Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - It was a clean sweep for Missoula as the Montana Department of Labor and Industry announced their annual ‘Employer of Choice’ awards this week.

I spoke with DLI’s Public Information Officer Sam Loveridge, who was impressed with the business culture in Missoula.

Missoula Companies Sweep State Workplace Awards

“Missoula did great this year,” began Loveridge. “They won the three major awards that the Montana Department of Labor offers. Every year we announce our Employer of Choice Award winners. Basically how this works is whether it's an employee or customer, they'll nominate a business. We then recognize the employers who have shown exceptional commitment to attracting and retaining employees, as well as fostering a real strong workplace culture, as well.”

Loveridge described the parameters of the statewide competition.

Loveridge Said the Awards Went to Small, Medium and Large Businesses

“The first one is a company with one to 50 employees,” he said. Next 100 to 150 and then after that, 150 plus. So this year, after multiple nominations out of Missoula, Glendive, Billings, and Kalispell, we actually saw all three winners come out of Missoula.”

Loveridge listed the three winners, all based in Missoula.

“The first one, our small business is Homeword,” he said. “It's a nonprofit that deals with homebuyer education and creating sustainable affordable housing. The next one is Alps. Alps provides attorney malpractice insurance. And then the last one is a company called Submittable. They have locations throughout the country but are centered here in Missoula, and they do form submission software.”

It was the Employees of Each Business That Submitted the Entries

Loveridge said it was the employees of each business that brought all three awards to Missoula.

“Talk to all the CEOs of each one of these businesses, and one of the things they continue to stress is the importance of workplace culture,” he said. “It's not just about creating a work-life balance, although that is important, it's about creating a culture and atmosphere where all the employees can come together, find happiness, and a strong sense of the important work that they do, and I'm just really impressed with those Missoula companies this year.”

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On Friday, I spoke with the former CEO of Homeword, Andrea Davis, who is now the Mayor of Missoula, for her reaction to the award.

“Right away, I just have to say how proud I am of the work that we did together at that organization, and when we focus on the workplace, making it better for the employees and the staff, we know that we're doing good work for the people that we're serving,” said Mayor Davis. “This is the second time that homeward has been awarded the Department of Labor through the job service Best Small Employer Award.”

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