Leadership. Passion. Fun.
JSJ Corporation encourages its businesses to give back to their communities. Sparks Belting Company, a JSJ business, has a generous workforce that likes to have fun.
With just over 85 employees in its Grand Rapids location, Sparks has a relatively small workforce when compared to many of the large corporations based in Kent County, MI. While smaller in size, this manufacturing workforce has a big heart when it comes to supporting the United Way (UW).
In 2012, Human Resources Coordinator Jamie VanDort (in photo below) joined the Sparks team and in that role began to lead the company’s annual employee United Way campaign. “My goal is to help make each year bigger, better and more fun,” says Jamie, and by all measures the team is succeeding.
“Sparks is a long-time supporter of the UW but the pace really picked up after Jamie joined our team,” says Mike Sheridan, Human Resources Manager. “Jamie raised the roof when comes to engaging employees and having fun with our annual campaign.”
Traditionally, Sparks holds an annual week-long UW campaign in the fall. This is typically a very busy time for the business and fall weather often limits the type of activities that can be held. In 2013, the company moved the campaign to the summer which improved timing and allowed for the addition of outdoor activities, too.
This year the week kicked off with an employee lunch where two guest speakers - one from UW and one from an agency receiving UW support – explained what UW does, who they serve, and how funds are allocated. This was followed by a series of activities meant to build momentum throughout the week. The events this year included raffles, a very popular silent auction; a delicious bake sale, a hotly contested chili cook off; a golf chipping contest held on the lawn, and the final event – a hilarious costume contest.
“We try to offer a variety of events so there’s something for everyone. I especially enjoy seeing how the week brings people at all levels of the company together to have fun and support UW,” says Jamie.
The dedication of Spark employees has not gone unnoticed. The Heart of West Michigan United Way named Jamie the “Campaign Coordinator of the Year” for the 2013 campaign at its annual “Celebrate United” event held in May. She accepted the award on behalf of everyone at Sparks.
“We are very proud of all our employees for their continued support of UW,” said Mike. “With more than $10,400 pledged this year, we’ve nearly doubled our donation level since 2011. Jamie’s enthusiasm is contagious and while there are a lot people to thank, she certainly deserves a lot of credit for planning, organizing and promoting the events.”
That’s something we think is worth celebrating.
Sparks Belting Company is a national conveyor belt manufacturer, fabricator and distributor with headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan and eight additional facilities throughout the U.S. and one in Monterrey, Mexico. Sparks is a recognized industry leader offering customized conveyor belting, Dura-Lock modular plastic belting, Dura-Tech timing belts and Dura-Drive PLUS motorized pulleys. Founded in 1946, Sparks provides products and service directly to industrial users and manufacturers of conveyor systems throughout North America and Mexico.