1 CRG Events

2200 Alaskan Way, Ste 300, Seattle
206-441-6448; crgevents.com
Total Local Employees 49

CRG Events Meeting Notes
Image: Andrew Waits

CRG Events Meeting notes.

What They Do
These corporate event planners work 12- to 14-hour days, several days in a row, to pull off a Microsoft conference for 15,000—but they won’t skimp on an intimate dinner for 25. Each event receives the same attention to detail, from soup to nuts, or from pupu platters to fire twirlers for those long-ago WaMu employee trips to Hawaii. Yes, some clients have trimmed their event-planning budgets, but lately, business has come roaring back. “During the recession, we had some events cancel,” said event director Meghan Finley. “But it has done a 180. It’s very busy right now.”

Which means CRG can get back to hiring, and they start by promoting from within. “We hire about 60 to 70 percent of our interns,” Finley said, placing them in openings within the event management, marketing, and on-site registration teams. The executive team is entirely female, which means—hello—that communication and morale are top priorities. There’s a Morale Committee that lays out details of upcoming potlucks using PowerPoint. And weekly Monday staff meetings won’t end until the group can name five things it’s grateful for, personal or professional. Happy the UW Huskies made it to the NCAA playoffs? That your colleague just had a baby? That Meghan stayed late to help you finish on Friday? They all get shoutouts. “We have a pretty thankless job at times, so it’s nice to hear those things about your coworkers,” Finley said. But the talk isn’t all pretty. “We give feedback to each other all the time. Good or bad, we’re going to say it, and we need to be open to receiving it.… I think it’s an important part of our culture. We all trust each other and feel a bond.”

Perks, Praise, and Play Annual days off: 26.
Morale Committee schedules twice-monthly events: potlucks, spontaneous pizza lunches, snowboarding trips. Employee of the Month award, tenure awards. Bonus. Three-week sabbatical for every four years with the company. Staffers sit on stability balls at their desks.

What the Boss Wants “Someone who’s flexible, energetic, collaborative, productive, detail-oriented, has good energy, adapts to any situation, and is confident.” —Meghan Finley, Event Director

Reasons to Love This Job “We all love working here, and it gets busy, so we try to remember why we love working together, whether that’s going to get a manicure or playing Rock Band or a friendly food competition.” —Ellisa Burke, Marketing Communications Manager 

CRG Events trophy
Image: Andrew Waits

CRG Events Relay-race trophy from an office picnic.

Hiring? Yes, crgevents.com/crg/content/careers.aspx

Communication Channels Impromptu problem solving—an open forum for employee questions or ideas at weekly staff meetings. Required feedback loops.

Benefits 401(k); employer pays 100% medical, 75–99% dental, 75–99% vision; employer contributes $1,000 each year to health savings accounts for employees with high-deductible health plans; paternity leave; lactation facilities

More Time Off Employees can donate time off to fellow employees and earn extra time off for volunteer work.

Average Annual Compensation (Salaried) Not Available

Average Annual Compensation (Hourly) Not Available

1 Explore Consulting

10900 NE Eighth St, Ste 200, Bellevue
425-462-0100; exploreconsulting.com
Total Local Employees 33 

What They Do
Since 2001, Explore has come up with creative IT solutions for clients like the Seattle Storm, Amazon, Microsoft, and Nordstrom. In the last year, the team of web developers and data analysts has added 11 new positions and brought NFL scouting reports “to the cloud.”

Explore Consulting
 Nerf game
Image: Andrew Waits

Explore Consulting 
Target practice with Nerf guns 
(previous page) relieves stress.

Perks, Praise, and Play Annual days off: 20. Exercise facility and showers on site. Seahawks tickets in the Explore suite. Tuition reimbursement. Prizes and trophies presented annually: two Rising Star Awards, two Peer Awards, and the Consultant of the Year Award. Profit sharing. Bonus.

Reasons to Love This Job “The Nerf gun shooting range, for midday stress-relieving target practice.”

Hiring? Yes, exploreconsulting.com/join.htm

Communication Channels The CEO and COO lead monthly company status meetings over a catered lunch. The CEO has an open-door policy.

Benefits 401(k); employer pays 75–99% medical, 50–74% dental, 75–99% vision; lactation facilities

More Time Off Earn extra time off for volunteer work.

Average Annual Compensation (Salaried) Not Available

Average Annual Compensation (Hourly) Not Available


501 N 34th St, Ste 300, Seattle
206-302-7721; groundspeak.com
Total Local Employees 53

Groundspeak entryway
Image: Andrew Waits

The entryway doubles as a geocache location.

What They Do
Staffers at Seattle tech company Groundspeak start their days with a game of hide-and-seek—though you won’t find the CEO crouching under a desk or the vice president in a broom closet. Groundspeak monitors a global geocaching community engaged in round-the-clock, modern-day treasure hunts. With a GPS unit or smartphone in hand, geocachers track down canisters hidden by other players—in an old shoe, behind a loose brick in a wall, underwater (and accessible by submarine)—based on the coordinates listed on Groundspeak’s -geocaching.com site. The prize doesn’t really matter as much as the hunt, and the company’s “Lackeys”—a young, industrious bunch of developers, web designers, product managers, and operations folk—keep the game running smoothly.

Not that it’s all work and no play for the so-called Lackeys. Their Fremont office comes equipped with an Xbox, and a fridge stocked with sandwiches from Homegrown fuels picnic lunches along the Burke-Gilman trail. They play kickball and poker on Friday nights, take off the occasional Wednesday to use their free lift tickets at Stevens Pass, and go group geocaching…well, whenever. But how do they slip past the bosses? “The founders are the ones who initiate it,” says Reini Chipman, head of HR. “Our finance manager beat our CEO in poker last week.”

Perks, Praise, and Play Annual days off: 24. Free ski and snowboarding trips and lift tickets. Bagel Fridays. Catered meals. Monthly challenge to promote wellness and teamwork. Bonus. Stock options.

What the Boss Wants “One of the things we look for in a stunning coworker is selflessness and service. In interviews, it’s a real treat to see someone passionate about what they’ve accomplished in the past. But for us, it’s even more of a treat to see them passionate about what their former company has done to serve its customers.” —Bryan Roth, Vice President and Cofounder

Reasons to Love This Job “I’ve only been here for a year, but it’s really like coming home. A bunch of us worked together before…and when things picked up at Groundspeak, the gang all got back together. It’s so great because there’s so much trust built and we’re able to get so much done. Ultimately, it gets back to leadership.” —Reini Chipman, Director of Human Resources

Hiring? Yes, groundspeak.com/about.aspx#jobs

Communication Channels “We use yammer.com to share things that aren’t necessarily work critical: industry information, customer testimonials. It’s where we rally people to do fun things like wear an ugly sweater on Friday.”

Benefits 401(k) with employer match; employer pays 100% medical, 100% dental, 100% vision; paternity leave

Average Annual Compensation (Salaried) Not Available

Average Annual Compensation (Hourly) Not Available

Updated May 1, 2011. This corrects the original version published on April 22; the average annual compensation for Explore Consulting has been removed, the company does not offer adoption assistance, and the company covers 75–99% of medical and vision premiums, not 50–74%.