Project manager John Gilson, fourth from left, with a crew from Walsh Construction, the Best Company to Work For among midsize firms, at the new Alder Hall dorm building on the University of Washington campus
FIRST PLACE: Walsh Construction
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Founded by the brothers Tom and Bob Walsh in 1961, Walsh Construction has grown from a shoebox operation to one of the most respected building firms in the Pacific Northwest. And we mean that literally; when Tom and Bob first started the company in Portland, they kept their accounting files in a shoebox.
Walsh has come far since those early days when they worked out of the back of a '47 Chevy van. Tom brought the company north, building a variety of academic buildings at the University of Washington and eventually creating a Seattle iteration of Walsh Construction in the 1980s. The firm now specializes in everything from LEED-certified green structures to commercial buildings and multi-unit housing developments. Today, Bob Walsh works from the company's Portland office and Bill Reid is General Manager and top executive of the Washington office.
Along the way, Walsh has made a priority of treating its employees better than anyone else in the field.
In surveys completed for this issue, the company’s employees continually referenced the quality of their benefits—namely the full health insurance for employees and 97 percent coverage for spouses and dependents—and the culture of friendship, integrity and honesty that permeates the firm.
Friendships aside, Walsh offers an impressive array of health-related perks, including a smoking cessation program, a healthy eating program and a walking program. On top of that, employees also receive health club, weight loss program or personal training reimbursements.
The feel-good factor doesn’t stop there. Walsh runs an annual employee giving campaign, raising funds for a variety of nonprofits each year. The company matches employees’ total donations up to $100,000; in 2011 alone, the total amount given by Walsh and its employees was $230,000.
Employees are encouraged to volunteer their time at a charity of their choice, with many opting to participate in Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together.