Money to go toward creating a company vegetable garden

By Meaghan MacDonald

L-R: CBIA's Adam Ney; Don Bergeron, president of PDI; Dom Albano, controller; Suzette Gaudet, VP, production engineering & global procurement; CBIA's Michelle Molyneux; Yvonne Ledoux, VP/director of sales; Kimberly Guillemin, VP/quality management system administrator; Steve Everett, VP, manufacturing.

In an effort to encourage workplace wellness, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, the official business partner of the Campaign for a Stronger Connecticut, recently held a contest encouraging small businesses to submit an idea on how they could jump-start their employees' engagement and participation in healthy initiatives.

The $500 prize went to Plastic Design International, Inc., (PDI) of Middletown for their idea to create an employee-community vegetable garden. At a recent groundbreaking for the garden, CBIA, through the Campaign for a Stronger Connecticut, awarded the company $500 to begin work on the site.

"Many of us at PDI were excited when CBIA posted the opportunity to enter the drawing for the wellness campaign," said Suzette Gaudet, vice president of production-engineering and global procurement at PDI. "We quickly came up with the idea of a small vegetable garden, and the best part about putting in a company garden is that it will have multiple healthy opportunities for our employees. It's our hope that the fresh produce will promote healthy eating and the garden will encourage outdoor activity."

Healthy Habits, Healthy Bottom Line

"PDI employees are like extended family," said Yvonne Ledoux, corporate vice president and director of sales. "For us to be successful, we need to have our employees stay healthy. The initiative gave us an incentive to brainstorm and submit several ideas.

"The garden idea is getting a great response, and we feel it will have many benefits for the whole company."

This drawing was part of CBIA's initiative under the Campaign for a Stronger Connecticut's "Creating a Healthy Relationship with Yourself"program.

CBIA's ready-made wellness initiative is a six-month plan that gives employers free, ready-to-go, interactive materials, including innovative communication tools.

"This campaign is unique because it's designed to speak to Connecticut's small employers' bottom line and takes a fresh look at communicating health and wellness in the workplace," says CBIA assistant counsel Jennifer Herz, the campaign's business coordinator. "We've provided employers with a one-stop-shopping toolkit so that they can easily communicate with their employees to encourage engagement.

"This recent contest gave employers and their employees the opportunity to create their own wellness initiatives. It was exciting to hear the different ideas that came in."

The program is designed to encourage employers to adopt basic wellness practices in the workplace and give employees the opportunity to participate, with the goal of ultimately reducing health disparities among Connecticut residents and creating a healthier bottom line.

About PDI

Established in 1977, Plastic Design International, Inc., is a family-owned-and-operated custom plastic injection molding company with 50 employees. The company's international customer base includes industries such as fire safety, automotive, defense, medical, and firearms.

CBIA is the official business partner of the Campaign for a Stronger Connecticut, an initiative designed to eliminate health disparities among Connecticut's residents. The campaign is funded by a grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation to Third Sector New England, and managed by GALEWiLL Design.

Meaghan MacDonald is CBIA's public relations manager. Contact her at meaghan.macdonald@cbia.com.