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Work pays off in dream vacation

10 Rich workers can go anywhere in the world for free

News Staff Reporter
If you have ever wondered if going the extra mile at work will really pay off, just ask a group of Rich Products Corp. employees.

Their payoff will be in miles - as many as they want, to wherever they want.

As the grand prize winners of the company's first "Going the Extra Mile" competition, a team of 10 Rich staff members will get to take the company's corporate jet anywhere in the world for an all-expenses paid vacation.

The winners of the Robert E. Rich Spirit of Innovation Award were selected for their innovative approach to integrating the recently acquired Rolling Pin Donut Manufacturing Co. into the Buffalo business.

Jay Rich III, Rich's director of third party logistics, and leader of the winning team, called the reward "pretty spectacular."

Rich, who is not related to the Rich family that owns Buffalo's largest private company, said he had hoped that his team's project had a shot at winning.

"I knew we had a complex project that involved absorbing a growing business into the Rich systems, and I thought we'd done a good job, but I was still surprised to be a finalist," Rich said.

The teamwork required to win the vacation might pale in comparison to the task of reaching a consensus on where the group of 10 should go. Early suggestions include: Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia and Europe.

"There are a couple of golfers in the group who would like to go somewhere warm. Probably the non-golfers would like that, too," Rich said.

There's also the issue of bringing along spouses. The Rich jet only has room for a dozen passengers, so with 10 winning workers, it will take some extra planning to figure out how to fly mates to the ultimate destination.

Mindy Rich, the company's executive vice president for Innovation, said the winning team's work reflects the qualities that have made the company a success during its 60-year history.

She said the winners' work "will serve as a benchmark and a beacon for all those who follow."

Rich Products bought out San Francisco-based Rolling Pin Donut in early 2005. Among the complexities of bringing the company into the Rich's fold was to move production from a plant in Arkansas to a Rich plant in Ohio. The doughnuts are sold through retail bakeries and delis around the United States.

The other members of the winning team are: Dan Attard, marketing director; Bill Calder, operations director; Tim Collins, finance director; Maria Grimaldi, marketing manager; Jim Hagelberger, systems analyst; Doris Hanson, marketing director; Paul Medeiros, sales director; Rick O'Connell, director of research and development; and Scott VeRost, director of customer service and logistics.

Rich Products also recognized the work of 18 other teams and individuals as part of its "Going the Extra Mile" program. The ongoing effort will continue in 2006.