Great Places to Work

With the economy in recession, the job market can be a scary place, but that doesn’t mean your dream job doesn’t exist. What follows is a list of companies that have kept their footing, that have kept employees motivated with perks galore, or that have kept growing in industries that are projected to keep growing. If you’re ready to make a move, read on.

From left: Monte Punjabi , Brian Browkowski and Frank Holland of in Middletown rev their search engines. From left: Monte Punjabi , Brian Browkowski and Frank Holland of in Middletown rev their search engines. Photograph by Michael SahadiThinking For The Future

While many big companies have been blown away by the economic storm, a few employers have prospered through technical innovation, which has allowed them to offer fantastic benefits to employees. If you’re tech-savvy, interested in information technology or curious about the future, these jobs are perfect for you.

Check out’s new facility, just across the parking lot from its old one. The up-and-coming search engine and social networking site so overflowed with innovative new employees, it had to build a bigger office. Rapid growth earned eZanga a spot on Inc.’s list of fastest growing companies in 2008, putting it at No. 4 in the Philadelphia area.

Not only may hire you, it might feed you, too. “We’re in Middletown so there’s not a lot of restaurants around here,” says co-founder and CFO Beth Kahn, who started the company from home with her husband, Rich, in 2003. “So what we do is go to the store and I pick up things like soda, Twinkies and Hostess cupcakes. I usually get bagels for breakfast, and there are always snacks.”

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Of course, there are traditional benefits, too. The company offers medical, dental, vision and supplemental insurance. There’s no limit on how much salespeople can earn. And the office is full of practical jokers. Workers may find their bikes have been festooned with streamers and flags or that their cubicles have been gift wrapped on their birthday. Best of all, commuters don’t fight Wilmington or Philadelphia traffic.

“Come south,” Kahn says. “Don’t go where you have to deal with traffic. It’s nice and quiet, and you don’t even have to worry about parking.”

Like eZanga, doesn’t stop. The web hosting company, located in Newark, netted $19.7 million in revenue and experienced 267.7 percent growth in 2008—and it’s not slowing down. The company hosts more than 65,000 websites. To keep up with demand, it plans to add 75 new jobs over the next three years as part of expansion assisted by the state.

“There’s always something new going on here,” says marketing manager Jean Ruiter. “There’s always something new to learn. It forces you to constantly educate yourself and make sure that you’re up and forward on technology and what’s going on. It also makes sure that you have a better handle of what’s going on in the world.”

Though the business may be changing constantly, HostMySite employees hope the perks don’t change. Workers receive medical insurance, dental insurance and 401(k) options. The kitchen fridge is always stocked, and employees receive discounts on gym memberships. With so many happy employees, it’s no wonder the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce named CEO Lou Honick the 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year.

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Zieta Technology

Zieta Technology says it is “committed to providing employees with more than a salary. “The Wilmington-based IT services and products company strives to “create an environment that builds careers and enriches lives.” For company president and cofounder Shivaji Singh, the philosophy is simply smart business.

“If you want to retain and get the top talents of the industry, salary alone is not going to be efficient,” he says. Zieta offers an independent work environment, 401(k) plans and full medical insurance, including dental and vision. Top-of-the-line life insurance and disabilities coverage is in the works. Employees work on projects for companies such as IBM, DuPont, and Rohm and Haas.

“Our benefits are far superior and comparable to some of the best in the industry,” says Singh. “And, we provide employees with independence, which is most important to retain those talents.”

Independent, happy employees gained the company $5.1 million in revenue and drove 445 percent growth in 2008. Zieta has been known to deliver flowers to employees on birthdays and holidays as well. It’s no wonder.

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FiOS is great for more than television picture quality and Internet access speed. It means growth, which is good for workers. Odesa Stapleton asks why, in this day and age, a person wouldn’t want to work for a company that is so tech savvy.

The communications enterprise has room for new employees—and not all jobs require a college degree. The company is more than ready to help those who want to earn a degree through a generous tuition reimbursement plan. “Verizon has a commitment to diversity and social responsibility, and we have super customer service. It’s reasons like these why I love working here,” says Stapleton, director of talent management.

While other businesses are cutting benefits, Verizon’s 401(k) is holding strong, as is coverage for health, dental and vision. Other perks include flexible scheduling, adoption assistance and training. Verizon offers opportunities in marketing, engineering, information technology, sales and other areas. It also offers internships and co-ops for students. Beyond graduation, they’ll find a variety of entry-level jobs.


Accenture’s reach spans 100 countries, and it employs more than 184,000 people, so it remains proactive about training and strengthening the competencies of its employees, especially as a way of navigating the economic downturn. The global management, technology services and outsourcing company has been recognized for its support base for women, making the 2008 list of the 100 best companies for working moms in Working Mother Magazine. Accenture was included in large part due to its flexible scheduling, which offers three-day weekends in exchange for longer work hours on weekdays. Accenture programs support top senior female executives, allow new moms to add months to their 16-week maternity leave, and provide job stability for women who need to take time off. It is possible to take a leave of up to two years. Everyone benefits from customized insurance coverage, employee stock purchase programs, transportation incentives and more.

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The future—and present—is quite bright for Brightfields employees, including (clockwise from left) Jane Kirby, Jason Wardrup,  John Stevens and Amanda Herr (from left). Photograph by Michael SahadiGreen Jobs

Now more than ever, people are seeing green. While many contribute to saving the environment in their spare time, others make it their careers. The following companies make it easy to feel good about your work.

Brightfields, Inc.

Brightfields is all about turning brown into green. The company even constructed its headquarters on a brownfield in Wilmington as a perfect example of the land recycling it provides. The environmental consulting and professional services firm performs environmental remediation and management, including site assessments and redevelopment. In 2008 owners Marian Young and Mark Lannan won the Delaware Small Business Persons of the Year Award sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the company was recognized for its employment and sales growth, innovative services and staying power. It recently opened a location in Baltimore.

Small but mighty Brightfields offers its staff of 35 a competitive salary and benefits package, plus plenty of fun, including happy hours, holiday parties, picnics, and barbecues. Employee dedication does not go unrecognized—Brightfields celebrates staff anniversaries. It plans to install solar panels in its building, and it offers plenty of opportunities for good Samaritans. Last year it became the first commercial enterprise to conduct a cleanup under Wilmington’s Adopt-A-Block program.

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Guardian Environmental Services Inc.

Guardian also provides opportunities for those interested in environmental re-mediation, infrastructure construction and facility-support services. The 20-year-old company, owned by a service-disabled veteran, helps Mother Nature rid herself of hazardous waste spills. Guardian offers positions in accounting, response management and other areas, but if you’re the hands-on type, join as a clean-up technician and take care of the dirty work. Skilled laborers will find opportunities in waste management, site restoration, water and sewer line installation, road maintenance, drywall—even painting.

In addition to a diverse, high-energy work environment, Guardian offers a competitive benefits package. “I think we are offering benefits that a lot of other companies don’t offer, or not to the degree that we do,” says controller Sherry Maule. Benefits include 100 percent paid dental and health coverage.

Working with government agencies, along with commercial and industrial clients, Guardian stresses safety, offering thorough training to the level-headed, hard-working personnel the company seeks.

Tetra Tech

Employees of this engineering firm are changing the world one project at a time, so they are eager to work with others who bring different perspectives and skills to projects. Resource management and infrastructure services are Tetra Tech’s purpose. Teamwork and collaboration are its watchwords.

About 35 people make up Tetra Tech in Delaware. Jobs span the range, from entry-level positions to senior engineers and financial analysts. Employees are given the chance to become licensed professionals while working. In-house classes are available, as is time off for exams. Other benefits include outstanding health and life insurance, credit union membership and flexible work arrangements. Delaware director John Missel says that, no matter the job, you’ll be working for a company that is in for the long haul. Its No. 1 customer? The U.S. government. About $34 billion of the stimulus package will fund the type of work that Tetra Tech does.

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When they’re not working, lifesavers from Beebe Medical Center in Lewes get to enjoy the beach life. The hospital’s staff includes Barbara Uba, Carol O’Driscoll, Christopher Willey, Andrea Bowden-Ross and Steve Horn. Photograph by Michael SahadiHealth and Wellness

In general, companies that make health and wellness their business have weathered the recession well. That’s good news, especially for those who are considering work in the healthcare industry.

YMCA Delaware

With seven locations across the state, YMCA Delaware employs 192 full-timers, 1,520 part-timers and about 600 seasonal employees. The YMCA has a longtime commitment to family and health, and it strives to keep professional development in mind through the Association of Y Professionals. The YMCA is also committed to diversity. Its African American Leadership Forum offers training, mentoring, support and recruitment programs for African American staff.

“Our workforce is as diverse as our members,” says Gordon Hesse, director of public relations. “We offer jobs to potential employees with a wide range of skill sets.” Whether you’re interested in a management position, maintenance or counseling, the emphasis is teamwork and strengthening communities. And all employees enjoy a free full membership that entitles them to all programs, as well as exercise facilities.

Beebe Medical Center

Beebe’s location in Lewes allows employees to spend their off time enjoying the beach life. If you choose to work on the weekends, however, you will be rewarded. A shift differential fills employee pockets with an extra 9 percent salary for weekend work and 14 percent for night shifts. While taking care of others, employees are able to take care of themselves. Beebe’s goal of improving health and well-being is not limited to patients. Employees receive health insurance, vision, dental and prescription discounts. Paid time off, holidays and sick days are among other benefits. Beebe also encourages employees to further their education by offering tuition reimbursement of up to $3,500 a year. Opportunities exist in nursing, other health care areas, laboratory work, facilities operations, administration and more.

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Forget the stereotype and stigma of “networking marketing” (Longaberger, Pampered Chef, Amway, etc.) Arbonne takes the practice to new heights. Work for yourself by selling its high-end health and beauty products to everyone you can while recruiting new Arbonne consultants, then be rewarded handsomely.

Arbonne encourages employees to succeed by dangling incentives such as a white Mercedes Benz SUV, a free trip to Hawaii and Tiffany’s jewelry.

“The more I help others, the more successful I am,” says national vice president Angie Cella of Wilmington. “There’s a lot of support on our team. You’re in Arbonne for yourself, but not by yourself.”

Income potential is unlimited. (The average national vice president makes an average of $22,000 per month.) Consultants choose their own schedules and work environment, allowing for plenty of time at home. Finding a place to stock inventory isn’t necessary. You place the orders. The company ships directly from the warehouse to you for delivery to the customer. Besides solid paychecks and unique bonuses, consultants receive 35 percent off all Arbonne products.

“People want a flexible job and they want more time with their family. With Arbonne, they can have that,” Cella says. “I’m home right now with my three kids, who are all four years old and under, and I’m making a great income. This is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Christiana Care Health System

With its consistently competitive benefits package, the constantly evolving Christiana Care continues to prove why it is a mainstay on the Best Places to Work list. In the past two years the state’s largest private employer added more incentives for employees, including onsite convenience services for multitasking staffers.

“A lot of the things that we offer you might find at other larger companies, but if you pull it all together, I think the number of options we have for employees is comprehensive,” says Audrey Van Luven, vice president for human resources.

Christiana Care understands how precious free time is, so it provides services that allow employees to get their dry-cleaning done or car serviced while at work. Plus, staff can trade unused sick days for vacation time. The company continues to promote overall health and wellness among its employees. For weight-watching staffers, the cafeteria lists caloric content on its menu. There is a fitness center and a walking trail on site. There are free smoking cessation classes and a free flu shot campaign. Christiana Care even has facilities for hair styling and massage.

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From six small rooms in Columbus, Georgia, has grown a national life and health insurance company with locations in all 50 states. The Delaware offices, located across the state, are home base for about 265 employees. The company’s founders have vowed there would never be a layoff, and so far, there hasn’t been. Through its university relations team, Aflac makes college recruiting a priority. “The program includes an internship and co-op program designed to identify talent for future job placements,” says media relations manager Mechell Clark.

Most entry-level workers start at $50,000 a year or more, with a signing bonus often worth about $5,000. No matter the job level, however, employees are showered with bonuses and perks, including diversity day celebrations and a weeklong employee appreciation each May. Employees’ insurance policies, of course, are among the best available.

In July, Black Enterprise magazine named Aflac one of its Top 40 Best Companies for Diversity for the fifth straight year. In June, Computerworld magazine ranked Aflac 29 on its list of the 100 Best Places to Work in IT.

Bayhealth Medical Center

With hospitals in Milford and Dover, Bayhealth is conveniently located for many downstate residents. Growing Milford Memorial and Kent General offer employees a daycare center, as well as excellent health benefits through Blue Cross Blue Shield, plus optional pet insurance and a pension plan. Opportunities exist in nursing, skilled trades, clerical support, management, IT and other areas, both at the hospitals and at affiliated locations.

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The Annuals

The past few years have found companies of all sizes on a roller coaster, but there are a handful of workplaces that are forever gold. The following companies have made this list many times in the past. This year, they’re still hiring, still earning, and still treating employees like family.

Barclays Bank Delaware

On your mark, get set, grow. In a time when new jobs are few and far between, Barclays stands out boldly. The credit card distributor, headquartered in Wilmington, recently opened a new location in Newark, bringing new jobs to the state. The new customer contact center offers a variety of career opportunities, from customer care specialists to human resources personnel. “Colleagues are excited to work for a company that is in growth mode,” says managing director of corporate communications Kevin Sullivan. “We’ve more than doubled our business since 2007.”

The company’s two Wilmington locations employ about 1,400 people. Barclays hopes to raise the number of employees in the state to 1,900 over the next five years. Potential employees will appreciate a competitive benefits package that includes health insurance, a 401(k), a flexible spending account, tuition reimbursement, a vacation bonus program and more. If you know how to forecast and analyze revenue, build information networks or deal with customers, there could be a place for you.

W.L. Gore and Associates

If you think reward for personal initiative is a thing of the past, Gore proves otherwise. Being part of the Gore team means working without job titles, which, in theory, means no bosses or managers. The global manufacturing company’s much-vaunted “lattice” structure means there is no hierarchy, simply a level field where all employees are considered “associates” who become leaders only by gaining the respect of their peers. The system proves successful in promoting personal initiative and teamwork.

Work hard and you can play hard. Gore plants offer campus-like settings where employees have access to two on-site fitness centers, soccer fields, basketball and volleyball courts, a nature area and a recreational pavilion. And if this isn’t enough to get job seekers interested, the 30 percent discount at Gore Outdoor, a retail shop in Newark, may do the trick.

What began in the basement of a Newark home in 1958 has expanded into a global company with three plant locations in Delaware and others in Cecil County, Maryland. Gore employs 220 people in state, and an additional 1,195 Delaware residents in surrounding locations. Chemists, textile experts, researchers, engineers, sales associates, warehouse personnel and others will all find opportunities.

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 Bet your bottom dollar, the folks at Dover Downs enjoy their jobs. Just ask casino employees Kim Hanby, Joann Palumbo, Mike Dohrn and Laura Steuer (from left). Photograph by Michael Sahadi

Dover Downs Inc.

At Dover Downs there is no doubt employees are appreciated. Whether they work for the racing side of the organization, the casino, or the hotel and conference center, workers are invited each year to attend events like the company picnic at a water park and a holiday carnival, where they get the upper hand on management by sinking them in a dunk tank. There are also theme-based appreciation days three times a year, when the management waits on the employees.

The employee-of-the-month doesn’t earn the typical photo on the wall. Instead, a prize patrol blazes through the complex, siren screaming, to the employee’s work area, where he or she is formally presented with cash, days off, special parking spaces and certificates, all in front of fellow employees and, often, guests.

Besides the sense of employee appreciation, staffers enjoy a health package, life insurance, education assistance, a 401(k) and pension plan, and two to four weeks of vacation a year. Even part-timers qualify for some benefits. The range of job opportunities is broad, from restaurant greeters to sales and marketing to credit representatives.

 A Day At The Beach

Who hasn’t missed the days of working summer at the beach or fantasized about making a move? With a growing need for health care, education and a range of other services, great jobs exist—some unique.

Ask Corey Groll. As program director for the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand, he books and schedules the acts, then gets the pleasure of introducing performers almost every night of the summer, and then some.

Groll works alongside a sound engineer, as well as City of Rehoboth Beach public works employees. Though they enjoy all the benefits of municipal employment, they also enjoy all the pleasures of the beach. “I love the open air,” says Groll. “The open-air environment is the best part about working here.”

And he has the best work space in town. “It’s right in the center of Rehoboth as close as you can get to the beach. It’s always outdoors. It’s a good atmosphere. It’s definitely good food. It’s always good to interact with people and enjoy music every single night.”

Local businesses offer diverse employment opportunities. Take the Body Shop and Fitness Center. “It’s very, very laid back,” says owner Adam David Howard. “In the summertime it gets a little hectic, but it’s almost like the bar Cheers, where everyone knows each other.”

Body Shop employs five to seven people year round, more during summer. One great reason to work there: ranked fitness training among the 10 hottest careers of 2009.

On Rehoboth Avenue, at Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats, beer isn’t the only thing that’s bubbly. With a funky work culture that centers on being professionally “off-center,” Dogfish Head offers a range of jobs for anyone with a passion for good food and brew. On the other side, the Dogfish Head brewery, in Milton, offers full- and part-time positions in sales and production.

In a quirky work environment where individuality is encouraged, the term “coworker” is preferred over “employee,” in order to promote togetherness. “It’s a fun culture, but we get a lot done,” says human resources director Cindy Houston. “We try to laugh every day.”

As the right beer complements a meal, Dogfish Head’s competitive benefits package complements employees’ lifestyles. The family-owned company offers health, dental and life insurance to full-time employees. It hosts a variety of fun events. It even offers an on-site bocce area. Staff gets discounts on merchandise and meals at the pub. Birthdays are free hooky days, there’s an open bar for employees every Friday, and everyone gets a case of beer on payday. Cheers.

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