As the Road Tour SUV pulled up to Chamberlain Marketing Group in Taylor, MI, we were immediately greeted in rare form. A huge sign (20 feet wide) outside of the headquarters office said Welcome Counselor Magazine, including the Best Places to Work logo and everything. It was like home. OK, not really, but awfully close, especially because of the great hospitality that everybody at Chamberlain showed us during our visit.
With the whole company clad in Best Places to Work custom white t-shirts for the day, the welcoming committee was led by Jerry Chamberlain, owner and founder of the company, and Jerry Mulligan, vice president of sales and business development and Chamberlain’s partner in the business. As the two, along with Rob Ross, vice president of operations, and George Salloum, CFO, regaled us with tales of Halloween parties, Spirit Weeks, BBQs, birthday celebrations, and health and wellness incentive programs (everybody at the company is currently wearing pedometers measuring their steps), they piqued our interest with something none of us had ever heard of before.
“You guys ever played fowling,” asked Chamberlain.
Our blank looks and responses of “what did you just say,” gave away the fact that we had never heard of this alien game. We quickly learned that it’s a mixture of football and bowling where you try to knock down pins with a football. Conversation over. “Let’s go,” we all said, looking forward to trying out a new game.
Short story? We’re awful at fowling. Joe was the only one who knocked a pin down while the cameras were rolling (check out the video on this page). As we started to walk away from the fowling court (Lane? Pitch? Field? What do you call it?), I finally nailed one pin. Yes, one.
What we learned, besides a completely new game that we’ll soon be setting up at our own office, is that this is a company with loyal employees (85 total, with an average tenure of about nine years) and an atmosphere extremely worthy of being a Best Place to Work. “We hire good people, and they enjoy spending time with each other,” Chamberlain says. “We try to provide them an environment that they can thrive in and that they appreciate.”
It’s also an environment that often includes food. On this warm Wednesday, they sparked up the barbecue and served up hot dogs, burgers and sausages, complete with all the fixins possible. Enjoying a lunch with the Chamberlain team, we clearly saw that this is a group of people that feel pride in their company and enjoy coming to work every day. “They know we value them and we try to show that to them in every way possible all of the time,” Mulligan says. “We also communicate openly and honestly. They know there’s mutual trust.”