05-13-2008 @ 4:15 am


The recent violent outbreaks in our schools and universities serve as a potent reminder of the deep unrest that permeates our country right now. As investors in the infrastructure of our communities, we also feel a responsibility to invest in the social fabric of our society. And one of the best ways we have found to do just that is through Marketplace Chaplains, an employee care program that we’ve adopted at SDG.

And to help other business and community leaders understand how Marketplace Chaplains has made an impact at SDG and hundreds of other companies, SDG co-hosted a luncheon along with American Lube Fast, at Maggiano’s in Buckhead this past January. There were 26 executives in attendance from a variety of Atlanta-based businesses and organizations.

The keynote speaker was John Coors, former Vice President of Global Brewing Operations at the Coors Brewing Company and current president of CoorsTek, a leading manufacturer of technical ceramics. With over 2,700 workers at four different plants, John has seen the Marketplace Chaplains program make a big difference in the satisfaction of his employees, “So many of our employees have no network of support, and often, no one to talk to, or turn to in a time of crisis.”

Typically, chaplains visit the workplace once or twice a week and are generally on call 24-7 for emergencies. They also make hospital visits, offer premarital counseling, and officiate at weddings and funerals. While it may seem strange to some to see a clergyman at work, the increased emphasis on spirituality in the workplace since 9/11 has led to a boom in growth for Marketplace Chaplains. They now serve employees at 254 companies in 38 states.  “We are there as caregivers, not as a representative of any denomination,” says Gil Stricklin, the former Army chaplain who founded Marketplace Chaplains in 1984.

As a result of our luncheon, two companies have contracted with Marketplace Chaplains. One of them is Prime Insurance Group Insurance, owned by Rob Young who explains why he chose to get involved, “I am very fortunate to have a good relationship with my small staff.  Still, I am their ‘boss’ and there are limits as to what I can do and what they feel comfortable sharing with me.  Marketplace Chaplains offers me a way to show I care by offering my employees a safe and confidential place to turn when dealing with the issues of life that we all face.”

To find out more about Marketplace Chaplains, visit marketplacechaplainsusa.com, or call Mark Parker at 404.229.5413 for more information on upcoming events.

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