About Anne Ohrt

As the human resources manager, Anne welcomes every new employee to Geonetric with a smiling face and goes out of her way to make sure every employee feels at home. She is involved daily with recruiting and training employees, as well as coordinating internal communications and managing employee benefits. Anne is the mastermind behind the fun and engaging internal events and parties, and she takes a lead role in organizing the company’s annual client event, the eHealth Symposium.

Operation Overnight: Making a Life by What We Give

Photo of a thank you card reading, "Thank You Geonetric!"

Why Operation Overnight? Why 24 hours?

We don’t stay up 24 hours because it is a cool thing to do, we stay up 24 hours to touch lives. And we touch lives through the websites that we build for these very deserving non-profits in our community. We give by doing what we do best – helping these organizations create a presence on the Web that will enable them to reach more people – people that might need help as well as people that may want to donate their time or money.

It’s that simple.
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Life Happens – Don’t Miss It Between 8 to 5

If you ask me what one of the best things about working at Geonetric is I won’t hesitate with my answer. Flexibility.

Flexibility in my work schedule and having the technology to work almost anywhere allows me to work from home if my daughter is sick or if I need to meet with the washing machine repairman. I don’t worry about missing a dentist appointment or a school concert.

And I am not alone. On any given day at Geonetric our employees are not only busy “Wow!”-ing our clients – but also attending conferences, doctor appointments, landscaping meetings, hair-cuts, and chiropractor visits.

What?! These people are away from work during the work day?!

Yes, yes they are. Because we know life doesn’t stop when you reach the office. Life happens during all hours of the day and Geonetric believes that every moment should be celebrated and experienced even during the work day. At Geonetric, flexibility is an incredible benefit that we all value very highly and one none of us take for granted. Having flexibility in our work hours and environment only increases our desire and commitment to producing exceptional work and holding each other accountable.

Geonetric truly believes that infusing flexible workplace practices into our culture is important.  We are committed to helping our employees balance work life and personal life and we believe that our employees are more successful because they have flexibility during the day. We are so excited about being awarded the 2012 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility because it give us a unique measure and view of the health of our culture through implementing non-monetary and non-traditional workplace practices.

What was your 8 to 5 like today? If you’d like to work at a place that values your whole life, not just your work life, check out our openings.

It’s OK to Have Fun at Work

I am not a mathematician by any means, but I have figured out a very valuable formula with our employees here at Geonetric. We have tested and retested it in many iterations and find that it “equates” to success each time.

Fun during the work day = Happy Employees

Engaged Employees = Happy Clients

An atypical equation you may say, but at Geonetric we believe that fun is a core ingredient in our culture. We frequently make a point of intentionally stopping the day-to-day work to not work. Notice I said we intentionally stop work during the work day.

Geonetric events are not planned by stuffy human resources people locked in an office, but are instead collaboratively designed by our team to encourage and promote creativity. Our planners know that event timing doesn’t always work for everyone all of the time, so “fun” is completely voluntary. If someone has a tight deadline or needs to take care of a client they can choose not to participate, but we strongly encourage 100% involvement.

And we know that what is fun to one person isn’t fun to another. So that’s why we create lots of different types of activities through the year. Just last week we had a good old fashioned tug of war and relay race. But that’s not for everyone. Maybe the annual chili cook-off will appeal to them. Or perhaps they’d prefer the semi-annual H.O.R.S.E. basketball tournament or the Halloween pumpkin carving contest. We work hard to make our events are as unique as our employees!

We’ve also learned that devoted fun time allows our entire team to get to know each other. And our team has no problem coming up with some crazy ideas that definitely foster healthy competition and build team morale.

So why have fun at all? One might argue that taking time for fun takes valuable time away from productive work hours. To insert a cliché – Geonetric believes that if we play hard then we can work harder. If our equation continues to prove true then fun is a motivator to encourage our employees to deliver the best work to our clients that they can.

Do you want to have fun at work? Check out current positions that are open and join our team!

A Sunday in October

This past Sunday turned out to be an absolutely picture perfect fall day. It was a joy to be outside and have the opportunity to join together with 16,000 people from across Eastern Iowa for one cause. Team Geonetric, along with our friends and family, hit the pavement of Cedar Rapids to support breast cancer awareness and services throughout our local community in the 21st annual Mercy Hospital Especially for You Race/Walk.

Why do we participate? Here are a few reasons from Team Geonetric:

  • 1 in 8 will develop breast cancer. Line up 8 women—your mom, sisters, grandma, best friends, daughters, etc. Could you imagine your life without any one of those people?
  • To make a difference in our community and to be reminded of the power of people!
  • To celebrate friends and family members who have overcome breast cancer and remember how important it is to take care of each other.
  • To support free mammograms and help save lives  in our community. All the money raised stays right here in Linn County helping those who aren’t able to afford screenings and services. As one of the most treatable and curable forms of cancer, it is important that we give everyone the opportunity to beat it. This year’s race has even more meaning for me because my godmother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately, most of us in some way or another know of someone battling breast cancer and this is one way we can all join forces and be the difference between life and death for members of our community.

The Especially for You event touches many, many people in so many ways. It’s a very powerful reminder of what people can accomplish when they come together for a common cause. Each person in the sea of matching shirts was a visual articulation that we all need each other. It was an honor to participate this year and Team Geonetric looks forward to many more years of participating in this great cause!

Nothing Says “Happy Holidays” Like Chili – At Geonetric, Anyway…

Our annual Chili Cook-Off is written in the history books, but the memory of our winning chili might still be lingering on the taste buds of those who attended.

We crowned a new chili winner this year – our own Irene Schultz, who walked away with two of the five chili awards this year – Best Overall and Spiciest Chili.  Irene’s sassy and so was her bold Texas-inspired chili! It won over the taste buds of our judges and many of our employees. We had a total of eight contestants this year, with recipes that included everything from beer and coffee to chocolate and gouda cheese. The Cook-Off is always one of our favorite employee events – it not only lets everyone share some of their creativity, it gives us a chance to join together before we depart for our holiday celebrations.

For those of you who would like to try the 2010 Geonetric Chili Cook-Off winning recipe in your own home, it’s listed at the bottom of this post.

Our annual Geonetric Chili Cook-Off has come to an end, but I know our resident chiliologists are already concocting their recipes for next year’s event. Here’s to all our chili contestants and their great work!

Wishing you all many happy traditions this holiday season and very spicy 2011!

2010 Geonetric Chili Cook-Off Winning Recipe: Texas (but with beans) Chili

  • 4-6 (14.5oz) cans of beans, your choice (I used 2 cans of black, 2 cans of chili beans, and 1 can of dark red kidney beans)
  • 2 (14oz) cans of tomatoes (I used fire roasted tomatoes; you can always add more!)
  • 1.5-2 pounds meat NOT ground (I like to use big chunks of chicken)
  • 1 large onion; chunks, not chopped finely
  • 1 (4oz) can of green chilies
  • 2 coarsely chopped poblanos (no seeds)
  • 4 medium chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped, with seeds
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbs garlic (or to taste… more or less, either way)
  • 5 Tbs regular chili powder
  • 1 Tbs hot chili powder

Mix ingredients together until well combined.

For shorter cooking time, use a stock pot.  Boil for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently.  Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

For crock pot preparation, use the low setting for 8-10 hours or high setting for 4-6 hours.

Garnish with sharp cheddar (the sharper the better), scallions, and oyster crackers.  A side with hot cornbread drizzled with butter and honey fits perfectly.

Chicken cooking tip: Don’t brown chunked meat (chicken, steak, pork or turkey) before cooking it in the chili. It’ll cook well without that extra heat time; this keeps it moist and tender.

Other ideas: feel free to lessen the amount of chili powder for a milder chili.  For a hotter chili, try to add more peppers instead of chili powder.  The objective with this chili was to create a smoky slow fuse chili that eases you into the bowl instead of smacking you in the face with hot hot heat.

We Give Thanks Together

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

As I write, the green bean casserole is warming up in the crock pot and the turkey and mashed potatoes are due to arrive any moment. The dessert table is filling up. The Geonetric Lunch Lounge is ready. And we are all waiting to partake in our Thanksgiving lunch.

Thanksgiving lunch is a longstanding tradition here at Geonetric, and I look forward to picking out the turkey and preparing the office for the event each year. Taking time out of our busy workdays to have an all-company meal, such as this one, allows us to celebrate together, reflect on what we are truly thankful for and enjoy our relationships with each other.

Though the landscape of our Thanksgiving lunch changes each year, the sentiment remains the same. We are thankful to work for a company that fosters community, believes in empowering its employees, and is committed to creating a culture of extraordinary performance.

Take the Kids to Work Day 2010

Take the Kids to Work Day 2010Last week the halls of Geonetric were filled with the sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews of our Geonetric employees for our 2nd annual Take the Kids to Work Day.  It was exciting to have a large group of 6-12 year-olds bring a different type of positive energy in the building.

The kids began the day with a Geo Amazing Race. After the four teams successfully found their six clues and completed two relay races, they assisted with Geonetric’s annual Relay for Life Fundraiser. Next they attended educational sessions – some learned lessons in pricing and inventory control by owning a savvy little lemonade stand and others had the opportunity to create their very own cheer cards. A yummy lunch from McDonald’s was the perfect ending to their time here.

While many of the kids do not fully understand Geonetric’s mission, the spirit of who we are was definitely embodied in the events of the day.  It makes me smile to think that as adults we enjoy taking the day off from work, but it was equally as cool for our Junior Geo’s to get to “skip” school to visit us.   I hope they learned that coming to work can be exciting.

Barking Praises

Barking PraisesWe have a new member of the Geonetric family and his name is Spot.  Spot is white and fuzzy and stands at about a foot and a half tall.  You will find Spot perched atop one of our employee’s desks.

No, it isn’t “bring your pet to work day,” but rather a bit of radical recognition – Geonetric style! Spot’s owner, our CEO Eric Engelmann, recognizes an employee’s extraordinary work by gifting Spot to him/her.  Spot stays with that employee until a new recipient is chosen.

Why Spot?  Spot is an example of how recognition can often mirror the likes of the giver.  Eric loves dogs and Spot is a great way for him to praise work that is “Spot On” in his own personal style.

We often recognize great work by unconventional means, not the traditional plaque or paper certificate.  Spot is just one example. One of our teams recognizes awesome work by passing around an Optimus Prime statue. We also have a Smile Award that our employees gift to each other.

We believe recognition, regardless of the delivery method, is a vital part of our mission to build up great people and teams.

How have you recognized great work recently?  Don’t forget to make sure that you are “barking” your team member’s praises when great work occurs!

Wii Bowl for the Kids

Wii Bowl for the KidsOver the course of the past month Geonetric’s Bowling Alley Sallys team has had the opportunity to raise funds and support for the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Bowl for Kids Sake annual fundraiser.  This is the third year that we have taken the opportunity to participate in this event and take a moment to make an investment into the lives of children right here in Eastern Iowa.

Big Brothers Big Sisters roughly serves 800 children in our area and there are many more on the waiting list that need caring adult mentors and friends.  With the funds raised by Bowl for Kids Sake, BBBS can continue to provide resources to children.  The average cost to support a year long relationship between a “Big” and an at-risk child is roughly $1,000.00.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is or has been part of the lives of a handful of our employees as they have served in some capacity with the organization, either as a Big or as a Lunch Buddy.  One of our bowlers recently celebrated being matched five years with their Little.

We hope that our bowling skills translate as well on the real lanes this week as they did when we Wii bowled with the entire company to raise funds for BBBS.  Watch out Eastern Iowa, here come the Bowling Alley Sallys.

A Geonetric Holiday Tradition… Mmmm Chili

‘Tis the season at Geonetric for our annual Chili Cook-off.  This event has become one of the most anticipated and most competitive employee events we have (even more so than the food eating contest). This year, nine competitors came prepared with awesome bowls of chili and eloquent descriptions.

We judged the chili according to the following categories:

  • Most Unique/Decorative Chili
  • Best Vegetarian Chili
  • Spiciest Chili
  • Most Creative Chili
  • Best Overall Chili

This year the competition was stiff and our judges had tough choices to make, but in the end we had a great chili win. We crowned a new Best Overall Chili winner – our own Michael Deeter — who takes the title from someone who has had it for the past two years.  As his prize, he walked away with the coveted Geonetric chili spoon and the title of Geonetric’s Best Chili until the next year’s competition.

For those of you who would like to try a taste of our 2009 Geonetric Chili Cook-off in your own home, here is the recipe for the winning chili from the Deeter family :

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cans chili beans (undrained)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • chili powder (2 tablespoons-ish to start)
  • garlic powder (2 teaspoons-ish to start)
  • jalapeño slices

After browning together the ground beef & onions, combine all ingredients into a large pot.  Add the jalapeño slices to taste (I usually put 5 or 6) as well as the chili & garlic powders (adding more after it’s simmering, if necessary) to taste. Bring to a simmer. Serve. Usually with tortilla chips and cheddar cheese or crackers.

The chef himself says this chili is not hard to make, and it is a very “traditional” chili.

The 4th Annual Geonetric Chili Cook-off has come to an end, but I know our resident chiliologists are already concocting their recipes for next year’s event. Here’s to all our chili contestants and their great work!

Wishing you all many happy traditions this holiday season!

Can Pie Eating Contests Lead to More Productive Workers?

Can Pie Eating Contests Lead to More Productive Workers? You know the old human resources saying… happy workers are more productive workers. At Geonetric, we take this seriously— with benefits like continuing education stipends and all company meetings that include throwing kudos bars to employees that go above and beyond.

And sometimes we take it not-so-seriously, with pie eating contests, chili cook-offs and trick-or-trunking in the parking lot.

So you can guess it wasn’t a surprise that Geonetric was recently featured in an article in The Edge Business Magazine about employee morale.  The author discusses how three Eastern Iowa companies keep employees happy and productive.

Check it out and learn what makes Geonetric so unique – and why even when we’re having fun it really means we’re hard at work.

A Community That Extends Past the Web

A Community That Extends Past the WebWhat do our mothers, friends, co-workers, husbands, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters have in common this weekend? The Geonetric community is going to walk or run for breast cancer awareness!

Thirty-two members of Team Geonetric, the largest Geonetric team ever in our three years of participation, will come together on Sunday morning to support breast cancer research and care here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, by walking or running in Mercy Medical Center’s 19th Annual Especially for You Race.

It makes a difference. Right here in our community

We’re helping to support free mammograms and other breast-care services. Since the race began in 1991, the fund has helped over 4,300 uninsured or underinsured women receive more than $1.1 million in breast-care services. Covered services include screenings, diagnostic tests, ultrasounds and biopsies.

Team Geonetric is also very excited to be part of this event, as Mercy is a member of our very own Geonetric client family. It means a great deal to us to support one of their initiatives that impacts so many in our own community.

Cancer, and breast cancer specifically in some form, has touched many families in our Geonetric community, so we walk to support a cause that is very near and dear to many of our hearts.  For my best friend and I, this will be our sixth or seventh time walking in the Especially for You Race together. We look forward each year to stepping out and supporting a cause that has affected our loved ones.  Each October, rain or shine we put on our Especially for You shirts and tennis shoes and we walk, ever mindful how real breast cancer can be in our own lives and hoping and praying that other women’s lives will be touched through the work that Mercy Medical Center is able to provide.

At Geonetric, our desire to make a positive impact on people’s health extends way beyond the Web. We truly believe it is so important to step out and support causes like this one at Mercy and others around our community that can help affect people’s lives for the better.

Junior Geo’s at Geonetric

I recently had the opportunity to orient several new “honorary” employees to Geonetric … the sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews of our own employees.

On April 23rd we welcomed our Junior Geo’s to spend some time at Geonetric for National Take Your Sons and Daughters to work day.  The Junior Geo’s discovered Geonetric through a scavenger hunt; helped with a fundraiser for Relay for Life; participated in interactive sessions on coding, product management, and sales; and enjoyed a yummy picnic lunch.

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My eHealth – Hot Health Trends for 2009

Redbook has been magically appearing in my home mailbox over the past year.  I don’t usually have much time to read non-work related material but on a recent flight home from Las Vegas, where I had the opportunity to attend the Customer Based Marketing for Healthcare Strategists conference, I was afforded some quality magazine time.

In the January 09 issue, Redbook identified the Hottest Health Trends for 09. Number seven on their hot list was Putting Your Health Info Out There. “Out There” meaning on the Internet and the ability for individuals to have personalized online access to medical records, flag personalized drug interactions, set up appointments, and also have online communications with preferred medical professionals.

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