4. Smith Optics

Ketchum, ID

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From the Company

Outside editors excerpted this information from the Employer Questionnaire submitted to the Best Companies Group.

Smith Optics designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes snow goggles, motorsport goggles, sunglasses, snow helmets, prescription/ophthalmic eyewear, and ballistic eyewear. Based in Ketchum, Idaho, with manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and warranty services in Clearfield, Utah, Smith Optics sells its products directly in the United States and Canada, and through distributors in over 60 countries worldwide.

Smith is not a normal corporation. As employees, we are very close. Our building is a friendly and open place where people can bring their dogs to work and gather at any time to talk about work and life. We have a foosball table, keg-0-rator, BBQ, and other things that bring our employees together. We take ski breaks during the ski season and have annual parties for Christmas, spring break, ski day, and other one-off events. We are a company that looks out for each other: The president is the guy who wants you to skip out and go skiing; the VP of sales eggs you into a bike ride; the VP of marketing wants to have the last hour of the week at a bar. We have fun and we get things done.

Smith has a complete locker room and gear storage/repair shop. We are literally located within minutes of world-class downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, mountain biking, trail running, hiking, fishing, and ice skating/hockey. Smith is all about healthy lifestyles. We get out there because we need to do the stuff we sell products for. You get a ton of grief for not taking advantage of what we have.

At Smith, it's flex-time all of the time. You have to work it out and get your business done, but we realize that we work in an irreverent business climate, and the more we recognize that, the more productive and happy we are.

Smith is a big part of the local community. This year, Smith Optics was recognized as one of the top three corporations in Idaho for volunteerism. We support the Sun Valley Ski Ed Foundation, Wood River Bike Coalition, mountain rides, adaptive sports, Blaine County Rec, LiveStrong, Special Olympics, and a number of other local and national groups.

All of our goggles use minimum ten-percent and up to 90-percent recycled urethane. All packaging, catalogs, order forms and other print/paper materials are made using recycled and 100-percent FSC-certified paper/card stock. We also have a unique program called Evolve which replaces petro-based urethane with castor-plant-based resins packaged in 100-percent FSC-certified recycled materials. For commuters, we offer bus passes, bike racks, a company bike, and a rideshare board.

Each week employees may take a two-and-a-half-hour lunch break to ski, run, bike, fish, etc. We give each employee $750–$1,500 to offset the costs of recreation. We have a complete locker room and gear room facility. We allow compressed schedules as well as adjusting hours to take care of family and life issues. Our basic premise is get your work done and do a great job, and you can make your own plan.

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