Top Small Workplaces in North America by The Wall Street Journal
AS MAURIE MCGARVEY, Human Resources Director at Paducah Bank, sat at her desk on a spring afternoon in 2008, 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, and then chose the top 35. From those 35 finalists, 15 companies were selected to be featured in an October 2008 issue of America’s most prestigious business newspaper.
Earlier in 2008, 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 were 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 was a testament to the quality of our people, our philosophies and our belief in the greatness of this small company in this community. It was an honor beyond our wildest anticipation.”
Neither Joe Framptom nor any of his colleagues could anticipate what was to eventually happen.
In early fall of 2008, Maurie McGarvey once again saw the esteemed Wall Street Journal insignia on a welcomed email that invited the bank’s representatives to the recognition ceremony in Chicago which would feature the 15 Top Small Workplaces in North America for 2008!
“When we began our quest several years ago to strengthen and grow our internal corporate culture, I don’t think any of us would ever have foreseen the kind of accolades we have received for this endeavor,” comments Paducah Bank President Wally Bateman. “The process was undertaken to put committed customer service at the core of our daily operations. The results have been many and multi-faceted, not the least of which has been to accept this most recent honor by The Wall Street Journal.
“Not only have we created a strong, supportive, engaged team of employee/owners, we have also seen our market share grow dramatically. We’ve also seen growth in virtually every area of our banking service areas. In 2008, we were the number one bank in deposits in McCracken County, the top mortgage lender and the top small business lender. And we’ve accomplished these goals in an industry that is now experiencing the most volatile climate in decades. We could not be more excited to be lifted up as a place where people want to work, where they enjoy working, and where we all commit ourselves to the spirit of shared goals.”
CEO Joe Framptom unequivocally agrees.
“We are sincerely honored to be the only bank and the only institution in Kentucky chosen by The Wall Street Journal for its Top 15 Winning Workplaces in the nation,” he adds. “This distinction reflects very positively upon our owners who have had the vision to keep our bank independent. It also says a great deal about our board of directors who have always supported that decision. And we share this proud moment with the thousands of customers who benefit from our dedication and commitment to excellence.
“At Paducah Bank, we firmly believe that the success of our bank is directly linked to the personal success of our staff. As a cooperative team, we have all worked to craft a daily workplace that is distinctly dedicated to that ultimate goal. Given that The Wall Street Journal has just named us one of their 15 Top Small Winning Workplaces, I’d have to say that perhaps we’ve achieved that mission. That is a very gratifying feeling for everyone at Paducah Bank. And we are also very happy to share this moment with our wonderful community, where we are proud to live, work and volunteer.”