I know this is going to come as a shock to most of you, but I was not the most mature kid growing up. This manifested itself in many aspects of my life, but probably most frequently at my slew of part-time jobs. I tended not to be the model employee because, as a kid, the job was not a top priority and I certainly was not invested in the gig. Perhaps some of our contractor readers might have had an employee or two that fits that description.

That changed when I went to work for Gordon Food Service Marketplace (GFS) in my senior year of high school. Jim Bentoski, the store manager, was a charismatic leader who made a slew of high school idiots feel that they were a big part of whether the store succeeded or failed. Not only that, but he also made it vitally important to us to see the big-bulk grocery store succeed.

He inspired me to take my part-time job seriously and join with my coworkers to make sure we had the best store we could. Of course, this changed right back when I worked at a different GFS during my college years. That cumulated into the only firing in my life in a series of events I will blame mostly on Natural Light beer.

Best Contractor to Work For

This column is not about my lost years, but rather about managers that can raise the level of their employees. Bentoski did this in multiple ways, taking an authentic interest in our lives, demanding a good job but still being flexible in his approach, and — most importantly to a teenager — instituting a profit-sharing program in which we would get a bonus check every quarter based on the store’s profitability.

Of course, these are probably some of the same things many of our contractor readers have done in their businesses. In fact, I am sure you have thought of even more innovative ways to make your company a great place to work and make sure that your employees are invested in the company. We here at The NEWS want to find these companies and highlight them.

It is once again time for our Best Contractors to Work For contest. The NEWS has been doing this for multiple years. It is a contest where we highlight bosses who have created a great place to work. This can be showcased in many ways from profit sharing, to a high investment in training, to a spectacular holiday party.

The twist: Companies are nominated by employees. The contest grants employees a chance to recognize the outstanding leadership paving the way for their company. It is a great way to thank a boss for being outstanding. It is also a great way to capture some brownie points from the guy in the corner office.

Being a Best Contractor to Work For is also a great recruiting tool. Just think of the reaction the top student coming out of the local trade school will have when he Googles your company name and it comes up that you are one of the best HVAC companies in the country to work for. I would urge everyone who works for an outstanding boss to fill out the online form.

The contest is now open, and runs through Nov. 15. The winners will be announced and featured in the Jan. 20, 2014 issue of The NEWS, which will be distributed on the floor of the 2014 AHR Expo in New York City. Four U.S. contractors and one Canadian contractor will be chosen. For more information, visit  bestcontractor.achrnews.com.

Publication date: 9/23/2013 

Best Contractor to Work For