Sorting it out Featured

8:01pm EDT June 30, 2011

[caption id="attachment_32415" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Shawn Riegsecker, founder and president, Centro"]

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Shawn Riegsecker, founder and president of Centro, doesn’t just want satisfied customers; he wants raving fans instead.

By the same rule, employees are challenged to become fulfilled individuals.

Together, they are key factors in one of the fastest-growing media technology companies.

Riegsacker envisioned a Web-based business that contained all local websites and an easy media buying interface to place local online advertisements, what was formerly a laborious process. While his timing was risky — starting right after the Sept. 11 downturn — he was determined to meet his goals, spent his entire savings, and then obtained unsecured personal loans to continue. Today, there are more than 13,000 opportunities indexed in Transis, the proprietary software that agencies can use to plan their advertising campaigns.

Reared in a strict Mennonite community, Riegsecker brought strong ethical standards with him when he founded Centro. These principles would become part of the Employee Manifesto. It outlines the company’s vision, mission, ideology, values, principles and character traits of employees.

Giving back is also a cornerstone of the company culture. In 2007, a committee of employees was formed to determine how best to return to communities a portion of the company’s success. Named the Centro Giving Tree, it matches a portion of employees’ charitable donations and also partners with employee-selected organizations across the country to raise funds, volunteer time and assist with in-kind donations.

Another foundation of Centro’s culture is an emphasis on self-improvement. The company supports continuing education-type programs for employee personal growth. These include mini-sabbaticals, tuition reimbursement, leaves of absence to achieve personal goals (such as teaching English in a foreign country), personal goal setting and wellness programs.

In addition, Morgan adds small touches into employees’ lives that mean a great deal, such as frequent inspirational e-mails regarding self-development and character. He underscores the philosophy that financial success follows happy and growing employees.

How to reach: Centro, (312) 397-3330 or www.centro.net