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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pinnacol celebrates Diwali as one of our Diversity Events

Dancers and Drummers from the Mudra Dance Studio
Through the years Pinnacol's Diversity Task Force has coordinated many special events designed to celebrate different cultures around the world. If there has been a common theme its that many of these events involve food and dance. Today was no different as the Diversity Task Force arranged a sampling of foods and dance in celebration of Diwali. All of these events also offer a chance for Pinnacol employees to learn about different cultures they may not be familiar with.

Also known as the festival of lights, Diwali is an ancient festival celebrated every fall. Diwali is the biggest and brightest festival in India featuring lights, home decorations, shopping, fireworks, prayers, gifts and food. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair - overall not a bad message to convey given the times we live in. Diwali is an official holiday in countries around the world, including Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji. Pinnacol has hosted dancers from many regions of the world and you can't help but feel better after watching these events. A special THANK YOU! to the members of our Diversity Task Force for arranging today's Diwali celebration. I can't wait for what they will have next time!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful...

A winter picture of our building from
the Blizzard of 2006
As I write this all warm and comfortable in front of my computer here at work most of Denver is struggling through the first real snow-impacted commute of the season. Pinnacol anticipated a rough commute and we encouraged our employees to be smart about their commutes and to take their time coming in as their safety comes first. I live on the southwest side of town and for me the smart thing is to get an early start, a really early start. My commute is normally 45 minutes to an hour and I've found through the years that on wintry days if I'm on the road by 5:30 a.m. the traffic is not yet too bad. Coming in to the building there always seems to be the same group of early arrivals but given road conditions we'll be seeing our peers trickle in over the next couple of hours. Our snow removal team was here even earlier than I and had already shoveled the walkways and there was no line in the showers in the fitness center so I counted my blessings for a relatively smooth commute this morning.

With all the talk of global warming its hard to predict what our upcoming winter season will really be like but as much as I don't like to drive in Denver in the snow I have to admit it was actually kind of pretty with the city covered in a mantle of white. Last night I went on a bike ride after work around Cherry Creek Reservoir and actually saw my first Christmas tree and lights in the window of one of the apartments along the bike path. So, ready or not, 'tis the season. Have a safe drive and if you happen to glance away from the brake lights ahead of you for a moment try to see the beauty in a Colorado snowy morning!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Agile Product Services Manager opportunity now open!

We are looking for an experienced Agile Product Services Manager who will provide leadership to the Application Services group of product teams to achieve the group’s mission, which is to acquire, build, and deliver useful, high quality software that creates business value.

Within our company the group delivers and supports software that helps improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the company’s business processes. Externally the group delivers software to customers, injured workers, agents, and medical providers to help them to do business with the company. The Application Services group is dedicated to agile and lean principles and the Agile Services Product Manager supervises, coaches and mentors the product owners, business analysts, and related roles in the various Application Services product teams.

A Bachelor’s Degree is not required but is strongly preferred.  Relevant work experience may be substituted for the bachelor's degree.  A strong plus would be to have one or more of the following certifications: PMP- Agile Certified Practitioner (PMP-ACP), Kanban Certified Professional (KCP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Professional Scrum Master (PSM1), SAFe Agilist (SA).  Minimum five years IT management experience related to Business Analysis and Agile.

If this sounds of interest we would love to hear from you. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply via our company website!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pinnacol artwork mirrors real world

When Pinnacol moved into it's Lowry headquarters the company commissioned several artists to produce art work reflective of our state and the wide variety of work done in Colorado. One of the pieces is a painting by J. Wolford  that showcases the Malta Schoolhouse. For anyone who has been on Highway 24 just south of Leadville you've probably noticed the red schoolhouse just off the road. The town of Malta doesn't really exist any longer but back in the 1870's it was a bustling town hosting smelters, two hotels, fifty homes, a post office, several saloons and even a racetrack for horses. The smelters were only marginally successful and as larger and more modern smelters were built just up the road in Leadville Malta simply could not compete. By 1884, Malta was little more than a junction for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.

The current Malta Schoolhouse was built in 1902 after the original schoolhouse, which had been moved to the property from across Highway 24, burned down. The “second” Malta School operated from 1902 to 1945.  The schoolhouse originally had a barn for students’ horses and mules and the schoolhouse is now owned by the Leadville School District. The Malta Schoolhouse apparently was originally painted white with green trim but was repainted to its current red in the 1950s by the Leadville Lions Club who had volunteered to restore it. More recently, just this summer in fact, the schoolhouse received another facelift thanks to a partnership between the High Mountain Institute and the Lake County School District. Every time I see the painting it reminds me of the magic of the Colorado high country and every time I see the actual schoolhouse it reminds me of the painting that mirrors it back at work. Its also a reflection, and constant reminder, of all the communities, employers, and workers we work so hard to support.
Malta Schoolhouse painting
Malta Schoolhouse after its recent facelift

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How's your Glenohumeral Joint?

Pinnacol has always prided itself on being a continual learning organization and our training calendar offers classes on a wide variety of topics. To that end I availed myself of one of the recent training classes aimed at our claims representatives and nurses. The topic for this lunch and learn was "The Shoulder" which seems pretty benign but before I and the other attendees knew what was up we were being introduced to Glenoid Sockets, Acromions, Coracoid Processes, and Articular Cartilage. The presenter was our Medical Director, Dr. May, who has clearly spent a lot of time in operating rooms but still did a nice job of bringing some pretty complicated material down to a level where folks like me could begin to comprehend what an amazing thing our shoulders are.

It was a full house at the recent training class on "The Shoulder"
Our claims representatives don't practice medicine but they still need to have a good understanding of anatomy and medical terminology as they help injured workers through their injuries. I work in Human Resources but wanted to better understand what our claims staff deals with on a daily basis. We see a lot of shoulder injuries in the claims we handle so training classes like these will allow our claims representatives to better relate to our customers experiencing this kind of trauma.

Dr. May will be hosting additional classes covering other parts of the body in the weeks and months to come. Obviously the best injury is the injury that never happens and a huge focus of Pinnacol is on accident prevention. Still, when accidents do occur its important to have our employees as knowledgeable as possible and classes like "The Shoulder" are one way of keeping our employees up to speed.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The End is just the Beginning

We have been fortunate enough to have had Alyson as our Intern in Employee Services over the summer. Her internship is coming to an end, but as you'll see that end is just the beginning...

As my internship at Pinnacol comes to an end, I wanted to write a blog about what I have learned. While I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about the company, specifically more about human resources, I think the most valuable lessons I learned are not something that can be graded by my professor or my mentors, but rather are personal lessons that will help me develop within my career.

One of the most important things I learned was continue to develop and maintain your network. Networking is the most important thing that you can do for yourself professionally. This simple act can take your career in directions you never imagined possible.

Another important lesson I learned is that people are more than willing to let you shadow them if you just ask. If the organization you are in is committed to developing you professionally, they will be more than accommodating to allow you to explore career possibilities.

When you put in hard work, it will pay off. Whether you are seeking gratification from your manager, peers or just yourself, taking pride in the work you do is important. If you spend time to get things done the right way and give 100% to a project, you will recognize that the best kind of gratification you will get will be from yourself.

Always ask questions. There really is no such thing as a stupid question. When you don’t have any questions, that’s when people (co-workers, managers, etc.) start to worry. There is no one in the world that knows everything so ask for help when you need it and ask questions.

Your reputation is important. It will follow you. Be kind, humble, and do your absolute best. When you’re feeling negative, walk away and take some time for yourself. Take a short walk or a short coffee break.

Lastly, don’t make it about the money. If you want a career you love, make sure you focus on the culture of a company and how you fit in with others. While a company is judging you , you have to judge them as well. Most people take jobs based on the money, but in reality we all just want to be happy with our jobs. You spend a good majority of your time at work, so make sure that you fit in and the culture is nothing short of fabulous.

I am fortunate enough to have been offered a permanent position at Pinnacol. While my internship is ending, my career is just beginning. I couldn’t be happier to explore all the possibilities that Pinnacol has to offer me. I literally can grow my career under the same roof and never get bored. The culture is what drew me in and the people are what drew me to stay. I’m so fortunate to have had this opportunity. Megan, David, and Dolores (along with the rest of the Employee Services team) have really taught me so much about professionalism, my career goals, and personal development.

Alyson's other blogs:
Attending a Job Fair? Some tips...
Flashback 2002
My Life as an intern at Pinnacol

Pinnacol hosts Halloween Spooktacular!

As a Human Resources Representative I've used a lot of adjectives through the years to describe life at Pinnacol but "SPOOKY!" has never been one of them. That is, until today.

Through the years we've hosted Pumpkin Carving and Costume Contests for our employees but today we'll be having a very special group of visitors including a fair share of Lady Bugs, Ninja Warriors, Tinker Bell's and Fairy's, and especially topical for this year all sorts of Star Wars characters. The children of our employees will be trick or treating throughout our building this afternoon and all of the teams have decorated their work areas in a manner to have the kids shrieking and screaming as they meander from one candy filled jack-o-lantern to the next.
Tinker Bell rates as one of Good HouseKeeping's top costumes for 2015

Workers' Compensation deals with very serious issues so it's nice to celebrate special occasions such as this. I'm sure all the adults will be exhausted but the kids will remember this event at least until tomorrow when they celebrate the official Halloween and they and their exhausted parents get to do it all over again!