVE Employees on hand to accept for Southern States Bank are (l-r): Patrick Cushman, Scott Jenkins, Kelly Moore, Gary Isenhower, Lynn Joyce, Meredith Nelson, Peter Burke of the Best Companies Group and Jack Swift.
ABOVE (L-R) Peter Burke presents the award to Alabama Credit Union’s Steve Swofford, Eleanor Brown, Allison Goree, Mark Jones and Brandi McKinney.
ABOVE Picking up the award for JamisonMoneyFarmer are (l-r): James Brazil, Garrett Allen, Stacie Tucker, Bryan Chandler, Beth Crocker, Bobby Bragg, Susan Dailey and Janet Moore.
ABOVE Attending the event for Community Bank are (l-r): Poenta Luckie, Amy Lassiter, Heather Roe, Wayne Roe, Deena Hudson, Roy Hudson, Deborah Latil and Oliver Latil.
ABOVE Accepting the award for Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore are (l-r): Katie Thigpen, Rachel Godwin, Peter Burke of the Best Companies Group, Dennis Sherrin, Diane Anderson, Earl Blackmon and Vance Kilgore.
ABOVE Accepting the award for MetLife Financial Group of the South are (l-r): front row Bethany Alford, Tera Wiggins, Susan Miller and Ginny Swafford; back row Thomas Hampton, Anthony Scott Shunnarah, Michael Sheehan.
Text by Kathy Hagood