At General Sheet Metal, the work culture is like a family – a collaboration and a place where everyone can share their thoughts freely.
The company was founded in 1932, but was bought by the father and uncle of the current owner, Carol Duncan, in 1972. Duncan said his daughter, Ashley, was considering taking over the family business.
âWe’ve been through some tough times together and we’ve had some great times together and it always comes down to people,â Duncan said.
The contractor and manufacturer of Clackamas specializes in almost all metal, from pre-construction architectural planning to installing HVAC ventilation and air conditioning systems. He is a second winner of the Oregonian / OregonLive Top Workplaces competition, now in its 10th year.
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Collaborative culture instills a sense of belonging in employees, according to Adam Kriss. He started in the company over 20 years ago sweeping floors and is now the director of the Virtual Design Group, where building designs are computer generated before construction begins on a project.
âI found there was a family-like environment, a family vibe where you know the owner of the business really cares about his workers,â Kriss said.
He said the culture has also brought in the best workers. He said General Sheet Metal artisans are like artists, learning the trade through skills imparted by their fellow metalworkers.
âWe definitely have people here who take great pride in their work,â Kriss said. “They want to do it right, they want to do it once and they want to do things with a high level of precision.”
General Sheet Metal is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, a non-profit organization that provides resources to women-owned businesses. Under Duncan’s leadership, General Sheet Metal provides an inclusive environment, according to Jennifer Clark, Project Manager on the Architectural Side.
âI also really appreciate that it’s a woman doing business,â Clark said. âI’m a woman. I’m a member of the LGBTQ community. Working in construction, you get people from all walks of life, and it’s coolâ¦ but it’s just nice to be in a company that feels supportive and cares about all its employees.
Clark, too, feels like she has a say in how the business operates. She said she did well at General Sheet Metal expressing what she was thinking, even though she disagreed with something in a meeting.
In this way, General Sheet Metal is “very different from other organizations of a similar size that I have worked in,” she said.
Soon, the participation of an employee in the company will not only be part of the culture, but also part of the benefits package.
General Sheet Metal, which has an operating budget of $ 35 million and around 140 employees depending on the various projects underway, will offer what is called an employee share plan, which gives workers a stake in the company.
âUsing an ESOP to engage and empower employees should create an alignment that engages employees to take responsibility (i.e. ‘own’) for both their individual success and that of GSM, “said Korede Alabi, CFO of General Sheet Metal.
Other benefits include a 100% company sponsored health and wellness plan for employees and dependents, access to a personal financial planner, and an onsite chef. A competitive compensation package includes a 401 (k) plan, other discretionary compensation packages, paid time off, vacation, dependency tax savings and medical expenses, voluntary AFLAC plans such as the short-term disability, an employee assistance program, and other discounted programs.
See more coverage of the best workplaces at oregonlive.com/topworkplaces.