Hilary Gardner, recruiting supervisor

“Davis is the best because each employee is empowered to grow the business and create his or her own career path.”

Hilary Gardner joined The Davis Companies seven years ago after stints at a large financial services firm and a large international staffing firm before that. The recruiting manager noticed the differences in Davis’ atmosphere right away. “It was so different from other places I’ve worked,” she says.

The differences start at the top, with President and CEO Bob Davis making it a point to know everyone at the company, fostering a family feel at the company, but also encouraging everyone to feel the company is their own.

Each employee is empowered to grow the business with their own ideas. Whether it’s to map out a different career path for themselves, or to share thoughts on entering a new market or opening a new office, Davis is open to discussing it all.

That everyone’s thoughts and ideas are appreciated was evident just recently when Gardner returned recently from being out ill to find a bouquet of flowers on her desk with a note thanking her for everything she does and for helping others around her. “That gesture really hit home,” she says. She was also the company’s GEM Award (Going the Extra Mile) recipient this year, which included cash and a glass trophy.

But there’s more. There is a company-sponsored lunch every Friday and everyone gets a free turkey at Thanksgiving. And there are the random trips. In 2008, the entire company went on 4-day Caribbean cruise. And twice during Gardner’s tenure, there have been “summer fests” — when staff, significant others and children enjoyed a weekend of outdoor fun at a New Hampshire lake. All “to balance out the hard work we do,” she says.