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SANTA CRUZ — Just a few weeks after Plantronics held the official ribbon cutting of a new 800,000-square-foot facility in Tijuana, the headquarters for 2,200 employees, the company has gained national attention for its contribution to the country.
Plantronics is one of 12 U.S. companies nominated for the prestigious 2013 Secretary’s Award for Corporate Excellence, which recognizes American companies “that are leaders in socially responsible activities and contribute to the overall growth and development of the local economy in which they work.”
The selection committee is expected to announce two to three winners early Wednesday at a ceremony hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington. Ten Plantronics executives and employees from Santa Cruz and Mexico will be attending the event, which will be broadcast worldwide.
The Plamex facility was nominated by Earl Anthony “Tony” Wayne, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, for its “support for host country technology and science development through establishing a center and sophisticated testing lab employing 100 professionals.” Also noted were Plantronics efforts to support education of employees via agreements with local colleges and trade schools to provide work-school collaboration assistance, intern opportunities and recruitment.
Plantronics has had facilities in the Tijuana border area of Mexico since 1972 along with many other U.S. companies that set up shop there for cheaper labor. Plamex has received numerous national and international commendations in the past 15 years relating to environmental issues, employee relations and quality control processes. The company has promulgated successful preventive health initiatives for employees, provided child care programs, medical care and housing assistance. Plamex, which is headed by Rosa Ruvalcaba, vice president of manufacturing, has won “Best Place To Work” three times in a row.
The new facility has a soccer field, gym and basketball court in addition to new equipment that supports molecular coding on equipment, new labs and accommodations for employee weddings.
The Plamex is cited as a “model of excellence” in the business management book, Managing a Global Workforce: Challenges and Opportunities in International Human Resource Management by Charles Vance and Yongsun Paik, as well as in lectures by Richard Hadden, co-author of the Contented Cows leadership books.
“One of our values is people,” Kannappan said. “Everyone in Tijuana wants to work for us.
“We have our pick of anybody. At end of the day, you know when you join Plamex you having an opportunity to do lot more with your career that you will elsewhere.”
The other 11 finalists for the ACE awards are: Apache Corp. in Egypt, Ball Corp. in Serbia, Boeing in China, Citibank in Brazil, Coca Cola in Romania, Dole in Ecuador, Esso in Angola, Fruit of the Loom in Honduras, Mars in Indonesia, Taylor Guitars in Cameroon and VOS Flips in Guatemala.
The 2013 ACE winners will be announced Wednesday, 6:20 a.m. PST. The event will be streamed live on the Internet at http://www.state.gov.
Follow Sentinel correspondent Jennifer Pittman at Twitter.com/jenniferpittman