All-Star Case Studies

Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game All-Stars

Jenner Sales Corp.

Jenner Ag, the Case IH Agriculture Application Equipment Distributor for the states of Illinois and Indiana, has been serving its customers for 56 years and counting.

Rapid Financial Results; Lasting Cultural Change

Before the team at Jenner Ag began playing the Great Game of Business, they were doing well – growing at about 5% per year. But thanks to Great Game practices, the company kicked its annual growth rate up a notch to 10%. The company was also very profitable, which was shared with employees through an aggressive bonus plan. 

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Kiolbassa Provision Company

Company Background

The Kiolbassa Provision Company is a 65-year-old family-owned manufacturer of handcrafted sausage based in San Antonio, Texas. Originally started as more of a pork and beef processor, the company shifted into making sausage fulltime under the guidance of president Michael Kiolbassa, whose grandfather started the company. The company’s sausages is now sold in all 50 states and in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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West Paw Design

Company Background

West Paw Design is a world-class manufacturer of high-quality pet toys, beds, and apparel based in Bozeman, Montana. Founded in 1996, 100% of West Paw Design's products are manufactured in the U.S. using nontoxic, organic, or recyclable materials and are sold largely through independent retailers.

Business Challenges

Manufacturing in the U.S. creates lots of challenges for West Paw, especially when it comes to battling the lower prices offered by its competitors who typically make or source their product from overseas. While the business had been largely successful over the long run, it began to lose money in 2012 – a crisis that triggered the firm’s founder, Spencer Williams, to turn to the GGOB for answers.

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Texas Air Composites

Company Background

Texas Air Composites, Inc. is an award-winning “overhaul” facility that repairs the sheet-metal, composite, and welded structures of airplanes for commercial and regional air carriers. Its clients include Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, Comair, SkyWest, Air Wisconsin, America West, Frontier Air, Cathay Pacific, Mesa Airlines, and WestJet. The five-year-old company has 72 employees (largely in sales, operations, engineering, purchasing, information technology, quality, and administration) and generates annual sales of $10 million.

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NewStream Enterprises

Company Background

NewStream Enterprises, an SRC company that has been playing the Game since its birth in 1990, provides customized product-flow management services to manufacturing companies large and small. Its 60 employee-owners label, pack, store, control, and ship customers’ products all over the world. Today, NewStream (Springfield, MO) generates annual revenue of $37 million.

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Enercon Services, Inc.

Company Background

Founded in 1983 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Enercon Services, Inc. (ENERCON) has grown to be one of the largest firms providing environmental and engineering services in the nation. A 100% employee-owned company, ENERCON earned more than $220 million in revenue for 2012. The company has four divisions – Environmental Services, Power Generation, New Plant Services, and Federal Services – and operates out of 25 offices nationwide, plus international offices in Belgium and Abu Dhabi. Clients include: federal, state and local governments, most major electric utilities, chemical and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, oil and natural gas companies, and many Fortune 500 companies.

Business Challenges

ENERCON is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2013 – and almost 20 years since it officially opened its books as part of a Great Game of Business initiative in the early 90’s. As the business has contin-ued to thrive during that time, it has grown rapidly – especially in terms of its payroll, which expand-ed from about 193 people in 1992 to more than 1,200 full and part-time associates today. The chal-lenge, the firm realized, was that there were only a handful of people who remembered why the company had opened its books in the first place and why it was so important to reconnect with those roots. “We wanted to refresh the mindset of what it means to think and act like an owner of this company,” says ENERCON president John Richardson.

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Whole Foods Market

Company Background

Whole Foods Market, founded in 1980, is the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, with 185 supermarkets and several distribution centers in North American and the United Kingdom. Grown largely through mergers and acquisitions, the Austin-based company (Nasdaq: WFMI) has 39,000 team members and posts annual sales of $4 billion. In 2006, Whole Foods ranked #15 on Fortune magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For”. It was the company’s ninth appearance on that annual list, and its highest ranking yet.

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Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

Company Background

It was back in 1982 that Ari Weinzweig and his partner, Paul Saginaw, opened Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The business has grown by leaps and bounds – particularly since 1992, when the partners began to expand their enterprise by creating the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB), a collection of what is now 11 ventures that include: the deli, a bakery, a mail-order house, a caterer, a training business, a coffee company, a creamery, a restaurant, a candy maker, an event space, and most recently, a Korean restaurant. ZCob also includes a separate business called Zingerman’s Service Network that provides administrative services to its sister companies. Zingerman’s was inducted into the Great Game of Business Hall of Fame in 2007.

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New Belgium Brewing Company

Company Background

In 1991, Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan launched New Belgium Brewing in the basement of their home. Today, thanks to many delightful brews and some excellent management practices, the $60-million company is the eleventh- largest brewery (and the third-largest craft brewery) in the nation. Based in Colorado, New Belgium is managed by 225 enthusiastic employee owners who brew, taste, package, market and sell about a dozen specialty beers to restaurants, taverns and other outlets throughout the western U.S.

Business Challenges

In recent years, the beer market has been relatively flat. The craft market, however, grew 9% in 2005. Other challenges include lousy weather, smoking bans and stiffer drunk driving laws. (Not that the latter is a bad thing; NBB advocates responsible drinking.) Still, the brewery has enjoyed enviable growth, posting double - and even triple-digit annual growth rates.

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Meadows Regional Medical Center

Company Background

Meadows Regional Medical Center is a not-for-profit community hospital located in Vidalia, Georgia – a rural part of the state about two hours west of Savannah. CEO Alan Kent first introduced the practice of The Great Game of Business to the 400 employees of Meadows back in 2003. In the 11 years since, the organization has thrived and grown like crazy in an era where most healthcare facilities have been forced to cut staff and services as they try and compete in the modern healthcare market.

Business Challenges

Before they began playing the GGOB, Meadows Regional was chugging along nicely: the hospi-tal was profitable and employees were happy. Then, the figurative wheels came off in 2003. Triggered by a doubling of their own health insurance and worker’s compensation insurance premiums, coupled with stagnant revenues, the organization posted an annual net income loss of some $2.8 million. But rather than lay off employees – and put patient safety and satisfaction at risk – Kent empowered his doctors, nurses, technicians and administrative staff to come up with the solutions to drive their growth forward.

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