At distributor and custom fabricator ePlastics, employees who have worked at the company for at least one year are recognized for their accomplishments on the "Wall of Fame."
"The beauty of it is, all 49 employees have a plaque upon the wall, and it says when their start date was and how many years they've worked here," said President Elliott Rabin. "It is honestly humbling for me and for anyone who sees it to just look and go, 'God, I can clearly see how many people have worked for you — 10, 15, 20, 25 years or more.' And it's like, 'This must be a really great place to work.' You're not quite sure what to say to them other than 'thank you.'"
But why have so many employees stayed so long? The answer, Rabin said, is in the environment.
"I know that when I pull up at 9 a.m. most days — people get here around 6:30 a.m. — and you see the parking lot full of cars and you see the trucks coming in and out, you really feel honored and humbled that all these people want to come in and work for you and take care of the customers and go home at night and then want to come back the next day and succeed."
Rabin and John Short, general manager and part owner, keep gift cards on hand for anything from Starbucks and Applebee's to American Express. To acknowledge successful employees, Rabin and Short will give a gift card when an employee has gone above and beyond for the company.
"We keep [gift cards] in a drawer, and then when John and I notice someone has done exceptionally good work or the way they handled something or made a big sale, for a variety of reasons, we'll go over and give them a card just one on one," Rabin said. "We don't make a big deal out of it. They're just so thankful that they're recognized."
A recycling program at the San Diego-based company helps fund events such as Taco Mondays, barbecues and the annual Christmas party. The company holiday party includes interactive games, roulette, blackjack, photo booths and an employee recognition ceremony at a local hotel.
"We just had one employee who has worked here for 40 years, and he did not want the recognition," Rabin said. "But everybody came over and brought him a little something to honor him."
Rabin said the company's history dates back to 1914 when it was a supplier to grocery stores.
"My grandfather actually was a grocer and bought from them in the 1920s and 30s. … The company got into acrylics like plexiglass in the 1940s," Rabin said. "Our first known sale that we can actually document was in 1947 — it was actually some acrylic for a shank in a knife.
"We got into all the industrial plastics in the 1950s, and it changed ownership to a man named Arthur Ridout. Basically, it was the only distributor in San Diego going into the 1960s. In 1967, my father bought the company from Mr. Ridout [and] I sort of grew up here."
Rabin, who has been president since 1990, said he's held a variety of roles and has "gotten the chance to sit in every chair." While ePlastics is a family business and his sons Jordan and Spencer have worked there on and off, Rabin said there are other families who work here together — fathers with their sons, mothers with their sons, brothers and cousins.
"John and I just want to have an environment that we would want to come to, and it's an extension of that," he said. "We make it a place where you want to spend nine hours a day here. You make friends.
"Besides all the family relationships," he added, "there are a lot of friendships that go on outside the building. It's not a drudgery to come to work for ePlastics."
Ranked No. 7 in 2016, ePlastics takes the No. 5 spot for Best Places to Work 2017. The San Diego-based distributor and custom fabricator has 49 employees.