2011 Award Winners

2011 Award Winners

The Samaritan Awards ceremony, held May 5th, 2011.

The Samaritan Award was created with two purposes in mind:

  • First, to bring the importance of work/life initiatives to the attention of St. Joseph County employers and to honor those who provide family-friendly work environments; and
  • Second, to provide additional funding for the Samaritan Counseling Center’s Client Assistance Fund which benefits members of economically disadvantaged families who seek faith-based professional counseling.

To be considered for this award, a business or organization must meet the following criteria:

  • Promote family values in the work place,
  • Have a minimum of 10 employees,
  • Be located in St. Joseph County, and
  • Be willing to work with a team of student researchers.






Tom Hall (left), Partner from Tuesley Hall Konopa LLC presents the award to  Larry Davis, President and Dave Mischler, Vice President of Daman Products Co., Inc.

Daman Products has gained recognition for their unconventional practice of continuously improving the productivity of their employees and employee satisfaction.  Their dedication and commitment to continuous improvement has earned Daman a solid reputation among their customers as one of the best suppliers across their entire vendor base, not just among manifold suppliers or the hydraulic industry. Through team building and self-management, Daman goes beyond the textbook style of organizational management by focusing on the ‘soft skills’ of its organization, including collaboration, self-initiation, energetic attitude, detail-oriented focus, excellent communications and organizational skills.  Student researchers and the selection committee were both impressed by the core corporate values detailed in Daman’s employee handbook. Employees base all their decisions and judgments on values of truth/honesty, trust, fairness, respect and courage. Community involvement serves as an important pillar of Daman’s culture. Employees actively seek volunteer opportunities throughout the community, including partnering with local schools in supporting field trips, financial aid and an athletic association. Student researchers summarized, “The company’s numerous awards and employee satisfaction are a testament to the company’s commitment to creating and maintaining an extraordinary work-family environment.”









Ken Sage (left), Vice President Business Development of Midland Engineering Co.  presents the award to Mr. Greg Jurgonski, Shareholder of Jurgonski & Fredlake CPAs .

Jurgonski & Fredlake CPAs is a Certified Public Accounting firm originally founded in 1984. They are a full service CPA firm offering its clients audit, tax, accounting, consulting, and compilation services.   The shareholders of Jurgonski & Fredlake CPAs acknowledge that employees are looking for a balance between work and personal life.  In order to maintain the best employees, the firm must work to help all its employees find this balance.  The firm’s flexible work schedule allows employees to adjust their weekly hours to allow time for attending children’s school events or other personal matters.  Time is also allowed for employees to study for the CPA exam. The shareholders of Jurgonski & Fredlake are able to address human resource circumstances on a case by case basis and have been able to give personal attention to their employees in their individual situations.  Notable instances include the firm’s support of an employee in obtaining an HB1 Visa, and retaining health insurance for an employee with serious health problems.  In the words of the student researchers, “We feel that the firm sets a new standard for small companies in terms of employee benefits.”





Brandelyn Rodriguez (right), Manager, Kruggle Lawton presents the award to Salon Rouge owner Gail Getz.

Salon Rouge, is a full service salon with two locations, in South Bend and Mishawaka.  The salon opened its doors in 1997 as The Atria Salon and officially became Salon Rouge in 2005.  Owner Gail Getz strives to maintain a family-friendly, fun-loving and sophisticated environment and is committed to providing benefits that promote this atmosphere.  She understands that work and life balance encourage a strong work ethic.  By allowing employees to make their own schedules, Salon Rouge employees are able to create a work schedule around child care, school times, and other personal needs.  Several benefits are also afforded to employees including discounts on products and services, group discounts at local fitness centers, and paid professional training.  The staff of Salon Rouge recognize that Getz is very involved in the community.  The salon participates in Relay for Life, Lees Denim Day, Breast Cancer Awareness, haircut donations and offers a student discount.  As noted by the student researchers, Gail Getz and Salon Rouge create a positive work environment and appreciate their employees which is shown through their benefit programs, flexibility, and friendly and happy staff.








Debie Coble (right), Vice President of Workforce Development Services for Goodwill Industries and a member of our Samaritan Awards Steering Committee prsents the award to Karen Barnett, President and owner of  Valley Screen Process Co., Inc.

Valley Screen Process Co., Inc., founded in 1967, is a commercial screen and digital printing company that specializes in interior and exterior pressure-sensitive graphics. Most employees have families, making work/life balance very important to Valley Screen and Karen Barnett, its President and owner.  Wellness and health are encouraged, and Valley Screen offers flexibility for employees to organize and coordinate wellness initiatives.  From walking groups during the lunch hour to participating in Bike to Work Week, Valley Screen has made it clear they value the health and wellness of their employees.  Employees are also given flexibility to adjust their work schedule to accommodate sick children and chronically ill employees or their families.  Karen Barnett and Valley Screen show their appreciation for their employees by holding family events for holidays and in the summer, recognizing employee birthdays, and providing a quarterly employee recognition and information lunch.  Input from employees is valued by Barnett, and the company has made changes to keep pace with the needs of their workers.  The selection committee was very impressed that management took pay cuts during the recent economic challenges rather than lose more hard-working employees. Student researchers quote Michele Jurkaites, Controller, “Many businesses may claim to be ‘family friendly’ but Valley Screen takes it a step further by treating the employees as family members rather than just employees.”