According to a 2016 report from the Society for Human Resource Management, 88 percent of U.S. employees said they were satisfied with their job overall in 2015—the highest level of satisfaction over the last 10 years.
Why is this so important? Because our careers are a huge part of who we are—both individually and as a society. We spend more time at our jobs during the week… than with our families or friends. And while our jobs should not define us, they can enhance our lives if they are good—and take away from our lives if they are not.
In our second edition of Best Places to Work, we are spotlighting 15 local businesses (in alphabetical order) that are producing happy, empowered employees. Each business was nominated by a current employee and was selected for its company culture, community development and more.
Anthony and Company
Company Bio: Anthony and Company is a salon and spa that offers a wide range of services including cuts, styles, extensions, makeup, nail care, facial services, chemical exfoliation, body care and hair removal. They hope to provide their clients with a quiet, relaxing atmosphere in their contemporary urban space downtown.
Company Culture: Employees are given the tools to succeed through education and an incentive-based pay scale. Other benefits include a retirement program, paid holidays, paid vacation, paid educational trips, among others. Employees are encouraged to have a voice regarding the direction and vision of the company. Typically, they have at least six company meetings per year to discuss policies and procedures, while also introducing new ideas.
Community Development: The company tries to foster community among employees by creating and promoting events, such as summer cookouts. Investing in the community also brings them together. They participate in numerous fundraising events, including Gathering of the Goddesses at Amazement Square and the United Way Bowl-a-Thon.
In Their Words: “I have been with Anthony and Company for 20 years,” said Jody Johnson, creative director. “I love so many things! The location is exciting as we have been able to see, first hand, the growth downtown has experienced…The staff is warm, selfless and so extremely talented.” – MH
Company Bio: Medical software company AntWorks Healthcare launched in 2015, but its history dates back to 1978, the year IT company Benchmark Systems was founded.
Technology and innovation veterans Asheesh Mehra and Govind Sandhu founded technology and services company AntWorks in 2015 in Singapore, and AntWorks acquired Benchmark Systems later that year; thus was AntWorks Healthcare born. AntWorks Healthcare offers a suite of server or cloud-based software, including appointment scheduling, electronic health records, practice management, and billing and collection services with Artificial Intelligence embedded in every module. They have offices across the world.
Company Culture: AntWorks Healthcare offers internal campaigns that create friendly competition; a current campaign involves social media presence and offers a prize of a 60” TV and a three-night stay at any U.S. Marriott. All holidays are celebrated with treats and sometimes holiday cook-offs, and employees are encouraged to express their excitement through their attire. Additionally, internal and external newsletters allow this global company to create a sense of community and zero-distance from their customers.
Community Development: Company leaders offer opportunities for employees to get involved in the community; for instance, the company had a group ring the bell for the Salvation Army last Christmas. AntWorks Healthcare is also hosting a “Paint the Park Purple” night at Hillcats stadium in support of the American Cancer Society. Additionally, the company participates in internship programs at local colleges and universities, and it is a participating company in the Tech Hire Program through the Office of Economic Development in Lynchburg.
In Their Words: “Life isn’t about standing still; it’s about moving forward: being Fresh with our ideas, Fearless with our approach and Fast with our growth,” says Asheesh Mehra, CEO of AntWorks. – EH
Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center
Company Bio: The Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center has a mission to save lives and comfort people who are affected by unplanned pregnancies. They offer services such as counseling, pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, parenting and life skills classes, post-abortion support and a Mommy & Me Boutique, which offers maternity clothing.
Company Culture: The company strives to keep a compassionate, non-judgmental environment. As a benefit, employees who are salaried or work every day receive vacation, sick and personal days. Additionally, they have monthly staff meetings to discuss any issues the center may be facing, and employees are encouraged to voice their opinions.
Community Development: Their common desire to come alongside women who are dealing with unplanned pregnancies, educate them and show them their options, brings the staff together. In the mornings employees gather together 30 minutes before the center opens to pray and prepare for the day. As far as community outreach, they host a Walk for Life and annual banquet to help raise awareness.
In Their Words: “We are a Christian organization, and we solely depend on our faith to guide us and sustain our efforts in helping women in a crisis pregnancy situation,” said Jennifer Snellings, who has worked at the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center for almost five years. – MH
Chick-fil-A: Wards Rd. & River Ridge Mall
Company Bio: Known for their poultry-based menu and popular slogan “Eat Mor Chikin,” Chick-fil-A employees strive to provide guests the “best restaurant experience” they possibly can.
Company Culture: Chick-fil-A offers many benefits to employees, including being closed on Sundays, free uniforms, free food, insurance options, vacation, sick days, college scholarships up to $25,000, college tuition discounts and career advancement opportunities. One of the ways they create a family atmosphere is by hosting team outings every quarter.
Community Development: Chick-fil-A is the title sponsor for the Liberty Flames Kids Club and sponsor of Lynchburg Kids Sports League. Additionally, they have partnered with local community organizations and non-profits such as Johnson Health Center and the Faithfully Bold Movement. Chick-fil-A has sponsored community outreach events like Safety Day, which featured the Lynchburg City Police, Fire and Rescue, SWAT and safety seat checks.
In Their Words: “I think what sets us apart from many companies is that we are a people-oriented company from the top down,” said Lee Hall, who has worked for Chick-fil-A for over 27 years.
“The team members know we have their best interest at heart, be it at work, or in their personal lives.” – MH
Givens Books & Little Dickens
Company Bio: Givens Books—originally Boonshire Books—was founded in 1976 by George and Sylvia Givens and was located on Boonsboro Road. Four years later, the Givenses moved the store to Lakeside Drive and changed its name to Givens Books. In 1989, George and Sylvia’s son Danny and his former wife, Kathy, opened toy store Little Dickens in a small space next to the bookstore. Danny and Kathy Givens bought the business in 1999, and Givens Books & Little Dickens merged into one business at its new, larger location on Lakeside Drive.
The bookstore recently received both interior and exterior cosmetic changes, and more updates are in the works.
Company Culture: Staff members are encouraged to offer suggestions to improve operations and to help create policies and guidelines. Employees are also able to take part in the hiring process by interviewing potential employees.
Givens offers retirement plans and a flexible schedule to accommodate employees with families, and creativity and self-expression are highly encouraged.
Community Development: Givens Books & Little Dickens is a participating business in BUY LOCAL Lynchburg, which promotes local businesses as sources of excellent customer service, nonprofit sponsorship, and jobs and revenue for the local economy. Givens also offers school rebates, fundraising fairs, donations, and more.
In Their Words: “At Givens Books & Little Dickens our mission is to encourage that part of us inside that yearns to learn and play more,” says Danny Givens, owner of Givens and has worked at the store since he was a teenager. “I’d like to believe that when my staff wakes up in the morning, they not only look forward to work that day but to learning and playing a little and rubbing shoulders with customers who are curious, smart and happy.” – EH
JES Foundation Repair
Company Bio: Home repair and renovation can be a bit of a daunting task for any homeowner. To meet those needs, Jesse and Stella Waltz founded JES Foundation Repair in 1993. Just recently, in 2016, JES merged with Evergreen Basement Systems, extending their service area throughout the entire state. A few of the key services that JES offer include foundation repair, crawl space repair, basement waterproofing and concrete lifting.
Company Culture: Employees at JES are offered a benefits package that covers an array of health options and retirement plans. There are also several incentives in place for employees to receive bonuses. JES also pays for employees to receive the training they need.
Community Development: According to field sales technician Joe Caruso, JES has “a large footprint in the state of Virginia.” Other than the work they do with clients, JES also gives back to the community in a variety of ways. Most notably, the company assisted in two “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” projects. Other causes they champion include the Boy Scouts, Relay for Life and the Miller Home for Girls.
In Their Words: “We are a family here and our employees are empowered to make happy customers. Rarely in the home improvement/construction industry will you see employees that are as happy as our group,” Caruso said. – JA
John Stewart Walker, Inc. Realtors
Company Bio: John Stewart Walker, Inc. Realtors, which was founded by its namesake in 1890, is the oldest real estate firm in Virginia and the fourth oldest real estate firm in the United States. John Stewart Walker was the first real estate broker in Virginia to pass the National Real Estate Board Exam and the first realtor to qualify as an appraiser in Virginia. Billy Walker, John’s grandson and principal broker and owner of JSW, began working for JSW at the age of 19. John Stewart Walker, Inc. is a member of “Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.”
Company Culture: The company offers many networking opportunities including office educational sessions every other week to train in contracts or another new offering from banks or community members; the whole office then caravans to see each person’s new listing. JSW also offers lunch and learn sessions, contests, mentoring and new agent training, and numerous social gatherings.
Community Development: JSW supports the Boys and Girls Club, Daily Bread, and other charities. The company also sponsors Amazement Square in an effort to support our region’s children, foster cultural awareness, and promote the arts and science. Individual agents support a wide variety of nonprofits including Interfaith Outreach, Meals on Wheels, the Yoder Center, the Academy of Fine Arts, the YWCA, Opera on the James, the Lynchburg Humane Society, and more.
In Their Words: “To say we have a family atmosphere is cliché these days, but we really do!” says Billy Walker, owner of John Stewart Walker, Inc.
“I think being a family firm of multi-generations and seeped in traditional values of family and fairness, we attract agents and staff who want a supportive work environment where they enjoy each other’s company and support each other.” – EH
Johnson Health Center
Company Bio: Johnson Health Center (JHC) serves patients in Lynchburg, Amherst, Bedford and Campbell County. They are an independent, federally-qualified nonprofit health center with a mission to provide affordable, comprehensive healthcare. All insurances are accepted and for those who are uninsured and underinsured, they offer reduced fees. In 2016, JHC became the first federally qualified health center to be named an Employer of Choice.
Company Culture: Employee growth and opportunity is very important to JHC. Since 2014, they have invested in employee training and development, including leadership development at all levels. Project teams have been created, designed to tackle a variety of initiatives that are critical to their success, and employees throughout different departments are encouraged to participate. Most leadership positions are filled in-house. Additionally, employees are provided a comprehensive benefits package which includes medical, dental, life insurance, retirement and vacation.
Community Development: Aside from the many events hosted to promote community within the company, such as their annual family picnic, holiday door decorating contest, holiday potluck, and so on, JHC also strives to reach out to the community. Currently, they are engaged in dental programs in local schools, and participate in initiatives such as the Bedford Area Resource Council, Lynchburg Community Care Collaborative, and Central Virginia Bridges. They also sponsor many local organizations including Lynchburg Education Foundation and the Red Cross. One of their largest undertakings is the annual Back to School Fair.
In Their Words: “We have adopted a coaching mentality here so there is greater opportunity to facilitate success along the way,” said Gary Campbell, CEO. “If someone wants to succeed at JHC, we provide the roadmap.” – MH
Lola’s Mexican Cuisine & Cantina
Company Bio: Lola’s Mexican Cuisine & Cantina was founded in 2014 by brothers Juan and Oscar Herrera. Both brothers had been working in the food industry for about 15 years before the space on Old Forest Road became available in 2013. Lola’s strives to offer fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine and beverages and exemplary customer service.
Company Culture: Lola’s offers a fun and friendly environment for its employees. Team members are encouraged to share their ideas, which are often integrated into the restaurant’s menu and operations. The management team is currently working to bring more benefits to Lola’s employees.
Community Development: Lola’s enriches the Lynchburg community by offering delicious authentic Mexican food and great service. As a small business, Lola’s supports other local businesses (for instance, the restaurant partnered with Apocalypse Ale Works in 2014 for a beer pairing dinner) and supports local causes.
In 2016, Lola’s participated in Lynchburg Living’s Lynchburg Restaurant Week.
In Their Words: “Lola’s is a great place to work because if you have a passion for good food and craft margaritas, you can put that passion to work here,” says owner Juan Herrera. – EH
Mountainview Oral Surgery and Implant Center
Company Bio: Prior to starting Mountainview Oral Surgery and Implant Center in 2010, Mitchell Magid, DMD, was an oral surgeon in Denver. He is a board certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon with expertise ranging from corrective jaw surgery to wisdom tooth removal. Dr. Magid’s staff is trained in assisting with general anesthesia and I.V. sedation. Since opening in Lynchburg, Mountainview’s quality of care has not gone unnoticed. Dr. Magid has received several people’s choice awards, including “Best Bedside Manner” in Virginia’s Our Health Magazine for two years in a row.
Company Culture: Receptionist Diane Scott says because of their smaller workforce, Mountainview staff members have learned to support each other, at work and in their daily lives. Employees also receive benefits such as vacation days and insurance options.
Community Development: Not only do they support each other, but Mountainview Oral Surgery also makes sure to support and give back to the Lynchburg community. For the past six years, they have participated in “Dentistry from the Heart,” an event that provides free dental care to those in need.
In Their Words: According to Scott, Mountainview employees are “a very special staff, which carries over to our patients and the care that we give.” – JA
Overbey, Hawkins, & Wright, PLLC
Company Bio: Overbey, Hawkins, & Wright, PLLC was originally founded in 1930 when R.I. Overbey began practicing law in Rustburg. W. Hutchings “Hutch” Overbey, Sr., a lawyer and Judge of the Campbell County Court, joined him in 1931, and they were later joined by the latter’s son, W. Hutchings “Buzzy” Overbey, Jr. David Hawkins joined the firm in 1972 and Frank A. Wright, Jr. joined in 1997. Today, the firm consists of six lawyers, and its areas of practice include personal injury, complex litigation, criminal litigation and more. Overbey, Hawkins, & Wright has won multiple people’s choice awards and its attorneys have been lauded by Martindale-Hubbell, Avvo, and “Super Lawyers.”
Company Culture: Overbey, Hawkins, & Wright offers competitive benefits and promotes creativity for its team members. The firm uses a case management system that promotes easy, secure communication, automated document assembly, and automated workflows to make sure everyone is on the same page. Additionally, the staff gets together several times a year for leisure and team building.
Community Development: The firm provides instant access to the justice system by offering contingency fee representation for people who typically cannot afford a lawyer because they have been injured through no fault of their own. They also support various nonprofit organizations through contributions and volunteer work throughout the community.
In Their Words: “Our firm is the best place to work in Lynchburg because we love what we get to do, we love who we get to do it with, and we love who we get to do it for,” says Brandon Osterbind, a Partner at Overbey, Hawkins, & Wright, who has worked at the firm for seven years. “We provide our team members an opportunity to do meaningful work and we work together to accomplish our clients’ goals.” – EH
Patel & Dalrymple PLLC
Company Bio: Patel & Dalrymple PLLC was founded in 2006 by lawyers Sam Patel and Brooke Dalrymple Patel, who are husband and wife, and Brooke’s brother Joshua Dalrymple. Areas of practice at Patel & Dalrymple include commercial and residential real estate closings, construction disputes, general civil litigation, business and tax law, Estate Planning, Elder Law and much more. Construction work adding second and third stories to Patel & Dalrymple is almost complete.
Company Culture: Patel & Dalrymple operates under the principle that skills can be taught, whereas character cannot; talented individuals with great character and potential are equipped and empowered to do exceptional work through training and mentoring. The company offers very flexible hours and a 401k plan, and it values each employee’s personal and family health.
Community Development: Most employees at the firm are actively involved at their churches and other local nonprofits, and the firm itself does a great deal of pro-bono work for these institutions. Patel & Dalrymple has frequently been hired by former opposing parties because the firm treated them with courtesy and respect.
In Their Words: “Patel & Dalrymple is a great place to work because it is full of great people,” says Sam Patel, Managing Attorney and Co-Founder of Patel & Dalrymple. “We are truly blessed to have kind, exceptionally talented, humble, and hardworking attorneys and staff.” – EH
Runk & Pratt
Company Bio: Runk & Pratt was founded 25 years ago through the combined passions of Vickie and Brian Runk to remove the negative connotations associated with senior care. Today, you will find their four assisted living communities in Lynchburg, Forest and at Smith Mountain Lake. At its communities, Runk & Pratt offers a variety of services including assisted living, occupational therapy, memory support and much more.
Company Culture: Aside from standard employee benefits like health insurance and vacation time, Runk & Pratt employees enjoy a variety of unique perks at the company’s different locations. Employees have the opportunity to attend company dinners and special events. Staff members also receive discounts on many of the company’s services.
Community Development: Runk & Pratt’s unique brand of care touches others within the Central Virginia area. In keeping with their mission to care for the elderly, Runk & Pratt raised more than $21,000 to fight Alzheimer’s in 2016.
In Their Words: “What I love the most about Runk & Pratt is that they accept people where they are and let them thrive and grow their talents. The professionalism and compassion stretches far beyond the doors of the office and filters into the lives of all they touch, whether a resident, employee, client or guest,” said Food and Beverage Coordinator Michelle Ayers. – JA
Timberlake Family Pharmacy
Company Bio: The history of Timberlake Family Pharmacy, which was launched in 2016, actually begins in 2007, when husband and wife Drs. Vince and Jodi Ettare opened their first pharmacy, East Lake Pharmacy, in Huddleston. They then relocated to Rustburg, opening Rustburg Family Pharmacy in 2009. Due to a boom in business, the pair hired their other Pharmacist Partner, Edward Breslow, RPh, in 2013 before opening a second location, Timberlake Family Pharmacy, in 2016. Timberlake Family Pharmacy houses a clean room and lab space, retail pharmacy, extensive front store, classrooms for seminars, and a vintage soda fountain.
Company Culture: Communication is always encouraged, regular meetings (often involving food) are held, and employees’ major life events are marked with support, gifts, phone calls, and social visits. Employee abilities and personalities are very carefully taken into account when assigning tasks.
Community Development: Timberlake Family Pharmacy offers a local vendor section to give local merchants visibility. The owners volunteer with such organizations as the Free Clinic, Girl Scouts, and Parkview Ministry Missions Board and encourage employees to volunteer by combining annual training meetings with service opportunities. The pharmacy also represents our community in other areas of the world that need help after natural disasters, and its employees have come in after hours to help sick patients get their medications and have driven medicine to those in hospice care.
In Their Words: “It’s all in the name: Timberlake Family Pharmacy, Rustburg Family Pharmacy,” says Dr. Jodi Ettare, PharmD, Pharmacist and Co-Owner of both pharmacies. “This is what we’re centered around and guides how we treat our employees. They are family. Through thick and thin, we come together and forge forward to get the job done for our number one goal: excellent patient care.” – EH
Walden Pond Apartment Homes
Company Bio: Walden Pond Apartment Homes is one of the apartment communities in the HHHunt Apartment Living division of the HHHunt Corporation, which was founded by Harry H. Hunt, III in Blacksburg in 1966. Centrally located to Lynchburg College and Liberty University, Walden Pond leases one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. HHHunt is a leader in Green Initiatives and is committed to saving well-established trees, re-planting new trees, and exceeding government standards for energy efficiency and water conservation. Walden Pond is currently in the final stages of an interior and exterior renovation project.
Company Culture: HHHunt offers employees a comprehensive benefits package that includes 100% employer-paid (for employee only) health care, vision, life insurance, and more. Other benefits include dental coverage, a Wellness and Work-Life Balance program, 401(k), and educational reimbursement. Additionally, employees are encouraged to share their ideas and give feedback through employee surveys, the results of which are shared through email communication, a newsletter, and at annual kick-off meetings that occur at the beginning of each year.
Community Development: In 2016 alone, Walden Pond served as a member of several organizations. The company was a Voting Member of the Virginia Apartment Management Association, a member of the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, a member of Young Professionals of Central Virginia, and a member of the Event Leadership Team for the American Cancer Society. Additionally, the company volunteered for Daily Bread, the Salvation Army, and a Habitat for Humanity build.
In Their Words: Kyle Dorman, Property Manager, has worked at Walden Pond for five and a half years. “Our team is like a big family, and we respect and care for one another. Our customers are our focus, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience,” he said. – EH