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NM School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is the best midsize company

Teacher Annie Brengelmann-Chavez helps Adam Gutierrez, 3, and Aries Marincic, 4, balance on a swing in the gross motor activity room at the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With campuses in Alamogordo and Albuquerque, as well as mobile units available to roam the state, the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides services to thousands of students across New Mexico.

And the rewards of helping these students while maintaining a happy and vibrant work place makes the school the No. 1 mid-size business for the Albuquerque Journal’s Top Workplaces 2019.

“We all really like what we do and we like each other and we like the students and that creates a climate of success,” said interim superintendent Patricia Beecher. The number one reason is the students and families with whom we work. It’s a low-incidence population of students, comparatively speaking. We learn something new from every student that we teach and every family with whom we work.”

Maricela Canales, assistant teacher at the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, helps Kaylee Gonzales, 4, to use a spoon and make choices on dishes. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

The state-supported school (nmsbvi.k12.nm.us) has 220 employees, the majority of which are at the residential, all-grade Alamogordo campus. The Albuquerque campus serves as a pre-school for children ages 3-6.

“But we feel a responsibility toward students who are blind or visually impaired throughout the state,” Beecher said. “We have an outreach department that supports school districts and helps to mentor teachers to work with their population of students. And we have an assistive technology department to go out to school districts around the state with the newest technology for students to access technology.”

Teacher Annie Brengelmann-Chavez helps Adam Gutierrez, 3, and Aries Marincic, 4, balance on a swing in the gross motor activity room at the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Paul Killman, principal of the Albuquerque campus, said the way the staff works together and supports each other is what creates the unique workplace environment at both campuses.

“What makes us great and the school an amazing place is the dedication of the staff,” he said. “Everybody here is happy to be here because they know what they’re doing is important.”

The cooperation among the staff is beyond compare, Killman said.

“We all work together as a team,” he said. “There is lots of collaboration and meetings to talk about students needs and everybody understands that they’ve got a voice and they know they’re going to be heard. We refer to everybody here as a work family. That’s what makes the setting the so special.”

SECOND PLACE: EDWARD JONES

An Edward Jones office in Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

DESCRIPTION: Edward Jones provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm’s business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work. The firm’s 16,000 financial advisors work directly with more than 7 million clients to understand their personal goals — from college savings to retirement — and create long-term investment solutions that emphasize a well-balanced portfolio and a buy-and-hold strategy.

N.M EMPLOYEES: 189

N.M. LOCATIONS: 78

TOP WORKPLACES: 7 consecutive years

FROM THE COMPANY: Edward Jones embraces the importance of building long-term, face-to-face relationships with clients, helping them to understand and make sense of the investment options available today. The firm’s business model is one financial advisor and one branch office administrators operating branches in 13,000 locations in all 50 states. Edward Jones is headquartered in St. Louis.

FROM THE EMPLOYEES: “From day one I have been given tremendous amounts of support and encouragement that I have never felt at another workplace before,” a survey respondent said. “I feel so empowered to not only make the best of my environment, but the best for our clients as well.”

Free wellness care plus premium discounts for health screenings, good results or document healthy activities; vision and dental plans; adoption assistance up to $5,000 per child; domestic partner benefits; $5,000 in annual tuition reimbursement; annual profit sharing; and 401(k) and Roth accounts with firm matching. The company self-funds medical care so it can override provider decisions, order coverage or pay for expensive treatments.

THIRD PLACE: POWER FORD

The Power Ford dealership off Montaño.

DESCRIPTION: Auto dealership. Power Ford was recently named the 2019 New Mexico Ford Dealer of the Year and the award for the 2019 Consumer Satisfaction of the Year by DealerRater.com based on consumer reviews.

N.M EMPLOYEES: 162

N.M. LOCATIONS: 1

TOP WORKPLACES: First year

FROM THE COMPANY: Power Ford employees are passionate about helping people find and maintain the car or truck of their dreams. For nearly 30 years, the company has served the people of New Mexico by connecting them to the things and places they love.

The company has a passion for giving back to the community and raising the next generation of leaders in our community by proudly supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico. In addition, the dealership has a partnership with the Rio Rapids, which is the largest youth soccer organization in New Mexico.

FROM THE EMPLOYEES: “It challenges me to better myself, my ability and independence to help people buy cars,” a survey respondent said. “Being professional, making peoples dreams come true and offering the best service possible is what I always strive to do.”

One of the favorite perks is the annual company softball game at Isotopes Park, home of the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple A farm team of the Colorado Rockies. This event is open to all members of the Power Ford family and has all of the festivities of a minor league baseball game. In addition, the dealership offers a wide variety of benefits to employees. When joining the team, employees can expect to experience complimentary tickets to local sporting events, fun company events, and complimentary food. Power Ford also offers a generous health and benefits package to full-time employees.

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