We all know the oil industry is a volatile business. But one Oklahoma City company in its 55-year history has never had a layoff. Instead they pay their employees to volunteer.
Since early summer dozens of employees from Balon Valves have been coming to work at the Regional Food Bank.
“There have not been any layoffs through this whole time,” said Hans Cox, a Balon employee. “The ups and the downs they have kept everybody busy.”
Hans works in purchasing. A lot of the folks he's working alongside are on the assembly line. Balon is a family owned company that designs and manufactures valves, used primarily in the oil and gas industry.
Earlier this year when there was a sharp downturn in the industry, instead of sending out pink slips they offered to pay employees to work at the Food Bank.
“They just kind of put it out to us. ‘Anybody want to volunteer for these spots?’ And that’s what I wanted to do,” said Cox.
So far this year, the company has donated about 9,500-man hours to the Food Bank. Back between 2015 and 2017 during the downturn then, they donated more than 75,000-man hours.
“It’s a really big deal to have the Balon employees out here especially since we can’t have our normal public employees coming out here to help us,” said the Regional Food Bank’s Cathy Nesten. “They’re great workers, hard workers, great attitude. So, we’re very, very thankful to Balon.”
Once the oil industry ramps back up Balon already has trained workers ready to go and those employees know they will continue to have a stable and secure job. And be able to help out the community in the meantime.
“It’s awesome. I’m very thankful for this opportunity to work for Balon, to be able to come out here and provide the volunteer hours for such a good cause,” said Cox.