9. Jacada

By John Mulqueen  |  Posted 2001-04-09

When Michael Potts wanted to kick off a campaign to reward the employee who made the biggest contribution to Jacada this year, he tooled into the assembly hall on a Harley-Davidson Hog, dressed from head to toe like a biker in leather gear.

Not content with that piece of showmanship, Potts, who is president of the Atlanta-based software tools developer, did a strip tease — shedding the helmet, jacket, chain and chaps to the tune Bad to the Bone. It left him dressed in his denims.

Some of the 230 employees are still not sure if Potts knows how to ride a motorcycle. "I think he had training wheels," says Pete Isaksson, Jacadas senior product manager.

Anne Conrad, head of investor relations at Jacada, says Potts put the leather into a lottery and raffled it off to employees.

"It was the big thing this year," she says of the stunt, adding that no one knows what the "biggest contribution" means. It can apply to anyone in the company, from the lowest level to the highest, and everyone will have to wait to see what scores.

Isaksson, Conrad and Brian Anderson, a marketing manager at Jacada, all agree the incident is typical of the company, where the atmosphere is comfortable, the relations between managers and employees relaxed and the avenues of communications open.

"The CEO comes in sweatpants and shirt, and if you come in anything but jeans on Friday, you get a treatment," Conrad says.

An example of Jacadas employee-friendly atmosphere was putting the company benefits package to an employee vote last year, says Laura Schwartz, Jacadas senior director of technical services.

This is Andersons third job out of college; the last was with a big copier company that went through some serious layoffs. Anderson likes the idea of working for a small, conservative, but aggressively growing technology vendor.

Isaksson has years of experience in IBM systems for vendors and as a developer for end-user companies. A father with three children about to enter college, Isaksson likes working for a profitable, rapidly growing company where employees are solicited. His favorite company perk is the twice-weekly delivery of baskets of breakfast and lunch from WebVan Group.

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