Houston, Texas--Eagle's Trace, the West Houston community developed and managed by Erickson Living, took top honors in the Best Companies to Work for in Texas in 2020, ranking first in the category for medium-sized companies.
The recognition comes from an annual survey and awards program designed to identify and acknowledge the area's best employers. The survey is administered by the Best Companies Group in partnership with Texas Monthly, the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Society for Human Resource Management.
This year marks the eighth time the West Houston community has appeared on the list since 2011. Eagle's Trace moved into the top spot this year after ranking 13th on the list in 2019.
"With the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has been a year like no other," says Executive Director Stephen Aigner. "Our employees have been incredible. Watching them adapt to different roles, learn and execute new protocols and take extra precautionary measures while caring for our residents and each other has been inspiring. In this environment, being recognized as the number one 'best company to work for in Texas' will always have significant meaning to our employees and residents."
Set on 72 acres in West Houston, Eagle's Trace is home to 960 residents and employs a workforce of more than 500, a mix of full-time and part-time staff members. "Our entire team is honored to be in a position to enrich the lives of our residents, especially during the pandemic," says Human Resources Director Vickie Antoine. "Employees tell me working here helps them to 'live a better life,' too. Whether it's providing tuition assistance for a certified nursing assistant striving to become a registered nurse or providing mentorship for a student employed in dining services, we are committed to offering a robust benefits package and a culture of inclusion and growth."
Hiring the best
Javell Jury first learned of Eagle's Trace during a job fair at Elsik High School in the Alief Independent School District in 2013. "I happened to walk by the Eagle's Trace table and saw they were hiring students to work in dining services," says Jury. "I liked the idea of having a job and making a little money, so I applied."
Jury says his experience at Eagle's Trace has been filled with professional "firsts." "That was the first time I interviewed for a job," he says. Jury worked in dining services at Eagle's Trace for two years before attending Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Tex., to study criminal justice.
"My son was born during this time, and when I came back to Houston, I applied to work at the front gate at Eagle's Trace," says Jury, "I worked there for a year before I applied for the job of communications specialist."
As a communications specialist, Jury worked at the front desk for three months before an unexpected conversation changed the course of his career.
Pamela Burgeson, Director of Sales, took note of Jury's friendly nature and easygoing manner and asked if he'd ever considered a career in sales. The question caught Jury by surprise. "Sales was never anything I thought of doing, but I recognized this as a great opportunity," says Jury. "I didn't know if I still wanted to pursue a degree in criminal justice or if maybe a career in sales would suit me better."
Jury joined the team at Eagle's Trace in 2017, where he currently works as a sales associate. "Sales has opened my eyes professionally," says Jury. "I've learned how to engage with people over the phone. I've learned how to interact with people in different life stages than me. As a millennial, I've learned to appreciate and learn from other generations."
Other career "firsts" include his first business trip to Baltimore, Md., for a peer team meeting and learning to adapt to challenging situations like Hurricane Harvey and the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In recent months, we've had the opportunity to change roles and deliver meals and essential items to our residents as they stayed safe," says Jury. "It's been a blessing to see everyone working together."
Jury says his career trajectory at Eagle's Trace has opened doors to new possibilities.
"I was recently awarded a full scholarship from the College of Biblical Studies to pursue my bachelor of science degree in Biblical Counseling," says Jury. "Classes are online, so I can work towards my degree while still working at Eagle's Trace."
Looking back, Jury says he couldn't have imagined the impact of stopping by the Eagle's Trace table at the high school job fair seven years ago. "Eagle's Trace was my first job ever, and I've been here ever since," he says. "It's truly a family."
Written by Sara Martin
About Eagle's Trace: Eagle's Trace, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 72-acre campus in West Houston, Texas. The not-for-profit community of more than 960 residents and 500 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight. Additional information can be found at EaglesTraceCommunity.com.