When Brad Coolidge received his nursing degree, working for a manufacturing company was not on his radar. In 1997, his stint as an occupational health nurse at Ward Mfg.’s Blossburg, Pa., location turned into a 17-year commitment to the company. Today he’s a senior safety specialist in charge of the health and safety of employees at all Ward’s plants and facilities.
“I took a sabbatical after 13 and a half years,” he says. “I’m a licensed nurse in New York and Philadelphia, so I went to work in the emergency department of a hospital for a couple of years. In 2012, I came back to Ward and have not regretted it. I work with a great team. It’s nice to know you’re sending production employees home safe to their loved ones every night.”
Coolidge moved from occupational nurse to senior occupational nurse, where he supervised all the nurses in the company, before moving to the safety side. There he moved up from safety technician to his current position.
“Ward’s been very good to me, providing me with opportunities to grow,” he notes. “It’s a secure company with competitive pay and benefits. We run lean, so I tell people once you’re here, you’re here. Ward found a need and a desire for you, whether you’re a salaried or hourly worker.”
Working at Ward is a family affair as Coolidge has two of his three kids at the Blossburg facility: his daughter, Samantha Coolidge, started as a customer service rep in 2015; and his son, Luke Coolidge, started about a year ago as a second shift stockroom clerk in Plant 2.
“My favorite part of my job is the relationships I’ve made here and with the people I work with outside of Ward, the customers,” Samantha Coolidge explains. “And the growth potential here is great. The company will pay for four years of college, and I intend to take advantage of that perk.”
For Luke Coolidge, working at Ward is giving him life experience and fulfilling work. “Ward has provided my family with a good life, and the ability to work locally and enjoy family and friends,” he says. “The loyalty the company has shown to me and my family, as well as to other employees, is most likely what makes employees come back or stay for as long as they have.”
Ward invested time and money in a wellness program for its employees, which Brad Coolidge helps run as the wellness coordinator. This employee perk includes full payment of membership dues to a fitness center of the employee’s choice. “We also pay them a stipend if they meet certain wellness goals for the year — up to $500 per year, every year, even if they participate and don’t meet the full goal,” he says. “It’s fulfilling to work with people and see them change their lives for the better.”
A healthy, safe and productive workforce helps Ward Mfg. keep up its high standards of quality. For customers, this means durable products they can rely on for many years.