Westerly, R.I.-based US Extruders is just two years old, but the company is already working on creating a positive company culture.
The company was established by several former American Kuhne Inc. employees, after that company closed a facility in nearby Ashaway, R.I., in 2015.
Today, US Extruders has 20 employees making custom single-screw extruders.
President Bill Kramer said what is unique about US Extruders is that the culture is a result of the seven founders coming together and saying, "Hey, let's start a company and, by the way, let's don't do this, this or this."
"The group of people that have had shared values really established our culture, and those are very basic things like treat everyone with respect, treat customers and suppliers the same way, do the right thing, and things will work out well," Kramer said. "It's a group of people who chose to be together, and I think that really distinguishes us."
US Extruders makes its first Best Places to Work appearance at No. 4.
To support open communication, the entire company participates in biweekly roundtable meetings to discuss any challenges or topics necessary.
"It's a good way that we get together and put issues forward, and that could be anything from the coffee machine doesn't work well to an issue on an extruder design to how we're maintaining schedules and things, so everything just kind of comes up," he said. "It's a good way to make sure things are not getting lost in the scramble. … It's everybody, which is one of the advantages of a small company. We can all still fit around the table."
Lunch is provided free every Friday, which rotates around different establishments such as pizza joints and sandwich shops.
Last year, US Extruders had two holiday parties. One was a potluck on the last day of work before the holidays, where everybody brought in different food dishes. The other one was a formal party at Kramer's house with hors d'oeuvres and dinner.
The US Extruders building is run on 100 percent solar power, which reduces the company's carbon footprint and enables an employee to charge an electric car.
"This first year, in 2018, we went from a blank sheet of paper in starting a business to selling quite a few machines. … In that time, we have designed and built extruders of various sizes, from 0.75-inch up to a 6-inch. And every one of those had to be designed," Kramer said. "It's all new."
US Extruders' goal for 2019, he said, is to complete the design of all the different sizes of extruders.
"I think one of the things that gives me a lot of pride is the way that all of our folks respond to customers when someone comes here for a visit," Kramer said. "Everybody is truly open and communicative and welcoming. … Everybody is proud of the equipment they make, and they like showing it off to the customers."