All the outdoor access in the world doesn't mean much if your job keeps you chained to a desk with no time to enjoy it. So to find the best places to work in the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, we started by creating five company categories that reflect Outside's values and focus: Gear, Adventure & Travel, Wellness, Culture, and Advertising. We then conducted a rigorous vetting process in partnership with the Best Companies Group and asked employees to review factors like corporate culture, policies and perks, role satisfaction, work environment, and overall employee engagement. The Best Places to Work list represents the cream of the crop—companies that empower their employees to live bigger, better lives.
The Best Adventure and Travel Jobs of 2015
Coordinating trips and tours for other people doesn’t always translate to an adventurous life for the person doing the planning, but these companies go above and beyond to ensure their workers have every opportunity to unplug, ditch the desk, and enjoy themselves.
That could mean subsidizing trips to national parks, instituting snow days when there’s fresh powder on the mountain, offering staff day trips, or simply locating the office in a place with easy access to awesome activities. If you want a job that gets you outdoors, these are the companies for you.
Location: San Francisco, California
Number of Employees: 67
With views from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge and a sprawling headquarters set next to San Francisco hot spot Pier 39, Zozi is an attractive place to spend 40 hours a week. The company is an online-booking software company for tour, activity, and event providers in 90 countries.
But CEO and founder TJ Sassani’s “no politics” policy is what separates this company from the rest. “We don’t allow any posturing or positioning by people trying to move up in the ranks,” says Sassani, who founded Zozi in 2010 and counts Sir Richard Branson among his investors. “If we keep that culture intact, people don’t want to maneuver around others. They just want to do a good job and support their coworkers.”
Staffers also like the lunchtime patio yoga, the company running club, the $400 per quarter in “Zozi credits” to book travel or buy discounted gear from the likes of The North Face and GoPro, and the $1,000 annual professional development budget. Zozi also pays for its employees’ cellphones and gym memberships, hosts in-house educational events such as photography workshops, and arranges free chair massages every other week.
2. AmeriCan Adventures
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Number of Employees: 27
Already boasting one of the best benefits packages in the travel business, AmeriCan Adventures plans to introduce another employee perk this year: Visit any national park in the United States and get $500 and five extra paid days off. “All they need to do is come back with a receipt from the park,” says Matt Berna, general manager at AmeriCan.
AmeriCan is a continental outfitter founded in 1988 that offers trips ranging from seven days in the Southwest to a three-week cross-country journey in search of Americana. The list of staff sweeteners also includes a familiarization trip covered by the company when you start (think tracking wolves in Yellowstone or camping in Alaska); access to the “free table,” where guides dump all their extra supplies after a trip; weekly table tennis and cornhole tournaments; and two extra days off in December, January, and February, when work slows down.
Employees also get $2,000 to spend on industry-related education, as well as five days of paid education leave for student-employees to prep for exams or work on big papers, for example. AmeriCan does its part to help nonemployees by donating extra sleeping bags to local missions in California’s Sonoma Valley or fundraising for multiple sclerosis research via the company cycling team.
3. Ecology Project International
Location: Missoula, Montana
Number of Employees: 28
A handful of days every spring, Scott Pankratz kayaks to work in Missoula. No joke. The co-founder and executive director of Ecology Project International (EPI) walks out of his house and over to Rattlesnake Creek, two miles outside town. He paddles the creek down to where it meets the Clark Fork River, which he then takes right to his office. Each day he does it, he earns 50 cents in commuter reimbursement from the company. That’s not all the river has to offer EPI employees.
“Right in front of our office, some people created a standing river wave a couple years ago, so you can head out on a lunch break and surf,” Pankratz says. The organization also owns ten inner tubes and uses them to hold half-mile float meetings on the river in summer. “We call them water coolers,” Pankratz says.
EPI, which was founded in 2000 to get local youths active in conservation by connecting them with area field scientists in five countries—Costa Rica, Mexico, Belize, Ecuador (the Galapagos), and the United States—also pays for employee familiarization trips to, say, study whales in the Sea of Cortez alongside the program’s participants. “Within two years of working here, most of our employees have traveled internationally,” Pankratz says.
4. Cloud 9 Living
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Number of Employees: 16
It’s a fact of life that there is nothing worse than being stuck at the office on a deep powder day. So Cloud 9 Living, a ten-year-old firm that sells “experience gifts” in 51 cities nationwide ranging from Ferrari racing to whitewater rafting, enacted a policy: If any resort within a two-hour drive from company headquarters in Boulder reports 15 inches of fresh snow, you can take the day off, no questions asked. “But only if you’re going to go play in the snow,” clarifies Bobby Augst, executive vice president at Cloud 9.
Similarly, whenever employees go above and beyond their job responsibility, they get a “hall pass,” a half-day off to use anytime they want, provided they give 24 hours’ notice.
The entire company takes one day each quarter to go zip-lining or snowmobiling or hot-air ballooning—what Augst calls “experience days”—to familiarize staff with the gifts they sell. Cloud 9 also supports its staff’s personal adventures and passions; last year, the firm bought World Series tickets for a diehard Kansas City Royals fan. “If a unique opportunity presents itself to an employee,” Augst says, “we’ll do what we can to enable that dream.”
5. Geographic Expeditions
Location: San Francisco, California
Number of Employees: 55
If you like to explore hard-to-reach places, why not work for a travel company that specializes in doing just that? Founded in 1982, GeoEx, which offers trips in more than 70 countries—but none in North America or Europe (its top two destinations currently are Cuba and Iran)—counts on its staff to suss out locations. “Our [research and development] consists of sending our people out into the field,” CEO JP Tennant says. “It’s probably not shocking at all that they love that.”
Additionally, employees take advantage of twice-weekly in-house yoga classes, a cocktail cart that periodically appears in the office, and a worksite in Presidio National Park on San Francisco Bay that affords remarkable out-the-door adventure opportunities. You’ll find staffers running the famous Lyon Street stairs, trail running along the ocean and then into Presidio, or kitesurfing within walking distance of their desks.
Location: Seattle, Washington
Number of Employees: 78
Before founding the company that would one day guide 10 million users around the world toward 2.7 million mini-treasure chests, Jeremy Irish, Elias Alvord, and Bryan Roth used to ski and snowboard together. They didn’t want their adventures to end as their business grew, so among many employee policies that embody Geocaching’s “we play where we work” mantra, this one stands out: Bring in your lift ticket from a day on the slopes, anywhere in the world, lessons included, and the company will reimburse you. “After hitting the mountain, you come back, your head is clear, you feel free,” Roth says, explaining how the company benefits.
Located in Seattle’s tech-heavy Fremont neighborhood on the 27-mile Burke-Gilman Trail, Geocaching drives revenue by selling premium memberships, geocaching-related gear, and GeoTours (like a guide to 50 caches around Mount Rainier to keep you busy all weekend). Employee benefits also include free catered lunches four days a week, a “keg squad” of five who keep the office kegerator flowing with fresh craft beer, meetings on Lake Union, and a requirement that each employee spend at least a few hours of work time each month geocaching.
7. Montana Wilderness Association
Location: Helena, Montana
Number of Employees: 23
If you like spending time on the trail and getting paid for it, you might like working for the Montana Wilderness Association, which was founded in 1958 and helps preserve the state’s wilderness heritage. Not only can you work as a trail steward or U.S. Forest Service liaison on, for example, the Continental Divide Trail, but the employee handbook mandates that every employee have access to personal “trail days.”
That means “you can call up your supervisor and say, ‘I need to spend one, two, three, or four days out there to really get to know this place,’” says Gabe Furshong, the nonprofit’s deputy executive director. No catch. Fully paid. “We work really hard to protect wild places,” Furshong explains, “but we expect our staff to cultivate personal connections to wild places, too.” They can do that while being based in the Helena headquarters or one of eight field offices.
There’s also an annual four-day staff backpacking trip each August and what Furshong calls “the best sabbatical policy I’ve ever seen in a nonprofit”: three months of fully paid leave after five years of employment.
8. Hawaii Forest & Trail
Location: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Number of Employees: 50
Rob Pacheco founded Hawaii Forest & Trail, which leads nature tours on Hawaii’s Big Island, in 1993. It took three years before he could hire a full-time employee, but it says something that the first person he hired—as well as the first full-time guide he hired—is still working for the company. The outfitter has since grown to employ 50 guides and entertain roughly 55,000 guests each year, many of whom take in the sunset from the 13,796-foot summit of Mauna Kea, the most popular tour among the ten Pacheco offers.
In addition to offering a learning stipend for staffers to build their knowledge, the company provides health insurance (rare in the Hawaiian tourism industry) and comps passes for various outdoor tours. At the end of each year, employees can tally one percent of their annual hours to use as paid leave on a volunteer project such as a trail-work day. And if you’re a guide, your on-the-clock duties include familiarizing yourself with routes and local flora and fauna (tours also include rare-bird watching and waterfall hikes). “The natural history of this place is remarkable,” Pacheco says. “From an evolutionary standpoint, it’s on par with the Galapagos.”
9. G Adventures
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Number of Employees: 15
“Our business model is rooted in happiness,” says Dave Holmes, “mayor” (aka the man who runs the show) of Toronto-based travel outfitter G Adventures, which offers small-group trips in more than 100 countries. Those roots came from Bhutan, where company founder Bruce Poon Tip visited in 1997. Poon Tip was amazed by the way locals viewed their success—not according to gross domestic product, but gross national happiness. He aimed to cultivate a similar culture in his business.
As such, status is downplayed at G, where CEO stands for “chief experience officer,” a fancy term for tour guide. Holmes describes G, which was founded in 1990 and now operates worldwide, as a “customer-obsessed company.” But it’s also a fun place to earn a paycheck. Staff at the Toronto headquarters enjoy a rooftop “partio” with hammocks and Wi-Fi to work outside; free ice cream; “Beer’O’Clock” every Friday at 4 p.m., when fridges are filled with beer, wine, and cider; transit and gym reimbursement; and an annual $2,000 allowance to put toward a trip offered by the company, plus another $750 for airfare. The crowning perk is always an invitation to G Stock, a weeklong internal team-building conference that culminates with three days at Niagara Falls and an outrageous costume party.
10. Avid4 Adventure
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Number of Employees: 15
A heavy seasonal workload isn’t for everyone, but if you can handle the busy times, Avid4 Adventure affords unusual freedom the rest of the year. The Boulder-based outdoor summer camp operator offers its year-round employees unlimited time off as long as they get their work done during the summer high season.
“We kind of stole that from the tech sector,” chief operating officer Kyle Littman says. “We believe in quality of work rather than creating a nine-to-five schedule for everyone.” The company, which was founded in 2004, also offers camps in the San Francisco Bay Area and programs at local schools during the rest of the year, ranging from mobile climbing walls to mountain-bike skills courses. Altogether, Littman estimates Avid4 serves nearly 20,000 kids each year.
Other employee perks include in-house bike mechanics; a gear warehouse full of tents, paddleboards, and the like for staff; and annual “anniversary gifts” for employees ranging from $600 to round-trip airfare and a stipend to spend a month anywhere in the world, plus an additional $1,000 to put toward an adventure of your choosing (that’s only if you’ve worked there ten years).
The Best Gear Jobs of 2015
Gear companies are never too far from the cutting edge—and not only with regard to the products they design and manufacture. Many are at the forefront of workplace innovations and employee perks.
Product testing gives workers an excuse to get out and have fun, and the nature of the work means creating items that serve and satisfy individual customers—which makes for a fulfilling job.
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Number of Employees: 43
Ergodyne is housed in a converted railway repair shop in St. Paul, a fitting place for a company that builds protective gear for workers in transportation, construction, and manufacturing. The now-modern headquarters inspires creativity with wall graphics of Einstein and Edison and a dedicated product-testing center. And it’s as much a bastion of fitness as it is tech, thanks to an in-house gym, standing desks, and an annual office-wide 5K race.
Frequent wellness challenges involving weight lifting, running, and stress reduction encourage the company’s engineers and designers to eat healthier and work out more—and then reward them with cash bonuses. Other office perks include: NFL kickoff parties, summer half-day Fridays, and Minnesota-themed happy hours, complete with Salted Nut Rolls and local beer.
“It’s a collaborative, creative environment, with music playing all day [via Spotify], people wearing workout clothes, and leadership with open doors,” says Lindsay Herda, associate marketing director at Ergodyne. “It’s a place where people want to get to work.”
Location: San Clemente, California
Number of Employees: 130
Stance launched in 2009 with one goal: to shake up the sock market with forward-thinking, artist-driven designs. That creative business strategy bled into the work environment. The company, which has been known to sell a “pair” of three socks (in case you lose one), rewards unorthodox thinking. Its team of ambassadors, who contribute design ideas and are called Punks and Poets, includes NBA players, pro surfers and skaters, filmmakers, and Rihanna.
“When we looked at the sock landscape, there wasn’t a clear leader,” says John Wilson, president and co-founder of Stance. “We chose the name Stance because by definition, it can be a point of a view, a posture, but it can also be a form of expression.”
The San Clemente headquarters constitute another form of expression, with retrofitted shipping containers that serve as offices and a Zio Ziegler mural above the basketball court. The office also features a skate bowl, table tennis, a golf simulator, and a full gym staffed with a personal trainer. Cold-brew Stumptown Coffee pours from a tap, and a chef whips up two meals a day for employees. The beach is ten minutes away.
“If you need to go surf at lunch because the waves are good or go ride your mountain bike, do that,” says Wilson. “Our culture is about freedom and accountability.”
3. United by Blue
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Number of Employees: 25
United by Blue launched five years ago as a T-shirt company with a philanthropic mission. Founder and “Chief Trash Collector” Brian Linton wanted to remove one pound of garbage from waterways and oceans for every shirt sold. And he wanted to do this not by writing checks to nonprofits but by organizing the cleanups himself. Five years later, the company, which has expanded beyond T-shirts into handcrafted apparel and items for the home and outdoors, has picked up more than 250,000 pounds of waste in 22 states. In fact, when customers buy United by Blue’s organic-cotton tote bags or bison-down socks, they can volunteer for a cleanup.
“The idea was to create a brand built for people living in an urban environment who enjoy the outdoors but also to have a direct tie to conservation and be a catalyst for change,” says Mike Cangi, co-founder and vice president of the company.
In 2013, United by Blue opened a flagship store (complete with a coffeehouse with fancy donuts) in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood, with office headquarters upstairs. Today there are three UBB stores, and its products are sold in more than 400 retail locations. It also employs 25 people, nearly all of whom are younger than 30. The whole staff pitches in on cleanups. Their reward: themed potluck lunches, quarterly meetings held at campsites, and access to the shops’ DIY workshops to learn skills including kombucha brewing, bookbinding, or terrarium making.
Location: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Number of Employees: 65
Wool used to be thought of as itchy and uncomfortable. Then, cozy, plush merino came along and revolutionized the sock and base-layer industries. SmartWool, which started in Steamboat Springs in 1994, was an early leader in this space, selling soft merino socks to skiers. Today, the company offers a full line of merino apparel.
Working at SmartWool means playing like a ski bum while having a real job. The company buys season passes to the Steamboat Ski Area for all 65 employees, encourages bike commuting with cash bonuses, mandates a powder day whenever it snows more than six inches, and gives employees 40 hours of paid leave for community service. On summer Fridays, the office closes at 3 p.m. and the president leads a group road bike ride.
There’s plenty of friendly competition, be it a battle between departments, a Ping-Pong tournament, or a costumed race on staff ski day. Each June, SmartWool stages a monthlong Ironman race, and the winner is whoever logs the most swimming, running, and biking hours during the 30 days.
5. Eagle Creek
Location: Carlsbad, California
Number of Employees: 47
Live, work, and travel are the three pillars luggage-maker Eagle Creek was founded on. The mission applies both to its durable duffels and its 48 employees. Based ten minutes from the beach in Carlsbad, Eagle Creek encourages its staff to test products on weekend adventures, has an in-house meditation room, and offers employees funds for Kiva microloans to support small businesses around the world.
“Travel is more than just going from point A to point B,” says Roger Spatz, president of Eagle Creek. “We try to look at the whole experience and make sure we’re providing solutions for all types of trips.”
Employees get five paid days off for service projects, and the company holds a staff-wide local trail and beach cleanup twice annually. Other perks include an on-site gym and showers and a monthly pie day. This year, the company focused on personal development to celebrate its 40th anniversary, offering leadership training and hiring speakers to coach teams on efficiency. “It’s a casual environment, but we hold each other accountable,” says Spatz, who often wears a T-shirt and shorts to the office.
Location: Ferndale, Washington
Number of Employees: 102
At Ferndale, Washington–based Superfeet, which makes over-the-counter custom insoles for your shoes, you’re not just an employee. You’re a partial owner of the company. In July, the brand announced a 100 percent employee stock-ownership plan, which means all 102 staffers now get a chunk of the business. “You work here and you get part of the company,” says Eric Hayes, vice president of marketing and product at Superfeet. “That changes the dynamic inside the building. People take responsibility because this is their company, too.”
Superfeet launched in 1977 as the brainchild of a podiatrist and an inventor who wanted to make orthotics affordable and accessible. Putting people—and their feet—first has been a company motto since day one. “It’s refreshing to sit in an executive meeting and have the question be, ‘How is this going to affect the people?’” says Hayes.
One percent of revenue goes to nonprofits, and employees get two days of paid leave for service projects. Comic troupes show up for Friday happy hours, and the office includes a video game room, volleyball court, and Ping-Pong table.
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Number of Employees: 56
Established in France in 1975 by caver and inventor Fernand Petzl and his sons, Petzl opened its first tiny U.S. outpost in Utah in 1999. The gear it built for exploring dark caverns (nylon ropes, ascenders, headlamps) also proved useful to climbers and mountaineers, and later for people in construction, search and rescue, and firefighting. The company grew, but its mission stayed the same.
Today, Petzl employs 56 people and is headquartered in a custom-built LEED-certified office in Salt Lake City, just 20 minutes from the slopes in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. It also has a bouldering area and a 55-foot-high climbing wall.
“The company culture at Petzl is aptly described by the saying ‘Type A people in Type B clothing,’” says Dave Hugar, marketing director at Petzl. “Casual dress allows employees to easily transition between their stand-up desks and activities such as on-site yoga or bouldering or whatever their dawn or dusk patrol mission might be.”
The staff gets discounted ski passes, a loaner gear closet, and ample paid time off (after five years, employees get 24 days off per year). The Fun Committee plans workday diversions, and most staffers can work from home one day per week to reduce commuting costs.
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Number of Employees: 75
Last January, after more than 20 years in business, apparel maker Horny Toad changed its name to Toad&Co. “We felt like the company had shifted and evolved,” says Sarah Matt, marketing director at Toad&Co. “We wanted to carry forward the heritage of Toad but attach it to something that tells a bigger story about the company we keep.”
The company got its start in 1991 making hand-knit hats out of a garage in Telluride. Since then, it moved to Chicago, then back West, finally settling in its current Santa Barbara location. The headquarters is housed in an old college library with ocean views and nearby hiking trails.
While the name and location has changed, the company culture hasn’t. The laid-back staff of 75 takes group camping trips, hosts grilled-cheese smackdowns, and preps rosemary-infused cocktails on Friday afternoons. Community service has also become an integral part of the company’s identity: Employees work with adults with disabilities, volunteer at soup kitchens, and rebuild bikes.
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Number of Employees: 92
Robotics developer Sphero is, in many ways, a toy company. Its Boulder headquarters are packed with Xbox stations, Frisbee golf, Nerf guns, and an electric car that staffers drive down the halls. An ice cream truck delivers free scoops.
But the work is serious. Born from a tech startup accelerator program in 2011, Sphero makes toys that consumers control with their smartphones. “Do you want to just have fun at work or do the greatest work in your life? Here you can do both,” says Rob Maigret, chief creative officer at Sphero. “The goal of our company is to put a robot in every single house. But instead of creating a utility robot that vacuums or does surveillance, we build robots based on entertainment and fun.”
All 92 employees—animators, coders, and designers—are encouraged to be bold and unorthodox. Employees get flexible work hours and win awards for creative thinking at weekly staff lunches. And it’s not just fun and games: An educational edition of the company’s signature Sphero ball teaches kids how to code, and the company runs coding seminars at local schools. “We’re trying to disrupt the toy industry,” says Maigret. “We can’t be afraid to break the rules, so we want to create an environment where that feels okay.”
Another nice touch: To celebrate the release of its latest product, BB-8, a Star Wars–edition robot with an interactive personality, Sphero rented a Boulder movie theater for the team to watch the upcoming Star Wars flick.
Location: Golden, Colorado
Number of Employees: 90
Family-owned since the 1970s, knife maker Spyderco has maintained a work environment that feels small and tight-knit. Founder Sal Glesser, who started the company selling knife sharpeners out of a converted bread truck, roams the halls, while his son, Eric, heads the R&D arm. The staff of 90 is close, thanks to regular staff-wide gatherings. “We’re not making toilet seats,” says Eric Glesser. “Our products are something everyone can take pride in.”
Now known for its ergonomically designed folding knives, Spyderco’s blades have become collector’s items and are loved by butchers, ranchers, and envelope openers alike.
From its location in Golden, in the foothills outside Denver, employees get out for midday trail runs and paddles on the whitewater park downtown. The company also covers gym memberships and regular fruit deliveries. “Through the years, we could have moved to a different location to save money,” says Glesser, “but we would have lost the culture of the place.”
The Best Advertising Jobs: 2015
Looking over our collection of best advertising companies, it’s clear that they get the correlation between creative inspiration and time spent outdoors. Each company encourages employees to get out—to the slopes, streams, trails, and wave breaks—and some go so far as to offer workers stipends for adventure trips and gear.
Another aspect these businesses have in common is the goal of fostering camaraderie—through on-site “play” areas, staff bike rides and runs, game nights, happy hours, and other fun group activities. For companies that foster ingenuity and build strong relationships among co-workers, look no further.
1. GroundFloor Media
Location: Denver, Colorado
Number of Employees: 15
Ramonna Robinson, president of GroundFloor Media in Denver, has spent a lot of time thinking about how to make her team of public relations specialists collaborate and gel. “The key is being intentional about it,” she says. “The office itself fosters some of that—everybody has a door, but nobody has a wall that goes to the ceiling, so all the offices are open.”
When employees aren’t in their individual offices, they’re clustered around a big communal table (conveniently next to the office kegerator) or on beanbags in the “play room.” On top of that, GroundFloor fosters teamwork with ski trips to the Rockies, hiking and paddleboarding clubs, and company-wide volunteer days.
GroundFloor, which was founded in 2001, offers strategic communications and crisis management services to companies big and small, but Robinson says the traditional business world sounds daunting to her now. “We kind of joke that we’re unemployable now,” Robinson says. “I don’t know if I can ever wear business clothes in the future or not run off to rock climb at lunch.”
2. Drake Cooper
Location: Boise, Idaho
Number of Employees: 39
The primary goal of Jamie Cooper, CEO of Boise-based ad firm Drake Cooper, is fostering a positive work culture. But culture isn’t just “lets have some fun at work” or “let’s make it pleasant,” Cooper says. “If people are interested in just these benefits, that’s not who we want. Drake Cooper is for the ambitious.”
The execs at Drake Cooper trust their creatives and directors to work long hours (when they have to). In return, the office is dog friendly, and people can collaborate around the beer fridge or take a meeting while biking through Boise’s nearby greenbelt. Another perk: Employees and management make the effort to ensure PTO is actually time off—if possible, email and calls are banned when an employee is out.
But the company, which was founded in 1978 and specializes in producing ads that build clients’ brands, is not the kind of place where anyone can show up whenever they want and drink beer during the day. It’s the kind of place, Cooper says, where hardworking ad people earn the right to show up a little late or have a beer after working extra hours to knock a client’s socks off. “We all agree to this handshake contract with each other that we’re going to work hard and play hard,” Cooper says.
3. Spawn Ideas
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Number of Employees: 41
“When I moved to Alaska 17 years ago, what I was impressed with here is that people care more about what you do for recreation than what you do for work,” says Karen King, CEO of Anchorage-based ad agency Spawn Ideas.
It’s not surprising, then, that King tries to make sure her team of creative directors, marketers, and social media managers can spend as much time outdoors as possible: Spawn-ers get $250 a year to cover outdoorsy expenditures like gear and race entrance fees; summer Fridays are short to take advantage of the long, long Alaska days; and company-wide outings involve trips to the local trampoline gymnasium. The office even comes equipped with sweeping views of the Cook Inlet.
Spawn, which has operated under various names since 1975, is a full-service agency with clients in everything from retail to health to tourism. But the firm’s dedication to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t just involve the outdoors: New parents are now encouraged to take their babies to work, and the sound of toddlers stomping through the office is becoming the norm. “When a baby is walking around the office on a crazy day, everybody loves it,” King says.
Location: Denver, Colorado
Number of Employees: 17
CauseLabs may be small—the Denver-based tech company has fewer than 20 employees—but its coders and execs are spread all around the globe. The challenge for the firm, which provides high-tech help in the form of apps and social media guidance to nonprofits and other do-gooders, is to maintain an esprit de corps for a staff that meets mostly via Skype. “After we’re done with a project, we can’t always go out for drinks,” says Sheryle Gillihan, director of partnerships.
Instead, the company, founded in 2003, works to build community with daily staff calls (called huddles) where everyone can not only discuss work but also play quirky games and ask off-the-wall questions to get to know each other better. “Sometimes we’ll say, ‘Today is a walking huddle: Everybody take your Skype mobile,’ and the team will work while getting in a nice walk,” Gillihan says. Also on the list are care packages for far-flung developers, reward boxes filled with things like gift certificates for good work, and a yearly all-hands-on-deck retreat in Colorado that includes an all-day hackathon and bagging at least one fourteener.
5. Young & Laramore
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Number of Employees: 43
Advertising firm Young & Laramore works out of a 1920s schoolhouse at the convergence of two bike paths right in downtown Indy. The agency, which was founded in 1982 and does print, digital, and TV ads for the likes of Stanley Steemer and Steak ’n Shake, gutted the inside of the shuttered elementary school, added some large pieces of artwork, and created an open floor plan. “There’s not a door in this entire space,” says creative director Bryan Judkins. The building is, according to the readers of Inc., “one of the world’s coolest offices.”
Another plus: enough shower and locker room space to accommodate even the smelliest of bicycle commuters. The halls of Young & Laramore are also so dog friendly that the creatives have taken to calling the shop “Tongue & Wagamore.” But the schoolhouse theme ends on Thursdays, when everyone meets for beer—provided by client Upland Brewing Co.—and showcases recent work.
6. Nemo Design
Location: Portland, Oregon
Number of Employees: 38
The principals of Nemo Design have street cred. They include OGs of snowboard photography, board graphic design, and the alternative zine scene, including Jeff Bartel, Trevor Graves, and Mark Lewman. As such, working at the Portland-based design agency—which has created ad campaigns for big names like Nike and Converse since its founding in 1999—includes perks like the “Nemo Nooner,” where once a week the firm rents out an indoor skate park for lunch, invites whoever they feel like, and blows off steam on the ramps and rails.
The company’s downtown Portland offices are just a few blocks from the Willamette River, and since the agency counts powerboat manufacturer MasterCraft as a client, evenings are often spent cruising on the company boat. “We want to feel like we’re on summer vacation,” says principal Mark Lewman. “We work really hard, but it should be for something fun and rewarding. It’s like the Mark Twain quote: ‘If it feels like play, it’s not really work.’”
7. The Trade Desk
Location: Ventura, California
Number of Employees: 217
“I think the millennial generation may be our greatest working generation,” says Jeff Green, CEO and founder of the Trade Desk. “But in order to motivate them, you have to give them a sense of meaning and purpose.”
The Southern California-based Trade Desk, which was founded in 2009, is pioneering a new model of online advertising by helping agencies buy and manage display and social media campaigns online. Trade Desk’s offices are a few blocks from world-class surf, and the CTO has a telescope in his office offering a prime view of conditions. The office also offers surfboard storage, balance boards to relieve stress, and even the occasional taco party. Green says the focus on the outdoors and the environment is key to how employees stay happy. “The engineer who could easily write code 12 hours a day will have a better life and better job satisfaction if I encourage him to go hiking,” he says.
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Number of Employees: 23
Thomas Dooley, founder and CEO of advertising agency TDA_Boulder, has a problem with titles. “Is an ‘account executive’ better than someone else? I have no idea. I screw it up all the time,” he says. Formal titles aren’t the kind of thing that matters in this Boulder ad shop, where Dooley is so sick of the hierarchy that desks are assigned at random—no cushy office for the executives!—and employees are encouraged to sit with whomever they’re working with that day.
The agency, founded in 1989, does everything from TV ads to logo redesign and packaging. In addition to the kind of perks one could expect from the number ten place to work on our list (indoor soccer teams, kegs of beer, summer and winter outdoor trips), TDA_Boulder is an S corporation, so profits are divvied up in the form of employee bonuses each year to the tune of 10 to 20 percent of base salary.
9. Pellucid Analytics
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Number of Employees: 20
“There’s a really strong orientation around performance and hard work here,” says Cate Colburn-Smith, vice president of marketing at Pellucid Analytics, as a burst of cheers cuts her off. “Sorry,” she laughs, “there’s a board-game lunch going on in the background.”
Pellucid’s work is intensive—the company helps financial firms make data visual–laden pitchbooks for all manner of deals—but bosses are doing everything they can to nurture an exciting office community. Every other week, the startup, founded in 2011, holds Board Game Friday where lunch devolves into competitive gaming, and there are constant table tennis tournaments, an indoor soccer team, powder days, and more. “It’s the first place I’ve worked where fun really happens in the workplace and it’s OK,” Colburn-Smith says. “But the fun and games is balanced by a really high caliber of employee.”
Location: American Fork, Utah
Number of Employees: 48
Fun is so critical to BrainStorm’s office culture, the Utah-based software education firm has a committee of staffers dedicated to it. “Everybody gets busy, and you forget to do the fun stuff,” says Kaylyn Laws, who does marketing for the firm. “So, randomly the Culture Club will be like, ‘Hey, we’re playing dodgeball right now. Get in this room.’” The fun includes bimonthly company-wide outings—previous excursions included bubble soccer and a local amusement park—and more casual affairs like lunches over a game of Rock Band.
But the firm, which was founded in 1995 and helps train people how to use software, also empowers its workers to give back. Each month, all 65 employees are given $50 to donate to anyone in need—a group of employees, for example, recently pooled their money to put together a care package for a client who had undergone surgery—and during the holidays, everybody gets an extra $100 to donate where they please. “People who have an opportunity to serve are actually happier,” Laws says. “That’s the philosophy we’re coming form.”
The Best Culture Jobs of 2015
Half of what makes a life of office work more enjoyable is where the office is located—two blocks from the ski lift, close to world-class singletrack, in a town with dozens of craft breweries.
The top companies on our Culture list understand this and have established themselves in some of the country’s most understated hubs of outdoor recreation while giving their workers plenty of incentives to stick around.
1. New Belgium Brewing
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Number of Employees: 640
Earning a spot on this list in seven of the past eight years, the Fort Collins–based brewers who bring us Fat Tire have mastered the art of on-the-job happiness. Free beer helps, but true work satisfaction stems from the fact that the company is 100 percent employee owned. “It’s the feeling here that you don’t work for a corporation. You work for each other,” says Jenny Briggs, human resources director at New Belgium. “When you care about those relationships, it creates a virtuous cycle.”
That cycle includes donating $792,095 to watershed conservation, sensible transportation, sustainable agriculture, and other eco-friendly projects and contributing 2,517 volunteer hours to nonprofits in 2014. But charity starts at home: The company built an off-site health care center for employees and their families, and workers get paid time off for contributions to nonprofits.
The brewery’s main grounds feel like a college campus, with outdoor volleyball courts, a cyclocross track, and a new gear shed where toys like stand-up paddleboards are checked out for the weekend. It’s no wonder New Belgium’s 640 workers include ultramarathoners, competitive surfers, and one dude, Jason Tomsic, who skateboarded across Iowa.
It pays to stick around: One year on the job earns an employee a new cruiser bike; five years earns a free trip to Belgium; and ten years wins a worker a four-week paid sabbatical. Sound good? New Belgium is now hiring for its new brewery on the site of a renovated stockyard in Asheville, North Carolina, opening in early 2016.
2. CCY Architects
Location: Basalt, Colorado
Number of Employees: 26
Over 30 years ago, Basalt-based CCY Architects designed Obermeyer Headquarters in Aspen, which at the time was the largest passively heated building in the country. Sustainability is still at the core of the firm, except today the staff designs in 3D and uses a cutting-edge energy-modeling program that calculates a project’s energy efficiency down to the amount and type of glass it uses.
“We are moving our products and practice toward net-zero architecture,” says Rich Carr, firm partner. With the ambitious goal to build structures that produce as much energy as they consume, it’s only natural that CCY employees need to blow off steam, which is easy to do in the Roaring Fork Valley.
“We’re in Basalt, which allows people to afford housing, raise a family, and be at the hub of all kinds of different activities,” says Carr, adding that he just got dropped on a lunchtime road ride. The firm’s annual employee wellness package can go toward anything from an Aspen Mountain ski pass to weekly yoga classes to kayaking lessons. CCY also offers an education fund for art classes or whatever employees need to keep their creativity thriving. “It’s a real self-motivating place,” says Carr. “We give employees the freedom and trust to make the work happen.”
3. Charles Cunniffe Architects
Location: Aspen, Colorado
Number of Employees: 17
This Aspen-based architectural firm makes bold statements with its buildings. Case in point: It’s currently designing the K2 Ranch, a 15,000-square-foot Colorado home that’s entirely sustainable, with an array of photovoltaic solar collectors and a full geothermal system.
“The K2 Ranch is a large house with a lot of bells and whistles, but it could be totally off the grid,” says founder Charles Cunniffe. “We have high ethical standards based on lifelong learning, education, innovation, and fun.”
Cunniffe extends that ethos into his own downtown office, where employees can use their free bus passes to get to work, then use the company car or bike to make site visits to their local clients, the majority of which are local. The office environment is fast-paced but fun, with an always-on espresso machine, an open-door policy, and flexible hours so employees don’t feel guilty for ducking out to watch a kid’s basketball game or attend a meeting for a nonprofit like River Bridge, an advocacy center for abused kids that Cunniffe co-founded. Powder days, however, are reserved for skiing.
“Our office is two blocks from the Aspen Mountain gondola,” says Cunniffe. “Our clients understand our work-play ethic, and we expect our people to ski on a powder day.”
4. C1S Group
Location: Dallas, Texas
Number of Employees: 22
The goal of this engineering and construction business is to take existing commercial buildings and make them better. “We want to retool them, make them environmentally friendly, and get rid of the outdated colors and carpets that mentally drag you down,” says CEO Julie Strong, who owns the company with her husband, Matt. At Frito-Lay headquarters in Plano, Texas, for example, C1S renovated the commercial kitchen, designed a solar thermal water-heating system, and completed a toilet renovation design, among other upgrades.
To keep their engineers and builders from burning out, the Strongs offer “collaboration stations” in the office, where employees can stand up for a quick face-to-face meeting. And after workers wrap a particularly brutal project, they’re rewarded with generous comp time. “If we say we want you to take 15 days off, it means you need that time off,” says Strong. There are also happy hours on the house, annual crawfish boils, a running club, and service projects like retooling an old building into a tech center for underserved kids in the Dallas area, and then volunteering to staff it.
“We get a charge out of what we do,” says Strong. “But life’s too short to work all the time. You have to have something left for the rest of you, your family, or whatever makes you happy.”
5. Brewers Association
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Number of Employees: 52
According to research from the Brewers Association, a new brewery opens every 14 hours in the U.S. and the craft-brew boom has created 100,000 new jobs in the past 25 years. The association represents 3,800 of those small and independent craft brewers nationwide and looks to foster collaboration among them, says CEO Bob Pease.
“One brewery doesn’t hesitate to call up another brewery across the street and say, ‘Hey, our filtration system broke down. Do you have a spare part?’” Pease says. “That is not seen in too many industries across the country.”
The association recently moved to a rehabbed office right off Pearl Street in downtown Boulder that features a soaring atrium entryway and a bar with three beers on tap, one of which is brewed by the association. Twice a year, the 52 employees split into six teams to brew up a new batch, which helps everyone on staff learn the language and process of brewing.
You might wonder exactly what kind of work goes on at the association. To give a sense, the association employs a Safety Ambassador, whose sole purpose is to educate craft brewers to improve brewery safety, and a Quality Ambassador, tasked with traveling the country to develop membership. “We look for people with the same values of our members: authentic, independent, entrepreneurial thinkers,” Pease says.
6. Renters Warehouse
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Number of Employees: 57
As “professional landlords for hire” the mission of Renters Warehouse is to make owning investment properties easy and worry-free for their clients. Its employees manage 6,000 properties in the Twin Cities and another 11,000 nationwide, providing assistance on everything from accounting services to full-service property management. Employees love the work, says CEO Kevin Ortner, because what they do exponentially improves their clients’ lives.
And that love shows: The company, founded in 2007, grew by 342 percent over the past three years, earned revenue of $13.4 million in 2014, and landed on Inc.’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing U.S. companies six times in the last six years. That makes for a promising career path for the predominantly first-career 20-somethings who work there, which is the single most important perk of the job, Ortner says. “We always try to promote from within. Our success is in our ability to create great careers for people who started with us and are now senior managers and executives.”
“One thing I’m most proud of,” Ortner adds, “is that we’ve been able to maintain the culture that everyone treats each other like family.”
7. N2 Publishing
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
Number of Employees: 180
While failing at his post-college dream to make it as an NFL kicker, Duane Hixon fell into a cozy niche in publishing: creating monthly news publications for upscale neighborhoods nationwide. N2, which Hixon co-founded, relies on reader-submitted content. That could mean a feature on a family new to a neighborhood in, say, Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, or photos of kids trick-or-treating on Halloween.
With no online publishing presence, the concept is charmingly old school and profitable: N2 made $65 million in revenue and grew by 50 percent in 2014. It serves 500 cities across 47 states and is responsible for every aspect of production, from advertising and sales to design and delivery.
“We want to build a nationwide business that honors God, strengthens the family, and builds financial wealth,” says Hixon, who is also the CEO. To do that, Hixon based his company close to the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina, an Outside Best Town and noted adventure hub.
And the perks are generous: Employees get two weeks of paid time off over Christmas and New Year’s (in addition to their typical accrued time off), and there’s an on-site personal trainer-nutritionist who teaches two daily yoga or core classes.
8. Ninkasi Brewing Company
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Number of Employees: 105
Named after the Sumerian goddess of fermentation, Ninkasi takes its cues from a 6,500-year-old Mesopotamian culture that worshipped the frothy ale it invented. “Beer has been connected to human civilization and cultural development since its inception,” says CEO and co-founder Nikos Ridge. “We try to create strong cultural experiences in the world and make opportunities to partner with people.”
To that end, the Eugene, Oregon–based brewery helps clean up the McKenzie River, builds houses with Habitat for Humanity, supports a demonstration farm on the McKenzie River that supplies its 105 employees with subsidized organic produce, and works with hundreds of organizations through donations and hands-on partnerships.
Luxurious digs in Eugene’s leafy, mixed-use Whittaker neighborhood sweeten the deal: Housed in a LEED-certified building, the brewery features a rock-climbing wall in the atrium, a patio bar, a tasting room with impromptu happy hours every day, and a twice-weekly massage therapist. “Our culture comes down to a lot more than what you give people,” says Ridge. “It’s about what you allow them to do and creating a work environment that gives them a chance to be the most successful based on who they are.”
9. Nei-Turner Media Group
Location: Williams Bay, Wisconsin
Number of Employees: 15
When this company launched in 1995, three of its five staffers were moms. “We had sick kids and school plays, and we knew that you have to work when you can to get the job done,” says publisher Barbara Krause. That philosophy has guided the company to success 20 years later.
Nei-Turner, housed in a high-ceilinged renovated church in the village of Williams Bay on the shore of Lake Geneva, now has 15 employees and specializes in creating content for tourism organizations and trade associations.
The company has a profit-sharing program based on annual revenue goals, matches up to 3 percent of employee contributions to Roth IRAs, and offers so much flextime that an employee can work from home one day per week. Plus, everyone gets half-day Fridays in the summer and can sign up for painting or stand-up paddleboarding classes, sailing regattas, and an occasional all-expenses-paid company trip to Las Vegas.
“We have a good team that gets the work done and has a great sense of humor while doing it,” says Krause.
10. Deschutes Brewery
Location: Bend, Oregon
Number of Employees: 462
Hands-on is the only way to describe Deschutes’ nearly 500 employees, who own 7.9 percent of the company that makes Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. “We ask everybody to get involved in the company,” says Michael LaLonde, the brewery’s president. “We ask their opinion all the time, encourage them to get involved in different committees, and every year we have a facilitator come in and do focus groups on employees working conditions. Everybody has a voice.”
Whether employees, the majority of whom are based in Bend, lobby for concrete fermenters, can growlers, or new beer styles, Deschutes’ cross-departmental Innovation Team takes their ideas seriously and, if they make sense, implements them almost immediately. Another team guides the company’s philanthropic projects, drawing from a special fund of $335,000 and donations to support roughly 500 nonprofits, like the Deschutes River Conservancy, the Freshwater Trust, and the Deschutes Children Foundation.
The outdoor perks of working in Bend are no-brainers: There are 300 miles of mountain bike trails and skiing or snowboarding nearby at Mount Bachelor. The brewery itself is located on 17 acres along the banks of the Deschutes River, a world-class fly-fishing stream. Employees can head out to the company’s disc golf or cyclocross course, launch a paddleboard, or cast a fly within minutes of walking out the door—then crack a cold one from the monthly case of beer awarded to everyone.
The Best Health and Wellness Jobs of 2015
If any industry is tuned in to the needs, desires, and overall well-being of its workforce, it’s the health and wellness industry.
Many of these companies go the distance for their employees to create an environment that is relaxing and inspiring. They provide free gym memberships, visits from massage therapists and chiropractors, and monthly deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables, and they’re generous with opportunities to work remotely. The healthy values they espouse are focused inward as well as outward.
1. Zen Planner
Location: Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Number of Employees: 67
At Zen Planner, a software company that creates online management tools specifically for the fitness industry for tasks like scheduling, automated billing, and website marketing, employees are very much a part of the active community they serve. The passionate skiers, hikers, MMA fighters, CrossFit trainers, and everyday exercisers who show up at this bright, open office with views of the Rockies take full advantage of the company’s $100 per month gym stipend and sweet discounts at local studios that use their software, like Backcountry CrossFit, Highlands Ranch CrossFit, and Katharo Jiu-Jitsu.
The company organizes annual ski trips and barbecues, free healthy lunches every Friday, beer tastings, salsa-making competitions, and frequent extracurricular activities like stand-up paddleboarding. It also supports employee-recommended charitable events, such as WODs at their local CrossFit box that benefit a specific nonprofit.
“I think my mindset around what the workplace can be has totally shifted and been forever changed,” says Casey Steiner, director of talent and culture at Zen Planner. The businesses the company serves “are then able to spend more time with their customers, getting them hooked on life, health, wellness, and fitness. It’s a beautiful thing.”
2. The Honest Kitchen
Location: San Diego, California
Number of Employees: 37
When you walk into the Honest Kitchen, a light, airy loft in the historic Wonder Bread building in San Diego’s East Village, tails start wagging—everywhere. More than a dozen dogs hang out here on a daily basis. “I describe it as dog-centric, rather than dog-friendly,” says Lucy Postins, founder of the company, which produces all-natural, human-grade, whole-food meals for cats and dogs. “We believe our dogs are the absolute center of everything we do, and the day really revolves around them.”
For example, rather than sitting in a conference room to brainstorm ideas, team members often head outside with their pups for a 20- or 30-minute “walking meeting.” Organized group walks happen at least twice a day. And the pets aren’t the only ones who are happy. Employees enjoy plenty of perks like a monthly $40 fitness allowance, massages and chiropractor visits, organic fruits and veggies from a local CSA, weekly in-office doggy-and-me yoga classes, and shared bikes to ride around town. Mission Brewery also happens to be right down the hall, so beer-thirty is never far away.
3. Foothold Technology
Location: New York, New York
Number of Employees: 56
Foothold Technology works with more than 900 human service providers of every size and type across the country—mental health agencies, substance abuse centers, homeless shelters—to create and manage electronic health records for underserved populations. But it makes a point to make its own staff’s well-being an equally important priority. Foothold offers gym memberships, free lunches delivered from a different New York sandwich shop every Friday, and an annual active volunteer day where everyone ditches the office and completes a community project together (last year, they planted a garden and helped paint a school in Brooklyn).
About half of the company’s 56 employees work out of the Union Square headquarters, which includes treadmill desks, stand-up desks, stability ball chairs, and a bicycle desk to help keep everyone moving. “There are also plenty of people who work in New York for a couple years, and then say, ‘I want to work in Colorado or the Caribbean,’ and they pick up their phones and computers and do their jobs from anywhere,” says Nick Scharlatt, the company’s co-founder and chief marketing officer. “We try to provide a lot of flexibility in terms of how people work and where they work.” Everyone starts with 26 PTO days per year to be used when they want, and they get unlimited vacation after ten years.
4. Adaptive Sports Center
Location: Crested Butte, Colorado
Number of Employees: 16
Getting paid to ski, mountain bike, or kayak is generally not a bad gig. Being able to help others in the process is like fresh powder on top. The Adaptive Sports Center, a nonprofit offering a variety of outdoor activities to people with disabilities, gives every employee a year-round pass to Crested Butte Mountain Resort—so they’re rarely confined to a desk.
When workers do have to catch up on emails, it’s done in a dog-friendly main office located at the base of the ski area, meaning easy lift access. Group outings like morning “social skins” (ski up, then race back down), after-work runs that end with beers at the Brick Oven Pizzeria and Pub, weekly chili dinners, and end-of-season hikes are all part of the company’s work hard, play hard culture.
“We have clients who are completely blind-climbing fourteeners with us,” says Chris Henley, executive director at the center. “Even with what they’re dealing with, they’re still all smiles. It makes it hard to have a bad day.” Likewise, if it’s a powder day and you ski until noon, you can just work later to make up the hours you spent on the slopes. Bonus: The center has an arsenal of gear employees can tap to outfit their adventures.
5. Organic Valley
Location: La Farge, Wisconsin
Number of Employees: 811
Few large food companies can actually claim to be owned and operated by farmers, but Organic Valley is essentially a giant co-op that creates certified organic products sourced directly from its 1,800 farmer-owners across the country. “This is a group that really walks the walk in addition to talks the talk,” says Tripp Hughes, director of brand management. “Yes, you have to be profitable in order to give the farmers the returns they’re looking for and stay competitive, but as a co-op, we’re also able to make a lot of decisions based on ‘what’s the right thing to do?’”
Employees are tasked with managing and marketing the farmers’ crops, but they’re also encouraged to visit the company’s farms across the country and propose new sustainability practices, such as the company’s rideshare and “green bike” programs.
Sitting on the edge of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, company headquarters includes a well-subsidized organic cafe where company dinners are hosted regularly, an on-site gym, an employee garden, a mile-loop walking path, and bikes to ride at lunch. With a CEO who wears jeans and a flannel shirt to work, Amish buggies tied to hitching posts (seriously) out front, and cowboy hats lining a wall in the hallway, there’s definitely “an element of ‘fly your own flag’ here,” Hughes says.
6. Evoke at Entrada
Location: Santa Clara, Utah
Number of Employees: 85
Evoke at Entrada is a therapeutic wilderness program that places adolescents, young adults, and families dealing with personal struggles, such as mood disorders, depression, and substance abuse, in an outdoor setting for clinical treatment and adventure therapy. The field instructors, therapists, and psychologists who lead these out-in-the-wild camping sessions follow an eight-days-on, six-days-off schedule and can bring their dogs to work.
“Because of where we’re located—so close to some amazing rock climbing, mountain biking, the Grand Canyon, and Zion National Park—employees are able to travel and do really cool stuff during their off shifts,” says Rick Heizer, owner and executive director. Staffers are also inspired to “work on themselves in the process,” he adds. They have access to free therapy sessions, yoga classes, professional development training, weekly catered meals, and active group adventures like laser tag, mini-golf, and kickball games.
7. Beach Cities Health District
Location: Redondo Beach, California
Number of Employees: 73
The mission of the Beach Cities Health District, in Southern California, is simple: Improve the overall health and wellness of everyone—from babies to teenagers to the elderly—living in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach. The preventive health agency has been creating and providing myriad services and programs to the community since 1955.
“Unfortunately, the health care world is not usually known for how it takes care of its employees, but we know we’ve got to focus on them first before we can help anyone else,” says CEO Susan Burden. “BCHD is a pet-friendly, child-friendly environment where having fun is an important part of the day, people take breaks for their own physical health, and really creative, highly energetic people can help make the world a better place.”
The office features an open design and a large fitness facility with free small-group training sessions. Plus, there’s ample vacation time, lots of group volunteer opportunities (like working with the Special Olympics), and “purpose” workshops designed to promote greater professional satisfaction.
8. My Rounding Solutions
Location: Denver, Colorado
Number of Employees: 23
As long as you get your job done at My Rounding Solutions, a digital health company offering software that helps nurses and hospital administrators manage their rounds (hence the name), you’re free to hightail it out of Denver whenever you want.
But the perks at this cool Colorado startup don’t end at unlimited vacation. The young, active crew work at standing desks in the dog-friendly downtown office, get healthy lunches delivered regularly, and receive a monthly $50 ThrivePass to use at any gym or outdoor adventure program they like, plus a subsidized public transportation pass.
Employees lead weekly team runs and bike rides, take ski trips throughout the season, and play games in the office like Ping-Pong, pool, and Xbox. “One of the things that we wanted to ensure was that while we supplied the tools, structure, and foundation for the company, it was our employees who developed the culture,” says David A. Marshall, the chief operating officer who co-founded the company in 2013. “I love coming to work and seeing happy people.”
9. VAVi Sport & Social
Location: San Diego, California
Number of Employees: 35
Working at VAVi Sport & Social pretty much means you know somebody who knows somebody everywhere you go in Southern California.
As the West Coast’s largest sports and social club, the company organizes more than 600 coed adult sports leagues throughout San Diego and owns a few different national event series, like the Wipeout Run—so the company has tons of business partners. Translation: Employees get loads of freebies around town—gym memberships, concert tickets, unlimited sandwiches at a local deli, their name on club VIP lists, and an abundance of healthy snacks and beverages from sponsors like Bare Naked granola and Zico coconut water, to name a couple.
VAVi employees also get free registration in the company’s leagues and events. “I would say there’s always at least one VAVi team participating in something at any time,” says Keith Cunningham, vice president of events and sponsorship sales. “It is just part of the culture here.” But where its corporate goal to “bring fun to life” really hits home is with routine “runches” (lunch runs), a marathon training club, team-building events at places like Disneyland, and a boardroom that sees more Ping-Pong tournaments than meetings.
10. Usana Health Sciences
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Number of Employees: 746
As a direct sales company, Usana has employees drumming up business all over the country, but the nutritional supplement and health care product maker and supplier has an impressive home base as well: Its fitness facilities include a full-size basketball court, a beach volleyball court, a climbing wall, state-of-the-art cardio and strength equipment, and two on-staff personal trainers.
Team members at this family-friendly company can take advantage of flexible schedules, tuition reimbursement programs, weekly massages, and rotating group fitness classes (CrossFit, Barre, Zumba, yoga, etc.). The office’s Lean Cafe and vending machines are stocked with healthy food options. Workers also get rewards for participating in wellness programs. And if you work here, you will be well supplemented for life: Everyone receives a free monthly supply of vitamins, plus a $50 monthly credit and 50 percent off any additional Usana products they want.
“We try to create opportunities for our employees so there is a better work-life balance,” says Michael King, executive director of human resources. “We have these core values that we talk about and try to live up to. And the company is very set on making sure those values are real and not just something that we put up on a wall.”
The 100 Best Places to Work in 2015
This is the complete ranking of companies in this year’s Best Places to Work package
1. GroundFloor Media (Denver)
Public relations firm GroundFloor Media, based in Denver, offers strategic communications and crisis management services to companies big and small. The office features an open layout, a “playroom” with beanbags, and a big communal lunch table.
2. Drake Cooper (Boise)
The execs at Boise-based ad firm Drake Cooper trust their creatives and directors to work long hours (when they have to). In return, the office is dog friendly, and people can collaborate around the beer fridge or take a meeting while biking through Boise’s nearby greenbelt. Another perk: Employees and management make the effort to ensure PTO is actually time off—if possible, email and calls are banned when an employee is out.
3. Ergodyne (Saint Paul)
St. Paul–based company Ergodyne builds protective gear for workers in transportation, construction, and manufacturing. It fosters fitness and wellness challenges among its 43 workers—competitions in weight lifting, running, and stress reduction—and rewards them with cash bonuses. That’s on top of half-day summer Fridays, staff happy hours, and company parties.
4. Spawn Ideas (Anchorage)
Employees at Anchorage-based ad agency Spawn Ideas get $250 a year to cover outdoorsy expenditures like gear and race entrance fees, short summer Fridays to take advantage of the long Alaska days, and company-wide outings to the local trampoline gymnasium. The office even comes equipped with sweeping views of the Cook Inlet.
5. CauseLabs (Denver)
The 17 workers for Denver-based CauseLabs are scattered around the globe, so the tech company fosters over-the-Web collaborations in which employees play games together. The tech firm provides high-tech help in the form of apps and social media guidance to nonprofits and other do-gooders.
6. Young & Laramore (Indianapolis)
Advertising firm Young & Laramore creates print, digital, and TV ads from its headquarters inside a renovated 1920s schoolhouse in Indianapolis. Employees are allowed to bring in their dogs to the office, which was rated “one of the world’s coolest” by Inc. magazine.
7. Nemo Design (Portland)
Portland-based agency Nemo Design has created ad campaigns for big names like Nike and Converse since its founding in 1999. Every week, the firm rents out an indoor skate park for lunch, invites whoever they feel like, and blows off steam on the ramps and rails. The company is near the Willamette River, and employees can take out the company boat every evening.
8. Stance (San Clemente)
The office of San Clemente, California–based sock maker Stance is a modern jumble of shipping containers surrounding a basketball court. The company’s 130 employees are also treated to an in-house skate bowl, a golf simulator, and a full gym staffed with a personal trainer.
9. The Trade Desk (Ventura)
Southern California–based Trade Desk, which was founded in 2009, is pioneering a new model of online advertising by helping agencies buy and manage display and social media campaigns online. The office is near the beach and offers surfboard storage for employees, balance boards to relieve stress, and even the occasional taco party.
10. TDA_Boulder (Boulder)
Ad shop TDA_Boulder does everything from TV ads to logo redesign and packaging. At the end of the year, profits are divvied up among TDA’s 20 employees in the form of bonuses to the tune of 10 to 20 percent of base salary.
11. Pellucid Analytics (Boulder)
Boulder-based Pellucid Analytics helps financial firms make data visual–laden pitchbooks for all manner of deals—and bosses are doing everything they can to nurture an exciting office community. Every other week, the startup, founded in 2011, holds Board Game Friday where lunch devolves into competitive gaming, and there are constant table tennis tournaments, an indoor soccer team, powder days, and more.
12. BrainStorm (Orem)
Utah-based software education firm BrainStorm gives each of its 65 employees $50 per month to donate to anyone in need. It also has an in-house “Culture Club” responsible for organizing staff events like dodgeball games and other company outings.
13. Cloud Elements (Denver)
Denver-based Cloud Elements makes sure companies’ apps effectively utilize the cloud. But the tech company has a focus on the outdoors: In winter, the 40-person crew will take off for ski Fridays, and group hikes are the norm in summer. There’s a foosball table in the office for stress release and an ugly sweater party at Christmas. Plus, random bonuses and rewards—like all-expenses-paid outdoor excursions or brewery tours—are handed out for good performances.
14. Realeflow (Parma Heights)
Realeflow, a tech company that creates software to make real estate agents’ lives easier, believes in rewarding good work. For instance, if the company meets new-user goals, the whole 27-person team takes the day off and heads to a local amusement park. The Parma Heights, Ohio–based office isn’t a bad place to spend time, either, with scheduled dog days, a Nintendo Wii in the lounge, and half-day Fridays in summer. Plus, the team has been known to frequent the local bowling alley and laser tag arena.
15. Zen Planner (Highlands Ranch)
Zen Planner is a software company in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, that creates online management tools specifically for the fitness industry for tasks like scheduling, automated billing, and website marketing—in an office with a view of the Rockies. The company organizes annual ski trips and barbecues, free healthy lunches every Friday, beer tastings, salsa-making competitions, and frequent extracurricular activities like stand-up paddleboarding.
16. TeamSnap (Boulder)
This Boulder-based tech company creates software to make running a team—be it your kid’s soccer squad or your frat bro’s kickball crew—way easier. As such, TeamSnap treats its 61-person team well. Employees are allowed to work from anywhere and receive unlimited PTO. Each year, the whole company makes a trip to Steamboat, Colorado, for teambuilding, ultimate Frisbee, and capoeira. And, of course, TeamSnap fields a softball team each year.
17. Zozi (San Francisco)
San Francisco–based Zozi is an online-booking software company for tour, activity, and event providers in 90 countries. Staffers enjoy lunchtime patio yoga, the company running club, the $400 per quarter in “Zozi credits” to book travel or buy discounted gear from the likes of The North Face and GoPro, and the $1,000 annual professional development budget.
18. AmeriCan Adventures (Santa Rosa)
Santa Rosa, California–based AmeriCan is a continental outfitter that offers trips ranging from seven days in the Southwest to a three-week cross-country journey in search of Americana. Each of its 27 employees who visit national parks get $500 stipends and five extra paid days off, plus $2,000 to spend on industry-related education.
19. Ecology Project International (Missoula)
Missoula, Montana–based Ecology Project International helps get local youths active in conservation by connecting them with area field scientists in five countries: Costa Rica, Mexico, Belize, Ecuador (the Galapagos), and the United States. The company pays for its 28 employees to travel around the world on “employee familiarization trips.”
20. Cloud 9 Living (Boulder)
Cloud 9 Living, based in Boulder, sells “experience gifts” in 51 cities nationwide, ranging from Ferrari racing to whitewater rafting. Its 16 employees enjoy a quarterly “experience day” in which they go zip-lining or snowmobiling or hot-air ballooning.
21. FullContact (Denver)
FullContact says it wants to Dropbox-ify your address book. Or, in non-tech speak, it wants to make sure your contact list stays up to date and syncs across all your devices. But this Denver-based company of 61 employees sees the benefit of putting down the smartphone every once and awhile and encourages its employees to take vacations “off the grid”—or at least away from email. Plus, the office comes equipped with a gym, shower, bike storage, and space for lunchtime yoga. And if the stress of coding indoors is too much, the team takes off Friday afternoons for Frisbee in the park.
22. The Honest Kitchen (San Diego)
The Honest Kitchen produces all-natural, human-grade, whole-food meals for cats and dogs. Rather than sitting in a conference room to brainstorm ideas, team members at the San Diego office often head outside for a 20- or 30-minute “walking meeting” with their pups.
23. Bluetent (Aspen)
Bluetent’s offices are in the middle of the Rockies—in Carbondale, Colorado—and with that prime location comes some quality outdoors time. The 37 employees at this digital ad agency go on weekly hiking and biking trips and often fly-fish together. The team also started a winter “Up Hill” club: Employees meet at the base of a local mountain every Tuesday and Thursday for an early morning skin or snowshoe hike up the hill, then get in some downhill skiing before work starts. The indoors aren’t too bad at Bluetent, either: Offices come furnished with reclaimed wood and a fully stocked microbrew fridge.
24. Peaksware (Boulder)
Peaksware makes software that helps people train for things—everything from marathons to musical instruments—so it makes sense that its Boulder-based office comes equipped with a high-end gym and a recording studio. Endurance sports are baked into the office culture—lunchtime bike rides have been known to spontaneously brake for push-up contests—and it’s the kind of place where plenty of the company’s 109 employees’ personal bests are displayed on a whiteboard in the kitchen. The company also organizes less strenuous events, like food truck lunches, concert raffles, cookouts, and beer Fridays.
25. VictorOps (Boulder)
Boulder-based VictorOps makes software for people who work at the intersection of development and IT. Its office comes fully stocked with all the goodies that come with being an Internet startup, including a house shuffleboard table, a kegerator, and a rooftop barbecue area. Plus, the boss’s love for everything involving tech and flight means that quadcopters often buzz around the 32-employee office.
26. GeoEx (San Francisco)
GeoEx, in San Francisco, offers trips in more than 70 countries. Its 55 employees take advantage of twice-weekly in-house yoga classes, a cocktail cart that periodically appears in the office, and a worksite in Presidio National Park on San Francisco Bay that affords remarkable out-the-door adventure opportunities.
27. Foothold Technology (New York)
New York City–based Foothold Technology works with more than 900 human service providers of every size and type across the country—mental health agencies, substance abuse centers, homeless shelters—to create and manage electronic health records for underserved populations. Employees receive comped gym memberships, free lunch deliveries, and generous off-site work opportunities.
28. Southwest Michigan First (Kalamazoo)
The perks at this Kalamazoo, Michigan–based economic development advising agency center around families. The company puts on Frozen screenings for employees’ kids at a local theater and hands out tickets to shows like Wicked. The agency’s 24 employees are encouraged to take advantage of their flextime to ensure they can show up for their kid’s soccer games or help set up for the school play. For the agency, the five Fs—Fitness, Finance, Faith, Family, and Food—come first.
29. Sterling-Rice Group (Boulder)
“Wellness” is a key idea at Sterling-Rice Group, a Boulder-based branding agency. In addition to offering yoga classes, bikes on site for borrowing, and Friday massages, the company wants to keep its 90 employees physically and emotionally healthy. Sterling-Rice hosts health clinics throughout the year that focus on biometrics screenings and health-risk assessments, presents classes on healthy meal planning, and makes a mindfulness consultant available to ensure everyone is centered. But the firm also cares about financial wellness: 401(k) management, financial planning, and credit and mortgage scoring are all offered free to employees.
30. Carmichael Lynch (Minneapolis)
This Minneapolis-based ad shop likes to maintain a healthy “work/outside life” balance. That means offering bikes to borrow, yoga classes on the roof, and two company Subarus that employees can rent for weeklong excursions. In summer, the rooftop becomes a stage when the firm brings in local up-and-coming musicians for private concerts. And once a year, everyone on the 215-person team brings their family to the CEO’s rural Minnesota farm for petting zoos, tractor rides, and more live music.
31. Slice of Lime (Boulder)
Boulder-based Slice of Lime, a user-experience design agency for Web and mobile apps, employs 15 people, all of whom seem sublimely happy, thanks to staff hikes and camping trips, a $2,500 education fund, and orders to spend 20 percent of their time on passion projects. A monthly peer-voted award grants the highest achiever with a skydiving trip to Moab or a chance to race a sports car.
32. ReWork (New York)
At recruiting firm ReWork, 15 staffers in offices in New York City, Boulder, and Denver help socially responsible companies hire the right people for the job. Working here means flexibility—staffers get 30 days to work remotely, plus 30 days of vacation—as well as team rock-climbing excursions, walking meetings, and full-staff happy hours via video conference between the offices.
33. MERCURYcsc (Bozeman)
MERCURYcsc, a boutique advertising agency in Bozeman, Montana, specializes in crafting authentic branding for companies in the travel and outdoor industries. The company’s 20 staffers are treated to travel vouchers, company ski days, and flexible hours, plus an in-office slackline and a communal cruiser bike for running errands.
34. Namaste Solar (Boulder)
In 2011, Namaste Solar became an employee-owned cooperative, meaning all 111 staffers now have stock options. The company, a major installer of residential and commercial solar power systems in Colorado and elsewhere, has solar-powered, LEED-certified offices in Boulder and Denver. It prides itself on transparency (even salaries are disclosed) and giving back (staffers get four volunteer days per year, and 10 percent of profits are donated to local charities like homeless shelters or the Humane Society).
35. New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins)
Fort Collins–based beer maker New Belgium Brewing is owned by its 640 employees, who have access to on-site volleyball courts, a cyclocross track, and an in-house gear shed. One year on the job earns an employee a new cruiser bike, five years earns a free trip to Belgium, and ten years wins a worker a four-week paid sabbatical.
36. Tendril (Boulder)
Tech startup Tendril offers cloud-based software for personalized home-energy solutions—basically, it helps customers have greater control over their utilities and energy use. The 95 employees at this Boulder-based company receive unlimited time off and a monthly wellness stipend that covers ski passes, plus twice-a-year company retreats to cool destinations like hiking trails and hot springs.
37. Adaptive Sports Center (Crested Butte)
The Adaptive Sports Center, a Crested Butte, Colorado–based nonprofit offering a variety of outdoor activities to people with disabilities, gives each of its 16 employees a year-round pass to the local ski resort—so they’re rarely confined to a desk. Morning skin-ups, after-work runs, and weekly chili dinners are all part of the company’s work hard, play hard culture.
38. Organic Valley (LaFarge)
LaFarge, Wisconsin–based Organic Valley is essentially a giant co-op that creates certified organic products sourced directly from its 1,800 farmer-owners across the country. The company features regular company dinners, an on-site gym, an employee garden, a mile-loop walking path, and bikes to check out and ride at lunch.
39. Geocaching (Seattle)
Seattle-based Geocaching has guided 10 million users around the world toward 2.7 million mini-treasure chests. Employee benefits include free catered lunches four days a week, a “keg squad” of five who keep the office kegerator flowing with fresh craft beer, meetings on Lake Union, and a requirement that each employee spend at least a few hours of work time each month geocaching.
40. SolidFire (Boulder)
SolidFire builds innovative flash-memory storage systems for cloud service providers and large enterprises. With upwards of 270 employees at its Boulder headquarters, the company will soon open an even larger office on Boulder’s Pearl Street. SolidFire offers employees $150 a month for not driving to work, plus on-site bike tune-ups, running and hiking clubs, and regular lunches with CEO and founder Dave Wright.
41. Montana Wilderness Association (Helena)
The Helena, Montana–based Montana Wilderness Association was founded in 1958 and helps preserve the state’s wild heritage. Each of its 23 workers gets personal “trail days,” and the company hosts an annual four-day staff backpacking trip.
42. ReadyTalk (Denver)
You can easily work from home for ReadyTalk utilizing the tech company’s streamlined audio and Web conferencing tools. But why would you when the Denver headquarters has on-site yoga, beer kegs, hula-hoop contests, and a Nerd Lounge with Wii and Xbox? The 165 employees get tuition reimbursement, paid time off for charity work, and $300 a year to cover race entry fees.
43. Cornerstone OnDemand (Santa Monica)
Cornerstone OnDemand provides cloud-based software solutions to help companies manage and recruit employees. Its staffers—all 1,057 of them—are treated like real talent, with unlimited vacation, catered breakfasts, and an in-house yoga studio, theater room, and arcade at the LEED-certified headquarters in Santa Monica, California.
44. The Frontier Project (Richmond)
Companies looking to reinvent themselves, solve a problem, or craft their messaging look to the Frontier Project, a strategic consulting firm out of Richmond, Virginia, that offers services including negotiation, event design, content creation, and more. Its 34 employees come from diverse professional backgrounds, from designers to economists, and have access to weekly physical training sessions, a staff book club, and couches in lieu of desks.
45. Ontraport (Santa Barbara)
If the catered meals, Pacific Ocean views, morning meditation sessions, and half-day Fridays aren’t enough to lure you, the diversity of the work you’ll do at Ontraport will. The Santa Barbara, California–based company, which began in a backyard yurt in 2006 and today has 107 employees, helps entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and automate their companies through a business and marketing platform.
46. Evoke at Entrada (Santa Clara)
Evoke at Entrada is a therapeutic wilderness program that places adolescents, young adults, and families dealing with personal struggles, such as mood disorders, depression, and substance abuse, in an outdoor setting for clinical treatment and adventure therapy. The field instructors, therapists, and psychologists who lead these out-in-the-wild camping sessions follow an eight-days-on, six-days-off schedule and can bring their dogs to work.
47. CCY Architects (Basalt)
Sustainability is the core principle of Basalt, Colorado–based CCY Architects, which designed one of the country’s largest passive-heated buildings. The firm’s annual employee wellness package can go toward anything from an Aspen Mountain ski pass to weekly yoga classes to kayaking lessons.
48. Hawaii Forest & Trail (Kailua-Kona)
Hawaii Forest & Trail, based in Kailua-Kona, leads nature tours on Hawaii’s Big Island. Its 50 employees enjoy health insurance (rare in the Hawaiian tourism industry) and comped passes for various outdoor tours.
49. G Adventures (Toronto)
Toronto-based G Adventures offers small-group trips in more than 100 countries. Staff enjoy a rooftop “partio” with hammocks and Wi-Fi to work outside; free ice cream; transit and gym reimbursement; and an annual $2,000 allowance to put toward a trip offered by the company, plus another $750 for airfare.
50. Colle + McVoy (Minneapolis)
Colle + McVoy is a creative agency in Minneapolis that handles everything from advertising to brand design. Its 240 employees specialize in modernizing brands and enjoy perks like office happy hours and yoga classes.
51. Hanson Dodge Creative (Milwaukee)
In a building housing an in-house cafe and gym in the heart of Milwaukee’s hopping Historic Third Ward, the 67 employees at Hanson Dodge Creative work with Burton, Trek, Thule, and Wolverine, among others, to engage consumers with cutting-edge strategies and tech.
52. RightScale (Santa Barbara)
Headquartered less than a mile from Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, California, RightScale pioneered the cloud computing space (that is, managing and storing digital assets) and is a leading U.S. tech employer of 132 people. But as the staff mantra goes, “We take our work, but not ourselves, seriously.”
53. Team One (Los Angeles)
At Team One, a 406-employee branding agency in Los Angeles, you can work with underdogs and heavyweights, among them Icelandic, the Ritz-Carlton, and Lexus. You can also take part in Do Good Fridays, which allow employees to do hands-on volunteer work or donate goods or money to a different nonprofit each month.
54. Charles Cunniffe Architects (Aspen)
Aspen-based Charles Cunniffe Architects specializes in green buildings—the type that run on photovoltaic solar collectors and geothermal systems. Its employees enjoy flexible hours, particularly during powder days.
55. United by Blue (Philadelphia)
Apparel maker United by Blue, based in Philadelphia, was founded on philanthropic principles: Removing garbage from the ocean, using sustainable materials, and generally encouraging its 25 employees to support charities and foundations are keys to its mission. Workers are rewarded with company camping trips and in-house DIY workshops on skills like bookbinding and kombucha brewing.
56. Haberman (Minneapolis)
This 46-person Minneapolis marketing and communications agency prides itself on modern storytelling. And fun is in the company DNA: Prior to founding Haberman, the husband-and-wife duo of Fred and Sarah Haberman owned an adventure travel outfitter and led trips to places ranging from the Boundary Waters to the Himalayas. They maintain work-play balance by, among other means, allotting employees paid time to work on the company vegetable farm 45 minutes outside the city. Fresh produce is then delivered to the office for staffers to take home.
57. Uproar PR (Orlando)
Based in Orlando, Uproar focuses on growing a brand’s audience as well as driving sales via smart, targeted strategies and social media. The 34-person staff trends young, which is one of the reasons the company’s annual Caribbean cruise is a popular perk.
58. Beach Cities Health District (Redondo Beach)
The mission of the Beach Cities Health District, in Southern California, is simple: Improve the overall health and wellness of everyone—from babies to teenagers to the elderly—living in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach. Employees enjoy ample vacation time, lots of group volunteer opportunities (like working with the Special Olympics), and “purpose” workshops designed to promote greater professional satisfaction.
59. C1S Group (Dallas)
Dallas-based construction company C1S Group renovates existing commercial buildings to make them eco-friendly. After workers wrap a particularly difficult project, they’re rewarded with generous comp time. Employees are also treated to regular happy hours and an annual crawfish boil.
60. Avid4 Adventure (Boulder)
Boulder-based outdoor summer camp operator Avid4 Adventure offers its year-round employees unlimited time off as long as they get their work done during the summer high season. Plus, each of its 15 workers receive “anniversary gifts” ranging from $600 to round-trip airfare to a stipend to spend a month anywhere in the world.
61. Brewers Association (Boulder)
The Brewers Association, based in Boulder, represents 3,800 small and independent craft brewers nationwide. Its office includes a bar with three beers on tap, one of which is brewed by association employees.
62. The Mission Continues (Washington)
This St. Louis–based nonprofit helps veterans find new ways to engage with a cause or purpose when they return to civilian life. For the organization’s 41 employees and the “platoons” of vets they organize, this can mean working to reduce child hunger in one city or to eliminate chronic veteran homelessness in another.
63. Inntopia (Stowe)
A leader in the central reservations field, Inntopia books trips and vacation packages for what you might call “good people to know”: tour operators, resorts, and activity providers around the world. Based in picturesque Stowe, Vermont, the firm offers its 29 employees some of the best adventure terrain in New England outside their front door.
64. MyRounding Solutions (Denver)
As long as you get your job done at MyRounding Solutions, a digital health company offering software that helps nurses and hospital administrators manage their rounds (hence the name), you’re free to hightail it out of Denver whenever you want. Plus, the company’s 23 employees lead weekly team runs and bike rides, take ski trips throughout the season, and play games like Ping-Pong, pool, and Xbox in the office.
65. Thumbtack (San Francisco)
Thumbtack connects consumers to local pros for virtually every imaginable need, from home improvement to events to wellness. Its 304 employees, headquartered in San Francisco, benefit from an in-house culinary team and $5,000 conference stipend, among other perks.
66. Renters Warehouse (Bloomington)
Bloomington, Minnesota–based Renter Warehouse manages 6,000 properties in the Twin Cities and another 11,000 nationwide, providing assistance on everything from accounting services to full-service property management. It’s one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States.
67. N2 Publishing (Wilmington)
N2 publishing, based in Wilmington, North Carolina, serves 500 cities across 47 states with monthly local news publications. It handles every aspect of production, from advertising and sales to design and delivery. Employees receive two weeks off toward the end of the year in addition to their typical time off.
68. Mondo Robot (Boulder)
A creative digital agency based in Boulder, Mondo Robot builds websites for cool companies big and small, from Whistler Blackcomb to Spot Brand Bikes. Not surprisingly, the staff of 36 tends to seek out good times outside of work as well, hence this sentence in every posting for an open position: “We rock websites, games, strategy, bikes, motion, tequila, video, code, logos, tacos, mobile, music, new identities, IPAs, and sweet Colorado pow.”
69. Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (Sausalito)
This 22-year-old creative firm operates with one golden rule: Work hard and check your ego at the door. That gives the 117 employees at this full-service advertising agency, which handles creative direction, strategic planning, media, analytics, and production, the leeway to dream up big ideas for top clients, like Mini’s K-9 Showroom, which features puppy cams that tour the car from a dog’s perspective. With free Wednesday yoga classes and the hills and bays of Sausalito out the door, it’s no wonder the company fields a strong competitors for Escape from Alcatraz.
70. Ryan Solutions (Edwards)
In the shadow of Beaver Creek Resort and practically on the banks of the Eagle River, this Edwards, Colorado–based tech firm has 17 employees who handle database marketing and customer relationship management services for about 75 ski resorts and a growing list of golf, beach, and hotel destinations. The firm’s M.O. is to work hard, then get out the door to ski in Vail or Beaver Creek on a powder day, fly-cast for rainbow trout on the Eagle River, or crush each other on a road or mountain bike—the Strava data doesn’t lie.
71. SmartWool (Steamboat Springs)
Merino apparel maker SmartWool supplies its 65 employees with season passes to Steamboat Ski Area in Colorado (near the company’s headquarters) and mandates a powder day whenever it snows more than six inches. Workers also get short summer Fridays and are encouraged to participate in company-hosted athletic competitions.
72. McGarrah Jessee (Austin)
From the print ad to the mobile app to the retail experience, this Austin, Texas–based advertising and PR firm builds a 360-degree emotional connection between people and brands like Yeti Coolers, Costa Sunglasses, and Shiner Beer. Equipped with showers and a rooftop deck, the office, a quarter-mile from Lady Bird Lake, is set up for employees who want to maximize outdoor time, like the Friday afternoon “Bike2Swim,” in which the 108 staffers are invited to bike over to Barton Springs and cannonball into the cool water before stopping off at a food truck for lunch.
73. Backroads (Berkeley)
Founded in 1979 as a cycle-tour company, Berkeley-based Backroads has since expanded to include hiking and multisport itineraries. But its 221 employees are still passionate cyclists: Every Tuesday and Thursday, a 30-mile post-work group ride climbs 2,500 feet into the Berkeley Hills—good training for the upcoming staff ride in Tuscany. The guides may get the glamour job, but office staff gets an extra week’s worth of vacation and trip credit to experience any trip on the Backroads roster.
74. VAVi Sport & Social (San Diego)
San Diego–based VAVi Sport & Social is the West Coast’s largest sports and social club. The company organizes more than 600 coed adult sports leagues throughout San Diego and owns a few different national event series, like the Wipeout Run. Employees get loads of freebies: gym memberships, concert tickets, unlimited sandwiches at a local deli, their names on club VIP lists, and an abundance of healthy snacks and beverages.
75. Eagle Creek (Carlsbad)
Luggage maker Eagle Creek, based in Carlsbad, California, encourages its staff of 47 to test products on weekend adventures, has an in-house meditation room, and offers employees funds for Kiva microloans to support small businesses around the world. It also offers workers paid days off for community service projects.
76. G5 (Bend)
This Bend-based company specializes in digital marketing for apartments, self-storage, and senior living. With an office downtown near Drake Park, most employees walk or bike to work and practice office-sponsored yoga or play ultimate Frisbee at lunch. Walking business meetings are encouraged, as is walking the dog—the employees’ 49 canines and one honorary cat have their own page on the G5 website. In summer, Fridays are for taking off at 1 p.m.
77. Max Borges Agency (Miami)
Hard chargers, heed this: This Miami-based leading consumer electronics and technology PR firm executed a full-distance triathlon at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show for its client Polar. It makes sense considering one of the stated goals for its 59 employees is to “seek opportunities to help clients crush competitors.” With a gym and showers in the office and the triathlon training capital of Key Biscayne just down the road, there are plenty of opportunities to crush office mates, too.
78. Superfeet Worldwide (Ferndale)
Ferndale, Washington–based Superfeet makes over-the-counter custom insoles for your shoes and is an employee-owned company. One percent of the company’s revenue goes to nonprofits, and workers receive paid days off to work on community service projects.
79. Foundant Technologies (Bozeman)
Bozeman-based Foundant creates software for people or organizations that fund nonprofits. The company’s inspiring clients are a huge reason the 33 employees, many refugees from Fortune 500 corporations, love working here. The company’s flexible philosophy also helps. Employees are encouraged to take long weekends for ultimate Frisbee competitions, endurance events, or playtime in the surrounding mountains and receive an annual $1,000 stipend to reimburse expenses while on vacation.
80. The Mountaineers (Seattle)
A nonprofit built around its passion for the outdoors, Seattle-based Mountaineers has been teaching classes, taking trips, and publishing how-to and where-to guidebooks for the past 100 years. The majority of its 38 employees work out of a dog-friendly “clubhouse” in Magnuson Park that has two climbing walls, a bouldering area, and a naturalist center and is a just a five-minute walk to Lake Washington and a dog park. Community-minded job-seekers, take note: The most essential task of a Mountaineers staff member is to support its tireless volunteers.
81. Ninkasi Brewing Company (Eugene)
Eugene, Oregon–based brewery Ninkasi Brewing Company doesn’t just make tasty beer. Its 105 employees also do river cleanups, build houses with Habitat for Humanity, and support a demonstration farm on the MacKenzie River that supplies them with subsidized organic produce. The brewery features a rock-climbing wall, patio bar, and twice-weekly massage therapy.
82. The ZaneRay Group (Whitefish)
The 25 employees at this Whitefish, Montana–based Web design and e-commerce software development firm know work-life harmony. They work for a company that offers good benefits, flexible schedules, and the same diversity and challenge that one would find at a firm in a major metro area, but they live at the gateway to Glacier National Park at the foot of Whitefish Mountain Resort. Morning powder runs, lunchtime trail runs, and after-work mountain bike rides tip the scales in ZaneRay’s favor.
83. Petzl America (Salt Lake City)
Outdoor gear maker Petzl, based in Salt Lake City, offers an in-house bouldering area and a 55-foot-high climbing wall to its 56 employees. Staffers get discounted ski passes, a loaner gear closet, and lots of paid time off.
84. IDX Broker (Eugene)
This company based in downtown Eugene, Oregon, creates integrated real estate search software, customizable listing search utilities, and management tools for real estate blogs and websites. If that sounds complicated, it should, which is why the “freedom to fail within a collaborative environment” is appreciated by the 48 employees who work here, says one executive. The more practical reason to love this place is that as long as the work is done well, IDX Broker higher-ups are happy. For employees, this translates to highly flexible hours and a culture that allows entire departments to walk down to Killer Burger for a power lunch, no questions asked.
85. First Green Bank (Mount Dora)
First Green Bank adheres to strict environmental standards at each of its five Florida locations and encourages others to do the same. The company offers discounted interest rates for customers (commercial and residential projects) that use solar panel systems or follow green building criteria. The company also supports local farms and promotes community service among all of its employees. Extra cool: The company also offers an on-site gym and a 401(k) match up to 6 percent.
86. Fuse (Burlington)
With clients like Mountain Dew and Burton Snowboards, it’s no surprise that Fuse, a marketing agency that targets teens and young adults through sports, music, and fashion, has a cool, creative culture. Employees receive a free season ski pass, paid time off to volunteer with a charity of their choice, access to a fitness facility complete with a half-pipe and communal stand-up paddleboards, and bikes to use throughout the day. Plus, people who make it to the five- or ten-year mark can expect an incredible bonus. (One employee received a heliboarding trip.)
87. Nei-Turner Media Group (Williams Bay)
Media company Nei-Turner is housed in a high-ceilinged renovated church in the village of Williams Bay, Wisconsin, on the shore of Lake Geneva. Its 15 employees can work from home one day each week and get half-day summer Fridays. There’s also an annual staff trip to Las Vegas.
88. Toad&Co (Santa Barbara)
Apparel maker Toad&Co, based in Santa Barbara, California, takes its 75 employees on group camping trips, hosts grilled-cheese smackdowns, and has cocktail hours on Friday afternoons. Community service has also become an integral part of the company’s identity: Employees work with adults with disabilities, volunteer at soup kitchens, and rebuild bikes.
89. Two Rivers Marketing (Des Moines)
With access to local trails right out their door, employees of Two Rivers Marketing, a business-to-business advertising and public relations agency, can often be found running, walking, or biking near the office together on branded vintage bicycles. There are also showers and lockers on location, plus a break room with table tennis, pool, and arcade games.
90. Shine United (Madison)
Known as “Shiners,” the people who make up advertising, design, and interactive agency Shine United have plenty of reasons to work hard. They receive bonus checks throughout the year, can potentially “own” a part of the company based on performance after two years of employment, have 100 percent of their health insurance covered, and enjoy summer Fridays and two weeks of vacation around the holidays (on top of ten days vacation to start).
91. Carbon Media Group (Bingham Farms)
A digital media brand that targets outdoor enthusiasts through multiple platforms, including more than 500 websites and popular streaming service CarbonTV, the Carbon Media Group really knows its niche. The company hosts quarterly adventures, like trips to shooting ranges, ice fishing, and canoeing, and offers employees a fully loaded game room and unlimited paid time off.
92. Aspen Skiing Company (Aspen)
Going to work is a whole lot easier when your “office” is one of four world-class mountains (Snowmass, Aspen, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands) in the Rockies. One of the last remaining independently owned and operated ski resorts, Aspen Skiing Company provides its employees with free ski passes, free fitness and yoga classes, and a solid health plan.
93. Usana Health Sciences (Salt Lake City)
Usana is a nutritional supplement and health care product maker and supplier based in Salt Lake City. It provides its 746 employees with a basketball court, beach volleyball court, climbing wall, cardio and strength equipment, and two on-staff personal trainers.
94. Sphero (Boulder)
Robotics developer Sphero, based in Boulder, offers its 92 workers flexible work hours and awards for creative thinking at weekly staff lunches. Its office is also packed with Xbox stations, Frisbee golf, and Nerf guns, and staffers can drive an electric car down the halls.
95. Deschutes Brewery (Bend)
Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, is located along the banks of the Deschutes River, a world-class fly-fishing stream. Its employees enjoy 300 miles of mountain bike trails and, in winter, nearby skiing or snowboarding.
96. Spyderco (Golden)
Known for its ergonomically designed folding knives, Golden, Colorado–based Spyderco provides its 90 workers with gym memberships and regular fruit deliveries. Since the company is based near mountains and streams, employees get out for midday trail runs and whitewater paddles.
97. Audley Travel (Boston)
For wanderlusts looking to see the world through work, Audley Travel is the place to be. The tour company creates luxury vacations and tailor-made trips for its clients. As an employee, you receive discounted rates for personal travel, free trips for top performances, and one-month familiarization trips to your country of specialty.
98. North Carolina Outward Bound School (Asheville)
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with campuses in the Florida Everglades, the Outer Banks, and Patagonia, the North Carolina Outward Bound School teaches its students (many of whom are grant funded) activities like rock climbing, mountaineering, and sea kayaking, while throwing in important life skills along the way. Staff members get sweet deals on outdoor gear, performance-based gifts, and seasonal bonuses.
99. Infinite Energy (Gainesville)
Infinite Energy competes with other suppliers to provide natural gas in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, and New York and electricity in Texas. When an employee refers someone to the company, he or she receives one percent of that new worker’s first-year salary as a bonus. Other perks include an on-site gym with a full-time personal trainer, weekly chair massages, and eight hours of paid volunteer time to serve during the workday.
100. Skullcandy (Park City)
Many of the benefits that come with working at lifestyle and performance audio brand Skullcandy revolve around the company’s Park City location. Employees receive season ski passes, access to two gyms within walking distance of the office, group powder days (that is, permission to come in late after it snows), and weekly “Skull Fit” and running workouts hosted by the CEO. They also get 12 PTO days and work closely with local nonprofits.