Best Places to Work
IEC Corporation Takes First Place In Its Category
Photo by Dennis Mccoy/Sacramento Business Journal
About IEC Corporation
Executive: Eric Quintero, President
Total employees: 35
Describe your company culture in five words:
“Entrepreneurial, flexible, collaborative, lively, welcoming”
Most popular perks you offer:
“Barbecues at the local park during work hours. … Leaving work early on Fridays to get an early start on the weekend, and playing foosball during lunch time.”
Biggest mistake an owner or manager can make in the workplace:
“To think that he or she is the single reason for the success of the company.”
How being a Best Place to Work affects your bottom line:
“When our employees are happy, they are more productive, creative and willing to work as a team. Anytime these three attributes are working together, our company productivity multiplies, along with our bottom line.”
– Eric Quintero
By Cheryl Sarfaty
Sacramento Business Journal Correspondent
Sacramento, CA | October 2016
Not a day goes by that accounting veteran Anne Kennedy isn’t grateful for her job as a controller at Sacramento-based IEC Corp.
“I’m a CPA with 30 years of experience,” said Kennedy, who’s been with the engineering company since June 2013. “This is not the place where you turn and burn, which is an environment I’m used to in the accounting field.”
Rather, IEC Corp., which provides engineering design, consulting and construction services to public agency and electric utility clients, has been built on the philosophy that by cultivating trust and investing in its people, the team will work cohesively and clients will take note and come back.
“I’m a real big proponent of (the idea) that we can’t achieve greatness as an organization unless we grow everyone individually,” said Eric Quintero, founder and president of IEC. “When growing people here, I tend to speak to the person they want to become, not the person they are today.”
It’s a philosophy that seems to work. The average tenure of IEC’s local staff of 16 is eight years; four people have been employed for more than 15 years, Kennedy said.
“By hiring incredible employees and keeping everybody on track, improving their skills and encouraging them to move up, Eric has created a company that can last a very long time,” Kennedy said. “And that’s why I think I can be here until I retire.”
Quintero, who founded IEC in 2000, holds degrees in mechanical and aeronautical engineering from University of California Davis and worked on the construction of several large power plants before launching IEC.
As engineers go, Quintero is not your typical numbers guy. “My passion is building people and building a business,” he said. “I just happened to go to engineering school.”
IEC offers 100 percent employer-paid medical, dental and vision coverage for its employees and their families, two 401(k) plan options, and company-paid short- and long-term disability. The company also pays for group-term life insurance and provides 120 hours of annual paid time off.
“After you’ve been here five years, the PTO goes up to 160 hours,” Kennedy said. IEC also encourages work-life balance. “Any hours worked over 43 in a week or 10 hours in a day gets PTO or paid out – you choose.”
The company culture has proven successful, producing hard-working and dedicated employees who feel appreciated and secure.
Aaron Leach, a senior electrical engineer who joined IEC as an intern nearly 10 years ago, found out firsthand how secure his job was after the sudden death of a loved one.
“Eric called me and said, ‘Take whatever time you need and come back whenever you want to. Don’t worry about PTO, don’t worry about any of that. We’ll figure it out.’ “ Leach said, adding that he was paid his full salary while he was away. “I was able to just focus on ...grieving and what we needed to do as a family. That, to me, was really big.”
Leach also is an example of the company’s preference for growing its own employees rather than hiring from the outside. His six-month college internship resulted in a full-time job offer as a staff engineer. Several years later, he was promoted to the senior electrical engineer position he holds today.
Mentorship is a large part of IEC’s culture, and egos are expected to be checked at the door.
“When I first started working here, there were times we would all be working crazy hours trying to get a proposal or a big report compiled and out to a client,” said project assistant Brenda Evans, who has been with IEC for more than 11 years.
She recalls how during the long nights, Quintero would vacuum and take out the garbage until the work was ready to come back to him. Managers also pitched in with administrative tasks. “It’s all about getting the final product done correctly and good and submitted properly,” she said.
Everyone’s hard work is rewarded on a regular basis, with birthday celebrations, group lunches, and annual holiday party and outside excursions.
Ask Quintero where he sees his company going and once again his focus isn’t on the numbers. “I don’t look at it in terms of how many people or how many locations,” he said. “I want to take the company where we’re inspired.”