The ongoing pandemic has changed how many workplaces operate, but one constant remains: All employees want a nice work environment.
The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber hosted its Best Places to Work awards event, honoring businesses of all sizes and presenting awards during the luncheon. Businesses fit into one of five categories:
- Micro businesses (10-24 employees);
- Small business (25-50 employees);
- Medium business (51-100 employees);
- Large business (101-250 employees); or
- X-Large business (251+ employees).
Each category had three winners: bronze, silver and gold. More than 70 businesses attended, and now 15 can return back to their place of employment with an award to show just how exemplary their workplace environment is.
It meant a lot to these businesses to be honored and rewarded for the hard work they're putting in and continuing to maintain a thriving work environment, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
"It's a very difficult market," said Steve Thornton, CEO of Monte Sano Research, which won bronze in the medium category. "Maybe there's somebody out there that thinks this looks easy. But most of us know that this is hard."
Hardly any business would say things have been easy throughout the pandemic, but Thornton has a keen sense on how to maneuver through these tough times.
"You have to be a discriminator, both in the type of work that you do and the quality of work that you do," Thornton said.
Thornton has been with Monte Sano Research for 10 years. He shared what he believes to be a successful work enivornment.
"The key to developing a good culture is to be an invisible conduit in between customers and employees," he said. "And provide for them the best environment the best resources and flexibility to advance themselves."
This is the second time Monte Sano Research has won an award, the first being in 2019.
"We are very humbled and very excited to be a part (of this event)," Thornton said. "This is an honor in the community, and it is also a very productive self-assessment for us as we continue to build the culture that inspires our employees."
When asked before the presentation if he expected to see his team on stage, accepting an award, he said, "No one ever really knows. It’s a matter of the rising water floating all boats. You just don’t know which boat you’re in."
According to the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, many of the companies honored during the event are hiring. For those seeking employment, visit here.
The following is a complete list of this year's winners, in order of gold, silver and bronze:
• Micro Category: Boecore Inc., Patriots International and Radial Solutions Inc.;
• Small Category: KODA Technologies Inc., Phased n Research Inc. and Crossflow Technologies Inc.;
• Medium Category: QTEC Aerospace, Canvas Inc. and Monte Sano Research Corporation;
• Large Category: Simulation Technologies Inc. (SimTech), Thompson Gray Inc. and Intrepid; and
• X-Large Category: IronMountain Solutions, PeopleTec Inc. and Modern Technology Solutions Inc. (MTSI).
"We are proud of all of our contenders and winners," said Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Chamber. "These are exemplary companies who care about their team members and care about making their workplaces inviting and productive."
The Chamber said companies win based on results from employee surveys, which can then be used to improve the work environment at each company, something Cherry called "the hallmark of a world-class company."