Ritsema Associates Named to 20 Best Places to Work in SWM for 2021

Life is good when you can drive around a community and point with great pride to your handiwork through the windshield of your car. Such is the case for the team at Ritsema Associates of St. Joseph where employees can say they played a role in the completion of landmark buildings such as The Inn at Harbor Shores, Spectrum Health Lakeland, Lory’s Place, and even the Berrien County Jail. Staff members say, “the reputation Ritsema continues to build is contagious, people want to work with us and we want to work with them.” The fine-tuned machine that they are became readily evident when shutdowns related to the pandemic finally eased enough to let them get back to work. They report that the majority of the staff was laid off due to the mandatory quarantine, which normally would have pushed back schedules on many projects. However, they say, “Once we were able to get all of our people back working, two months later, we completed each of the projects on time — with no delay or setback. Our team came together to make that possible.” Armed with the ability to make your dreams a reality, Ritsema Associates marks more than 25 years as a leading commercial interior contractor for Southwest Michigan, and more than 65 years in business. Read on about this team that has been named one of the 20 Best Places to Work in Michigan’s Great Southwest for 2021.

What is the name of the business you are nominating?

Ritsema Associates

Who are the owner(s) and/or principals in this company?

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Ritsema Family

Business Contact Information

Susie Olivarez

505 Pleasant St, St. Joseph, MI 49085

How many people work at the company you are nominating?

108

Tell us the story behind the nominated company. What does it do, and what sets them apart from other companies in the region?

Ritsema Associates is the leading commercial interior contractor for Southwest Michigan for over 25 years. Ritsema Associates has been in business throughout West Michigan for over 65 years. Our business has grown tremendously in the St. Joseph community which is why we opened an office in December of 2020 in this area. We focus on drywall hanging and finishing, acoustical ceiling install, steel stud framing, insulation, exterior insulation, flooring and more! Our company culture is truly family oriented. Our goal is to employee the members of the St. Joseph and surrounding community. We want them to have a family friendly atmosphere to work in and also be able to get home to their own family safely at the end of the day without a long drive home.

In your own words, why do you think this company deserves to be declared to be one of the 20 Best Places to Work in Michigan’s Great Southwest?

We partner with some of the most beautiful projects in Southwest Michigan, including the Berrien County Jail, Harbor Shores, Lakeland Hospital, and Lory’s Place to name a few. Our craftsmen and women create some of the most beautiful pieces of art inside of a building. The reputation Ritsema continues to build is contagious, people want to work with us and we want to work with them. The goal is to continue adding more to the Southwest Michigan Area for the entire community to enjoy.

What makes workers proud to say they work there, and keeps them a part of the team?

Our workers love who they work with. Ritsema has a reputation of being extremely high quality.  We get the job done right!  The quality of our work is meticulous!

Let’s pretend you’re writing a review for Yelp! or Trip Advisor. Give us your best recommendation for the nominated company that would make the rest of us wish we worked there, too.

If you’re looking for a family-oriented company, one who really cares about you as a person and does what they say they will do, look no further! The pay is great! The benefits are great! They value you and your time! They train you if you need training and will develop you into leadership roles.

What three key words best describe why this company is a Best Places to Work caliber company?

  1. Family 2. Culture 3. Teamwork

As a Best Places to Work company “Super Hero,” what are the two most magical “Super Powers” this company seems to have on a day-to-day basis? (i.e., Ability to read minds, fly, invisibility, etc) And why?

Super Power One: We make your dreams a reality. You dream it, we can build it.

Super Power Two: We build it and the people come. Helping communities come together under one building!

Tell us about the leadership of the nominated company and what they do in order to:

A] Keep spirits and motivation high? Birthday and Anniversary Cards, Recognition for going above and beyond, monthly visits to see workers in the field. Development programs, company-wide emails and video calls.

B] Keep innovation and fresh ideas advancing? Marketing strategy, training and development programs annually, suggestion and ideas box. Quarterly meetings with employees to hear ideas.

C] Keep communications open? Emails for all employees, mailings, monthly newsletter, Facebook “shout outs” of our employees, safety celebrations when we meet our safety goals.

Explain a specific “wow!” moment in this company’s history that is virtually “Hall of Fame” or “Best Practices” worthy, as an example to other companies in the region.

During the global pandemic, the majority of our staff was laid off because of the mandatory quarantine.  This normally would have pushed the schedules back on each of these projects, once we were able to get all of our people back working which was two months later, we completed each of the projects on time – with no delay or set back. Our team came together to make this possible. With the great leadership and communication from our Superintendent Kevin Smith at this site, he and his team made it possible!

Best Places to Work have a reputation for not only working hard, but also for playing hard.

A] How does the nominated company honor or reward success? In person and in private. We have a special sheet all employees fill out for us to see what each individual employee prefers. We also have a town hall annual meeting where employees are called out for the amazing work they’ve done. Teammates are called out during the daily huddles for their “wow” work they’ve done and at the quarterly meetings.

B] How does the nominated company socialize as a team? Due to COVID, we’ve had to limit this. In the past it would be for our annual holiday event, we’d have quarterly gatherings and team building events. Currently everything is done via zoom until we are able to meet in person in larger quantities. The zoom calls are “happy hours” for us to share successes.

C] How does the nominated company get involved in community events? We host an annual golf outing sponsoring a local non-profit organization. We participate in United Way Campaigns, helping with buildings within the community for community service. We participate with the local 4H groups and participate in local Tech schools, donating material and our time to teaching the trades.

D] How does the nominated company celebrate life? Life is important! We celebrate this by offering our employees a great benefits package and encourage everyone to take Paid Time Off. We encourage our team members to be there for family events, the kid’s sports, concerts, musicals, and more.

Write a brief, but compelling, recruitment ad telling people about why they should come and work there, too.

If you’re looking for a family-oriented company, one who really cares about you as a person and does what they say they will do, look no further! The pay is great!  The benefits are great!  They value you and your time!  They train you if you need training and will develop you into leadership roles.

What one thing is special about your nominated company that most people in the community have no idea actually happens there, but should be shouted from the rooftops because it’s that cool?

Our company does an “all about me” form.  This is a personal way to recognize each team member on each jobsite we participate in and throughout the entire company. When someone goes above and beyond, we are able to reward them with a personalize letter from their leader and a personalized gift, maybe their favorite candy bar, soda or magazine. It’s personalized and it goes a long way! We love our team!

Give us three employee perks or benefits that you think make the company you have nominated worthy of a Best Places to Work trophy?

  1. Profit Sharing – we share a portion of our profits with every single one of our employees.
  2. Growth and Development Plans.
  3. Family Owned and Family Focused Company.

If this is your company and you win, write the best headline ever for your company newsletter describing your successful selection to the list, and be as specific as you can about how you would celebrate the win if money were no object.

We Did It! IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE!

Ritsema Awarded Best Places to Work in Southwest Michigan!

Congrats Team!!!!  To celebrate our success, we will be hosting a company-wide event, celebrating YOU!  You made it possible for us to win and you deserve the best. You and your family are invited to stay at the Inn at Harbor Shores with us – all expenses paid for a weekend of bonding and fun to say “THANK YOU.”

You know how much we love each and every one of you. We are thankful for your dedication and we are thankful to your families who lend you out to us 8 hours a day to create some of the most iconic buildings in Southwest Michigan! It’s time to Celebrate!

Tell us anything else you want about this company that you suddenly realize we haven’t asked you about, but you’re sure will be the thing that puts you squarely into the winner’s circle! (Wait a minute! Can you put a square in a circle?)

We’ve built sound relationships based on our quality of craftsmanship and credibility. It is our dedication to our work and customers that has made us a leader in our industry and created a tradition we’re very proud of. We invite you to build a relationship with the people of Ritsema Associates, people who are dedicated to integrity, professionalism and personal service. We work to make excellence a habit!