EDCO’s Annual Luncheon, featuring CEO and Chief Economist Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics™, included a panel of local employers talking about their strategies to acquire and retain employees in Central Oregon. One of those employers is the growing nutraceuticals company Personalized Nutrients, based in Sisters, Oregon. EDCO sat down with General Manager Sam Meier to hear about the company’s human resource strategies.
In the small industrial park on the north side of Sisters, Personalized Nutrients is mixing up high-quality, fresh, individualized supplements for doctors and patients around the country. Started by Justin DeTurris and Pete Duenes in 2012, Personalized Nutrients offers custom formulated supplements for integrative medical practitioners. The company’s proprietary online ordering system streamlines workflows to allow medical professionals the freedom to formulate over 400 ingredient choices of high-end vitamins, minerals, amino acids, botanicals, and nutraceuticals in small-batch, private label supplement capsules that are unique to patient needs. The process allows for the highest level of quality assurance, but it is a labor-intensive endeavor and staffing is critical to meet demand.
The global personalized nutrition and supplements market size was estimated at $43.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 15% from 2023 to 2030 (source: Grand View Research). Personalized Nutrients owns a niche in the market by providing short lead times for high quality product orders ranging from individualized made-to-order nutritional prescriptions to condition specific formulations up to 5,000+ bottles.
General Manager Sam Meier understands that a strong team is key to continued growth and has been focused on building community within the organization since joining the team in February 2022. Sam shows his commitment each morning, riding into work with his team via Personalized Nutrients’ Commute Options Vanpool. The program provides an affordable, reliable commute for employees while reducing traffic congestion and parking needs for the community. This effort has been so well received that Sam now offers two vanpools for his team, one from Redmond and one from Bend.
Each month, staff celebrate achievements across departments with catered lunches and Sam recognizes that as a growing employer in Sisters, it is important to be a part of the community. To that end, he has engaged with local newspapers to advertise jobs and has eyes on volunteer programs that will incentivize staff to volunteer with local nonprofits.
“Observing bad bosses, in my professional past and bad coaches has taught me to lead the way I would want to be led. I try to put people into positions where they will be successful and utilize their skills and talents, so they are content with where they work,” explained Sam.
Listed as one of the Top 10 Largest Employers in Sisters, Sam’s focused efforts on building corporate culture to attract and retain employees has proven a winning strategy. With help from Pride Staff and Express Employment Professionals, Personalized Nutrients has added seven employees to their team and doubled production since March. Looking forward, Sam plans to open seven or eight additional positions this June with a new weekend shift that will mean the facility is operating seven days a week.
“Opening up a weekend shift will give us access to a new pool of talent. Working three 12-hour shifts – Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – in Central Oregon is pretty incredible. It gives employees flexibility to take advantage of the outdoor amenities with less traffic and adds capacity to the rest of our operations,” said Sam.
In addition to attracting talent, the weekend shift will alleviate space concerns for the growing company. Beyond adding shifts, the company is looking to expand and is in the permitting process for a second building next to its current facility. It is also making investments into machinery that will add efficiencies to packaging and bottling processes. There isn’t a perfect recipe for growth, but Sam knows that maintaining corporate culture is critical to retaining staff.
He explained, “The business model of small-batch manufacturing requires a lot of human capital, but I recognize that adding employees can create cultural issues and really strive to maintain open, clear lines of communication with our team.”