My company, Accutech Systems, calls Muncie, Indiana, home. Launched by my father, Ray, in 1987, we’re proud of our history and have our sights set on the future. Accutech has grown significantly in the past several years with our Cheetah Wealth Management Platform as well as our first acquisition of a financial planning solutions provider, Moneytree. We invested more than $5.5 million to redevelop a 40,000-square-foot building downtown that once housed a Sears department store. We’re aggressively looking to grow further.
Integral to our success is an obligation to our people and, by extension, our community. They go hand in hand.
Philanthropy to us means far more than a financial commitment. It means embracing our workers, encouraging them, and together we embrace the community we call home. The root of our approach is defined by our passion, our culture and our mindset.
The importance of passion
I’ve been involved with the company for 22 years. And even before I was really involved professionally, I grew up in it. I lived it. I know what commitment and sacrifice look like. I have seen tears of joy and pain. When you experience those things, you realize you don’t go through that for money. You sacrifice to serve others.
What’s truly gratifying is building something unique. Building a personally enriching place to work where people can grow by serving others. Where you can compete at the highest levels and keep your ethics and your dignity. Where you can achieve. Where you can win. The key, of course, is to have really good people around you, people that you truly enjoy, and to make the personal journey as meaningful as every corporate milestone hit.
That’s the legacy I want to keep building.
The value of culture
Your workplace culture is critical. Ten years ago I set out to revamp our culture, and everything we do is now driven from that foundation.
Culture = Behavior, which means Culture = People. You have to hire the right people. Initially, I met every single person in the interview process. My wife and I would take job candidates and their significant others to dinner to really try to understand them as people. The interview team could validate whether they could do the functional elements of the job; I wanted to know what human elements they were going to bring. Whether they were the kind of people I could work with in the trenches because I was likely going to be spending more time with them than I would be with my own family. I needed to trust them. I wanted to deliver the kind of organization that I wanted to lead.
As we started growing and hiring more people than my wife and I could keep up with alone, I had to shift a lot of that responsibility over to internal teams who validated a very important question: “How will the candidate make our culture better?” Now we’ve added scientific personality assessments into the process to help ensure people will thrive in their roles, but the best tool always will be our team protecting the culture they love and want to be a part of.
We don’t want employees who will work in silos. We want employees who will engage and have a heart for service. The more people like that you have in your organization, the better you are going to serve one another. The better you serve one another, the better you serve your clients. The better you serve your clients, success follows. When you’re successful, the better you can serve your community.
The reward in doing it right
Serving our community has meant really doubling down and investing in our community. We could have been lured away by a larger metropolitan area, but we’re proud to have invested in OUR community.
Relocating our headquarters to downtown Muncie as a part of our expansion plans is playing a part in the area’s revitalization. We are adding more vibrancy through the energy our team brings to the area as well as their individual support of other local businesses. We also offer everyone on our team 40 hours of paid philanthropic time off, in addition to their normal PTO, and we encourage people to use it to help make our community better by volunteering with community partners like Habitat for Humanity, as an example, where we have a group every month volunteer on building houses. I’m excited about a new initiative we are planning now in which we will be pushing our team to create subsidiary companies that are small businesses within the community to continually improve the quality of place and create more jobs. People don’t think of Accutech as the Unger family business anymore. They think of Accutech as a community partner.
Circling back to where this discussion began, the best philanthropy I can provide our community is to keep growing, create job opportunities, and give people a place to work where they can be fulfilled by making great things happen for other people.