Expert Laser Services has been nominated for the Worcester Business Journals "Family Owned Business" Award.
What is your company’s mission and how does it reflect your family’s values?
Expert Laser Services began in the founder’s home and has always maintained a work environment not unlike a well run home. Ours is an employee-owned company, and that fact truly accentuates our identity as a “Family Business.” Indeed employee-ownership is a fitting capstone for a strong, growing company which is absolutely anchored in family values.
Family has always been first in the eyes of founder and controlling stock-holder Luke Carpentier, and he brought that attitude with him to work. Luke treats employees like family. He assumes truly paternal responsibility toward the ones who work for him. He offers second and third chances the way any loving parent would to a wayward child. He would forego his own paycheck and increase his own workload rather than lay anyone off.
So, when Luke began considering his own retirement and next directions, like a “papa bear” he concerned himself with his “brood,” his employees. If he sold the company, the Southbridge headquarters would likely be moved elsewhere. Some of us would not be able to move with the job. Others might lose our positions through the new owner’s desire to consolidate the administration of their new asset.
Luke’s answer? — Keep it in “the family!”
Through a long process with significant expense, Luke enabled the Expert Laser family to buy the business for ourselves. Luke himself stayed on as Chief Executive Officer (spending the majority of his time in our South Carolina office) and his elder son Michael took over as President, running the business up here. So the Carpentier family influence persists.
Out of that fertile soil of family values and blossoming employee-ownership, our company framed a mantra that we call, “Beyond Wow!” —
“As employee-owners we have made a conscious decision to grow our company through our existing customer-base. By concentrating on present clients and by continually enhancing our levels of service to them, we intend to so completely spoil our customers that they will enthusiastically provide a constant stream of referrals. “
That mantra is an out-growth of the three foundational principles upon which Luke Carpentier established the business:
Produce quality. Sell at a fair price. Stand behind the product.
These three guiding rules embody a single, constant focus on pleasing the customer before, during and after the sale. Every member of the Expert Laser family honors our “family name” by striving to “wow” our customers.
What is your company’s history? How was it started and how has it changed over time?
By the end of the 1980’s the desktop revolution had changed everything about the way America does business. Computers on every desktop became linked to printers in every cubicle. With the rapid expansion of information distribution came a collateral rise in printing headaches. How efficiently can I operate them? Where do I buy toner? How many copies should this cartridge yield? Who do I call for service?
Changes were happening in the general public as well. As a nation we began awakening to our responsibility toward our environment. Recycling programs and resource-saving ideas gathered momentum. These parallel movements gave rise to a new industry: Toner Cartridge Remanufacturing.
Expert Laser Services was established in that exciting atmosphere of dynamic change. From the early years, working out of owner Luke Carpentier’s home, three foundational principles would remain constant:
Produce quality. Sell at a fair price. Stand behind the product.
Those principles and the remanufactured products themselves were quickly embraced by the business community. They are still the mainstay of the Expert Laser organization. The original plant has grown into a first-class remanufacturing and service facility in Southbridge. At the same time, prototype service and supply programs were developed to meet the ever-expanding imaging requirements of businesses both small and large, but those bedrock principles remain.
Today Expert Laser provides the full range of imaging solutions: copiers, laser printers, fax and multi-functional devices; wide-format graphics and engineering printers; scanners; remanufactured toner cartridges; and a trademarked printer fleet management program, PrintDOME. The company has a Massachusetts plant plus a smaller office and production facility in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.
Even after twenty-one remarkable years, Expert Laser Services remains a growing family.
How does being a family-owned business make your company special?
Each Expert Laser employee feels like a family member. Each of us relates to Mike and Luke Carpentier on an individual basis, very like in a family. No one needs an “intermediary.” The bosses’ doors are always open.
And the feeling travels in the opposite direction as well. The bosses treat every employee with a respect which can be well characterized as familial. Redirects and corrections are invariably delivered in a tone of helping an employee go forward, improve and get stronger. In that regard, the Carpentiers have consistently supported the personal growth of employees, paying for or subsidizing a wide range of educational opportunities.
Not surprisingly, employee after employee has brought their natural family into the Expert Laser family. Son-in-laws, brothers, three father-son tandems—relatives are everywhere! Ours is a family composed of different families coming together. Luke even became the God-father for the first child born to an Expert Laser employee.
When an employee was stricken with bone marrow cancer in December 2009, the company took him under its wing like a mother hen with her chick. The Carpentiers made sure that their leukemia victim—and his wife and kids—had all the support he needed in every aspect of his battle. Now that employee has been cancer-free for nearly a year and is back with "the family," working part-time again and eagerly anticipating his return to full duty.
Expert Laser is a special place—personal closeness, transparency, discipline with a goal of strengthening, nurturing, encouraging. It feels very special to work here. It feels like family.
How is your company involved in the community? Include the names of family members and their community involvement?
Founder Luke Carpentier was a Lion for several years in his home town of Southbridge, serving a term as President. The company continues to support Lions Club events and activities as well as other important local charities such as the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.
President Mike Carpentier enjoys signing donation checks to a variety of worthwhile community groups. Mike himself has been involved with MDA, spending time in “jail” (on company time) for the cause, as has CFO Eric Willard.
Probably the best way Expert Laser participates in the community is by enabling individual employees to participate in their charities of choice. The company routinely accommodates a whole range of volunteerism from Foodshare Radio-thons to coaching for local sports teams.
One final way the Expert Laser family touches our communities is through employee-involvement in many area churches. If the old saying is true and “The family that prays together, stays together,” well, Expert Laser is going to be around a long time! Many employees are very active in church outreaches and ministries.
That’s Expert Laser Services, a very different, very special, family-sort-of-place to work.