6/05/2019 – Lenoir company one of state’s best employers

Posted on: June 11th, 2019 by admin


June 5, 2019



By Virginia Annable


Jun 05, 2019 12:00 AM

Good pay, benefits and an enjoyable company culture are what make Lenoir’s Blue Ridge Energy one of the state’s best employers, according to a recent ranking by Business North Carolina magazine.


The energy cooperative was ranked North Carolina’s 14th best employer in the magazine’s 2019 best employers list for small to medium companies, those employing 15 to 249 people.


Chief Administrative Officer Julie O’Dell said the company strives to keep its employees happy.


“We have a very strong goal of being a preferred employer,” O’Dell said. “We want to be an employer people enjoy working for.”


The ranking comes from information from a survey of all of Blue Ridge’s employees that asked about leadership in the company, corporate culture,

communication, work environment, employee satisfaction, training, pay and more. The survey results, which were completed by 97 percent of the company’s 220 employees, bode well for Blue Ridge, helping the company rise to the top of the state’s best employers.


This is the fourth time the company has been listed as one of North Carolina’s best employers, but its first as Blue Ridge Energy, O’Dell said. The company rebranded, giving the same name to both its electric cooperative, formerly Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp., and its propane and gas company, formerly Blue Ridge Energies.


Some of the things Blue Ridge is lauded for include its sustainability practices, encouraging members and employees to conserve energy, its pension plans, its health care coverage and its profit sharing with employees in the propane and gas section of the company.


The company also offers employees 16 paid hours of community service every year, allowing them to go out into the community to spend time working on something they care about, O’Dell said.


“They get involved in things that are … close to their heart,” she said. “I think that they value making their communities stronger.”


Blue Ridge also offers on-the-job training or tuition assistance for employees hoping to further their education and training.


“We want employees to have an opportunity to grow because we do make a strong investment in every employee who joins the team,” O’Dell said.


O’Dell said the company’s practices help keep employees happy and the operations running smoothly.


“We feel like the employee culture is critical to our company,” she said. “We have very low turnover — almost no turnover.”


At the top of the 2019 Best Employers in North Carolina is Transportation Impact in Emerald Isle, a logistics consulting company. Hickory accounting firm Martin Starnes & Associates was ranked 26th.


Reporter Virginia Annable can be reached at 828-610-8724.

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