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What is it that makes a great place to work … well, a great place to work! Successful companies tend to exhibit a common set of traits that foster excellence in job performance, overall productivity and camaraderie; a feeling of close friendship and trust among a group of people, which often extends beyond employees, to customers, suppliers, and throughout the community as well. At Syn-Tech Systems, Inc., these traits have become an expression, or the heartbeat, of the organization. The tone was initially set – and is yet maintained - by management, but other forces have greatly affected that expression as well. The result is what we refer to as our company’s character, or “culture.”
A company’s culture is dynamic! Many factors, from the clarity of a company’s MissionStatement and its embracement throughout the organization, to the way a company actually conducts its day-to-day business and its reaction to current, ever-changing business climates, help shape the company’s culture. The way it interacts with customer & users of its products and its distribution network, as well as its outside community involvement, also ultimately help to shape the company’s overall culture.
When analyzing these factors, we must recognize Syn-Tech’s association with the U. S. government and its military, which go back to the early 70’s, when we began as an electro-mechanical engineering firm and contractor with the U. S. Department of Defense. (See “the History of Syn-Tech”) Some of the attributes of our culture actually evolved, as a consequence of our years of service to remote Air Force fueling sites around the world – from our corporate operation in Tallahassee, Florida. This led to our development of technology allowing the possibility of a local Air Force technician to directly communicate with personnel in our Product Support department through a land-line telephone connection located within our FUELMASTER fuel management unit, thus minimizing down-time of the unit and providing international availability. This “above and beyond” dedication to service now permeates our organization, and is now at the very core of our culture, eventually encouraging the name-change of our Product Support department to the more descriptive Customer Satisfaction Center.
In its commitment to employees, the Company strives to provide a relaxed, productive atmosphere. People should enjoy their workplace and feel appreciated, recognized and rewarded. Evidenced by the fact that roughly 30 percent of our total employment base is comprised of engineers - creativity, productivity and “thinking outside the box,” are encouraged. However, this spirit of creativity extends throughout and beyond all departments and every employee takes pride in originating an idea for the good of Syn-Tech. In their commitment to the Company, employees give 100+ percent. With a sense of military-like pride, they strive to be the best, and to deliver the top quality products and services in the industry. Conversely, providing positive reinforcement to employees is accomplished in a variety of ways. A management priority is to offer rewards, bonuses, raises, promotions and certificates of achievement. Quarterly, co-workers are given the opportunity to recognize outstanding peers, by nominating their choice for the prestigious Syn-Tech "STAR of Excellence Award", which acknowledges various character traits, including strong work ethic, ingenuity, creativity, and exceptional employment practices by that individual.
Though not as blessed with intense winter weather like companies located to the north of Tallahassee, employees nevertheless look forward to the Company’s annual Spring Picnic on the Gulf as it offers a terrific opportunity for wonderful weather, great food, games and relaxed camaraderie with each other’s families, and yes, sometimes even beach-loving pets. Equally anticipated is the annual Christmas Party which is always well attended, and has grown so that we have had to move it to the University Center Ballroom located at Doak Campbell Stadium on the Florida State University campus.
At Syn-Tech’s corporate facilities, available to all employees, is a kitchen-like break room where they may enjoy brief intervals of diversion grabbing a quick snack, refreshing their coffee, catching up on streaming TV news, or just kicking back on a comfortable lounge during a respite from their office. Restrooms are equipped with showers/lockers for those aspiring athletic types who have an array of activities in which to participate, provided by the Company and sponsored by Syn-Tech’s Wellness Committee. In addition to a $25,000 in-house gym, where employees are encouraged to workout regularly, the Committee, with an annual budget for wellness projects offers an impressive list of activities ranging from various coed sports teams, competing in community leagues, to professionally sponsored education seminars dealing with wellness concepts and activities ranging from healthy meal preparation to Yoga. Annual prizes are awarded to all employees who qualify.
In addition to mission clarity, customer focus and employee commitment, other traits affecting our culture would include such qualities as strong trust relationships, effective systems and processes and, commitment to learning and skill development. The latter of these is evidenced by the fact that - contrary to our competition - we have never charged a customer to attend any training classes, which we offer regularly and earnestly encourage, or, distributor personnel who attend our required certification schools.
Happy employees tend to be caring, generous employees and Syn-Tech’s are no exception. The Company values with pride its history of support (financial and otherwise) of such on-going causes as United Way, Christmas Connection and Supporting Our Troops. Constancy to purpose is embodied here, and evident when considering that not since 1990 have fewer than 90% of the employees - on average - dug down to share their good fortune with those not so fortunate, through United Way. That’s year after year for 20 years and counting! So significant was that in 2002, in addition to other criteria, that we were presented the 2002 Small Business of the Year Award by the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. Eight years later, having grown to nearly 200 employees – now categorized as a midsize company – we are recognized by the prestigious Florida Trend Magazine as the thirteenth best company to work for in all of Florida. We’re very proud of this, and feel it further reflects how our traits and characteristics have impacted our culture.
About four times every year since the beginning of the Iraqi War (2003), the employees of Syn-Tech, in addition to Syn-Tech Corporate, have made generous donations of much needed boxes of personal items to men and women serving our Country in uniform. In response, we have received many notes, photos, plaques and letters of gratitude from the recipients, and, on three occasions, American flags that have flown in Iraq or Afghanistan. One of these once flew over Saddam Hussein’s palace in Baghdad, following his departure.
In the interest of brevity, without oversimplification, if we look for one word to summarize that which is our corporate culture, it would almost certainly have to be CARING; caring for customers, for employees, for community, for our military and caring for each other. This is what has and will, continue to shape us, guide us and motivate us as we welcome more and more new friends to our world.