Pella Corp. does more than make windows and doors; it has helped create a welcoming, pleasant community in its namesake Iowa town.
To help attract and retain workers, the privately held, family-owned, 98-year-old company and its shareholders are investing in a number of crucial amenities and services, including child care, housing and dining/entertainment options.
We spoke to Pella Corp. Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer John Bollman recently, and he told us how it happened.
A great first impression: Prospective hires in need of relocation always get a full tour of the town—and they are always impressed, according to Bollman.
- “People consistently come back [from the tours] and say, ‘Wow, I’m surprised—in a positive way—in the community. It’s a small community, but it’s beautiful and vibrant.’”
- “Pella is a community that takes pride in its heritage and history and the shareholder family has always played a key role in enhancing the community’s appeal,” he added.
How it happened: Several years ago, Pella Corp. President and CEO Tim Yaggi, in a presentation to Pella Corp. shareholders, indicated that different investments were needed to improve local housing, child care and amenities. These upgrades would help the company attract and retain the talent it needed to achieve its long-term growth goals, Yaggi said.
- The shareholder family committed nearly $30 million to these initiatives, which included investment in the construction of a high-end condominium/townhouse complex, as well as a 160-acre development geared toward median-income households.
- They also purchased, remodeled and expanded a local building, turning it into a state-of-the-art daycare facility. In 2021, under the management of national daycare operator New Horizon Academy, the Pella New Horizon Academy opened, serving children aged six weeks through 5 years.
- In addition, they partnered with fellow Pella-based firm Vermeer Corp. to bring Smash Park, a craft-food and entertainment venue, to the town.
- And last, the company helped to establish both a local Chick-fil-A restaurant and Liberty Street Kitchen, one of the community’s fine-dining establishments.
A holistic approach: Pella Corp. knows that when it fills a job at the company, it’s also bringing in new town residents, and that’s a responsibility it takes seriously.
- “When you’re recruiting talent, the company is assessing fit for the role,” Bollman said. “But when it comes to location, our job is to facilitate the ability of the candidate—and if they have a family, the family, too—to determine whether Pella as a community is a good fit.”
- The approach is paying off. One recent key hire had to relocate for the position, and before the family visited the town of Pella, they were certain they wanted to live in larger Des Moines, about an hour away. “But because they were able to find good child care and housing, they decided to live in Pella,” Bollman said.
Meeting parents’ needs: The high cost and low availability of child care is an enormous burden on families, so it’s no surprise that the affordably priced, high-quality Pella New Horizon Academy is highly sought after.
- The center, which is currently at capacity at 140 children and has a waitlist of about 50, is open to all. Nearly a third are Pella Corp. employees’ kids, according to Bollman.
- “We wanted to invest in child care for our team members and our broader community,” he said.
- The cost is 35-40% less than the average price of daycare in Des Moines, according to Bollman.
Onward and upward: Pella Corp. has big plans for its child-care initiative, says Bollman. If it can expand its staff, “we could go to 194 enrolled kids, and with some additions to the building, that could go to 225.”
- He has no doubt that the center will easily fill those spaces. “Everyone I’ve talked to that has a child at the center is just over the moon.”