ELYRIA, Ohio — It’s not every day that the employees of a manufacturing operation dress up like Hawkeye, Major Houlihan and Radar from the TV show M*A*S*H and perform a skit for employees.
It’s also not every day such a facility gets to celebrate the fifth anniversary of an on-site health center that has changed hundreds of lives for the better.
Those two happenings came together in August at the Huntington, Indiana, manufacturing complex of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems.
At an employee lunch marking the Health Center’s milestone, Bendix took a fun approach to a subject the company takes seriously: the health and wellness of its employees and their families.
The Bendix Health Center, which opened in September 2013, reflects Bendix’s long-standing commitment to employee and family health and wellness, says Carlos Hungria, Bendix chief operating officer.
At the Health Center, which is staffed by a nurse practitioner and medical assistant, employees receive preventive, primary and acute care services, follow-up care and referral management. The center is operated through a partnership with Marathon Health, and provides other services as well, such as health assessments, health coaching, and disease management. The Marathon Health on-site health center also serves the spouses and children of Bendix employees. On-site clinicians can either serve as employee primary care physicians or coordinate with employees’ current doctors.
“The on-site health center at Huntington is an important part of our enduring commitment to promote the wellness culture at Bendix. It’s an aspect of our company that has grown exponentially over time,” Hungria said. “As a company, we are guided by the long-standing Bendix Be Healthy mission, which is to help employees and families live and perform at the top of their game at work, at home, and into retirement. With our emphasis on prevention and early detection, we strive to do everything we can to make healthy living easier and more convenient for our employees and their families.”
The anniversary event also doubled as a dedication. In a surprise presentation that brought cheers and tears, Bendix dedicated the Health Center to Mike Pogorelc, who served as Huntington plant manager for the last 17 years before being named VP of supply chain excellence at Bendix. Pogorelc – the originator of the idea for the center – retired this month after over 28 years of service at Bendix.
Program that gets results
Since the Huntington Health Center opened, over three-quarters of Bendix Huntington’s more than 400 employees and two-thirds of their spouses have made progress in lowering key health risk factors. Hungria noted that this equates to a nearly 84 percent improvement in key health risk factors during the initial five years the center has been in place.
And there’s further proof in the numbers. Employees, who can visit the center during their shift, average 4.4 visits per year – a number that has gone up every year. Dependent participation was 27 percent in 2017, up 9 percent from 2014. Surveyed last year, employees gave the center a 100 percent patient satisfaction score, and 25 percent said they wouldn’t have gotten care if not for the on-site center.
The Huntington Health Center has increased its weekly hours of operation from 20 to 30 since launching. It also stays open late one night a week.
“We are encouraged and inspired by our employees’ participation in the clinic’s primary and preventive care opportunities,” said Tricia Miller, Huntington’s manager, human resources. “Our team members engage themselves in the programs we operate to quit smoking, make healthy nutrition choices, and manage stress, diabetes and prediabetes, blood pressure, skin cancer, and body weight. They encourage each other every step of the way. And their progress is evident in the numbers, as Huntington’s workforce is seeing improvements in everything from blood pressure measurements to cholesterol and glucose readings.”
One of many employee success stories belongs to Edward Kratz, quality technician, recognized in the last quarter of 2017 by Marathon Health for his “Healthy Like Me” patient story submission. Kratz visited the Huntington Health Center for help managing Type 2 diabetes. On his own, he wasn’t sure how to follow a diabetic diet or manage his weight loss. After meeting with a health coach who offered guidance and helpful tools, Kratz lost 45 pounds, reduced the diabetes medications he takes from four to one, and brought his blood pressure under control. He credits the on-site facility for helping him learn how to improve his health and care for himself.
Culture of Health and Wellness
Huntington and all other Bendix facilities follow the Bendix Employee Wellness Program, which is built on five categories: weight management, physical activity, tobacco cessation, and stress management, along with prevention and early detection. Yearly physicals and blood screenings are made available to employees and family members free of charge. In addition, employees may complete an annual personal health assessment to help each individual develop a personal health plan.
Bendix facilities across North America, Huntington among them, also include on-site employee fitness centers and walking paths, as well as a shared commitment to provide healthy catering and healthy vending machine options. In 2012, all Bendix campuses declared themselves tobacco-free properties. The actions are all part of the company’s goal of creating a healthier working environment, decreasing absenteeism, and improving employee productivity and health both in and out of the workplace.
The Huntington facility offers indoor and outdoor walking tracks, ping pong tables, a basketball court, golf league, and softball team, as well as exercise equipment and circuit training led by a fitness instructor twice a week at its on-site fitness center. Bendix also covers half the cost for those who take part in on-site Weight Watchers meetings.
The culture of health and wellness at the Huntington campus extends to health walks such as the annual Relay For Life of Huntington County charity walk, where Bendix has been a corporate participant for nearly 15 years.
And every October in Huntington, Bendix sponsors the annual MOVE 5K community race, now in its 11th year.
The bustling Bendix Huntington campus, consisting of four manufacturing facilities, opened in February 1980 and includes manufacturing, remanufacturing, and assembly sites, as well as Bendix’s primary North American distribution center. The complex is the site of continual growth and expansion, the most recent example being a $3.8 million capital investment last year that included the addition of two new production lines to manufacture a portion of Bendix’s vibration damper product portfolio.
The Bendix Huntington Health Center fifth-anniversary celebration included a presentation by COO Carlos Hungria, shown here, and a dedication of the center in honor of Mike Pogorelc, who introduced the idea to Bendix leadership. (Courtesy: BENDIX COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SYSTEMS)