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Why I Work Here

Darcy Beeman, financial adviser/regional leader in Fort Lauderdale
"They give you all the direction you need to be successful," says Darcy Beeman, financial adviser/regional leader in Fort Lauderdale.[Photo: Mark Wemple]

Edward Jones
No. 8 / Large Company

> With Edward Jones, you don't have the upfront costs of starting your own business, but you are starting at the ground floor and really building a practice the way you want to build it. They give you all the direction you need to be successful. When you start, you have a small base pay and a little bit of commission. It's more like a business owner. You're the business owner, and that's who you are and you can grow it as big as you want.

> If you go to another firm ... they'll have a sales assistant that may help anywhere from three to six different advisers. At Jones, it's one to one. At day one when you're not profitable, you really don't have many clients; they provide you with a 40-hour sales assistant to help you build your business.

> We don't compete with each other. The Jones culture is not competitive among each other. There are too many people that we want to be able to serve as a firm. There's no reason to talk to each other's clients.

> The firm is owned by the employees. Usually every three to five years we have a partnership offering. It's an opportunity to buy into the firm, but they do it in such a financially convenient way that they basically help support that buy into the firm.

> I just adopted a little baby. I will have no reason to ever, ever miss a parent-teacher conference, a sporting event, whatever it might be, a piano recital — we don't know yet; she's only 5 months old — but whatever it is, I have no reason to ever miss it with Jones, and that you really can't find in too many places.

Orlando Magic No. 22 / Midsized Company
Peg Michalski of the Orlando Magic Co.
Magic’s owners put a high priority on teamwork and community involvement at all levels of the organization, say Peg Michalski (left)
and Drew Garabo.
[Photo: Brooke Pifer]
Peg Michalski spends her workdays in front of a computer, making sure the Orlando Magic's 213 employees get paid on time. She has worked for other companies doing basically the same thing, but she says working for the Magic is different. The company has cultivated a team concept that is so pervasive Michalski believes she has just as much of a stake in the team's success as any of the players, even Dwight Howard. Howard says so himself. "It's not just about us on the court," says Howard, who stops by the team's administrative offices at least once a month to show his support to the staff. "What all of them do makes a difference." This attitude, Howard says, starts out with top management — Richard DeVos and Bob Vander Weide — who suggest each of the employees do something to help the community. The team offers organized activities, including team excursions to build playgrounds around central Florida and stuff backpacks with food for disadvantaged families.

 Magic center Dwight Howard
Magic center Dwight Howard visits the team’s administrative staff at least once a month to show his support.[Photo: Fernando Medina]
"We're not only allowed to volunteer during work time, we're encouraged to do so," says Drew Garabo, a season ticket account executive. "We've got to hit our numbers, and there is definitely a focus on that. However, just as important from an organizational perspective is the commitment to the community, volunteering and making sure that were making Orlando a better place."

The encouragement is likely good for the Magic's bottom line as well. A new University of Florida study has found that workers who are allowed to volunteer outside of the office worked harder, applied themselves on the job and supported their employers in the workplace and in the community.

Men’s Divorce Law Firm employees
Men’s Divorce Law Firm employees include, from left: Natalie Ramirez, Jaime James, attorney Amber Hill, Kelly Hill, Jennifer Bunting, Veronica Diaz, Shannon Purcell, Jean Moses (awaiting admission to the Florida Bar) and Adriana Ruiz. [Photos: Men's Divorce Law Firm]

Men's Divorce Law Firm
No. 23 / Small Company


Natalie Ramirez, a paralegal and client relations manager at the Men's Divorce Law Firm run by Winter Park divorce attorney Jeffrey Feulner, says she has worked for other law offices during her eight years in the industry, but none was as employee-friendly as her current employer.

Feulner pays 100% of his staff's health insurance benefits. He allows employees to work flexible hours, with the option of working from home when needed. He helps pay for health club memberships and provides a breakfast each day of oatmeal and granola.

 Jeffrey Feulner
Jeffrey Feulner started Men’s Divorce Law Firm seven years ago. His 14 employees are all women. He says that didn’t happen by design: When he fills a job he looks for a certain type of person — family-first employees who are eager to volunteer in the community.
For afternoon snacks, he offers pretzels, popcorn and chocolate, alongside bottled water, soda and gourmet coffee. "I feel like it's really important to create an environment, a culture, where the primary focus is on the individual and their family life as opposed to the product we're creating," Feulner says. "There are ways that I could personally be more profitable as the lone shareholder of the firm, but I feel a great responsibility to my employees."

Ramirez says the firm's workers "have a say in what goes on. It's like being in a close-knit family, and I've never experienced that in a law firm before."

Kevin Jones
"One of our values is fun," says Kevin Jones, senior vice president of consulting services in Fort Lauderdale. [Photo: Eileen Escarda]

Right Management
No. 18 / Midsized Company

> I've been here 23 years. I've held a variety of different roles in the company as we've grown to the successful organization we are now. Right now my primary responsibility is for larger projects where there's some complexity to the logistics.

> I'm 62. I like to think I'll continue working for a while. I still find it stimulating. The benefits are good. The pay is good.

> I make more money than I ever thought I would, but that's not the main reason I come to work. I enjoy the challenges that come across my desk every day.

> What makes us a good company is we have a set of values. One of our values is fun. We want to be profitable because we want to sleep at night, but at the same time it's a fun place to work. It more has to do with feeling fulfilled and excited as part of the job, where the work environment is positive. There's a sense of teamwork here, a desire to learn, giving people opportunity. A lot of our work is dealing with people who are in stressful situations. We're proud of the quality of the work we do.

Florida's Best Companies to Work For 2010

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