Printing’s Best Workplaces : The Cream of the Crop


Vox Printing.

HardingPoorman Group

HardingPoorman Group

Malloy Inc.

Edwards Brothers

Hopkins Printing

The Castle Press

Waunakee, WI

Certainly, John Berthelsen needs no introduction; the 1998 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductee is one of the industry’s most recognizable faces, and his company—a web, sheetfed and digital printer that specializes in direct mail and commercial work—is the pride of Wisconsin, printing’s royal state.

And, there are ample reasons why Suttle-Straus has been recognized as a Best Workplace recipient for 11 consecutive years (including six “Best of the Best” honors).

“It’s been a long process of picking up ideas over the years,” Berthelsen observes. “I’ve traveled the country, visited a lot of places, and one of the things I always try to do while visiting a company is pick up a good idea or two. Then I’ll read a (management) book, get more ideas, and blend it in to our own style.

“It’s not one or two things that distinguish or build a company’s culture,” he adds. “I’ve always been a firm believer that it’s not about doing a couple of things 100 percent better, it’s doing 100 things five percent better.”

Berthelsen was speaking literally about “100 things”—the company’s human resources document is a laundry list of best practices employed and offerings that have enabled the printer to register an average employee tenure of 11 years. Among the benefits:

• From the management practices end, Suttle-Straus provides a bi-weekly company newsletter (Shorts), conducts all plant meetings in a town hall style, boasts a workplace improvement committee, offers an electronic suggestions box, and conducts annual employee surveys and performance reviews.

• In terms of training and development, the printer provides education reimbursement assistance; updated skills and cross-training; and encourages participation in on- and off-site seminars, Webinars, conferences, user groups and other work-related organizations.

• The company provides safety and health training for areas ranging from back injury prevention, hearing tests, OSHA compliance, chemical waste handling, CPR and first aid training. Suttle-Straus also provides an extensive array of health and wellness benefits, headed by a choice of six comprehensive health insurance plans.

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