Posted on Jun 05, 2014
“As the veteran college football coach, Lou Holtz, was known to say, ‘I don’t need all the best players; I need all of my players doing their best.’ That’s what we get from the Rise workers – everyone working hard and giving their very best. It’s true of the whole organization.”
Mike Fiterman, chairman/CEO of Liberty Diversified International (LDI), was speaking with Rise President Lynn Noren about the “partnership that works” which the two companies have enjoyed for more than 10 years.
“While the spirit of the whole team – Rise workers and supervisors, and Liberty Carton customers and employees — increases the impact we have on the community, it’s still the success of each person that makes this relationship so valuable.”
Noren pointed out that with the unemployment rate for people who have disabilities at 70 percent, having an opportunity to work for a great company like Liberty Carton, an LDI subsidiary, and be a productive member of society is important to one’s feeling of self-worth.
Currently, there are about 45 people from Rise working at Liberty Carton. At the sprawling Brooklyn Park facility, they assemble a wide range of custom corrugated packaging, display, and fulfillment products to be shipped to Liberty customers around the world.
Noting that “Diversity” is Liberty’s middle name, Fiterman said Rise workers bring great diversity to his workforce that would be difficult to duplicate on its own. “I think we have all learned a lot from Rise workers, especially in regard to overcoming challenges and building on our own individual strengths.”
Although open to bringing in Rise workers, Fiterman admits he originally was a little concerned with issues like worker safety, supervision, and transportation.
“But Rise made that seamless with outstanding staff, great workers, and reliable transportation. They made it all work.”
Noren said that for her, a key characteristic of a good partnership is working through challenging times. “Sometimes we had to put our heads together to grapple with an issue, both being willing to give and take some, and then solve it to both our satisfaction.”
“Rise and Liberty have a mutual trust, a commitment to excellence, and care about each other,” Fiterman added. “I know what Rise workers and supervisors do and how well they do it, so it takes the worry out of whether the work will get done on time to our quality standards.”
Noren also mentioned how much Rise workers and staff appreciate being treated respectfully, enjoying dinners, gifts, and special recognitions available to all Liberty employees.
For instance, each year Liberty gives out special holiday gifts in December. The last few years, it was a check for $25 which the recipient could make out to the person, group, or organization of his or her own choosing.
“It was an exciting opportunity for Rise workers to be able to donate to a cause or agency that they supported,” said Noren. “They learned from Liberty how gratifying it is to give back. I know it meant a lot to each one of them.”
“We look at Rise in two major ways,” Fiterman added. “It is a trusted vendor, as well as an agency that is effectively addressing critical societal issues and deserves our support. It’s been our privilege to be a part of this partnership that brings added value to the individuals, our companies, and the community.”
Founded in 1918, LDI is a privately held family of companies in the paper and packaging, workplace environments, healthcare, building products, and precision machining markets.