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ON BOARD: Company’s Creativity Offers Employees Less-Stressful Lifestyle

February 17, 2003 | By Johanna Miller
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

Kimberli Bindschatel
  Keys To Success: David Fox says riding the bus to work is good, money-saving transportation option.

David Fox works at Cascade Engineering’s Grand Rapids plant assembling parts for Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler automobiles. Mr. Fox enjoys his work helping to manufacture cars, but doesn’t own one. Instead, he chooses to ride the bus.

“It’s my exercise,” said Mr. Fox, who walks about three miles to catch the bus. “And I have enough stress in my life. I don’t need to drive to work and get stressed. Taking the bus is easy.”

Mr. Fox also estimates the half-hour bus trip saves him about one-quarter of his income.

This significant cost savings to employees helped trigger Cascade Engineering’s efforts to ensure ITP buses ran on 28th Street, which is close to the plant. Supporting transit is just one element of Cascade Engineering’s efforts to provide an untapped workforce with jobs, according to Fred Keller, chairman and CEO. The company established a welfare-to-career program to help connect people to jobs and provide them with the tools to build a better career and a better life.

“The program is my attempt to build social capital in the community. At Cascade Engineering it’s about more than just a job, it’s about giving people a hope and a vision that they can have a career and progress to where they want to be in their lives,” noted Mr. Keller.

The company’s efforts help. Mr. Fox plans to invest the money he saves by riding the bus in his future, rather than in a car. With plans for buying a house and saving for retirement brewing, the avid fisherman has more money for other important things. “I’d rather spend my money on a fishing rod rather than a car. I can get more use out of it, anyway,” he laughed.

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