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Polk’s Best Places to Work Revealed

By John Ceballos
The Ledger
Published: Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 4:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 4:35 p.m.
LAKELAND — End-of-year bonuses, financial support for continuing education and leisurely company outings.

Best Places to Work winners
SMALL BUSINESSES (one to 50 employees)

Clark Environmental, Inc.; CPS Investment Advisors; Heacock Insurance Group; Lunz Prebor Fowler Architects; Madrid Engineering Group; OMS Group; Rita Staffing; Spherion Staffing.

MEDIUM BUSINESSES (51 to 250 employees)

A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure; Allen & Company of Florida; Citizens Bank & Trust; Florida Presbyterian Homes; Lanier Upshaw; Mizkan Americas; Treatt .

LARGE BUSINESSES (251 employees and up)

Coca-Cola Refreshments; Legoland Florida Resort; MidFlorida Credit Union; Sykes Enterprises, Inc.; Walmart Distribution Center 6071.

EMPLOYERS OF DISTINCTION (companies who have received Best Places to Work honors for three consecutive years)

ArrMaz; Center for Retina and Macular Disease; Clark & Daughtery; Florida’s Natural Growers; Kegel LLC; Polk County Board of County Commissioners; Polk County Clerk of Courts; The Estates at Carpenters; W.S. Badcock Corporation.

— John Ceballos
Those are some employee perks that earned the latest crop of Best Places to Work award winners a place at the podium.

On Thursday, CareerSource Polk handed out prizes to the local businesses that were successful in motivating and retaining workers, implementing training and development initiatives, and fostering a healthy work-life balance.

“You are indeed a very positive reflection of what Polk County has to offer,” said Stacy Campbell-Domineck, president and CEO of CareerSource Polk, to the winners.

More than 700 business and community leaders attended CareerSource Polk’s annual meeting and Best Places to Work Awards ceremony at The Lakeland Center.

The organization — formerly Polk Works — established the awards in 2003, and local businesses are evaluated through employee surveys and by a panel of judges after submitting applications.

In addition to the awards, staff members from CareerSource Polk — a nonprofit that oversees federal funds dedicated to establishing a skilled workforce — shared some of the organization’s highlights from the last year.

CareerSource Polk provided 486,062 services to job seekers, according to the organization’s 2014-15 annual report.

Ashley Brungard, a job readiness instructor, said those services included September’s P5Xemployment preparation initiative. Together with human resource and workforce professionals, CareerSource Polk offered services that included mock interviews, resume assistance and social media training. Nearly 100 P5X participants landed a job within six months.

The organization also works closely with employers in the area.

Larry Madrid is the president of the Bartow-based Madrid Engineering Group (MEG), which previously featured sinkhole evaluation services as its primary income source. Madrid said rule changes related to sinkhole insurance coverage left his company in crisis in 2012.

CareerSource Polk helped guide the way in helping refocus MEG.

“My company is extremely grateful to CareerSource Polk for their assistance over the past few years,” said Madrid, whose company was named as one of the best places to work. “They were there to help us to retrain our staff to work on projects other than sinkholes.”

Individual awards were handed out to a pair of CareerSource Polk board members.

Diana Simmons of Butterfly Bistro received The Hammer Award recognizing personal time and effort dedicated to the organization’s initiatives and Michael Micalleff of Sunshine Bank won The Larry Miller Award given to board members who have demonstrated an overwhelming commitment to workforce development.

Wells Fargo also won The Workforce Champion Award, given to an employer, individual or organization for their efforts to support Polk’s workforce system.