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Teamwork part of the culture at Techmer PM

By: Jeannie Reall

March 19, 2014

Techmer PM LLC’s employees say the company is a good place to work. Techmer says its employees do good work.

Chairman and CEO John Manuck says the connection is obvious to him.

“When I started the company in 1981, my motivation was not to be rich,” Manuck said in a recent phone interview. “I saw the things some companies did — like not sharing information, having a strong pecking order and a lot of politics — and I thought, if a company could aspire to something higher and make people feel like part of a team, that would be a key to making that company successful.”

The compounder in Clinton, Tenn., is No. 3 on Plastics News’ Best Places to Work list. The company generates annual sales of more than $200 million, with seven manufacturing facilities in North America and partners in China, Japan and Europe. Techmer PM (the PM stands for polymer modifiers) makes color and additive concentrates for high-performance applications in the plastics and synthetic-fiber markets.

The family-owned firm emphasizes the importance of team effort.

“We strive to have a strong culture of teamwork,” Manuck said. “We not only preach it, but we practice it, and we make sure that when new people join the company, they hear about this right away.”

And every two years, teamwork takes center stage at Techmer’s national meeting. The weeklong event is held at a resort and each time, about 20 percent of the company’s almost 600 employees, are able to attend.

Employees are divided into groups for team-building exercises and to compete in a variety of tasks, everything from answering questions about corporate history to trivia about co-workers to athletic events.

On the final evening, a number of awards are presented, including “The Techmer Cup,” modeled after the National Hockey League’s prestigious Stanley Cup. The names of the winning team members are inscribed on the trophy.

Another of Techmer’s strengths is a solid benefits package offered to both full- and part-time employees. The company, which Plastics News ranks as one of North America’s 30 largest compounders and concentrates makers, provides a choice of health care plans and pays 75-99 percent of the premiums for health care, dental, prescriptions and vision for employees and their dependents.

Techmer also pays 100 percent of premiums for employees’ life insurance and long- and short-term disability benefits. There is a profit-sharing program and a retirement plan with matching funds from the company. In addition, all employees receive a bonus annually if the company meets profitability goals.

Manuck said Techmer rewards those who stick with the company with service awards at various intervals.

“Once people have been here so long, they don’t tend to leave. I like to think it’s because we have built that kind of a [family] culture,” he said.

Employees also receive paid time off for community service activities and volunteer work.

Among other programs, the company supports Junior Achievement, the Salvation Army and Shelter 37, a Los Angeles-area program that helps young people from distressed neighborhoods learn how to set goals and plan their futures.

In addition to caring for the community, Techmer encourages employees to take care of themselves by participating in wellness programs. The company reimburses employees — and their families — for gym memberships and offers smoking cessation programs.