Westerly, R.I.-based US Extruders has landed at No. 8 among suppliers for Plastics News' Best Places to Work list.
US Extruders, which supplies single-screw extruders, extrusion systems and high-performance screws for plastic, rubber and silicone, was launched in 2017 by several former employees of extrusion equipment maker American Kuhne Inc. after that company closed a facility in 2015.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, US Extruders was deemed an essential business and has been working at full capacity and production. Its cloud-based server and collaboration tools have allowed for remote working and digital communication.
The company took many safety precautions, said Eric Adair, marketing manager, including the installation of touchless plumbing fixtures in all bathrooms and foot handles on all doors.
The Westerly facility occupies 47,700 square feet and runs on 100 percent solar power. The decision was made to commit to reducing energy consumption and create renewable energy by converting to solar power.
"In the long run, it will also be cost-positive by reducing our energy cost. This is a savings that we can pass along to our customers," according to the company's website.
The solar power allows employees to charge their electric vehicles.
"We are committed to keeping American manufacturing as part of the global environmental solution. As we harness the tremendous potential of solar energy, we control our future costs while maintaining manufacturing integrity," said Dan Schilke, head of operations.
US Extruders said it is passionate about mentoring and training its new, young workforce. In an industry predominantly employing baby boomers, US Extruders' team is 40 percent millennials. Mentoring, job shadowing/cross-training and leadership workshops are available for training and development practices.
"US Extruders has an environment that promotes open communication and teamwork while still empowering individuals to take leadership and make decisions," the company said in its Best Places to Work questionnaire.
Lunch is provided to the team every Friday, which gives everyone a chance to communicate, bond and casually discuss business. The team also conducts paper airplane contests to relieve some workday stress.
US Extruders pays a large portion of the premiums for medical, dental and vision coverage for employees and their dependents.
The company provides nine paid holidays per year. Employees receive 10 paid vacation days and five sick days per year after one year of employment. US Extruders offers paid time off toward community service activities and volunteer work. It says it supports the community by using as many local vendors as possible and donates to local charities and groups "with the goal of bettering the lives of those around us."
"As our company grows, we have plans to increase these efforts. These plans include, but are not limited to, supporting local veterans through a program called Honor Flight," US Extruders said. Honor Flight, conducted by nonprofit organizations, transports U.S. military veterans to see memorials of the respective war they fought in Washington, D.C., at no cost to the veterans.
Adair said the US Extruders team has been "incredibly resilient."
"US Extruders is dedicated to treating people like people," he added.
US Extruders previously ranked on the Best Places to Work lists in 2019 and 2020.
"US Extruders is truly one of the best places to work. It's dedicated to treating people like people. This includes its team members, vendors, customers, the industry and community," the company said. "The entire team is committed to doing what it takes to provide our customers with outstanding service and treating everyone with honesty, integrity and respect."