Business First recently named the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities (BPU) wellness program first among six small-size company finalists that competed in its Western New York Healthiest Employer contest. The BPU now has earned this recognition for three years in a row.
The program once again compared the BPU’s wellness program with similar programs of five other finalists in the small-sized category for companies employing up to 175 employees.
Winners of the contest were announced during a special online event sponsored by Business First, Springbuk, Independent Health, Wegmans and Walsh Duffield. Top finishers, including the BPU, were featured in online cameos about their wellness programs.
By placing first in the 2020 Western New York challenge, the BPU’s wellness program qualifies the utility to compete in the Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America contest. The BPU placed 46th in that contest in 2019.
The BPU’s health and wellness program includes activities such as on-site biometric screenings and flu clinics offered at no charge to employees, retirees and spouses. Wellness challenges take place throughout the year aimed at drinking more water, counting steps, exercising, trying healthy recipes and more. “Wellness corners” furnish printed information about health issues and blood pressure cuffs. Employees exchange summer produce and recipes.
Additional aspects of the BPU efforts are periodic “Lunch and Learns” with more than half of the workforce attending each session, addressing topics such as diabetes prevention, drug abuse, eye health and cancer prevention.
A former pop and candy fund now sells healthier snacks. Employees are credited with “wellness” points for activities such as doctor wellness visits, vaccinations, dental and vision appointments. Employees also earn wellness points by volunteering in outside activities such as in Battle of the Businesses, the BPU Cents for St. Susan’s fund drive, LucyFest, volunteer fire departments, planning boards and coaching sports.
“Congratulations to our Health and Wellness Team for this well-deserved recognition of the team’s passionate energy, support and management of our ever-improving program,” stated BPU General Manager David L. Leathers.
“Through our wellness program, our employees have learned the importance of developing a healthy lifestyle,” continued Leathers. “Our overall employee health improves each year, with additional participation by employees and their families. The wide variety of options offered by our wellness program has helped control medical costs for both the employees and the utility.”
Members of the BPU Health & Wellness Team include: Martha Abers, Tammy Anderson, Dan Currie, Jarrett Devereaux, Todd Hoaglund, Diondra Lopez-Chapman, Trenton Lutes, Cynthia McFadden, Kirk McDowell, Gloria Miranda, Jim Paterniti, Jake Prince and Becky Robbins. Human Resources Director Ross Snyder serves as a resource to the team.
“I am just as proud and impressed by our team now as I was the first time we won,” expressed Team Leader Lutes. “Without them and without such amazing employee, spouse and retiree participation, we could never have earned this accolade. It is a true testament to the amount of time and energy that everyone at the BPU puts into their personal health and wellness, day in and day out.”
“This award is a great accomplishment and is evidence of the work that the Wellness Team puts into our program,” notes Human Resources Director Snyder. “I’m extremely proud of our wellness team and of our participating employees for their contributions toward the success of our program.”