1. C&S COMPANIES
Cory Hazlewood figures his team at C&S Companies must be doing something right.
For the third straight year, C&S Companies was named a Best Place to Work by the San Diego Business Journal.


“It’s been a good ride. I’m very happy with our team, very happy,” said Hazlewood, vice president of C&S Companies.


A design build construction company with a staff of 512, according to Hazlewood, C&S has a culture that puts employees first and gives them a say in the company, Hazlewood said.


Options


“We’ve had the mindset of establishing lots of ways to continue to be progressive,” Hazlewood said. “We have committees and internal groups, not at the senior levels, but at lower levels that come up with creative ideas to keep people engaged and excited.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and more people starting working at home, C&S paid for any equipment they needed.


With the economy bouncing back, the company gave workers the option of continuing to work at home or return to the office.


About 60% have returned, but Hazlewood said the option remains for those who are more comfortable working from home.


When the pandemic was at its worst, the company had team-building virtual happy hours twice a month.


“We’d play card games and do other things when everybody was working from home,” Hazlewood said. “We were able to do it by way of Zoom and other things.”


Pre-pandemic, C&S would have regular company-wide team-building events.
Such big gatherings are no longer possible, but to ease the transition for those returning to the office, C&S had a get-together in June “to get people reestablished and comfortable,” Hazlewood said. “It was and outdoor event, office staff only.”


The company has long offered workers thee-weeks paid vacation once they’ve been with the company for 90 days, and this year added an extra day off.


“We have flexible work hours for people that have children issues right now because of COVID,” Hazlewood said.


The company also has a 401K plan and helps with school tuition for its employees.


Giving Back


Outside of the work environment, C&S in 2019 established the C&S Foundations to support the company’s charity work.


2. RYAN LLC
Ryan LLC is a tax services industry client service leader and represent 96 percent of the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company tackles overall tax performance and helps businesses measure and improve their efficiency and develop a more strategic approach to taxes.


People First


“We are tremendously honored to receive this recognition as the number 2 Best Place to Work in San Diego in the large company category,” said Thomas Loban, principal at Ryan. “At Ryan, we have been intentional about creating a people first culture. We often say, we can’t take of our clients without taking care of our people. And over the last 18 months, we really got to see it in action.”


The company has also leaned into diversity, equity and inclusion through the launch of RyanMOSAIC. This effort kicked off with internal listening tours on the topic of DEI and continues to inform the company’s future talent acquisition efforts in creating a more diverse company.


“We saw our team members support and inspire each other, leading with empathy and flexibility,” said Marc Hartley, principal at Ryan. “Whether it was flexible schedules working around childcare, dealing with the stress of having everyone home or having no one at home, our team figured it out. They stay connected, work together and supported one another and thrived. They were resilient in the face of unprecedented challenges.”


Innovative Programs


Additionally, the company offers its employees mentorship opportunities and foundational leadership courses for new managers as they seek to grow employees within the company.


“Ryan is proud of our innovative corporate programs and industry-leading benefits that allows us to achieve a more enduring success for our team members, which translates into success for our clients,” Loban said.

3. SUNDT CONSTRUCTION
Sundt Construction is a leader in construction that believes its purpose it to build environments where its clients, employee owners and communities prosper. Today, the company is 100 percent employee owned and ranks as one of the largest majority employee-owned companies.

Love What They Do

“We’re very proud of our people and we all love what we do. Skill, grit, purpose are the characteristics we’re known for,” said Ryan Nessen, senior vice president and California district manager at Sundt.

Founded in 1890, the company has grown to approximately 1,460 employees nationwide and 59 based in San Diego. Across California, there are more than $7.3 billion worth of Sundt Construction projects according to the company’s website.

The company is responsible for massive projects in the San Diego area, including improvements at the San Diego International Airport (SDIA) which has transformed the experience of air travelers. Notably, the SDIA Rental Car Center project which was completed in 2015 is LEED Gold certified and it’s the largest concrete building in San Diego.

Sundt is also building schools in San Diego County and during the award ceremony, some of the company’s employees spoke to what makes Sundt specifically, such a great place to work. Sundt has been named a top ten Best Places to Work winner 12 years in a row.

A Lot of Grit

“You get to work with people that have a lot of grit, taking this dirt patch, building it up and a year later there will be students in it,” said Tyler Menard, assistant project manager at Sundt from a San Diego construction site. “It really comes down to the people, they truly care about you and just not only on a personal level but as far as your career goes as well.” 

Natallie Rocha contributed to this story.