The ESCO Group ranked third in the medium-sized companies category of the Coolest Places to Work competition, with a family-oriented workplace culture that instills creativity, caring for community and professional growth.

Engineers make up the core of the ESCO Group, which includes divisions specializing in electric contracting services, professional engineering services and safety training and consulting services. More than 85 are employed by ESCO, which built a new headquarters at 3450 Third Ave., Marion, only a few years ago. It is rarely a dull place.

A day at the office could involve a game of ping pong, playing a popular “shooter” video game with a lunchtime gaming group, or a workout in the company gym.

“I like to call it the Google atmosphere,” said Tom Miller, director of business development. He said ESCO, like Google, is an engineering company that constantly strives to encourage creativity and improvement.

Most of the employees have families, and a valuable part of the culture is the flexibility to work in family responsibilities with their work schedules. Individuals are trusted to manage their time to a greater extent than at many companies so that they don’t have to worry about family, according to technical writer Kelly Walshire.

A popular feature is the annual companywide golf outing to kick off the United Way campaign at Airport National, with a big awards ceremony afterward.

Ms. Walshire says ESCO Group provides employees with opportunities to advance and stay fresh in their fields with a sizeable training budget that includes not only continuing education classes, but tuition reimbursement for college-level classes, and Dale Carnegie training for account managers and technical managers.

ESCO Group partners with the Blue Zones program for its wellness programs, which includes teams in several competitive sports leagues. The ESCO Group and its employees participate in such community activities as Bowl for Kids Sake, Tanager Golf Outing, Day of Caring and Junior Achievement, sometimes partnering with its clients.

Atmosphere was not the least of the areas praised by employees in a nomination. It goes beyond casual clothing to include donuts and bagels for breakfast on Fridays and a grill for outdoor cooking.

Dave DeWitte

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