There's a lot of innovating going on at the No. 7 company on Plastics News' Best Places to Work ranking.
CMD Corp., an Appleton, Wis.-based manufacturer of converting equipment, holds more than 65 patents worldwide and has more than 140 applications in progress.
“For our size, we operate off of a fairly significant portfolio of intellectual property,” said President Stephen Sakai. “And that didn't just happen. We put a significant amount of effort into it and the employees have really started to embrace it. We nurture creative thinking and risk-taking and innovative thinking.”
All of CMD's equipment is made in the United States. The privately held company, which launched in 1980, added seven people to its staff last year. It now employs 133 regular, full-time workers and 35 to 40 contract employees, Sakai said.
“Business has been very healthy last year, so far this year, and looking forward,” he said in a recent phone interview.
The company added staff in part to handle its growth as a supplier of compressed natural gas refueling systems for commercial vehicles. Truck stops are installing the systems as an alternative to diesel, and CMD has installations across the country including in Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Sakai said the firm's growing staff reflects a concerted effort to hire people of different backgrounds, viewpoint, ages, cultures, ethnicities, skills and abilities, which encourages innovative thinking.
In its Best Places to Work application, CMD said, “It is not unusual for us to hire new employees who are in their 50s or 60s. We do not have an early retirement program or any other programs that offer an ‘early out.' Generally, people join CMD and stay here until they choose to retire, and we are happy to have them here!”
Sakai said, “I think [employees] like the overall culture and atmosphere of working here. There's a good mixture of long-tenured employees with some new. People relate to each other and work well together.”
CMD offers a retirement fund with matching contributions and profit sharing. Both benefits are discretionary, “but we have always provided the match,” Sakai said.
Two health insurance plans are available to both full- and part-time regular employees and their dependents. The firm also offers annual “healthy lifestyle” assessments for employees and spouses, complete with lab results and private coaching sessions. Spouses were invited to recent meetings involving changes to health insurance plans, the introduction of health savings accounts and education on the wise use of health insurance benefits.
Also offered are periodic programs on overall health, stress reduction and financial seminars on topics such as raising credit scores and retirement investment planning.
CMD encourages employees to participate in volunteer efforts and has been especially active in fundraising for the homeless. CMD provides incentives for employees who donate blood, and it pays fees for those who participate in an annual walk/run to fight cancer.
The company offers leadership training, bonus programs, formal appreciation events and service awards, and solicits feedback from employees.