Yesterday was a special day for us. It was Draper employee appreciation day, and we took time out to say “thank you” to our most important resource: our people.

2016 was our best year ever, and 2017 is on track to be even better. To be able to say that after 115 years in business is an incredible accomplishment. There are many reasons for our continuing success. Here are just 710 of them.

Innovation
Our tagline says it all: focused on innovative solutions. We see a problem and set about solving it. Sometimes the solution is fairly simple, and we tinker with an existing design or make small changes in color or options. Other times the problem is more complex, so we develop a one-off solution or, if it’s a common problem, a new product. That’s how our Access line of projection screens came about. There was an issue of people not being able to easily install or repair ceiling-recessed screens. So we created a new type of in-ceiling screen case, one that is much easier to install, and gives easy access to the screen’s inner workings. It must have been a good idea. Years later, just about everyone in the industry has a copycat version!

Thinking Lean
Our innovative approach to finding solutions is also part of our internal process. We use the lean process to help us keep ahead of changing needs and markets. By continually measuring and improving our processes, we ensure that production cells are well-balanced and have the correct resources to produce the highest quality product in a productive way. By using cross-functional teams to consider improvements, we get more innovative, outside-the-box ideas.

Planning Ahead
Project management has become a much more important skill to have in all of our markets, including AV. Thanks to our experience in solar control solutions, where projects may take several years from concept to completion, we have the skills and processes in place to keep on top of slow developing and complex jobs. As a family-owned company, we’ve always taken the long view. Competitors consider 3-5 years to be “long term.” We often have a little chuckle when we hear that.

Honesty
When we say our products meet certain specifications, you can believe it. Every product we make is tested before it leaves the factory to make sure it’s right. We test each batch of screen material to make sure it meets our published specifications. If it doesn’t, we don’t sell it. And if a product that doesn’t meet our specification does somehow happen to get out, we make it right as quickly as possible.

Heart        
Draper is a company with a heart. We have always chosen to remain a part of our local community and not send jobs somewhere else. The company and many of our employees are involved in community organizations. Not a day goes by that someone isn’t raising money or advocating for a special cause. For instance, just this week, AV sales consultant Lindsey Martin has been taking pledges for a Zumba fundraiser to send aid to Puerto Rico and Mexico. You can purchase tickets here until the day of the event. You can buy as many tickets as you want with no obligation to actually attend. After the Event, donations can be made here. Already this year, Lindsey’s Zumba class has raised more than $8000 for various causes, and she was part of a fundraiser for Party in Pink that raised $3016!

Our People
Speaking of people, here are the other 705 (approximately) reasons Draper is successful: our employees! The vast majority of our workforce is within a 20 minute drive of the factory. Our employees tend to be a tight-knit community with a real sense of ownership and pride. That’s one reason our product inspections work so well. We tend to take it personally if something we made gets shipped out and there’s a problem with it. A few years ago, a recently-hired employee said he’d never before seen a company like Draper, where the employees felt such a personal responsibility for success.

So thank you to the 705 main reasons for our success! Employee Appreciation Day was a blast, and just a small token of thanks for all you do, and what you’ve helped Draper become—a truly innovative market leader! If you couldn’t make it in person, below are some photos from yesterday’s festivities.

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