Work and Life Balances Well in Dickinson County
Tuesday, February 09, 2021
When seeking employment, family is important to determine a community’s quality of life as well as finding a good company to work for. When Amy Leavy and her family moved to Abilene to work with Great Plains Manufacturing, she had the opportunity for both a great company to work for and a positive quality of life in Abilene.
“I am so thankful for the chance to work for a company that makes a concerted effort to do what is best for its employees,” said Leavy. “And Abilene’s wonderful pace of living has made it easy to balance work with family life.”
Leavy is the Human Resources Director with Great Plains Manufacturing in Salina, Kansas, just across the Dickinson County line. As a division of Kubota North America, Great Plains is a leader in the manufacturing of agricultural implements for tillage, seeding, and planting in the United States, as well as a leading producer of dirtworking, turf maintenance, and landscaping equipment.
Great Plains’ presence in Dickinson County includes two Abilene plants, and Enterprise parts and machine shop. These plants are part of the Land Pride division, which manufactures farm, turf, dirtworking, and landscaping implements. As the largest Land Pride facilities, these locations include almost 550,000 sq/ft of plant area where various lines of mowers, cutters, tillers, seeders and other machinery are produced.
Care for Employees
Prior to moving to the area, Leavy was a business owner and executive in Human Resource consulting in Colorado. Great Plains was one of her clients, placing her in a unique position to have a working knowledge of the company prior to being employed there. In addition, Leavy had lived in Wichita for 20 years prior to moving to Colorado, so she was familiar with the area as well. Prior to being an employee, Leavy admired the Great Plains business model and culture.
“Even as a consultant, it was easy to see how Great Plains made the effort to create a positive work environment for its employees,” she said. “Coming to work for them in 2018 was an easy decision.”
Leavy pointed to several examples of Great Plains’ efforts to support employees, such as a Parental Leave Policy separate from Vacation Leave or Short Term Disability. Fathers and adoptive parents receive two weeks off with pay for the birth of their child, while birth mothers receive eight weeks to recover and bond with their child. Other examples include quarterly Appreciation Lunches and Perfect Attendance Lunches.
They also have a unique career development program. There is a career path for every production employee as a technical expert or leading a team of employees. A Welding School will begin soon as a nine-week paid program to develop new welders.
“This is about creating a career for our employees, not just a job they go to each day,” she said. “This is one way we can provide a great place to work for our employees.”
Leavy and her Human Resource team visit each of their plants on a regular basis to meet with employees in private sessions to discuss their workplace environment.
“We try to be as accessible as possible by finding ways to sit down to talk with our employees at their workplace.” she said. “Our top priorities are creating a safe environment and taking care of our people.”
Leavy said it is easy to enjoy her role with the company, with a workforce composed of good people, who work hard to take care of their families.
“It is a pleasure to work with such kind-hearted people who have a strong work ethic, embrace teamwork and the importance of building relationships,” she said.
Leavy also said Dickinson County is developing a vibrant, growing business economy, pointing to the Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation (DKEDC) as a bridge between work and family life development. DKEDC focuses on growing Abilene, balancing large, well-known companies with support for the small, local businesses.
“They work very hard to develop unique retail, service and restaurant businesses, which is a significant factor in maintaining the balance between work and living locally,” she said.
Pace of life
The Abilene area is a perfect fit with the Leavy’s personal life. As a retired police officer from the Denver area, her husband was looking for a quiet community with convenience, friendliness and an easy pace of life, where you can meet your neighbors. They have found an unexpected number of mom-and-pop restaurants in the area. In addition, they were caring for her father-in-law and they felt the pace of Abilene would be more supportive to his condition. They were very impressed with the care and support they received from the Dickinson County Hospice. Leavy also appreciates a more affordable cost of living compared to Colorado.
“The friendliness of the people here is just a regular part of life and not something you find in other areas,” she said. “All in all, Dickinson County is a great place to work, live and raise a family.”