Is Your Pallet Company a Good Neighbor Superhero in Your Community?
Pallet companies can make a powerful difference, especially in smaller communities. “We’re in a small town,” observed Tom Gardner, owner/president of Pittsville, Wisconsin-based Hay Creek Companies, “so it’s pretty easy for us to have a positive impact in the community.”
For Tom Gardner of Hay Creek, his shift in thinking began in earnest when he joined Cl2 (www.Cl2group.com), the nation’s largest peer advisory network of Christian CEOs, business owners, and executives. The group has networking groups across the United States and internationally. For Gardner, C 12 helped him change his business and articulate why he was in business.
Another step Hay Creek Companies took was engaging a company called His Way at Work (www.hwaw.com). His Way at Work is a faith-based nonprofit that provides consulting and coaching services for Christian CEOs and business leaders around the world who want to impact their organizations with the love of Christ. The program is scalable to meet the needs of various-sized companies. His Way at Work helps provide the tools and the guidelines and substructure to know that when we’re helping our employees, we are also affecting their families and the community, Gardner stated.
“They help set it up and give you some metrics on how to measure what you’re doing and who gets affected,” he said. “Being engaged with a company that’s willing to help you work with your program, it’s not entirely expensive, and it is very worthwhile to be able to just take some ideas and start building on that. Just find a place to start and get going.”
Pallet companies can also reach out to other companies that have successful outreach initiatives. In the case of Hay Creek, Gardner reached out to James Ruder of L&R Pallet in Colorado. You can start your company’s community outreach program inexpensively, Gardner admitted.
Some experts recommend low-cost strategies such as partnering with local organizations to sponsor events or groups, donating obsolete equipment or materials, or allowing a community group such as a Toastmasters club, for example, free use of your board room for an evening or weekend meeting. One great low-cost way of getting going is to promote community groups or upcoming community events through your social media platforms.
Community Outreach Ideas and Programs for Pallet Companies
Both Tom and Ken stress that there are a lot of ways to get involved. For example, Hay Creek Companies has sent care packages to deployed military personnel, inspired by the appreciation of military veterans working at Hay Creek who received similar packages while serving. Other efforts include the support of youth teams, especially those that have a connection to a Hay Creek employee. The company also supports Jeremiah’s Crossing, a therapeutic horse-riding ranch dedicated to helping horses help children and adults with diagnosed physical, cognitive, emotional and academic special needs at no cost to the riders or their families. Hay Creek also supports the local community’s Fourth of July Heart and Sole Road Race run/walk event, a fun run that raises money for the local fire department and EMTs.
Decisions about donations are made collaboratively at Hay Creek. Gardner stressed that the company’s caring team calls the shots regarding where their support is directed. “The cool thing about the caring team is it’s not a decision I make, it’s a decision that my people make,” he said. Shawna Bratlie, the Hay Creek office manager, is in charge of the caring team. Over time, Gardner noted, community outreach has become part of the company’s DNA.
"Community outreach has become part of the company's DNA." -Tom Gardner CEO, Hay Creek Pallet
Read the full article in the pallet enterprise 2021 august edition.