Family Values at Work

Awards recognize companies that promote family-friendly environment

By Dee Klees
Staff writer

Employees of Medical Management Resources, Inc. can thank John Pennisi's parents for the company benefits they are offered today.

Pennisi's company was one of three employers honored Monday for their family-friendly business practices with Donlon awards from the Central New York Chapter of Success by 6.

Medical Management Resources, Inc. is the winner in the small employer category. Cablexpress Technologies is the mid-size company award winner. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Central New York is the winner among large employers.

The winning formula for employees of Medical Management Resources "comes from the basic family values of my parents that I was taught," Pennisi said Monday. "It's important to look at things through other people's eyes."

Those standards led him to create a company where employees can choose their work schedule, work from home or share a job with someone else. He has a move in the works to relocate the company now on Enterprise Parkway, DeWitt, to part of the O'Brien & Gere building on Brittonfield Parkway and provide staff with access to the on-site day-care and fitness facilities there.

Pennisi's efforts are obviously appreciated by his employees, who eagerly list the benefits offered by their company. They include an employee appreciation day, a holiday party, a summer picnic, profit sharing and a 401(k), among others.

"The staff entered the application for the award on their own", he said.

"The benefits pay off for the company, which started out in 1986 with six employees and has grown to 91. They provide medical billing and practice management services to doctors. It's a competitive business and one in which it's important to be able to hold onto the best employees", Pennisi said.

"The extensive benefits package has definitely improved employee retention", he said.

Employee recruitment and retention is also important at Cablexpress Technologies, which supplies computer cables and networking equipment. Cablexpress, which also is locally based, offers its employees discounts on computer equipment, wellness programs, fitness programs with access to a personal trainer, a 401(k) program and some profit-sharing as well as "stork parking" that allows expectant mothers to park near the building.

The list of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Central New York's benefits is even more extensive and includes variable schedules, supplemental disability, an exercise room, and lunch and learn programs.

"While larger employers may be expected to offer lots of benefits, studies have found it's often smaller companies that are most supportive of their employees because everybody knows each other", said Ellen Galinsky, who was the keynote speaker at the lunch. Galinsky is the co-founder of the Families and Work Institute and author of more than 16 books, including 'Ask the Children: What America's Children Really Think about Working Parents," published last year.

She spoke Monday about Work/Life: The Past, Present and Future and explained how thinking about business policy on quality of life issues evolves. What often begins as a doctrine that says personal concerns should be left at home changes to one that recognizes that the quality of work depends upon the quality of life. That applies not just to the individual employee but also to the community.

The Donlon awards are given annually and are sponsored by The Manufacturers Association of Central New York, with the support of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and The Metropolitan Development Association.

They are named for William Donlon, former chief executive of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation and first chairman of the Success by 6 Policy Council.

He presented the awards Monday at the lunch at the Holiday Inn on Electronics Parkway.

May 16, 2000 The Herald Co., Syracuse, NY © 2000 The Post-Standard. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.