October Declared Employee Ownership Month in Pennsylvania

State Representative Kerry Benninghoff presents Bryan Wolcott, Restek’s president, with a resolution and praises the company on its success as an employee-owned business.

State Representative Kerry Benninghoff (R-Bellefonte) presented Restek with a resolution on Oct. 30 declaring October Employee Ownership Month in Pennsylvania.

“It is companies like this—employee-owned, small companies like this—not big factories that keep us going,” Rep. Benninghoff said. “So, on behalf of myself and the entire General Assembly, thank you for that continued success. Congratulations on behalf of the Commonwealth.”

Restek, like thousands of companies in the country, is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company, which is a business model where employees own shares of the company. In Restek’s case, the company is 100% employee owned.

“We think employee ownership is one of the most important ownership vehicles in the country. We would like to see it keep growing and this resolution is one way that it does,” said Bryan Wolcott, Restek’s president and head coach.

Each year, ESOP businesses across the country celebrate October as ESOP month. The presentation by Rep. Benninghoff capped a full month of ESOP activity, including Restek’s Culture Fair on Oct. 4, when the company hosted more than 20 internal and external groups and organizations to set up info booths within the company’s atrium and hallways to talk to employees about volunteer opportunities. Employees at the chromatography manufacturer can use up to four hours per month to volunteer during work. The company also hosted educational seminars, a Halloween costume contest, and more to celebrate employee ownership.

These festivities closed an exciting month for Restek, one that included the company’s 32nd anniversary as well as being awarded Company of the Year by The Pennsylvania Delaware Chapter of The ESOP Association. It was the second time Restek won the award.

Restek Volunteerism Thrives at Inaugural Culture Fair

For new employees such as Ravali Alagandula, an LC applications scientist, the abundance of volunteer opportunities at Restek is exciting, but knowing where to start can be tough.

Employees at the chromatography manufacturer can use up to four hours per month to volunteer during work and, at a company with more than 350 local employees, opportunities abound.

To help employees new and old better understand the opportunities available at Restek, the company hosted its first Culture Fair on Oct. 4 and invited more than 20 groups and organizations to set up an info booth within the company’s atrium and hallways to talk to employees about how they could get involved.

Alagandula, who was hired just over a month ago after receiving her PhD in clinical and bioanalytical chemistry from Cleveland State University, signed up to help Restek present at STEM fairs at local elementary and middle schools and with Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM), a group that advocates for the medically underserved living or working in Centre County.

“Everyone is so friendly. It’s easy to approach them and learn about the opportunities,” Alagandula said.

One of those friendly people was Pam Decker, a senior graphic designer at Restek, who staffed the booth looking for volunteers for 4thFest, the county’s renowned annual 4th of July celebration.

“Dozens of Restek employees help out during 4thFest each year and we’re hoping to get a few more today,” she said.

To encourage employees to speak with a lot of different groups, Restek distributed passports to be signed by booth staffers. Employees with at least 10 signatures were entered to win one of three gift cards.

“Volunteerism is part of Restek’s culture, and we’re hoping this fair spreads that engagement even further,” Karen Davis, a Restek HR representative, said.

The event was spearheaded by the Restek Owners Culture Committee (ROCC) with the goal of increasing the number of employees who volunteer by offering an easy way for them to learn more about the opportunities that are available within both the company and the community.

“There are a lot of people constantly doing things and recruiting volunteers—we thought a culture fair like this could help employees get a good overview of different organizations and how they can get involved,” said Denise Kyle, a sales coordinator at Restek, who leads the Employee Owners Communication Team (EOCT).

The idea was brought to the attention of the EOCT by Mike Shuey, Restek’s international customer service supervisor, after attending an ESOP conference and seeing another company doing one. Restek, like thousands of companies in the country, is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company, which is a business model where the employees own shares of the company. In Restek’s case, the company is 100% employee owned.

“It seemed like a great idea, and I’m looking forward to seeing it grow each year,” he said.

The fair was held in October to help celebrate ESOP Month. The company also plans to host a number of other celebratory activities, including educational seminars, a Halloween costume contest, and a presentation by State Representative Kerry Benninghoff (R-Bellefonte). October 15 is also Restek’s 32nd anniversary of serving top-notch chromatographic innovations to the analytical community.

Restek’s Joe Konschnik Named ILI Board Chairman and Receives Two ACIL Preston Millar Awards

During ACIL’s last annual meeting in St. Louis, Restek Business Development Manager for Food & Agriculture, Joe Konschnik, was named Chairman of the Independent Laboratory Institute’s (ILI) Board of Directors. The previous ILI Chairman, Jim Kuhn, was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors for ACIL (American Council of Independent Laboratories) and chose Joe to replace him on the ILI Board.

ILI is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), scientific educational organization established in 1992 by ACIL; multidisciplined and member-driven, ILI serves the laboratory testing community by offering valuable training and education, administering PT programs, and helping the ACIL community to implement new technologies and methods to advance the testing industry.

Over the past four years, Joe has worked with Mr. Kuhn, in conjunction with Richard Bright (ACIL COO) and Milton Bush (ACIL CEO), to revitalize the ILI Board. “Joe has been instrumental in the success of many initiatives taken on by the ILI Board and various sections of ACIL, so when it came time to find a successor to the ILI Chair position, it was an easy decision to appoint Joe,” commented Kuhn.

Joe also received ACIL’s prestigious Preston Millar award—in 2016 and now again in 2017—for his service to the Food Sciences Section of ACIL. Jeffrey Abels, chairman of ACIL’s Food Science Section, presented the award noting, “Joe Konschnik has been an integral part of the Section’s efforts to work with FDA in a positive and professional manner to develop new methods for food analysis. Joe has brought ACIL and FDA together in ways that have enhanced our relationship with the Agency and set us in a positive and productive direction for the future.”

For more information about ACIL, visit www.acil.org  Information specifically on the ILI can be found at www.acil.org/?page=685  And Restek’s latest Food Safety solutions can be found at www.restek.com/food-safety

Restek Customers and Employee-Owners Donate More Than $11,000 to Red Cross Hurricane Relief Efforts

While the storms and headlines have passed, the hardships of those residents affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are nowhere near over.

For this reason, Restek held a fundraiser in September to raise money for Red Cross operations in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. In a combined effort from Restek customers and employee-owners, the company presented a check for $11,122 to the Red Cross on September 29.

Bryan Wolcott, Restek President and Head Coach, thanked customers and coworkers for their kindness and charity.

“People’s lives are forever changed by these tragic events, and I’m proud to be able to make this donation to the Red Cross on behalf of the Restek community,” he said. “Thank you to our customers for their generosity and caring.”

For several weeks in September, customers could forgo receiving their Wizard Dollar incentives during checkout over the phone or website and, instead, divert those funds to aid those in need. Restek employees could also donate, and Restek Corporation contributed an additional $5,000 as well.

Restek is well-known for empowering its employees to suggest and implement improvements to the business and its renowned culture. In this case, the hurricane-relief fundraiser was set into motion by Kent Rauch, Lead Web Developer at Restek. He said he recognized how dire the situation was by hearing from colleagues in the affected area.

“I wanted to help, so I got approval and made the code edits to the website,” he said. “The reception from our customers was tremendous.”

This is not the first time Restek raised money in response to a natural disaster. In 2013, the company raised nearly $4,000 to help ease the suffering of those affected by the tornado that ripped through Oklahoma, and the company also raised money after Superstorm Sandy hit New York and New Jersey.

Heather Ishler and Angie Rushe from Restek’s domestic customer service group helped organize and drive the fundraiser. Rushe said Restek’s culture of employee ownership instills a sense of responsibility and community.

“I work with an exceptionally generous group of folks who take our responsibility as owners very seriously. We understand that when you are in a position to be able to help, you should do all you can,” she said.

Restek Wins Company of the Year

BACK ROW: Bill Arrowsmith, Valerie Strohm, Tony Rider, Jeff Gelburd (PA/DE Chapter President, ESOP Assoc.), Matt Lininger, Denise Kyle, Mark Badger FRONT ROW: Mike Shuey, Mark Williams

Restek was awarded Company of the Year from The Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter of The ESOP Association during its annual conference on September 14 in Scranton, PA.

This is the second time Restek has won the award, having also received the honor in 2007. Over the years, many ESOP conferences have included a Restek employee as a session speaker, and two employees have also won the chapter’s Employee-Owner of the Year award.

“Employees at Restek are fully engaged in the ownership culture. They also have done wonderful work in advocacy both in Pennsylvania and in Washington D.C. Restek is very deserving of this award and should be a top contender to win the national award at The ESOP Association meeting next May,” Jeff Gelburd, Chapter President, said. The PA/DE chapter is one of 18 that provide educational services and resources to its members across the country.

An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is a business structure in which the employees of the company are also owners. Restek transitioned to 100% ESOP on Dec. 31, 2008.

“Restek is a family-oriented company that is owned by its employees. While our business is scientific, our culture is all about teamwork and taking care of our fellow employees so that we can better serve our customers and our community. We are honored to be recognized by the ESOP Association and encouraged to continue serving others through our business, our charity, and our ESOP advocacy,” said Bryan Wolcott, Restek President and Head Coach.

With over 450 employees across the U.S., China, Japan, Italy, France, Germany, and the UK, Restek has earned a reputation in the scientific community for unbeatable Plus 1 service and innovative, top-quality chromatography products. Analysts rely on Restek products to monitor the quality and safety of air, water, soil, food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and petroleum.

Recently, Restek, along with the PA Center for Employee Ownership, taught students from South Hills School of Business and Technology in State College, PA, about employee ownership and the benefits of working for an employee-owned company. Students from three majors—business, information technology, and graphics—took a tour of Restek’s facility, attended an in-lab chromatography demonstration, and received education about ESOPs and Restek—as well what Restek does for the community and the environment.

In addition to this most recent recognition, Restek has been named one of PA’s best places to work several times and has also been named one of The Wall Street Journal’s Top Small Workplaces.

Restek Shows South Hills Students an ESOP in Action

Photo of South Hills School of Business & Technology students and faculty visiting Restek.

Students and faculty from South Hills School of Business & Technology pose for a group shot in front of the Restek Wizard during a field trip to the company on July 24.

On July 24, Mike Shuey, an international customer service supervisor at Restek, hosted about 30 students from South Hills School of Business & Technology to help educate them on employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) by showing them one in action at Restek.

Shuey kicked off the day with a tour of the state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and testing labs. He then introduced Kevin McPhillips, executive director at Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership, a statewide nonprofit that educates business owners and employees about the benefits of ESOP—of which Restek is a founding member.

McPhillips described a “silver tsunami” approaching the economy as many baby-boomer business owners retire and make decisions about what to do with their businesses. McPhillips explained the benefits of setting up an employee ownership plan as part of that succession. “Restek is a poster child for turning your company into an ESOP and how great for business that can be,” he said.

South Hills students Katey Hall and Jessi Hall, who are sisters-in-law, particularly enjoyed the ESOP presentation. “We want to start a social media firm in the area and we think creating an ESOP would be a nice thing for our future employees,” Katey said.

Following a lively question and answer session, senior R&D manager Chris English took the students on a tour of the applications laboratory where Restek chemists develop solutions to tough analytical problems. Next, Scott Grossman, a content development specialist, gave a presentation titled “Restek in the Wild: Examples of Our Products in Use,” about the involvement of the company’s products in testing water quality following a chemical spill in the Elk River near Charleston, WV.

Michael Gates, program coordinator for business administration at South Hills, said it was the fourth time he brought his students to Restek since Shuey first invited them in 2003. “I enjoy bringing students to Restek because they are introduced to a little bit of everything—from manufacturing, to customer service, to marketing. This company does it all,” he said.

Restek Employees Go the Extra Mile—Literally

As Jimmy Johnson said, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” That “little extra” is what Restek’s Wellness team is recognizing in their new Extraordinary Feats spotlight.

Mike Wittrig (R&D Manager) and Gary Stidsen (Business Manager) are the first to be recognized. Mike just checked off one of his bucket list items by bicycling across the state of Pennsylvania in one day—a ride of 213.87 miles and approximately 10,000 feet of climbing! Gary completed a virtual bike ride across the U.S. from Portland, OR, to Portland, ME, aided by the state-of-the-art cycling room in Restek’s brand-new fitness center. Thank you, Mike and Gary, for inspiring us to “Live well. Work well.”

The Extraordinary Feats spotlight is just one of many wellness incentives and events organized for employee-owners by Restek, a leader in Centre County employee wellness programs.

Kari Leah, Restek wellness coach and Extraordinary Feats coordinator said, “People inspire me on a daily basis and I hope that, by sharing Mike and Gary’s feats, others will be inspired as well. I think it is important to celebrate other’s achievements.”

The wellness team will be on the lookout for other employees to recognize, but fellow employees can also make recommendations for the Extraordinary Feats spotlight. The team hopes to feature someone in this spotlight several times per year.

Restek Wellness started in the late 1980s with a universal weight machine and a punching bag in an empty corner of their manufacturing building. Restek Wellness now boasts a team of fulltime wellness coaches, a brand-new 17,000-square-foot fitness center and gymnasium, a paved walking path, a sand volleyball court, and numerous exercise classes.

Restek’s founder, Paul Silvis, had a vision that happy, healthy employees would be more productive and successful, making the company more successful, too. Restek continues to live the success Paul envisioned, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Restek Wellness team and their programs.

To learn more about Restek Corporation, visit www.restek.com

Restek Helps Make Fourth of July Fun for the Family

Restek employee-owners serve cake at the Central PA 4thFest

Each year, dozens of employees volunteer to serve more than 1,440 pieces of American Flag cake

It starts with 240 pounds of cake mix and 145 pounds of icing—those are the first ingredients to a successful Fourth of July.

Since 2001, employees at Restek have served up an American flag cake, 12-feet long and nearly six-feet wide, to attendees of Central PA 4thFest—a daylong, family-oriented, patriotic birthday party held July 4 on the campus of The Pennsylvania State University.

Each year, the GIANT store on North Atherton Street donates the cake to the festival after spending eight hours baking and decorating it. It takes about eight Restek volunteers to load the cake and deliver it to the event where it is cut into more than 1,440 slices and served by 20 more Restek volunteers.

“It’s a family affair—many Restek employees bring their families to help,” Bradley Pike, Digital Marketing Manager at Restek, said.

Pike, along with Pam Decker, Senior Graphic Designer at Restek, have been part of the volunteer effort from Restek for more than a decade and both serve on the festival’s board of directors and as committee chairs.

“When Restek first started getting involved, it was apparent the employees really enjoyed it so we wanted to do more,” Decker said. “Now, we have dozens of volunteers helping each year.”

Karl Libhart, executive director of 4thFest, said organizations like Restek play a vital role in putting on the event, which the Travel Channel called “one of the best fireworks displays in the world.”

“Fourth Fest is 100 percent run by volunteers and Restek has been a huge help in ensuring the event is a success every year,” he said.

This year’s event will welcome the return of roller derby in the parking lot, chainsaw carvers, a BMX stunt show, and music from up-and-coming country artist Adley Stump.

Fourth Fest leadership doesn’t stop with Pike and Decker; several fellow Restek employees hold leadership roles in the organization, too. Wendy Krall, Brian Yangula, Titus Morehead, and AJ Saclyn all help to coordinate key parts of the event from the flag cake to the kids’ crafts to the merchandising.

“It’s great to have fresh people bring in fresh ideas each year,” Pike said. “We have a leadership tenet here, so stepping up is part of Restek’s DNA.”

Preparations for next year will begin almost as soon as the event ends.

Pike said one of the most rewarding experiences of putting on the event was the additional level of preparation when country music star Craig Morgan performed in 2015.

“It was a whole other level of preparation that year,” he said. “But, I remember watching the concert with several other 4thFest volunteers and thinking—wow, the community did this.”

To learn more about Restek Corporation, visit www.restek.com

Restek Graduates its 23rd Leadership Centre County Enrollee

Becky Wittrig, Restek’s Director of Global Sales,
and recent LCC graduate

Congratulations to Becky Wittrig, Restek’s Director of Global Sales, who recently graduated with the 25th anniversary class of Leadership Centre County (LCC). Becky is Restek’s 23rd employee to graduate from the program.

LCC is a community leadership development program that has been active in Centre County since 1992, but is one of more than 1,000 similar programs across the country. With the graduation of this year’s class, LCC has a total of 877 alumni donating more than 98,000 hours of their time per year at a value exceeding $2.3 million.

Restek LCC graduates hold leadership or key volunteer positions in a variety of nonprofit organizations in the local community and beyond, in addition to their full-time jobs. This aligns with Restek’s True North philosophy that began with Restek’s founder and servant leader, Paul Silvis—to support the local communities in which we operate and make our community a better place to raise our children.

Restek is one of only six sponsors to receive the Gold Eagle Award—LCC’s highest level of recognition for sponsors

Restek has been a sponsor of LCC since the start. Our commitment to the program has been recognized by LCC with the Gold Eagle Award—their highest level of recognition for sponsors. Restek is one of only six sponsors to receive the award.

Mike Wittrig, R&D manager, will represent Restek for the 2018 LCC class.

For more information on LCC go to www.leadershipcentrecounty.org

www.restek.com

Restek’s Commitment to the Community and the Environment Includes Orange Vests and Work Gloves

On an unseasonably chilly day in May, a team of eight Restek employees left together to do something the company has been doing twice a year since 2009—highway cleanup duty.

Restek employee-owners are all smiles after cleaning up our Adopt A Highway, two-mile section of Route 144.

For eight years, Restek employees have maintained a two-mile section of Route 144 running from Axemann to the Bellefonte Borough line as part of the PA Adopt A Highway program. Restek employees say it is a particularly important stretch of road because Logan Branch Creek—a Class A wild trout stream—runs along it.

“Keeping the area clean of litter helps keep the stream clean and productive, and we have a good time while we are doing it. Employees get to know each other a little better, and when we are done, we have lunch together,” Jim Richards, the cleanup crew organizer and calibration coordinator at Restek, said.

Seven employees joined Richards in the May cleanup, including his youngest son, Jacob Richards, who was recently hired at Restek. The other employee-volunteers were Mike Goss, Christina Hill, Jerry Johnston, Kendra Jozefick, Jessica Resides, and Brian Yangula.

As part of the program, employees can participate during the workday each spring and fall in support of the company’s environmental efforts and community service.

And it appears to be helping—Richards said the cleanup was lighter than most years.

“I would like to thank the many volunteers, past and present, that we have here at Restek that take the time to pick up someone else’s trash twice a year,” he said. “It doesn’t come with any kind of recognition or compensation, but it has its reward in serving the community.”

To learn more about Restek Corporation, visit www.restek.com