2011 Healthiest Employer Winner

McClure Engineering • Winner | Category 5 | Less than 100 employees

Rick Desloge | Reporter – St. Louis Business Journal

In circles outside McClure Engineering’s south St. Louis offices, the firm is known for its work on Anheuser-Busch’s brewing process control center as well as institutional projects — dormitories for Washington University; the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis; and renovations and additions to the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Brewer Field House that included a fitness center and a pair of swimming pools.

The Mizzou recplex and similar work rubbed off on McClure over the last four years, starting with a core of employees running daily at lunchtime in the neighborhood. It helped that Keith Cooper, company president, was among them. From that spark, McClure has adopted a three-pronged effort to keep employees fit, help them manage their health and tend to their emotional well-being, said Lauren Smith, human resources manager at McClure, which had $6.5 million in 2010 revenue.

First, showers were added to the office for employees who work out during the day, then about two years ago the company converted a former storage area into a fitness center. This year McClure remodeled a conference room into a cardio area, complete with workout videos, and paid for the equipment.

Fitness is only part of the picture. The company has taken what started as an occasional visiting nurse program and expanded it into six nurse visits a year, with a different focus for each visit. Flu shots in October are next. On other visits the nurses screen employees’ vision and hearing and handle basic cardio testing. The focus is as much on wellness as it is on fitness, Smith said, adding that McClure included a nutritionist on the schedule this year, as well as a personal trainer. For the last two years, the company has had a massage therapist visit once or twice a year. McClure also schedules annual CPR training and training to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), a potentially life-saving device now found in many gyms. McClure has an AED in its workout area.

To keep the programs fresh, an eight-person health-and-wellness committee surveys employees at the company. Those benefits, along with a health insurance program fully funded by McClure, are just for on the job. “We have a fitness reimbursement policy. Each employee gets $180 a year to go toward gym membership or other fitness benefits,” Smith said, adding that the funds can be used to cover athletic competitions and/or sports league entry fees.

That’s been a big plus for Rob Keller, McClure’s network administrator and a seven-year employee. Until this spring he had not taken part in any of the wellness activities. Then Keller used his $180 allocation for a gym membership with his wife. Since this spring, he’s lost 70 pounds and is now down to 234, he said. Plus, he pedaled 150 miles in September as one of 17 people on Team McClure that rode in the Gateway Area Chapter MS 150 charity bike ride. “I still have to change some habits, but I’ve learned a lot about nutrition and have eliminated soda from my diet,” Keller said.

And Smith now has a growing body of data that can also show how the programs aid the business.

“I can see it’s helped in recruiting,” she said, and health insurance increases have been minimal. “Historically, the national average increase has been close to 15 percent a year. At McClure it’s has been under 10 percent.”

2012 MEP Giant