Fox Valley Employer Best Place to Work Nationally

Local manufacturer builds national model for best place to work thanks to robust training partnership and supportive resources

Published Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It took an army to clear out an area on the shop floor at CMD Corporation, a global leader in engineering and technical services in the plastics converting industry, for a company-wide event recently held at its Appleton-based headquarters.

Due to unprecedented growth over the past five years, CMD not only kept manufacturing goods at a torrid pace, but the company had to manufacture space as well for an employee event that doesn’t happen every day on a shop floor. The occasion highlighted CMD receiving a national honor of ranking in the “Best Places to Work” for two consecutive years. 

The distinction from Plastics News magazine, the sector’s largest trade publication, identifies the best employers in the plastics industry nationwide. CMD’s repeat at the top of the list for workforce culture is an impressive feat when considering it represents the third-largest manufacturing industry the United States—employing more than 900,000 people.

CMD recently celebrated its back-to-back accomplishments by treating its workforce of about 150 to a recognition luncheon with special guests from both the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Fox Valley Technical College.

Stephen Sakai, CMD president, attributes his company’s exemplary workforce to a commitment to working together. “Our goal of transforming a corporate culture really began about seven years ago,” says Sakai. “It’s a work in progress, but we’ve seen improvements in communication, problem solving, and leadership skills through a collaborative receptiveness from our employees." 

CMD’s journey toward cultural change continues through training from Fox Valley Technical College’s Business and Industry Services. Led by trainer Dean Murzello, FVTC implemented a Workforce Advancement Training grant offered by the Wisconsin Technical College System to empower the company’s employees with skills designed for competition in a global market.

“Fox Valley Technical College applauds CMD Corporation for being a manufacturing leader and appreciates its multi-year partnership with the college,” adds Mary Frozena, associate director of FVTC’s Business and Industry Services. “We congratulate CMD once again for raising the bar on what it means to be a great place to work while customizing the company’s training needs during a time of exceptional rapid growth.”

CMD is coming off a record earnings year in 2015—the highest in 35 years, and it’s witnessed an increase in export sales by 35% since 2011. A series of grants on behalf of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has assisted CMD is sustaining its momentum. “The WEDC support opened up new markets for us and contributed toward the development of a Spanish web site so our diverse client base can be better served,” notes Sakai. “We wouldn’t be where we are without the WEDC and Fox Valley Tech.”

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