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‘We can build a great business around good people’

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Douglas Pelletier at Trifecta Technologies in downtown Allentown: Commit to taking care of employees and the business will take care of itself.

PHOTO/CHRISTOPHER HOLLAND
Douglas Pelletier at Trifecta Technologies in downtown Allentown: Commit to taking care of employees and the business will take care of itself. PHOTO/CHRISTOPHER HOLLAND

People first.

Fold together a work culture that supports and values employees and customers and add in professional development opportunities.

These are among the key ingredients top privately held employers in the Greater Lehigh Valley said were essential for success.

“We have long realized that our employees are our greatest assets,” said Robert Black, vice president of Morris Black & Sons Inc., in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

Talented, dedicated employees form the base tier on which employers build – and ultimately grow, their businesses.

“My grandfather, Morris Black, had an expression: ‘While people are judged by the company they keep, so is a company judged by the people it keeps,’ ” Black said.

Douglas Pelletier, CEO of Trifecta Technologies Inc. in Allentown, said building a great business happens when you hire good people.

“Finding or retaining great employees has been the key to our success,” Pelletier said.

He said providing ongoing education including conferences, seminars, webinars and in-house lunch-and-learn sessions help keep staff up-to-date on industry trends and practices and provide enrichment opportunities.

TRIFECTA TECHNOLOGIES INC.

Douglas Pelletier, CEO

Allentown

 

<What are the key ingredients in creating a great workplace culture?

A great culture begins with a great value system. At Trifecta, we value our employees and their families, our customers and their businesses and our community.

From there, we establish our policies and processes for running the company. Our policies and processes reflect our values, our vision, our mission and our strategies.

<What has been your recipe for success?

I have always stated that we can build a great business around good people. Finding or retaining great employees has been the key to our success.

Although we have some remote employees across the country, we believe that we can find good employees who are from the Lehigh Valley, who want to live in the LV, and who have families and friends that live in the LV.

If we stay committed to [the] idea that we need to take care of our employees, the business will take care of itself. In the end, it makes for a stable workforce and a great culture where employees want to work.

<No one starts out as a master chef or top executive. Who has helped you along the way, and how?

Too many to name – but from our inception and over the years, I have learned and set the direction for the company by exchanging ideas with industry peers, talking to other local small-business owners, listening to several industry leaders, bankers, CPAs [Certified Public Accountants], lawyers and, perhaps most of all, listening and learning from my own employees.

<What is your company’s training strategy/approach?

Trifecta has always supported and encouraged our employees to learn and attain the key certifications. All of our employees have the opportunity to attend conferences, seminars, webinars and in-house lunch-and-learn sessions.

We strongly believe that our business partnerships and key technology certifications demonstrate to both our employees and to our customers our company’s firm commitment to the technologies we embrace.

<What’s on the menu the next year or two for you and/or your company?

In the markets we serve, web and mobile application development and Salesforce implementation, integration and consulting, Trifecta plans to grow 30 percent to 45 percent year-over-year for the foreseeable future.

Our expressed intention to all employees is to create an ESOP [employee stock ownership plan] where all employees will share in the ownership of the company.

Trifecta anticipates hiring 15 to 25 additional employees each year for [the] next four years.

MORRIS BLACK & SONS INC.

Robert Black, Vice President

Hanover Township, Lehigh County

 

<What are the key ingredients in creating a great workplace culture?

My grandfather, Morris Black, had an expression: ‘While people are judged by the company they keep, so is a company judged by the people it keeps.’

We have long realized that our employees are our greatest assets, so creating a positive workplace culture begins with recruiting talented people with certain qualities and character traits and encouraging a professional atmosphere of mutual respect.

We are a 110-year-old, fifth-generation family business, and we work hard to foster a family environment for our co-workers. Our people enjoy working together, in pursuit of common, well-understood goals and a commitment to excellence.

Part of our mission statement reminds our co-workers to always practice the highest moral and ethical principles in everything they do.

<What has been your recipe for success?

As a company, our business model has enabled us to be flexible. We are small enough to avoid the burden of excessive bureaucracy which might hinder timely decision-making; and we are large enough to be able to identify and pursue business opportunities as they arise.

Over the years, the business has changed and evolved continuously – it barely resembles the company that my grandfather or father ran.

I believe that our success is due, in part, to a very open and collaborative management style. At all levels, associates are considered equal participants in problem-solving and decision-making, as well as in the continuous review of procedures and practices in every facet of our business.

Moreover, at the core of our business is a customer-centric philosophy. Everyone, from top down, understands – by continuous reinforcement – that we all work for our customers. And that mindset drives everything we do.

<No one starts out as a master chef or top executive. Who has helped you along the way, and how?

I have been blessed, personally, to have had many mentors, both in business and in life.

My role model was my father [Samuel Black], who was a highly respected leader of our community and with whom I had the privilege of “learning under” during the early years of my career with Morris Black. He taught me, by example, the value of treating everyone equally with respect.

I have also been fortunate to learn from my business partner for over 40 years, Ron Black, who has taught me much about business through a conservative, analytical approach to developing our company.

<What is your company’s training strategy/approach?

We employ many different types of people, with a wide range of skill sets, ranging from very specific, highly technical product knowledge to computer aided design and manufacturing engineering, to cabinet making, machine operation and finish carpentry.

Each area within our company requires ongoing training to keep up with ever-changing products, applications, codes, etc. We are committed to enabling our co-workers to be the best they can be.

<What’s on the menu the next year or two for you and/or your company?

We continue to be very bullish on the Lehigh Valley and anticipate significant growth opportunities over the next decade.

As our senior management team (including me) ages, we are working hard on transition planning to ensure that we remain well-positioned for the future.

We are all committed to preserving and furthering the legacy of this family business, of which we are all very proud.

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