Madison Magazine

Working it well: Meet some of our winners

Hear directly from employees what makes these high-ranking Madison businesses Best Places to Work

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
100+ employees category rank: No. 6
Number of employees: 286 in Madison; 2,451 nationwide

What employees say:

  • "We don't apologize for asking our people to work hard and don't compromise on trying to maintain a culture of enjoying what you do and who you work with. We aren't your typical CPA firm, and we plan on keeping it that way."
  • "In Madison we're often the pilot location for the rest of the firm to test new things. For instance, we recently completed a Flexible Friday pilot program to allow for a four-day workweek with most Fridays off for our accounting teams from Memorial Day to Labor Day. With success, we'll be rolling this out to the rest of the firm."

Fun Fact: GROW (short for Growth and Retention of Women) is focused on the advancement of women—a priority for the company.

Beacon Athletics
10–50 employees category rank: No. 11
Number of employees: 22

What employees say:

  • "It's not an uncommon sight to see coworkers and owners alike sipping on new local beers in the late afternoon and socializing in our lounge area equipped with a bar, stools, tables, lounge chairs, television, a kegerator and a full-size shuffleboard table."
  • "It always amazes me how much of a difference Beacon Athletics can make for not only the college, minor and major league baseball teams throughout the country, but also all of the folks working with the younger generations including local little leagues and clubs."

Fun Fact: The company's Streamliner Field Chalker (used to draw chalk lines on sports fields) may be Beacon's most famous innovation. Owner Jim Myrland designed it with the help of co-owner Brian Myrland and former Baltimore Orioles head groundskeeper Paul Zwaska.

BlueTree Network
10–50 employees category rank: No. 3
Number of employees: 23 in Madison; around 105 consultants and employees across the country.

What employees say:

  • "The culture is great here! There's no micro managing—employees are trusted to make their own decisions and take care of their work."
  • "The benefits at BlueTree are superb! I've never had an employer that provided me with such good insurance, time off and work flexibility as BlueTree does. We even make it a point to try and hang out after work as a company. BlueTree has been by far the best company I've ever worked for!"

Fun Fact: A Ping-Pong table for employees is used to hold tournaments. 

100+ employees category rank: No. 8
Number of employees: 130 in Madison; 30,000 nationwide

What employees say:

  • "Cintas is a fantastic place to work! It's warm and inviting and you feel right at home within your first week. People here are incredible!"
  • "I've never found a job where the managers are so supportive and where I'm rewarded for my hard work in a direct manner."
  • "I love our flexible schedules. No one works weekends and our service department employees who do deliveries work four ten-hour days."
  • "I appreciate that Cintas cares about our health, and does things like wellness

assessments. Our insurange costs are significantly lower than other private-sector employers."

Fun Fact: Every location has a yearly Spirit Day to celebrate Cintas' culture and thank employees, whom the company calls partners. It's a pep rally with music, awards, recognition of top performers, a picnic—and last year, an inflatable obstacle course.

First Choice Dental Group
100+ employees category rank: No. 4
Number of employees: 168

What employees say:

  • "First Choice Dental Group is definitely a Best Place to Work. Our owners and leaders care about each employee. There's opportunity for those who work hard and seek professional development."
  • "I plan to retire with this company. I can't imagine working for anyone else."

Fun Fact: First Choice has a mascot, Pearl E. White, that's a big part of the company and how it connects with the community. Family members take turns donning the tooth costume. Kids and even adults love it. It helps with the anxiety of going to the dentist—not everyone's favorite thing to do.

KW2 (Knupp & Watson & Wallman)
10–50 employees category rank: No. 6
Number of employees: 25

What employees say:

  • "KW2 is a place where it's easy to be happy. Being positive is valued here, self-improvement is supported and we enjoy spending time together. That all reflects in our good work."
  • "Our business is our people. We want to attract the best talent in this market, make them crazy happy and keep them here as long as we possibly can."

Fun Fact: KW2 rewards its employees regularly; the company provides breakfast twice a week, has a weekly happy hour and several outings a year. "Bottom line—we really, really like the people that work here and feel fortunate they give us their talent and time," says Jen Savino, co-owner and vice president.

Neider & Boucher, S.C.
10–50 employees category rank: No. 10
Number of employees: 31

What employees say:

  • "Neider & Boucher is the best place to work!"
  • "The partners, staff and lawyers are exceptionally honest and caring individuals who strive to provide the highest quality service to clients. The people here are genuinely interested in the professional development and personal lives of all of us. I'm grateful to be a member of this firm."

Fun Fact: Every year Neider & Boucher has a very competitive free-throw contest during March Madness. The trophy is a plastic crown that stays in the winner's office until the next NCAA tourney season.

10–50 employees category rank: No. 8
Number of employees: 28

What employees say:

  • "One of our coolest perks is our summer and winter break. We shut down for a week in July and a week and a half between Christmas and New Year's."
  • "Great culture with the elusive balance between fun and diligence. The founders are unified, and the team works well together."
  • "I love my employer. This past year I turned down an opportunity to work at Facebook so I can further my career with this wonderful company!"

Fun Fact: For nearly two years, the CEO ran the business from his college apartment living room.

Rural Mutual Insurance Company
100+ employees category rank: No. 3
Number of employees: 175 statewide (119 in the Dane County area) and approximately 150 sales agents statewide.

What employees say:

  • "Our CEO sends personalized birthday and employment anniversary cards to employees—a handwritten message is a nice touch."
  • "A fine organization whose management sets high standards for work product while being open to, appreciative of and caring toward employees."

Fun Fact: A cow named Sally is in the lobby. She's from the 2006 Cows on the Concourse event. Since Rural Mutual is affiliated with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, it seemed fitting to buy and display Sally in the office.

The QTI Group
51–100 employees category rank: No. 4
Number of employees: 86 in Dane County; 118 across the state

What employees say:

  • "People love how dedicated QTI is to each community where we live and work. Last year we met our goal and the management team got slimed. It was pretty funny."
  • "QTI has created a culture of caring, flexibility, philanthropy and more that makes it a great place to work!"

Fun Fact: QTI prides itself on fostering work/life balance. Employees say family is important; they feel that in the workplace.

– Compiled by Judy Dahl 

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