Chamber Presents Most Fit Company Awards

The Greater Hall Chamber presented the 2014 Most Fit Company Awards at the HealthSmart Breakfast on October 8 at the Gainesville Civic Center. A VISION 2030’s Community Wellness Initiative, judging criteria for the contest included wellness, nutrition and fitness opportunities provided for employees.  The awards were presented in three categories: Small companies (50 or less), Medium companies (51-250), and Large companies (251+ employees).

Award (50 or less Employees)
Kipper Tool Company
Darrin Lee, Vice President
2375 Murphy Boulevard
Gainesville, GA  30504

Kipper Tool Company is an American woman-owned small business with a corporate office and warehouse facility in Gainesville.  Established in 1994, Kipper employs 42 people and designs, manufactures, and sustains custom tool kits for business, industry, and government agencies and is a certified Drug-Free Workplace. This past year, Kipper sponsored a company-wide Health Fair with over 10 providers attending to inform employees of various  wellness initiatives, including good eating habits, dangers of smoking, blood pressure issues, obesity, stress, and more.   Monthly bulletins, articles and posting concerning health and fitness are published in the company newsletter.  A Safety Training Walking/Stretching Trail has been set up in the Kipper warehouse to encourage employee exercise and fitness.  Company-sponsored wellness events such as a month-long, all-associate walking challenge was held this year.   Teams walked the equivalent mileage of walking to Sochi (site of the Winter Olympics) with incentives for teams.  The teams walked a total of 3,612 miles!  Kipper encouraged participation in Humana’s “Vitality Wellness Program” and ALL employees reached Silver Status in the program.  A company team participated in Challenged Child & Friends 5K and 1 mile walk/run and co-sponsored a Blood Drive for companies and employers located on Murphy Boulevard.  A Kipper employee team also participated in the March of Dimes Walk-a-Thon and the Gainesville-Hall Dragon Boat Challenge, supporting the Hall County Special Olympics.

Medium Company Award (51-250 Employees)
Kevin Brady, General Manager
1300 Gould Drive
Gainesville, GA  30504

Alkermes (formerly Elan Pharmaceuticals) is a leading biotechnology company committed to improving the lives of the patients they serve. In support of this commitment, the company aims to foster a health conscious environment for all 170 employees.  Alkermes offers a broad range of health and wellness benefits including acertified Drug-Free Workplace, education about healthy eating through a variety of programs and seminars as well as the option for onsite flu shots each year. The comprehensive Alkermes Wellness Incentive Plan rewards employees who are committed to improving or maintaining their good health and earn reward points for taking action through annual physical exams, smoking cessation programs and more. The Gainesville manufacturing plant offers a tobacco free campus as well as a variety of physical fitness opportunities, including access to a new onsite fitness facility, basketball courts and exercise programs designed to fit the specific needs of employees who work in more physically demanding roles. Nestled in a natural environment, the Gainesville location offers employees access to a new one mile walking trail through the woods and down to the Lake Lanier shoreline.  For those employees interested in more competitive athletic activity, Alkermes participates in annual fitness events including “Healthy Trails”, a walking program designed to help employees improve overall health by tracking progress on local trails, and the “Tri-Athlone”, a triathlon competition held in Athlone, Ireland.

Large Company Award (251+ Employees)
SAPA Extrusions
Jerry Nies, Plant Manager
2905 Old Oakwood Road
Gainesville GA 30504

Sapa is the world leader in the aluminum extrusion industry with 25,000 employees in more than 40 countries and is headquartered in Oslo, Norway.  Sapa Extrusions in Gainesville has 330 employees and offers health and wellness programs as well as a group insurance plan.  The company subsidizes participation in a gym or fitness program and also has a monthly safety competition, in which departments compete for a monthly safety award.  Employees earn points for their department by submitting, among other things, IFE (Injury Free Event) forms (unsafe conditions and/or behaviors) and Safety Observation Forms. The department earning the most points at the end of the month is awarded a luncheon and a gift card for each employee.  The company has a drug-free workplace policy and offers annual health screenings and flu shots for employees. Sapa Americas holds an annual “Health & Safety Day” where the entire company and all 25 Americas plants shut down or modify production for a day and focus on the health and safety of all employees, inviting various vendors (suppliers, local healthcare providers, community services) and local dignitaries to participate. Safety and wellness training and a healthy lunch are provided for all employees and participants. In Sapa Gainesville, the 2014 Health & Safety Day included a “Biggest Loser” contest, where 20+ employees at the Gainesville facility are competing in a weight loss competition.