Staying with a company longer than 5 years has become an anomaly in America, which is why company loyalty is prized so highly these days. The cost of hiring, training, retraining, and covering the lost work load is high for any company. The ability to retain employees has been increasingly desirable in recent years.
This is why a man like Martin Geertsema is a rarity in the American workforce. A loader/laborer, he has worked for Ozinga for 29 years, with the first 28 as a driver for the concrete company.
“I started working for Ozinga in 1989 as a driver,” explained Geertsema. “I came to the company through Lon Natelborg. I was going to the same church at the time, and one winter Lon just hooked me up with a job and I haven’t looked back since.”
Currently, Geertsema works at the Cedar Lake yard. “I push up material, do maintenance work on the plant, and miscellaneous work around the yard.”
However, Geertsema isn’t the only employee who has been with the company, long term. Ozinga has a very high employee retention rate, which Geertsema attributes to the family atmosphere that the company focuses on.
“There are a lot of things to recognize about Ozinga,” Geertsema stated. “They’ve never missed paying their employees and they’ve always been fair. They gave me an opportunity to switch and get out of the truck after 28 years.”
Geertsema is no stranger to loyalty. He’s been happily married for 31 years and has two grown children. After starting to work for Ozinga while living in Illinois, he moved to Crown Point in 1992, where he’s stayed ever since.
“My wife and I are involved in our church, Village Church in Dyer” said Geertsema. “We bring meals to the sick and shut-ins. People who just had surgery or who can’t get to church, we’re there to bring them food.”
After being with the same people for close to three decades, what does Geertsema have to say about Ozinga?
“It’s a good organization with really great people,” expounded Geertsema. “Every time they’ve done something for their employees, they went all out. I remember one time they rented out the Chicago Bears parking lot. They really show their appreciation to their employees.”
Besides making sure that their employees are taken care of, Ozinga also donates to local churches in need.
“If there was a church in need, Ozinga would donate the concrete,” said Geertsema. “I believe Ozinga does so well because of all the charity work they do, that God is blessing them for their generosity.”
From taking care of their employees, like Geertsema, to taking care of their community, Ozinga is still differentiating themselves, even after 90 years in business, from other companies and is reaping the rewards, and likely will continue to do so for a long time to come.