SHERIDAN — The Wyoming Workforce Development Council awarded two Sheridan businesses statewide recognition at their Safety and Workforce Summit in Cheyenne earlier this month. Wyoming Roofing was named Small Employer of the Year and Qdoba Mexican Grill was named the Youth-Friendly Employer of the Year.
WWDC Communications Manager Ty Stockton said in a written statement both awards recognize businesses whose efforts and initiatives of private-sector employers that have an impact on workers, other employers, communities and the state as a whole. Awards are decided by a team of WWDC board members and were presented July 9 in Cheyenne.
Racking up recognition
Stockton said Wyoming Roofing was nominated for their most recent award because the company provides excellent service, employs quality workers and fosters community programs.
According to the company website, Wyoming Roofing has given away four roofs in Gillette and six in Sheridan through community projects targeted toward veterans, teachers and neighbor nominations. More projects are underway.
President Ryan Gregory explained his community outreach efforts are motivated by his own life experiences.
“I’m a ‘bootstraps’ guy. I came from a working family that did construction and labor and had some great opportunities from wonderful people that lifted me up, mentored me and helped me become a successful entrepreneur,” he said. “I’m not a person that needs to spend a lot of money. We are pretty simple and don’t need a multimillion-dollar house and we just love to give back.”
Earlier this year, Gregory was named Small Businessperson of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. His company is also in the one percent of roofing contractors in the nation that qualify as an Owens Platinum Preferred Contractor.
“The biggest thing I want to stress is this is not something I did alone,” Gregory said. “I have some amazing team members that pretty much do everything and they are passionate about it.”
Gregory said the roofing industry has a sketchy reputation among many, and that’s something he wants to change.
“We are trying to be a world-class business that happens to do roofing,” he said.
Employment practices serve employees
Stockton said Qdoba was nominated for their statewide Youth-Friendly Employer award because the company reaches out to the youth in the community and develops their work readiness skills. If employees are enrolled in college and maintain a required GPA, Qdoba helps reimburse their tuition costs. The company also offers regular feedback and potential for pay raises.
Owner/Operator Patrick Akers explained offering benefits to employees isn’t enough to make a dynamic workplace. He said he and his general manager are mindful to maintain a professional workplace culture.
“The biggest thing is the culture you set in the store from day one and then stick to that culture,” he said. “Little things make a huge difference. Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ is paramount.”
“We are mindful of how we train employees and set the tone that everyone gets treated with respect,” Akers continued. “We take the time to talk to them and treat them as individuals, not just as a person serving the customer.”
Akers said he focuses on his team members before customers and acknowledged that an employee-first focus is somewhat unconventional.
“We understand how the process works,” Akers said. “If you make sure your employee’s experience is great, then they are going to make sure the customer’s experience is great.”
Akers said he makes careful hiring decisions regardless of how great or small the need for workers is at a given time.
Both community businesses received statewide recognition but attributed success to its staff members.
By Tracee Davis