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Drake Cooper is stoked to make Outside Magazine’s annual best places to work list for the fifth time! We are proud of what this acknowledgment symbolizes–the work each of us at Drake Cooper puts into balancing our craft with time for family, friends and outdoor adventuring. We’d also like to congratulate fellow Idaho based companies–Balihoo and Verified First.

Recently I was asked about the one big thing I focus on as CEO of Drake Cooper. Without a moment’s hesitation, the answer was, and always is, culture. Without a strong culture, we will never get to strong work for our clients. Without a strong culture, we will never achieve happiness in our work, an essential ingredient to well-being. Without well-being, the fabric of a community comes undone. And if nothing else, a workplace is a community. So, yes, I focus on culture.

If this sounds too utopian and fuzzy for you, let me put culture in perspective, at least the perspective we share at Drake Cooper. What many people call culture could be better described as the benefits of a healthy culture. Or more aptly, the benefits of a strong mutually shared value system. Dogs at work, office bikes and a nice Payette craft beer on tap is not culture. Those things are the benefits of a culture. Or they could be perks. Perks can come and go, while culture is something that is built over time to last–a key part of an organization’s brand.

I’ve been in all kinds of cultures, growing up in technology and startups. I knew what I didn’t want more than I knew what I did want. What I didn’t want was top-down directives and lots of company rules. I was hoping for something that engages the best of each of us, not squashes the independent and free spirit found in a creative workplace like ours. But how do you do this and not lose sight of who you are in business to serve? How do you do this and also uphold the ethos of a hard-charging work ethic? I believe we can, but it takes a lot of communication, loads of empathy and trust from all humans involved. A great culture is on purpose. It’s purposefully built–by each and every team member.

For us, we value ambition, trust and honesty, respectful debate, please and thank you’s and breaking new trails. As we go about our day in this weird mash-up of brand strategy, creativity and innovation we salute those values while making the most effective work possible for our clients. These are the ingredients to our culture.  

We are honored to be on Outside’s list once again and as always, in such good company with other organizations engaged in the challenging work of culture building. We are striving to make this the best place we’ve ever worked and to create jobs as big as our spirits.That’s no small task and takes continual focus. And to be sure, we will fail sometimes and learn as we go, but we will never stop focusing on this important work.

Big ups and high fives to the unbelievably talented Drake Cooper team in Boise and Seattle and the amazing and trusting clients we get to serve each and every day.

Let’s get Outside!

 

 

Here’s some background on how companies are selected:

Outside’s “Best Places to Work” project celebrates innovative companies setting a new standard for a healthy work-life balance. The list was compiled with the help of the Outdoor Industry Association and Best Companies Group. The yearlong selection process began with an outreach effort that identified a wide range of non-profit and for-profit organizations with at least 15 employees working in an office in the United States. Participating companies were sent confidential employee-satisfaction surveys and employer-questionnaires to collect information about benefits, compensation, policies, job satisfaction, environmental initiatives, and community outreach programs. The experts at the Best Companies Group then analyzed the results and selected the companies that best enable employees to pursue active lifestyles while also supporting their social and environmental contributions.