And they say nice guys never win. . . This March Ann Dahmer and Joan Smith received an award recognizing the values (click here to see SDA’s operating values) on which they founded Smith-Dahmer Associates.
Michigan’s Chamber of Commerce along with the economic development organization, Cornerstone Alliance presented Ann Dahmer and Joan Smith with an award honoring the tenets of celebrated businessman and philanthropist, Merlin Hanson.
The level of admiration SDA holds for teammates and its adherence to the belief that everyone in the company has value were characteristics leading to SDA’s consideration for the award.
The award was presented at the 2009 Cornerstone Annual Reception & Awards Presentation and several conference room toasts were made last Friday at the end of the day.
According to Ann Dahmer, “To be recognized for the relationships we have with our employees is as good as it gets. We couldn’t have wished for more."
Ann Dahmer (left) and Joan Smith accepting the Merlin Hanson Exemplary Business Leader award.
Smith-Dahmer Associates celebrate the award following the ceremony. From left to right: Tracy Arend; Chris Duris; Steve Wells; Joan Smith; Ann Dahmer; Joe Morello; Connie Gambill; Mike McCune; Diane Wier; Jane Ann James.
When Smith-Dahmer Associates was named one of
Typically when people think of office parties, awkward mingling and challenging small talk come to mind - not because of the just larger than bite-sized appetizers – but because they picture a group of people who don’t have a lot in common trying to relate to each other. But since SDA isn’t your typical office, this wasn’t your typical office party.
Clients, suppliers and SDA associates filled the Richard Hunt Gallery in
We can truly say that when we fill a room with the different people who make up our SDA world, we find ourselves among friends. We do all have something in common: our company’s culture.
As the Edward Lowe Foundation reviewed the various candidates for this year’s awards, SDA’s culture is something they noticed. In the words of Penny Lewandowski, Director of Entrepreneurship Development at the Edward Lowe Foundation,
“There are companies around that only dream of having one quarter of the culture you have established here – both in how you work and how you treat one another. Regardless of whether you’re talking about economic development or an individual company, culture trumps infrastructure every time.”
And we couldn’t agree more. Through periods of rapid growth, it is our company’s culture that has been the constant. Understandably, things like growth and earnings typically come first when the awards are passed out. And while those things are critical, we believe our company’s culture really makes what we do possible.
Smith-Dahmer Associates was recently recognized as one of the “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch,” at an awards program sponsored by the Edward Lowe Foundation. Smith-Dahmer Associates has offices in
"Michigan 50 Companies to Watch is a unique awards program designed to shine the spotlight on second-stage companies,” says Mark Lange, executive director of the Edward Lowe Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation based in
"When it comes to a robust economy, second-stage entrepreneurs play a critical role because they generate new jobs and sustainable growth,” Lange said. “And yet, they’re not often recognized or appreciated for the impact they have on the economy or the community.”
Smith-Dahmer Associates is an independent market research firm specializing in product development and design, brand strategy, communications and distribution challenges. The firm was founded by Joan Smith and Ann Dahmer in 1991 and employs 43 associates.
“We are enormously proud to receive this award,” said Joan Smith, principal of Smith-Dahmer Associates. “We’ve been so focused on supporting our clients’ products and services, we seldom stop to think about the impact our own company is having. It’s very gratifying to be recognized as having such a positive presence in the communities where we do business.”
Companies nominated for the “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” list must be second-stage companies, defined as having 6 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees and generating $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue or working capital from investors or grants.
Winners were selected by the Michigan Certified Development Corporation,
• Employee or sales growth.
• Exceptional entrepreneurial leadership.
• Sustainable competitive advantage.
• Other notable factors that showcase the company's success.
Information about the 2008 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch program can be found at http://Michigan.CompaniesToWatch.org.
Smith-Dahmer Associates (SDA) has been selected as one of
The award honors second-stage companies headquartered in
"Nothing lasts forever," and "It took a table of Catholic teachers to do it." That’s what we’ve been telling ourselves around the office.
Last weekend, a winning streak that stretched back to last summer came to an end when the Smith-Dahminators met the Lake Michigan Catholic Teachers in a charity trivia game.
Proceeds from previous Charity Trivia events have gone to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. This most recent round helped generate money for the Lake Michigan Catholic Elementary School. Nobody likes to lose, but since we like playground equipment, we still feel like winners.
This past holiday season, more Americans than ever made a charitable donation in someone’s name rather than give a traditional gift. And chances are it was well received. Believe it or not, three-quarters of Americans said they would prefer a charitable donation made in their name rather than a traditional holiday gift in 2006.
We did the same thing. This season, we decided as a company to make donations on behalf of many of our clients in place of another trinket. Also, after years of foosball tables, Sky Chairs and remote control planes for the office, this year SDA employees contributed to the Women’s International Loan Fund on behalf of the company’s owners.
As the holiday cards and emails started to come in, we noticed that we weren’t alone. Several suppliers and partners were also making donations.
So have we all just maxed out on coffee table books and sweaters, or are we experiencing a surge in social responsibility? It’s likely, a combination of factors: first, charitable giving is easier than ever before. The Internet enables a consumer to research an organization and make the donation all in a few minutes. Products like KitchenAid’s Cook for the Cure® Stand Mixer or Starbucks Ethos™ water enable consumers to make a donation right along with their purchase. But let’s not credit it all to convenience. With the majority of Americans (69%) now considering a retailer’s social or environmental track record when deciding where to shop and 89% willing to switch brands based on a cause that is important to them, it seems we’re evolving into more compassionate consumers.
1. The 2006 Cone Holiday Trend Tracker
2. Research Alert 2006
This spring, a group of Smith-Dahmer researchers, project coordinators and techies teamed up to develop a set of new tools to address some of our clients’ recurring challenges:
- Constricting travel budgets
- Harder to find targets
- Shorter deadlines
According to Rebecca Stewart, “We started with some of the challenges a lot of our clients continually face and we worked backward.”
The result was a suite of online tools that clients can use to access target consumers without having to leave their desks. A blend of proven methodologies and the right technology, Smith-Dahmer Associates’ eStudio™ consists of four distinct tools:
- Webcam Focus Groups
- Online Focus Groups
- Online Bulletin Boards
Watch out, SDA is using power tools again! For the second year, SDA’s Consumer Insight Strategy Team teamed with Whirlpool Corporation’s Insight and Strategy Team in one of their Habitat for Humanity builds.
For the 5th consecutive year, Smith-Dahmer Associates joins in the Person to Person Holiday Gift Give.
With so many families facing tough times, 2009 was a year that Santa needed a little back up. A regular participant in the Person to Person holiday program, Smith-Dahmer Associates sponsored two families of five, fielding requests from both children and mothers for everything from dolls and basketballs to pajamas and perfume.
This year, Smith-Dahmer Associates joined throngs of holiday shoppers in purchasing one of the season’s hottest items, the Flip Cam. However, while most of these compact cameras were used to capture cute moments with pets and skateboard tricks, ours were used to record individuals’ personal grooming routines - shaving, teeth brushing, applying deodorant, you name it. While it sounds weird, it enabled researchers to observe consumers’ behavior over time in a way that did not completely freak them out (can you imagine a team of researchers standing in your bathroom each morning while you got ready for work?). “Flipping” is one more way SDA is using new technology to enhance consumer research.