News Column

Best Places to Work awards presented

August 6, 2014

By Ed Waters Jr., The Frederick News-Post, Md.

Aug. 06--Ten businesses were honored Tuesday night for their outstanding commitment to employees and the community.

The 2014 Frederick County Best Places to Work Awards were held at the Delaplaine Visual Education Arts Center.

"Great employees can make or break a business," said Laurie Holden, director of Frederick County Workforce Services. The awards were sponsored by Workforce Services, the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, and the city and county economic development offices.

The U.S. ArmyGarrison, Fort Detrick, and Experient, which provides coordination and planning for major trade shows and other events, tied for the Major Business Category.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr., commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort Detrick and deputy for medical systems to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, accepted the award.

The post has 11,000 employees and more than 40 entities providing medical intelligence and global communications as well as other services. The general said it was wonderful to be associated with businesses and the community in Frederick County.

"I can't think of a better place to have our organization," said Shawn Pierce, division president for Experient. "We tell our employees to work hard, have fun and get the job done."

Interviewed after the awards ceremony, Pat Fitch, lab director at Battelle National Biodefense Institute, said the award to his company as the Large Business was an honor.

The award "is a great testament to our employees," Fitch said. The company, which operates the biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, focuses on bioterrorism prevention.

Receiving an honorable mention in the Large Business category was Regent Education, which specializes in software solutions for higher education.

Others honored included Swift Systems, an information technology company, which won the Small Business category; Jean Peterson Design received an honorable mention. In Medium Businesses, the winner was Orases, an IT firm. An honorable mention went to Canapes catering firm.

Two new categories were added this year. The People's Choice Award, in which a survey was taken of employees and former employees of businesses, St. John Regional Catholic School was the winner., which helps people find jobs, was named Most Creative Workplace. The company gives unlimited paid time off; workers make their own schedule. This results-only environment allows employees to manage their own work-life balance.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement said that as a former business owner, he knows the value of hiring and retaining good employees.

"The past four or five years have been tough for the economy, but our businesses stood up and moved forward," he said. "Employees have a lot of options, such as going to metropolitan areas to work, but Frederick is a great place to work and live."

Frederick County Commissioner Paul Smith said the Board of County Commissioners has worked to make Frederick a good place for business by reducing taxes and regulations.

"We have improved the economic environment in Frederick County," Smith said.

Past award winners served as sponsors of the event. Criteria for the awards included an enhanced workplace culture, professional development opportunities, benefits and amenities to support work-life balance, encouraging community involvement and providing tools for healthy living.


(c)2014 The Frederick News-Post (Frederick, Md.)

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Source: Frederick News-Post (MD)

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