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Ivy Computer – one of Vermont’s ‘Best Places to work’

During a recent Waterbury Development Review Board hearing, Pierce said they want the two-story headquarters to be as invisible on Route 100 as possible. “There’s nothing to get for us to stand on,” he said.

The project calls for the addition of roadside plants, including the planting of new trees. The company operates on a net-zero basis thanks in part to a 110 kWh array of solar panels on site. The new building will include another 165 kWh on the roof, officials explained during the review hearing.

The DRB approved the application for the new headquarters at its June 1 meeting. Company officials say they submitted an application to Act 250. Their goal is for Ivy’s employees to start work on the new building in about a year.

Significant benefits and the philosophy of Ivy

For the past four years, The “Best Place to Work” in Vermont The list shows Ivy Computer, most recently for third place in the small business category. The rankings were made by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine.

Pierce, who hides one of the awards in his office overlooking the solar array and playhouse, said that in addition to a good pay and benefits package, the company has some out-of-the-box. box benefits and practices.

For example, Ivy will fully detail each employee’s vehicle at least twice a year. They take about a month to get through the entire company. The idea came from an effort to differentiate themselves from other companies in the “Best Places to Work” competition, according to Sales and Marketing Manager Dan Paradis.

“During the part of the show when they listed all the companies with different benefits, we kept hearing about massage. Over and over: massage. We were like, ‘Why is everyone so stressed?'” Paradis recounted “We want to be different.”

Cleaners come on the work day, so employees drive their dirty cars to work and go home for a clean ride. If an employee works from home, the cleaners go to them. “They did a very good job of me,” Paradis said. “I feel like a new person.”

Then there is the philosophy. Most companies have parties that leave when employees leave for a new role – which encourages something Pierce says he doesn’t want to happen. So they decided to throw parties for new employees.

Any Ivy manager should also write and maintain a document they call an “operator’s manual” that outlines all the minutiae of how to work well together.

“These are all things you learn after being in a business for a while,” Pierce said. “What will you do if you come to my door and it’s closed? Did you knock? will you come back did you call Are you sending a message? ”

He continued, “On the first day, you can take my operating manual and look and read what happens to interact with me.”

Managers like Paradis who write manuals for the people they work with say the process is always a revealing exercise-especially when colleagues suggest changes.

“It’s an interesting tool to find out about yourself,” Paradis said. “Writing it is part of it. And then if someone first tells you that’s not the real way – Well, tell me what it really is.

The company will also pay for each case health costs, including benefits such as divorce counseling and therapy. “It’s not very useful, it’s nice to know it’s there when you need it,” Pierce said.

The state incentive sweetens the expansion

In December, Ivy won preliminary approval from the Vermont Economic Progress Council of about $ 2.5 million in state grant money under Vermont Employee Development Incentives. The program will pay off over many years as the company reaches growth milestones.

Grants are pushing companies to grow jobs faster than if they couldn’t – the hope for the state is an increase in tax revenue for the long term.

“They said, okay, well, if you hire them for five years, but now you can hire them for two years, the three-year difference is important to them,” Pierce said. “The fact that they will then thrive and grow and get paid, even more so at the end of five years, is going to be in the best interest of the state.”

Ivy has until November to complete the application for the award and receive final approval.

The state program last year also signed an incentive grant of more than $ 6 million to another technology company seeking to set up an office in the Waterbury region. Texas-based IT firm MTX is still in the process of moving to the Waterbury Center offices formerly occupied by Keurig Dr. Pepper.

A cross-country history

Pierce founded Ivy Computer in 1985 in Ohio, but quickly made the decision to move to Vermont as he sought a “homey” place similar to where he grew up in northern New Jersey. The “Ivy” name comes from her alma mater Cornell University, a member of the Ivy League, she said.

The company’s current offices, in a refurbished Hooker furniture store on Route 100 next to the playhouse tent, are the third location they have in Vermont. It was originally housed on the Duxbury farm on River Road in a restored barn, Pierce said. They then moved to the Pilgrim Park complex in downtown Waterbury before moving to the existing 8-acre site large enough to accommodate the expansion project.

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