Celebrating 20 Years
For 20 years, BestCompaniesAZ has been dedicated to elevating and promoting the best companies in Arizona. “We knew that encouraging a better work culture would not only benefit the lives of employees, but would also create better communities, and more profitable businesses,” says CEO and Founder, Denise Gredler. “When we started this mission we had no idea how Arizona would rise to become a leading state in the nation and now the highest-ranked state in personal income growth.
We didn’t even have a name for it in 2002, but now employer branding is a major component of every effective business strategy. BestCompaniesAZ pioneered what’s now known as “PR for HR.” This unique intersection of recruiting, human resources, marketing, and public relations simply had never been thought about in this way.
A Brief History of BestCompaniesAZ
As the VP of Human Resources for an Arizona based commercial finance company, Denise was responsible for creating and cultivating the company’s culture which earned the organization an impressive ranking of #12 and #16 on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in America list in 1999 and 2000 respectively.
This public commercial finance company became the first Arizona headquartered company to ever make Fortune’s 100 Best Companies list. That milestone was the catalyst that launched the vision for BestCompaniesAZ and became Denise’s personal passion and mission. On the heels of that success, Denise decided that she would use the same tactics to gain recognition for Arizona businesses. In 2001, she left her corporate role to focus on being a new mom and to pursue her entrepreneurial spirit!
Shortly after launching BestCompaniesAZ, Denise approached the Great Place to Work Institute, FORTUNE magazine’s 100 Best research partner, to explore creating a “best workplace list” for Arizona. This collaboration resulted in the first-ever Best Companies to Work for in Arizona program in our state. The idea of recognizing “the best” took off with a firm foundation and now two decades later hundreds of employers throughout Arizona are being recognized for having the best workplace cultures.
Organizations soon discovered that improving company work culture had the added effect of improving their bottom line. While financial results weren’t the driver and still aren’t today, the movement among employees to find a satisfying place to work that respects them is now more important than ever. Businesses in Arizona and across the country have now recognized the value of investing in company culture.
Twenty years later, the passion continues to grow. Our visionary 2003 inaugural “best list” serves as impressive evidence that creating stronger, trust-based workplace cultures leads to positive business results. Despite the recessions of 2001, 2008 and 2020, many of the original list winners from 2003 and 2004 are still going strong. They’re realizing both the financial and intangible benefits of their efforts.
BestCompaniesAZ has served the Arizona community with passion, integrity, and value for over two decades. Our commitment to impacting the community in positive ways hasn’t changed. With three award programs in Arizona, two signature career events focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and serving Arizona military and veterans, our impact continues to grow. In 2020 and 2021, we were honored to help support workforce development groups and friends at the nonprofit organization Career Connectors with employer outreach and co-hosting career events. The primary goal of these events was to connect those impacted by job loss with one of Arizona’s best companies.
Our #1 ranked regional website continues to deliver results for our clients and community. We provide job-seekers with the resources to land a fulfilling career in growing industries, and we keep them informed of professional career openings at Arizona’s best companies. Visitors to the site will find job-seeker tips, best-of lists, and helpful blogs, all written by professionals with hands-on insight into the hiring landscape.
The Growing Impact of BestCompaniesAZ “100 Best” List
Through the efforts of our talented team, the best companies movement has indeed become viral, and is still going strong two decades later. Our purpose and calling have transformed Arizona. Hundreds of employees are now involved in designing cultures and communities worthy of the “best” title. More importantly, we’re helping local Arizonans find their dream job at a company with values they care about.
As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we’re honored to recognize the “100 Best Companies” in Arizona. They’ve been shaping Arizona’s workplaces for two decades and are well-positioned to take Arizona into the future. We chose this year’s winners based on our research of local and national award-winning companies from prestigious lists such as the Top Companies to Work for in Arizona, Arizona Most Admired Companies, Best Places to Work in the Valley, Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for in America, other national and industry best lists, and those that have stellar best practices supporting diversity, LGBTQ, corporate giving, corporate equality, veterans and more.
To highlight the outstanding characteristics of these companies, we’ve divided them into six categories developed through the research of behavioral scientist, Dr. William Glasser. This approach was created alongside our friend and former BestCompaniesAZ Managing Consultant, the late Lee Vikre. In 2003, Lee served as the VP of Tremendous People for McMurry, the #1 Best Company to Work for in the Valley. Her work helped catapult our success that year and pass every milestone since. We hope you are inspired by these companies and learn from them.
- Best of Trailblazers —Companies that have pioneered and sustained their exceptional performance by all metrics over twenty years. They represent the best of the best.
- Best of Heart —Through building relationships with employees, customers, and the community, these companies show how much they care.
- Best of Stars — At the height of their powerful success, these companies are masters of their fields, inspiring confidence in customers and employees alike.
- Best of Wings — Innovation, empowerment, freedom, creativity (and maybe disruption) shine at the forefront of these companies.
- Best of Cool —Top organizations with strong, unique workplace cultures, where they know how fun can help create the best work ever.
- Best of Future — With great potential for growth and representing a new era of business in Arizona, these are the organizations we want to watch for the future.
Over the past 20 years, Arizona’s business climate has experienced massive changes; however, BestCompaniesAZ’s mission to elevate the best companies lives on. We will continue to passionately serve our community connecting the best talent with Arizona’s best companies. As we look to the future, the explosion of the Silicon Desert is creating new opportunities and even greater challenges, and we are so excited to be a part of it.
Now more than ever, the best organizations need to maintain great workplaces. Thanks to the “Great Resignation” and the new normal of hybrid or fully-remote work, employees’ expectations are higher than ever. The best companies we know take a stand for a better way to work. They share these values with stories that matter to top talent.
Our hope at BestCompaniesAZ is to continue to inspire existing companies in Arizona. We hope to build award-winning cultures across Arizona. Our goal is to provide new companies relocating to Arizona the regional platform to elevate their brand to attract the best talent. We also aim to continue providing job seekers with the tools and information needed to land that dream job with one of Arizona’s best!
All of our success at BestCompaniesAZ would not have been possible without all the incredible people behind the scenes. As we celebrate this important milestone for our company, our Founder and CEO has a few words of gratitude to share.
“I’d like to extend an open invitation. To anyone struggling to find a satisfying career, and to any great employer looking for top talent: join us. There’s no shortage of incredible companies here in Arizona, and just as many great people out there who deserve a better place to work.
As we celebrate this milestone in BestCompaniesAZ history, I express my deepest gratitude to the BestCompaniesAZ team, strategic partners, community partners, media partners, friends, and family who helped launch this vision 20 years ago. None of this could have been possible without you.”
All the Best, Denise