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Torch on a Tear – Company Growth, Employment Practices Ignite Awards, Honors
In a year that some companies may want to forget, 2008 is one that Torch Technologies will always remember. As one of Huntsville’s fastest rising corporate stars, Torch capped a memorable 2008 with its annual employee holiday reception and on hand to help Torch employees celebrate was Dennis Long, Vice President of Principal Financial Group of Des Moines, Iowa. Long was there to personally greet Torch employees and to tell them that their company was named one of the nation’s Top 10 Employers for Financial Security.
“It was special for a number of reasons,” said Torch President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Roark. “We were a bit of an odd duck in the top 10. We were the only aerospace and defense contractor, and the only company in the Southeast to be included. The others were primarily financial institutions and insurance companies.”
We agreed to participate in the competition because Principal does such a rigorous job of examining your benefits package. They had hundreds of applicants and those were then whittled down to 30. When we found out we were in the top 30, we were pretty excited, because we knew it was a great way to benchmark our company against the best in the country,” said Scott Parker, Torch Chief Operating Officer.
In its news release touting Torch as a role model for employers everywhere, Principal said “Torch Technologies understands that benefits are more than a cost, they are an investment in a company’s greatest asset, its employees. We are proud to showcase Torch as an exceptional role model.”
The recognition by Principal validates the baseline strategy devised by Roark and co-founder Don Holder, both former Nichols Research Corporation employees, who opened Torch in 2002. Torch currently employs more than 170 people in Huntsville, Reflecting consistent growth of better than 30 percent per year over that period. And more than 70 percent of those employees own stock in the company.
“We wanted to create a company that was employee owned and employee focused,” Roark said. “When the employees are the owners of the company, it’s a great investment for them and your customers.” As a precursor to the Principal award, Torch also was named as one of Huntsville’s Best Places to Work for 2008, wining the medium-sized category in the Chamber’s annual competition for local companies.
Finally, Torch captured the Large Business of the Year Award by the Alabama Information Technology Association, becoming the third straight Huntsville-based company to win the award after Intergraph in 2007 and Analytical Services in 2006.
“It was a very good year,” Roark said. “We’re excited about the future.”
Source: Torch Technologies