Creating a good working environment: an employer’s perspective.

We had the chance to chat with JP Woods, an ACFOMI client who started working at Direct Coil last October. Before joining the team, JP worked as a cleaner for 9 years, and wanted a career change. Because of family obligations, JP wanted to work night shifts: “They offered me to choose when I want to work. It’s a big time plus.” It was a completely different job according to JP, but he was supported in the change. “The staff are nice, and they took their time at first to help me. They are friendly and professional.”

Pat Occhicone has been the owner of Direct Coil since 2010. The manufacturer, which is located in Millhaven, provides custom heat transfer products for the HVAC/R market. Direct Coil now has about 250 employees and even opened a factory in Fayetteville, Tennessee. Pat maintains that everyone can learn the job; all it takes is to do one’s best every single day. As a result, it’s not rare to see people that have little to no experience in manufacturing find a position in the company and rise in the ranks. “If someone is hard-working, they will fit right in!”

Pat Occhicone started his career in the trades. His goal was to have a contracting company. It was important for him to work hard and to succeed. And succeed he did, he’s been an employer for 40 years. “I travel between my 3 companies. I love providing solutions to problems and making things happen.”

We interviewed him to get his perspective on what it takes to create a good working environment.

According to him? It takes a nice, happy, and safe working environment. “If people are happy, they will do a better job.” Health and Safety are a top priority at Direct Coil. The company has a joint Health and Safety Committee, where Pat’s Partner and employees from the production side are both present. They have regular inspections of the equipment and the work environment. The aim is to prevent any incidents, which is why the Committee ensures that issues are addressed before they become problems.

One thing that is very important for Pat is to know his team. “I’m approachable and available, and I want the management team to do the same. I want them to know a little bit about each employee. They should know them in a more personal way. I make sure that I’m personally involved.” As he explains, this is just another way to show respect.

“I’m a big believer in rewarding hard work.” In order to do that, Pat and his team put some measures in place to reward employees’ best practices. There is a program that offers $250 every quarter for people that have perfect attendance. This is a popular program, and the list of people receiving the reward grows each time. They also reward employees with a monthly raffle, an annual Summer BBQ, along with an annual Christmas lunch. “I believe in the little things that make a difference.” This philosophy is one of the many things that, in his opinion, create a good working environment.