Emphasis on employee benefits, wellness spells growth for Niagara Bottling

By Jeannie Reall
Correspondent

Published: March 19, 2014 12:04 pm ET
Updated: April 24, 2014 1:16 pm ET

Image By: Niagra Bottling LLC Workers from Niagara Bottling participate in a refurbishing project in a local neighborhood. The company offers an array of benefits for workers and emphasizes safety and worker wellness.

Related to this story

Topics Best Places To Work, Packaging, Blow Molding

Niagara Bottling LLC has happy employees and plans to add many more.

The family-owned company, which ranked No. 10 on Plastics News’ list of Best Places to Work in the Plastics Industry, has grown quickly in the past decade and is still expanding.

Last year, Niagara opened plants in Gahanna, Ohio; Aurora, Colo.; and Missouri City, Texas. This year, the company already has opened a facility in Puyallup, Wash., near Tacoma, and plans to open two more by the end of the year, in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and Atlanta.

Andy Peykoff founded the company in 1963 and, after suffering a stroke in 2002, turned the reins over to his son, Andy Peykoff II. At that time, Niagara employed about 150.

The younger Peykoff became a 26-year-old CEO — and that helped to shape the corporate culture.

“When you’re young, you don’t want to hire industry veterans, because you don’t think they’re going to listen to you. That’s what you think,” he said. “So we ended up with a young management team. ... It was an atmosphere where people could make mistakes. They weren’t expected to know everything.

“We’ve stayed true to that philosophy. We often give people opportunities at a young age that they wouldn’t necessarily have at another company.”

Today, Ontario, Calif.-based Niagara employs about 1,800; it created 600-plus jobs just last year and more are on the way. The growth, Peykoff said, is due in part to the “rising tide” in the bottling business, especially in private-label bottles. But the company has increased its competitiveness, he said, by adding faster, more efficient equipment and using technology to produce more with less.

Niagara is a manufacturer, “but we’re also a technology company,” he said.

Niagara employees receive an array of benefits. In its application for Best Places to Work, the company said, “one-third of Niagara team members are enrolled in plans that require a mere $10 co-pay for office visits, urgent care visits, lab services and prescription drugs.”

“Even our high-deductible plans are wrapped with a low-cost medical gap plan to keep team member out-of-pocket costs low,” the company said.

Niagara even offers pet insurance.

The company has a plethora of formal employee recognition/appreciation programs including safety awards, production awards and quality issue awards among several others.

Niagara organizes quarterly activities for each department such as bowling, laser tag, sports and games. The firm also sponsors sports teams for the employees including soccer, softball and basketball. There are monthly birthday celebrations, “free-lunch Wednesdays” all summer, holiday lunches, team potlucks and family picnics.

The company also emphasizes safety with rewards. Each of the firm’s 12 plants is allotted as much as $10,000 annually to reward employees for good safety records, and a new car is given away every year at each facility that meets its safety goals.

Another priority for the company is wellness — and it became even more of a priority a few years back when Peykoff himself accepted a challenge.

“My wife said, ‘Andy, you’re looking a little soft.’ ”

And so began a competition with his wife. “And that started this big thing,” Peykoff said of the company’s annual Get Fit Challenge, an eight-week contest among employees. The top three winners from each location receive gym memberships.

One benefit that doesn’t involve money or swag: Niagara’s corporate culture. The company aims for an atmosphere of honesty and appreciation, and according to Peykoff, that pays off for everyone.

“If you do what you say you’re going to do, if you have integrity, people have respect for that,” he said. “And people who give it their all tend to rise in our company.”


Comments

Emphasis on employee benefits, wellness spells growth for Niagara Bottling

By Jeannie Reall
Correspondent

Published: March 19, 2014 12:04 pm ET
Updated: April 24, 2014 1:16 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Sealed Air moving headquarters, 1,200 jobs to Charlotte, N.C.

July 23, 2014 2:06 pm ET

Sealed Air Corp. — which is known for its Bubble Wrap brand — is moving its headquarters from Elmwood Park, N.J., to Charlotte, N.C., and ...    More

Image

Successful packaging is about more than the materials you use

July 23, 2014 1:49 pm ET

“People do not forget how packaging makes them feel," says Marla Donahue. "Remember how frustrated you felt when you couldn't get that...    More

Image

Beer maker Carlsberg enlists suppliers for 'upcycling' project

July 22, 2014 11:14 am ET

Carlsberg Breweries A/S in Denmark has started an ambitious project with its suppliers to optimize its packaging for the purpose of “upcycling....    More

Image

Global market for plastic containers to top 46 million metric tons by 2021

July 22, 2014 10:56 am ET

German research company Ceresana has released a study saying that it expects the global market for plastic containers to rise to 46.2 million metric...    More

Image

Portugal's Gepack setting up PET packaging facility in Arizona

July 18, 2014 3:32 pm ET

Gepack, a maker of PET bottles in Portugal, is setting up new a manufacturing facility in Arizona.    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events