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Pharmaceutical Employees Spruce Up St. Thomas

March 12, 2009 — They stepped out of their tourist role when they stepped off their boat.
Employees of Novo Nordisk, a Denmark-based pharmaceutical company, worked around St. Thomas Wednesday fixing up a number of facilities. It was part of their company's commitment to social responsibility — what they call their "triple bottom line."
A global leader in diabetes research and care, Novo Nordisk's triple-bottom-line philosophy incorporates social responsibility, environmental soundness and economic viability into its business practices, according to the company's website.
The employees painted, landscaped and performed a number of other community-service projects at the territory's schools, homes for the elderly and the Lionel Roberts Stadium. Calvin Fleming, acting supervisor of groundskeeping at the stadium, said the two safari-taxi loads of volunteers were a welcome sight.
"This is significant to us," Fleming said. "We are short-staffed, and any help is great."
The facelift for the stadium is a boon in anticipation of upcoming Latin American baseball championships, Fleming said.
The stadium provided the paint and the rollers. In the volunteer spirit, Fleming brought some of his own equipment, including scaffolding and extenders. The volunteers put all of the materials and equipment to good use, painting the outside of the stadium butter yellow with violet-red trim.
The company makes a practice of incorporating a community-service project into all its large off-site meetings.
In Orlando, Fla., employees built bicycles for disadvantaged kids. The employees recalled the smiles on the faces of the kids when they were brought to see the bikes the employees had built.
"Each team district had to assemble a bike, but one member was tasked with bringing in a kid," said Tim Malone, a sales rep from the Orlando area. "You should have seen the look of happiness on the kid's face. It will last me a lifetime."
Activities like these generate a lot of pride in the company and give the employees incentive to go the extra mile, they say.
"It makes me very proud," said Jeff Prechter, a sales representative from Orlando. "It makes it easier to get up in the morning and gives me the motivation to go see that extra doctor or nurse because you are backed by a company that does the same thing."
The employees also are proud to tout their status as the second-biggest contributor to diabetes research after the U.S. government.
The company was named No. 57 on Fortune magazine's best places to work, according to Leah Gregg, an employee from the company's mid-South region.
A Danish company volunteering to fix up the old stadium, which used to be a Danish parade ground, was no coincidence.
"I insisted that Lionel Roberts Stadium was on the list," said Cherise Creque, executive director of the United Way of St. Thomas-St. John. "I felt that there would be a good connection."
Creque said there were many people in the community to thank who played a part in bringing the facelift to the stadium.
After less than an hour, the volunteers had made remarkable progress down the east side wall of the stadium and were working on the area near the doorway.
Fleming stood back to admire the results and smiled.
"They are amazing, amazing!" he said.
Other volunteers from the company worked at a number of schools. Over at Lockhart Elementary, a trio of Novo Nordisk employees painted a tall retaining wall that overlooks the parking lot in front of the school.
"It makes me feel extra proud," said Ben Young of Germantown, Tenn. He is the associate director of field sales training, and has been with the company more than six years. Young was well pleased with the impact that the wall would have on the view of the front of the school.
"You pull up and you see this retaining wall," he said. "The climate here must be pretty hard on paint."
The volunteers were also helping to prepare the ground for planting in the school's garden, according to Lockhart Elementary's principal, Laura Chesterfield.
"I am happy they are here," she said. "It is nice to know visitors have decided to come out and help. It is a nice gesture on their part."
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