John Currier walked into Currier Plastics Inc. with a briefcase in spring 1983, right after college. The injection molding and blow molding company in Auburn, N.Y., was only six months old at the time.
Raymond Currier smiled at him and said, "Why don't you put that briefcase down over there in the corner and grab that broom, start in that end of the shop and work your way this way?"
That's the story John Currier tells of his start at the company his dad founded in 1982. He was employee No. 5 and eventually became president after his father's retirement in 1987.
Years ago, the company set out on a mission to emphasize what it does best and provide two fundamentals of capabilities to its customers. It came up with V2, which is value times velocity.
The V2 philosophy is described on Currier's website as "the combination of speed or true velocity in everything we do combined with superior value that incorporates total quality, operational precision and efficiency and established organizational core values."
As a culture, according to Currier's Best Places to Work submission, this attitude benefits all employees, customers, suppliers and owners.
Workers who see other employees on the floor going above and beyond can nominate those employees for an on-the-spot Lifesaver Award. Recipients receive a $25 gift certificate and a bag of Life Savers candy. Service anniversaries are acknowledged with monetary compensation and logo apparel.
Currier is ranked No. 14 for Plastics News' 2019 Best Places to Work list.
Career paths are available for employees as well as internal and external training opportunities. Internally, there are three levels of training for positions and testing at the ends of the levels. There's a monetary incentive for passing.
Frequent one-on-one meetings are held to understand personal and professional goals, remove roadblocks and support projects.
Currier has a relationship with Cayuga Community College in Auburn, a unit of the State University of New York. The company helped the college found a manufacturing excellence center that has an emphasis on plastics, complete with a plastics lab with machinery donated from Currier. Some of Currier's suppliers have also donated machinery to the center.
Milestones like all-time high sales call for celebrations such as a pig roast for all 155 employees and their families. The company has also hosted a family movie night in the courtyard with pizza and popcorn and a hot dog cookout. The most recent holiday party was hosted off-site with a happy hour, hors d'oeuvres and socializing.
When the company recruits new employees, John Currier said, it looks for overall fit rather than just skills.
"We are more interested in how they will blend with our existing people," he said. "We are always looking for people that enjoy working with other people. That's the atmosphere that we are always trying to set up."
Currier said he admires his team's positive, can-do attitude.
"I've got an incredible team that understands that servicing the customer is the No. 1 important goal, and they really work hard to find ingenious ways to make that happen and really keep that positive attitude; I really admire them for it," he said.
John Currier's sons also work in the family business: Christopher in business development and Timothy in supply chain.
Currier had record sales in 2018, and the company is close to finishing a 10,000-square-foot Class 8 clean room, which will house eight to 10 injection and blow molding machines. Currier is also working on the design of a 90,000-square-foot addition for manufacturing and warehousing.
"It's going to be a busy 2019," John Currier said.