Our Communities

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When our local communities thrive, our business and stakeholders also benefit.

We are active in and committed to the communities in which we operate. Not only does this connection enable us to reach out to sectors of the community that otherwise would be underserved or excluded, it also gives us an opportunity to discover new talent. Because we understand that doing good for our business and doing good for our community are intrinsically connected.

Teknion contributes to causes that strengthen the well-being of the communities in which we operate. In keeping with our entrepreneurial spirit, we also encourage employees to work with charities that speak to them on a personal level, as personal engagement is the engine for collective responsibility. Ultimately, as a company, and as individuals, we want to leave a legacy behind that we can feel good about.

While it is not uncommon to have generations of families working here, we are actively recruiting the next generation of employees from the communities in which we operate. Not only does this give us an opportunity to discover new talent, it also allows us a way to reach out to sectors of the community that otherwise would be underserved. Because when our local communities thrive, our business and stakeholders also benefit.

 


 

investing in our communities

 

Local Manufacturing:
We still make things

 

business partner of the year

Award in 2018 to Studio TK for its work with Johnson Community College in North Carolina.

benefits of owning our manufacturing

Despite the industry shifting to outsourcing, we have kept our commitment to operating our own manufacturing facilities, because we know it is the best way to keep us autonomous, creative, accountable and diverse.

Other benefits include:

  • Well-paid, skilled jobs for our communities
  • More economical use of resources & energy
  • Less transport required = Less greenhouse gas emissions

CALGARY BOARD OF EDUCATION APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

We have partnered with the Calgary Board of Education to provide opportunities for vocational students to train and prepare for apprenticeship programs at Teknion and other manufacturing facilities in our community.

 

Supporting Our Communities

 

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) workshops for girls

Teknion hosted its first Take Our Girls to STEM day for Grade 6-8 students. Modelled on the Take Our Kids to Work day program, Teknion employees are invited to bring their Grade 6-8 daughters to our Head Office to introduce them to STEM programming, and to encourage them to study STEM subjects.

Mount Laurel, New Jersey office focuses on social action

Recent efforts include:

  • Packing care packages for patients and their families at the local pediatric hospital
  • Filling backpacks for under-served students with school supplies donated by employees
  • Making food bags for the homeless
  • Adopting families for the holidays

 

 

Publicolor

Organization for underprivileged kids from the Tristate area that Suzanne Tick provided weaving workshops for.


 

 

 

extending our shared values

 

Chase Office Interiors:
Benefits of our success beyond the bottom line

FOR DANNY CHASE, FOUNDER AND CEO OF CHASE OFFICE INTERIORS, GIVING BACK IS A FAMILY AFFAIR.

Since founding his company 16 years ago, along with his team, Danny has grown his dealership, Chase Office Interiors, into one of the largest in Canada. Family and community were the foundational principles on which Saul and David Feldberg built Teknion. These same values are the cornerstone of Danny’s business, drive his growth and connect him to his roots. Chase Office Interiors is Teknion’s only fully-owned and controlled Aboriginal dealership. On Chase’s relationship with Teknion Danny remarks, “We step up and support each other. The Community of First Nations is the same. It’s all about community and family. In fact, giving back is very much a family affair.”

Danny, along with his Cousin Larry Wilkins, are major supporters of Alberta’s only private Aboriginal high school, Mamawi Atosketan Native School. Mamawi Atosketan means “working together” and it serves four nations and four reserves. The school provides its students with a well-rounded education comprised of spiritual, academic and hands-on experiential learning to instill pride in their roots while giving them the future-ready skills they will need when they graduate.

Larry Wilkins is Danny’s mentor and inspiration, and was key to getting him involved with the school. Larry recalls, “I took Danny to the school’s open house, and when he met the school principal, saw the kids and saw what they were wanting to build, he was hooked.” Larry adds, “We all share a passion for our First Nations heritage.” Danny thought he was going to talk about a donation of equipment and computers, but what Gayle Wilton, the principal said was, “We really need a high school.” That led to Chase sponsoring a major part of the construction, including the state-of-the-art gymnasium. Gayle explains, “We’re a private school. Without donations we wouldn’t be here. We thought we’d be lucky if we got a few rooms, but we ended up with a whole school! We are proud to have a school that is culturally appropriate, that gives our students a sense of pride about who they are and who they can be. They have a place here.”

“My charitable work motivates me. I was given an opportunity, and I want to give back, and provide that to others. I can open the door so that the next generation can walk through it,” says Danny. Chase Office Interiors’ team is proud of what they have helped build. Concludes Danny, “It demonstrates there is a greater purpose and meaning to things than just dollars and cents.”

 

“My charitable work motivates me. I was given an opportunity, and I want to give back, and provide that to others. I can open the door so that the next generation can walk through it,”

Danny Chase

Founder and CEO of Chase Office Interiors

 

 

 

Weaving a better future

 

Weaving Workshops:
Learning patience, consideration + mindfulness

SUZANNE TICK, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, LUUM TEXTILES, FINDS BEAUTY IN FOUND ITEMS.

Seeing the potential and promise in found objects is a gift Suzanne Tick has inherited from her father. She recalls, “My father was a third-generation recycler – he owned a scrap metal yard. It’s always been second nature to me to recycle or upcycle materials. It goes hand in hand with my respect for nature, and creating value from what otherwise would be discarded.” It’s also a passion she has carried forward into her business and her life. Appreciation of the found is apparent in her new textile offering, Tilt Shift. This textile incorporates upcycled cotton from apparel waste into its recycled polyester weave to create a beautiful and sustainable textile. For Suzanne, weaving connections between her craft and community is ongoing. Recently, she led a workshop with children from Publicolor to teach them the art of weaving. Publicolor is a youth development program that engages at-risk students in their education through a continuum of design-based programs that mentor them for success in college, career and life. Suzanne explains, “We ask participants to collect the materials that they will use in their weaving. We had one little boy bring in his old blue jeans, while another little girl had a ballerina costume that was too small. This way they are not only recycling material, but also keeping those materials they love relevant and meaningful through a second life.” The act of weaving is a contemplative discipline. It teaches the value of being patient, considerate, mindful and thoughtful, important values to instill in children. Suzanne explains, “It’s my calling – I like teaching them to reclaim. It’s a whole other feeling of satisfaction showing people how they can transform something, and at the same time perform a service to our planet.”

 

“There is beauty and
potential in found
materials.”

Suzanne Tick,

Creative Director, Luum Textiles

 

 

 

HELPING OUR COMMUNITIES THRIVE

Education + Employment:
creating the next generation of leaders

 

TRAVAIL JEUNESSE, FORMACA AND CETAL

Our partnership with Travail Jeunesse has grown along with Formaca and CETAL in helping at-risk youth and people with physical and mental disabilities acquire skills needed to attain and keep meaningful work in the communities in which they live.

NCWORKS

We work with the State Agency NCWorks on an on-the-job training program to develop the specialized skills needed or employment in the furniture industry.

CALGARY BOARD OF EDUCATION APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

We have partnered with the Calgary Board of Education to provide opportunities for vocational students to train and prepare for apprenticeship programs at Teknion and other manufacturing facilities in our community.


Vertical Integration:
Commitment to local manufacturing



Our Approach to Outsourcing

Our Supplier Code of Ethics includes undertaking on-site inspections where we audit both working and living quarters.

Additionally, we physically check their Bill of Materials against their inventory to verify their suppliers’ lists. Taking this extra step ensures human rights, environment and labor standards are respected all the way down the supply chain.

Benefits of Owning our Manufacturing

  • Well-paid, skilled jobs for our communities.
  • More economical use of resources and energy.
  • Less transport required = Less greenhouse gas emissions.

 

 


Charitable Efforts:
Engaging within the community


RIDE FOR HEART

Teknion employees are active participants in this annual event supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation, winning the Golden Wheel Award in five of the past six years in the Corporate Challenge category for their fundraising efforts.

HURRICANE RELIEF

$7,690 raised for the Red Cross by our U.S. offices for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma relief efforts.

BLOOD DRIVES

70 blood donors participated in three blood drives held in New Jersey, potentially saving 126 lives.

SWIM FOR LIFE

Eight participants in the 23 km (14 mi) Swim for Life relay in Lévis, Quebec, raised $8,756 in honor of suicide prevention.

QUEBEC CITY MARATHON

Teknion donated a total of $6,250 over the past two years.

WHEELS FOR THE WORLD

This workshop at our New Jersey office challenged employees via fun competitions to design bicycles to donate to local school kids.


 


 

THEIR SUCCESS IS OUR REWARD

Marie-France sums it up for everyone when asked what she is most proud of when looking at the sum total of her efforts – her answer, “their success is our reward.”

Marie France (second from left) alongside three program graduates and now full-time employees of Teknion.

 

Marie France Gosselin, Pamela Blake and Joy Callahan head up organizations that partner with Teknion to provide youth with meaningful work and a future they can be proud of.

Marie France Gosselin Travail Jeunesse Quebec City, Quebec

In 1999, Travail Jeunesse started small. Dedicated to the successful integration of at-risk youth into the community and workforce, it established a 5,000 sq. ft. (465 m2) manufacturing facility in which it could hire and train at-risk youth (99 percent of whom are homeless when they meet Marie France and her support team). Youth not only perform contract manufacturing work for local businesses but also gain the necessary social skills to function within the community. At the time, Travail Jeunesse relied on the government for 80 percent of the funding. It started with simple manufacturing processes like bagging nuts and bolts. But with commitment to social and vocational training, the program grew. It added 15,000 sq. ft. (1,393.5 m2) and has brought many local business partners on-board.

Teknion has been involved since the beginning. Travail Jeunesse has diverted production through the facility and expanded the type of work undertaken in the plant to include more sophisticated tasks, like cabinet assembly. It also brings in engineers to train the youth on Kaizen (continuous employment) providing them with valuable skills they can use to advance themselves. Today, Travail Jeunesse returns about $1,000,000 per year in value back into the local economy and is 90 percent self-funded. Fortyfive individuals are enrolled in this program each year, and the organization boasts a 75 percent integration rate into the workforce. Teknion is a beneficiary of this success rate beyond just Travail Jeunesse,s manufacturing plant. It employs Travail Jeunesse alumni within its facilities, reaping the benefits of a skilled workforce it custom rained.

 

Neither the organizations, the companies nor the students involved in these programs consider what they do to be charitable activities.

Pamela Blake (center) and her students-in-training at Teknion’s Calgary Facility

 

 

Pamela Blake Jack James High School Calgary, Alberta

Pamela’s days are very busy. They are spent traveling around the community in which her high school is located, identifying opportunities to advance the well-being of youth in her community. This includes bringing at-risk high school kids to Solutions, Teknion’s wood plant in Calgary. These kids have faced challenges and ordeals beyond what any young person should have to shoulder and face a very real possibility of no prospect for a good job or future beyond their present moment.

This is where Pamela steps in. She makes the connection between these kids and local businesses that can give them a life chance. Their training hours at Teknion perform double time as credits toward graduating high school, something that seemed like a dim prospect before they joined the program. Kevin Wood, Plant Manager, and his team at Teknion’s Calgary plant provide training and mentorship in trades like carpentry and cabinet making, as well as inventory management and logistics.

 

All involved understand this is a smart way to invest in the future of local industry and the next generation of young people within the communities in which they operate.

Joy Callahan in a Johnston Community College classroom, ready to co-create the next year’s curriculum.

 

 

Joy Callahan Johnston Community College Smithfield, North Carolina

How do you enrich the fabric of your community? The answer is simple to Joy – provide possibilities for its youth. That translates into practical skills that will lead to employment. Joy understands everything is connected. You cannot strengthen your community without strengthening your local labor pool and you cannot guarantee the future of your community if you do not support local industry.

Since the tobacco farming industry has bottomed out in North Carolina, other industries need to take its place. One of those industries is furniture and Studio TK is an integral part of that growing manufacturing cluster. Johnston Community College partners with Teknion to provide customized educational units that train youth on skills identified by Studio TK as integral for employment within its facility. Co-creating the curriculum in this manner ensures employment opportunities at Studio TK.

Organizations We Support

  • American Cancer Society
  • American Heart Association
  • Animal Orphanage of New Jersey
  • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Baycrest Home for the Aged
  • Battered Women in Dade County
  • California Waterfowl
  • Cameron Diamond Foundation
  • Cancer Support Community
  • Cathedral Kitchen
  • Cétal
  • Chicago Women’s Health Center
  • Children’s Wish Foundation
  • CitiWide Harm Reduction
  • Clayton North Carolina Fire Department
  • Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of Canada
  • Design Exchange
  • Destination Foundation
  • Evergreen Brick Works
  • Florida International University
  • Fondation de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis
  • Fondation de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montmagny
  • Fondation du CHU de Québec
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple
  • Ft. Lauderdale Art Institute
  • Gigi’s House
  • Goodwill Industries
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation
  • Hospital for Sick Children
  • Johns Hopkins Medical Hospital
  • Juggerknot Theatre Company
  • Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Miami Art Museum Miami Children’s Hospital
  • Mount Royal College of Art & Design
  • Mt. Sinai Hospital
  • March of Dimes
  • MS Foundation
  • National Building Museum
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, School of Design
  • Ontario College of Art & Design
  • Petchitecture
  • Philanthropy by Design
  • Princess Margaret Hospital
  • Public Architecture
  • Red Cross
  • Royal Ontario Museum
  • Ryerson University
  • Salvation Army
  • San Francisco Food Bank
  • Seneca College
  • The Firehouse Community Arts Center
  • Toys for Tots
  • United Way/Centraide
  • University Health Network
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Toronto
  • Vallabh Niketan Ashram
  • World Vision
  • World Wildlife Fund
  • York University
  • Youth Inc.
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