SMPS and Member Firms Help Support Community
By Nick Bjork, Senior Account Manager – Daily Journal of Commerce
People are inherently charitable – it’s in our DNA. Whether it’s giving a gift to a friend, volunteering to coach your kid’s sports team or holding a fundraiser, people find all sorts of ways to lend a helping hand.
As an organization made up of creative go getters, SMPS has found many ways over the years to be involved with the community. One of these endeavors took place in early December 2013 as our chapter held its fifth annual Toy Drive during the SMPS 201: Fellows Forum. Attendees donated built industry-related toys, and proceeds from a raffle, to local nonprofit Toy N Joy Makers. Those toys were picked up by local firefighters during the event and will go to making the holidays a little brighter for those less fortunate.
Beyond the industry organization, there are many firms involved with SMPS that have made a habit of being involved within the community and local charities. And while the impetus of such deeds is ultimately to give back, they’ve also found it to be a great way to build a team-oriented work environment and help with marketing efforts to the communities with which they work in.
Culture of Community
One of these firms is Emerick Construction, which has cultivated a culture of community involvement within its employees over the years.
The company has been supporting organizations involved with veterans, the troops and children for the past few decades, according Samantha Jordan, Director of PR/Marketing with the firm and President Elect of SMPS Oregon. But when it really started to become a focus, she said, was when the firm created the @EmerickGiveBack Twitter handle and created its ‘Live.Work.Play’ motto. The idea was to have an outlet to talk about the work they’re doing within a community and to create a way that charities and organizations could reach them.
“We have always believed that it is just as important to support the communities in which we do work in,” said Jordan. “Also, supporting local organizations that our employees believe in helps build a stronger foundation within our company.”
The company has been a staple in such local events as Canstruction, the unique canned food drive where participants build structures out of donated canned food, and Yoshida’s Sand in the City, which creates sand sculptures in Pioneer Square and donates proceeds to several children-focused charities. Emerick also supports the Caddy For A Cure, a nationwide charitable organization that supports dozens of different organizations each year.
Turner Construction Portland has a similar reputation for giving. The Portland office of the construction corporation donated over $120,000 in 2013 alone to various programs throughout the metropolitan area, according to Nicole Menchaca, the Marketing Manager for Turner Construction Portland.
Turner is involved with Sand in the City as well as supporting several local youth athletic teams. The office is also currently sponsoring the Blazers Club of the Boys and Girls Club of Portland, and local staff members participate in the annual ReBuilding Together event, a day where volunteers repair and rehabilitate homes of low-income citizens.
“Turner has a long history of community involvement and believes it is our responsibility to be contributing members of our community,” Menchaca said. “It is really effortless to promote the charitable spirit internally at Turner. Out staff is amazing – they are willing to come together for the cause.”
While the charitable spirit is in the DNA of both of the companies, as well as many others around the area, it’s also a great way to garner positive publicity.
Emerick recently donated a new scoreboard to Canby High School, which on the scoreboard had the @EmerickGivesBack Twitter handle. As Rob Hennis, Business Development Manager for the company, explained, the move was a no brainer considering the amount of construction they’ve been doing in the community and the fact that a lot of the employees reside in the area.
“A lot of it is trying to get the entire team involved instead of just giving $10,000 to sponsor a lunch event that most of the employees can’t even go to,” he said. “But it’s also a way to get our name out there to the people we do projects for.”
Hennis told a story about the Canby Library project that they were awarded this year. Searching for a testimonial, he asked the project owners why they selected Emerick.
“She said that one of the main reasons was because we were the only company that from the beginning was focused on asking the community what they wanted and having them involved in the project,” he said. “I think that approach comes from being involved in these things.”
The Daily Journal of Commerce, the company I work for, tries to use its expertise to help others. The industry newspaper routinely serves as the media sponsor for events and nonprofit organizations, getting the word out about their activities. For example, in 2014 the DJC is serving as the media sponsor for the [O]yes youth video contest where high schoolers submit videos that explain the importance of workplace safety. The contest culminates with an event where all the kids get together at a theatre in Salem and watch their videos on the big screen, with the winners and their respective schools receiving a cash prize.
While the DJC does this to support both kids and safety, it’s also a great opportunity for brand recognition, something that the newspaper – obviously – believes in. DJC banners hang at the event and the DJC logo gets put on all promotions.
For Emerick, as the effort to be involved has expanded, so have the opportunities.
In 2014 the team will be participating in the local Polar Plunge event, which supports the Special Olympics of Oregon. This effort – as many of them do – grew out of one of the company’s projects – the Oregon State University Track & Field project, said Hennis.
In addition to seeking out charitable opportunities, the company has even created a page on their website where organizations can connect with the company’s aptly named Care Committee.
“A lot of the organizations come to us,” added Jordan. “We are also involved in several committees or board positions on various non-profits (and) networking events really help expose us to a variety of organizations.
“Also, what we believe in helps shape what we do.”