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Chamber deems local business ‘2013 Employer of Choice’

Date: 9/20/2013

By Carley Dangona

AGAWAM – The Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce (COC) named Farm Credit Financial Partners Inc. as one of the three 2013 Employers of Choice.

This is the first time Financial Partners has won the award. Health New England of Springfield and Maybury Material Handling of East Longmeadow were the other two companies named Employers of Choice. When established in 1995, Financial Partners had a staff of 40 and now employees nearly 200 people.

“Employers of Choice” recipients are recognized as companies that have developed a culture for transforming and rewarding employee performance. The categories of focus are Training and Development, Communication, Company Culture, Job Recognition/Rewards and Work-Life Balance for employees.

“The most exciting thing for me was sharing the news with the employees,” Claude Waterman, senior vice president of Human Resources said. “The accolade is a tribute to our staff. Without them, there would be no award; they made this happen.”

Waterman said that the company completed the first of a two-part application in May and received notice in late July the business had reached the semifinals. At that time, a more in-depth application was filled out. In August, Financial Partners was notified it had won.

Upon hearing the news of this award, President and CEO, Thomas Moran, said, “Board, management and staff are very proud to be recognized as an ‘Employer of Choice’ in Western Massachusetts. Financial Parters is committed to a high performance culture where everyone can make a big difference.”

He continued, “We have a mantra that employees are in charge of their career and we foster their development, looking at each employee for their best fit and growth potential within the company. We grow our talent from within and are extremely thankful our employees, with an average tenure of nine and a half years, choose to spend their careers with us. Who could ask for a better equation: extremely smart and talented staff focused on continually making Financial Partners a better home for their careers.”

“You apply and it’s kind of a ‘pie in the sky’ dream. We thought it would be nice if we won [but weren’t expecting to do so]. To say that I was shocked and excited is an understatement. I could barely breathe,” she said.

The first thing Waterman did was run into the CEO’s office to share the news. She kept it quiet from the rest of the employees until the company meeting a few days later when she announced the award during a PowerPoint presentation.

“We’re most proud of our culture. We’re a small company, but we try to make this an exceptional place to work,” Waterman stated. She explained that the goal of the company is to create an environment for employees to “enjoy work, have fun, find challenges [to demonstrate their skills] and to have opportunities for career growth.”

As part of upholding these standards, Financial Partners conducts an engagement survey every two years to gage how well it’s meeting its goals. Waterman said that each year, the survey garners a “resounding response” that the people at the company are what employees like best about the company.

While Financial Partners doesn’t provide consulting services for fellow business to learn about its culture and internal operations, it does welcome guests. “The doors are open. We invite people to come in and see us in action,” Waterman said, adding Financial Partners hosts meetings and events for other businesses and organizations.

The COC will honor the businesses at its annual meeting and awards luncheon on Nov. 12 at the Doubletree Boston/Westborough Hotel, 5400 Computer Drive in Westborough, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For details, log on to