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Giving Tuesday: How a Florida Manufacturer Gives Back All Year Long

By FloridaMakes Network posted 12-01-2020 00:00


In 2012, Giving Tuesday was born to create a day to spread kindness and to encourage the generosity of giving. Happening on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday inspires people across the world to help those that need it the most. For one Florida manufacturer, they are dedicated to giving back to their local community, employees and beyond –– all year long.

Expert Shutter Solutions, a hurricane shutter manufacturer located in Port St. Lucie, consistently leads its industry in sales, production, innovation, and efficiency. It’s the company’s commitment to their employees and local community, however, that catapulted them into a finalist spot in the 2020 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards.

Employees lined up outside of Expert Shutter Service building.

“We like to publically reward and celebrate our staff, especially when they share new ideas,” says Mike Heissenberg, President and CEO of Expert Shutters. “It’s not unusual for us to offer gift cards for a bright idea that helps the company, but we like to take it a step further by hosting quarterly outings where management serves the employees. The employees help us achieve our goals as a company and we like to make it a regular practice that we serve them with an event where they get to take a moment to relax and let management thank them.”

Another unique way that Expert Shutters exemplifies leadership and giving back is through its Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity, Expert Shutters found an innovative way to not reduce employees’ hours during the slow months but rather divert their time and labor through volunteering to serve others at Habitat for Humanity.

Families pouring ice buckets of water over their head in a line at a baseball field.

“This idea came to me when one of our employees received a Habitat for Humanity home and I was at the ceremony,” says Heissenberg. “It got me thinking about how we could help and this led to our VTO program. That same employee now heads up this program for our company.”

Another example of Expert Shutters’ unique way of giving is through onsite fundraisers integrated into the company’s overhead lighting system.

“Our production lights change colors to indicate productivity, so we’ll use that feature in a creative way to align it with a cause,” says Heissenberg. “For example, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the production lights will remain pink and the longer the lights remain that color, the greater the donation to the cause or nonprofit.”

Ceiling of warehouse changing different colored lighting.

Once this lighting-themed fundraiser is completed, Expert Shutters will celebrate by inviting a representative from the selected cause or nonprofit, to come to the facility and give a presentation to employees about the mission and work of the organization. It’s during this celebration that the nonprofit is presented with the donation.

In addition to these outreach efforts, Expert Shutters is active in its support of Friends In Pink, a nonprofit who helps Florida’s Treasure Coast residents who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, the ALS Association, March of Dimes, Salvation Army of Martin County, Salvation Army of St. Lucie County, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Staff gathered inside the warehouse wearing pink with pink balloons.

FloridaMakes celebrates manufacturers like Expert Shutters who are finding innovative ways to ensure that every day is Giving Tuesday.