AS MAURIE MCGARVEY, Human Resources Director at Paducah Bank, sat at her desk on a recent spring afternoon, that familiar tone, indicating that an email has arrived, sounded. However, this was no ordinary tone and no ordinary email. The address at the top of the message bar read:
The Wall Street Journal. It was at this point that McGarvey’s pulse quickened.
In 2007, The Wall Street Journal initiated its first annual search for the top small workplaces in North America. The renowned national newspaper solicited applications from across America, culled the incoming entries to around 400, then chose the top 35. From those 35 finalists, 15 companies were selected to be featured in an October 2007 issue of the Journal.
Earlier this year, CEO Joe Framptom noticed an announcement in The Wall Street Journal requesting submissions from companies around the country who believed their small business exemplified the type of workforce and workplace environment that was worthy of emulation. Framptom certainly believed Paducah Bank was of such merit and asked McGarvey to begin the application process for the 2008 selections.
“After being chosen as Kentucky’s Best Place to Work in 2006, I knew our bank had been looked at closely and with a critical eye by professionals who used a discerning set of credentials to judge us,” Framptom remembers. “If we met those tough standards, why couldn’t others see our quality as well? So we decided to go for it!”
Paducah Bank sent in the required 250-word essay profiling the bank and its mission. In March, the bank was notified that it had been selected to provide further information. “Making the first cut was amazing to us,” said Wally Bateman, President of Paducah Bank. “We would have been pleased just to have experienced that level of acclaim.”
But there was more to come. On April 29, the email arrived in McGarvey’s inbox indicating that The Paducah Bank and Trust Company had been chosen as one of the 35 finalists in the Journal’s search for America’s Top Small Businesses.
“We are ecstatic,” Framptom added. “Receiving the honor of Kentucky’s Best Place to Work was more than we would ever have expected, and now to be among the top 35 small businesses as designated by The Wall Street Journal is a testament to the quality of our people, our philosophies and our belief in the greatness of this small company in this community. This is an honor beyond our wildest anticipation. We are thrilled to share this moment with our exemplary staff and our hometown!”
The Wall Street Journal partners with Winning Workplaces, an Evanston, IL nonprofit company whose mission is to help the leaders of small and mid-size organizations create better workplaces.
From the 35 finalists, a team of judges will name 15 winners who will then be featured in an October issue of The Wall Street Journal.
“Small businesses continue to be the engine of economic growth in the U.S.,” said the Journal’s managing editor. “By providing readers with this list of top workplaces, the Journal is able to capture the importance of what small businesses have to offer their employees and clients, particularly in their workplace practices. These small companies are leading innovators and tend to be role models for larger companies by creating an environment that encourages productive behavior.”
The Journal’s panel of judges is in the process of interviewing employees and customers of Paducah Bank in an attempt to identify the final 15 top workplaces in the U.S. The winners will be announced on October 13, and the 35 finalists will be recognized at a conference on October 14 and 15 in Chicago.