Elaine’s 35th Anniversary at Hodges!

We are fortunate enough to have employees that have stayed with us through it all. To be specific out of our 155 employees, 38 of them have been with us for more than 20 years! That’s almost ¼ of our workforce!
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This year, Elaine Anctil celebrated her 35th anniversary with the company! We congratulated her on this enormous accomplishment recently at a company awards event in our Rhode Island plant. Rick Hodges, President, and Jane Sousa, Vice President, presented Elaine with a commemorative plaque designed just for her by our art department. After the award presentation we celebrated with cake for everyone.

We asked Elaine a few questions to get a little insight on her journey at Hodges Badge Company! Here are her answers:

First a little background:

Elaine graduated from Westport High School in 1976 and three years later a former employer helped her find employment at Hodges. Elaine’s first job like a lot of employees was stapling rosettes. (This is the first step in the handcrafting of our rosettes.)

• What have you seen change?

When I first started working here Rick Hodges was a high school student. I have seen him grow up and come back to be the president of Hodges Badge Company.

• What have you seen remain the same?

In 35 years the assembly of the flat ribbons (point top ribbons & square top ribbons) hasn’t changed.

• Any memorable moments you’d like to share?

I can remember when Hodges Badge Co, Inc. reached its first million dollars in sales. Jim Hodges (Rick’s father) gave every employee a bottle of Champagne and a tin of real butter cookies.

• Favorite thing about your job?

My favorite thing about my job is the variety. Throughout the course of a week or day even I perform so many different jobs. (Elaine has worked in our warehouse, our button department, our flat ribbon department, our rosette department, our medal department and more!)

• Name 1 thing your coworkers would be surprised to know about you?

I worked for my father and learned to be a mechanic.

• Favorite thing to do on down time?

My favorite things I do in my down time are spend time with my family, cross stitch and sew quilts.

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So again Elaine – THANK YOU for 35 YEARS OF SERVICE, you are an important part of what has made Hodges Badge Company what it is today!

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Hodges Badge Company’s Core Value: Team Work

Core-Values-Word-of-Month PosterThis month (March) we are kicking off our Core Values celebration and the word of the month is Team Work.

One part of consistently applying the idea of team work at the office in a fun and engaging way is to plan social gatherings. The gatherings can be during business hours (usually lunch time) or off site, sort of like the field trips that we used to have in school. These gatherings not only allow employees to relax a little and get to know one another but if anyone has ever put a party together or planned a trip for more than a few people they know it takes team work!

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On March 4th, we had our Core Values Luncheon. It was just a coincidence (or was it?) that it happened on “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras. I tried not to eat too much but lunch consisted of some tasty sandwiches from a local shop and it was topped off with a custom cake decorated with our very own Core Values. It’s amazing what you can do with frosting these days and who can resist cake to break up the work day.

DSC_0040As a special gift to close out the luncheon every employee received a light blue or white t-shirt with our Core Values printed on the front and sleeve. (March 28th is wear your company t-shirt to work day.)

All in all it was great break to the day; I was able to spend a little time with teammates I don’t always encounter during my daily activities and Rick Hodges gave a very inspirational speech to open the celebration.

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A new member of the Hodges family

Bella, in one of her rare quieter moments

Two weeks ago, the non-human portion of the Hodges family grew a little larger when Hodges Badge Company’s President, Rick Hodges, and his wife Jenn, adopted Bella, a six-month-old yellow lab.  While not a rescue in the truest sense, Bella was taken in from friends of the family that were not going to be able to care for her.

McKell, our other office canine, has been busy showing her little (but already larger) sister all the best play spots around the office.    So if you happen to be on the phone with Customer Service and hear a squeaky noise (or a big WOOF) in the background, know that you’re not hearing things.

While Hodges may be best known for our horse show awards, I think it’s safe to say we really do have a soft spot for dogs, and an affinity to anyone identifying as a ‘dog person.’

Hodges officially joins 4-H family

We’ve long served the 4-H community, providing ribbons and awards to 4-H groups across the country. It’s a 90-year tradition here at Hodges–and a natural partnership, given our long history as an American manufacturer dedicated to serving organizations that work with dogs, horses, and various youth groups.

So, when 4-H recently strengthened its regulations on use of its name and logo, we immediately applied for approval to continue serving these long-time 4-H partners. We’re thrilled to announce that 4-H has provided us an official license to continue offering awards and ribbons bearing the 4-H name and emblem.

All you 4-H dog groups can order, as you have in the past, here. For more information on our 4-H license, click here.

We’re looking forward to continuing to work with our 4-H partners!

We're Going Green!

Three years ago, we began investigating the idea of “going green” at our manufacturing facility in Rhode Island. Our goal: to reduce both our environmental impact and our energy costs; and, ultimately, maintain our commitment to American manufacturing of our products.

So, after a lot of starts and stops along the way, we’re thrilled to announce that, come spring, Hodges Badge Company will become the first manufacturer in our state powered entirely by a sustainable energy source. As we type, a 149-foot wind turbine 47.5-foot blades that will generate an estimated 451,000 kilowatt hours, is being built for us by Aeronautica Windpower in Durham, N.H.

Why a wind turbine? Well, our home of Aquidneck Island boasts a lot of wonderful features… and a blustery wind is one of the most constant!

Installation of the turbine begins in April, and we expect it will be complete by June. We’re proud that, with this turbine, we’ll reduce the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 pounds per year… allowing our customers to know not only that they are buying the finest awards and ribbons, but also that their Hodges purchases are an environmentally responsible choice.

Happy Holidays from McKell (and the rest of us…)

You might recall: right around the time this blog came into being, a lovable pup named McKell came into our world at Hodges Badge Company. In the time since, McKell has been adjusting to her new life, and has enrolled in obedience classes (and is doing quite well, we might add!).

So, since many of you asked about McKell, here is a little holiday update: On Saturday, McKell got to go to Domina’s Agway in Portsmouth R.I. for a chance to sit on Santa’s lap. While she was a little skittish, she happily represented the Hodges team, wanting to send her (and our) best wishes for a VERY happy holiday season, and a healthful, prosperous New Year. She (and we) look forward to working with you in 2010!

(to see photos of other happy holiday canines, visit the photo archives at www.Dominasagway.com)

How Do We… Print on Ribbons

You have probably never given a thought to how all the titles, places and dates get onto the ribbons you have won.  You still don’t have to (because that is our job!) but I am going to give you the basics of  how ribbons get printed, because it’s an interesting process…

All of our orders begin on a computer screen, when you explain your needs to our customer service rep, and they enter it into the computer system.  The order is printed, checked and we send you an acknowledgment.  Then the order travels to the plant office, and into production.

The typesetter takes their instructions from the printout, and pulls brass matts from a drawer like this one:

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They compose the type in the stick, like this, and it goes into the Ludlow, which casts a single line of type like the one shown below.  Each line of type lasts for 1,000 impressions, at most, before it must be melted down to be reused.

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Type is composed in a chase, and placed in a hot stamping press.  These presses operate at 325 degrees, and stamp the ribbon with 12 tons of force.  The gold leaf is really embossed into the ribbon with that much pressure.  We use specially modified presses from Vansco Manufacturing because they print better than any other press available.

Using these presses, we can print and cut 100 ribbons a minute.  Or, if each ribbon needs to be individually titled, about 1 per minute.  If you have a long list of titles, we ask that you send them to us as an excel file – and we have a special press that can use that information for the printing instructions, saving time and expense over hand setting all the type.  Most importantly, it helps us get the right spellings of dog names.

Next week – putting rosettes together!