Four Richmond-area top executives were honored with special awards for their achievements in this year’s Top Workplaces competition.
Special awards also were given to 12 regional companies in categories ranging from direction to management and creativity.
Recipients were chosen based on scores for employee responses to survey questions.
In a confidential survey conducted by Energage, employees were asked about workplace issues. Their statements were rated on a seven-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree.
For the Leadership awards, employees were asked about their confidence in the leadership of their companies. These awards were given to one executive in each of the four Top Workplaces categories based on company size — mega, large, midsize and small.
For the company awards, employees were asked about their views on such issues as benefits, communication and company values. These awards were given to companies that scored the highest in each issue category.
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Mega company: Dr. Richard P. “Pete” Sowers III, chairman and CEO of Patient First, founded the urgent care chain in 1981.
He guided the company’s growth from one center in Chesterfield County to 76 centers and telehealth services in four states — Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
He established Patient First’s quality assurance programs, physician training standards and medical and service protocols.
An expert in ambulatory care, Sowers has delivered testimony to the Federal Trade Commission, Virginia Health Regulatory Board, Virginia Board of Pharmacy, members of the U.S. Congress and the Virginia General Assembly, the Medical Society of Virginia and the Richmond Academy of Medicine.
After serving as a flight surgeon in the Air Force, Sowers was an emergency room physician for six years before starting Patient First.
He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Medical College of Virginia. He serves on the board of trustees and board of advisors for the Virginia Health Care Foundation, and on the board of trustees of the Richmond Ballet.
Large company: Elena Edwards became CEO of Allianz Partners in June 2020, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Her immediate focus was to steer the insurance company through the worst crisis that the travel industry had ever experienced.
Longer term, Edwards is focused on growing the business and maintaining the company’s position as one of the top in the travel insurance industry.
She joined the Henrico County-based company as general manager in 2019 with more than 30 years of experience with General Electric companies, including 17 years with the insurance industry. At GE, she provided leadership on strategy, priorities and operation for the U.S. business unit.
Just prior to joining Allianz, Edwards worked at Genworth Financial, where she was president of the long-term care insurance business. Other previous leadership positions included chief operating officer of the U.S. life insurance division.
She is a foundation board member of the Science Museum of Virginia and an educator at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
Edwards holds a master of engineering degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor of science from Union College.
Midsize company: Liza Myers Borches, president and CEO of Carter Myers Automotive, is the fourth generation of her family to lead a company founded in Petersburg in 1924 by her great-grandfather, H. Carter Myers.
Borches joined the automobile retailer in 2003 and became president, CEO and majority stockholder in 2011.
Carter Myers Automotive, a family- and employee-owned business, has grown from three dealerships to operating 18 vehicle franchises in five markets Virginia. It has a total of 700 employees.
In the Richmond region, it operates Colonial Chevrolet, Colonial Honda, Colonial Hyundai, Colonial Subaru and Colonial Kia in the Richmond area. It also owns dealerships in Charlottesville, Staunton, Williamsburg and Winchester.
The company and the Borches family started a nonprofit initiative, Driving Lives Forward, to help economically challenged families in their communities with transportation needs through fair interest rate loans and reliable vehicles.
Borches is chair of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia, past chair for the United Way of Greater Charlottesville and co-founder of Women United.
She serves as a member of the board on the Virginia Auto Dealers Association, the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board and manufacturer advisory boards.
Borches, who lives in Charlottesville with her family, is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.
Small company: Tammy Record, co-founder and district manager of Cutz For Guys, opened her first salon targeted toward male clients in the Richmond area in the Downtown Short Pump center in early 2012.
In 2016, she and her sister, Tracy Kondracki, opened their second salon at The Shoppes at Westchester in Chesterfield. They now operate a third Cutz for Guys salon in Mechanicsville.
“We are a locally owned, sister team that founded Cutz for Guys,” the website says. “We believe that our stylists are our most important asset so we choose to pay above-average wages and benefits, treat them with respect and dignity and prove opportunity for growth and advancement.”
A licensed hair stylist for 20 years, Record gained management experience at two national salons. She manages the day-to-day operations of the salon, while her sister is the business manager.
“Tammy has put everything she has earned back into her staff and business,” Kondracki said. “She has created an incredible workplace culture.”
The salons employ about 50 people, “who all agree that Cutz for Guys is hand-down the best place they’ve worked ... We are family, treated and valued as such.”
This company is going in the right direction: CarMax Inc.
Managers help employees learn and grow, make it easier to do jobs well and cares about employee concerns: Capital One Financial Corp.
New ideas are encouraged at this company: Starling International Child Care & Learning Complex
At this company, we do things efficiently and well: Premium of Virginia Richmond
The jobs make employees feel like they are part of something meaningful: United Network for Organ Sharing
This company operates by strong values: Davenport & Company LLC.
Clued-in senior management:
Senior managers understand what is really happening: Pinnacle Living
Employees feel well informed about important decisions at the company: Independent Container Line Ltd.
Employees have flexibility to balance their work and personal lives: SyCom Technologies
Employees get the formal training they need for their careers: The Steward School
Benefit packages are good compared with others in the industry: Town of Ashland
Employees feel genuinely appreciated: Spinnaker Consulting Group