DIRTT developing a new business culture - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

DIRTT developing a new business culture


They call themselves DIRTTbags, and they couldn't be prouder about it, the employees of DIRTT Environmental Solutions.

"DIRTTbag,'' says DIRTT community relations manager Laura Lee Bocade, "is a good thing here.''

DIRTT  stands for Do It Right This Time and is the company's name, as well as its core philosophy.

"We support interior construction with sustainable materials and sustainable space,'' says Bocade. "What we do is we give the client an opportunity to build something that's flexible. The idea is to eliminate the traditional churn and burn of construction and that means we're doing right by the environment, we're doing right by clients.''

At its 70,000 square foot Pooler plant, DIRTT builds modular office interiors that are high tech, customizable and clean in design and construction and that can expand and change with a client's needs to save cost and waste.

But what the company really has produced in its four years in Savannah is a model workplace, a job that employees consider as much destination as duty

"It's like family,'' said Debra Ellison, who works in the pre-shipping department. "Everybody's close knit and the benefits are great.''

"It's a great company,'' added Jamie Scott, who works in the glass department. "They provide all your meals, great health benefits, pretty much everything is included. It's more like a home-type feel to the work place.''

DIRTT made a commitment to no layoffs when they opened in Savannah at the height of the recession and does not rely on degrees or resumes. The company policy is to not do background checks or drug test employees either.

"Those things are not important to us,'' said Bocade. "What's important is who that person is and if they have the same mentality, can adapt to our culture.''

"You don't find stuff like that anymore,'' added Trice Thornton, who interned at DIRTT while attending Georgia Southern University and now works there fulltime. "Everything's big business now.''

But not at DIRTT.

"We have a lot of parties and picnics,'' said foreman Kenneth Owens. "We have what we call beer night where all the employees come together and there's just a lot of camaraderie.''

The non-traditional approach has not precluded traditional markings of success.

DIRTT was named the Georgia State Manufacturer of the Year for 2013, while embracing the timelessness of a popular child's toy.

"Hopefully we're going to double our volume in the next couple of years, always creating new things and always improving what we have,'' said Bocade. "But we're a lot like Legos. The Legos your dad played with, your grandson can still play with the same Legos and those work together. That's the non-generational commitment we've made, so everything DIRTT will always fit with everything DIRTT.

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