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Chicken hat challenges and growth: London's marks milestone

What makes a really awesome employer?

Good pay? Check. Good benefits? Check. Chicken hats and candy? Check.

At least that's the case at, the London firm that's found its way onto a list of Canada’s Best Small and Medium Employers — for the fifth time.

StarTech came in 12th on the list of 50 workplaces, and with some of the things happening at its headquarters near Oxford and Veteran's Memorial Parkway, it's not hard to understand why.

CEO Paul Seed, for instance, recently dressed up as a set of salt and pepper shakers, handing out candy to employees. Then, of course, there's Deborah Ward, StarTech's chief human resources officer.

When it came time to issue an employee challenge, she donned a chicken hat and made the fun video you see above.

How's that for an inter-office memo?

Being considered one of the country's best employers is something Seed holds near and dear.

The Western University grad launched the roots of StarTech about 30 years ago with former fraternity brother Ken Kalopsis, also a product of Western.

“We get a number of business awards each year, but this award is important because it’s based on employee input,” Seed said. "Employees tell us what we do well and what we could improve. We look forward to getting that feedback every year.”

The annual Top 50 list is published by Profit magazine. It's pulled together by the Queen’s University School of Business and AON Hewitt using employee opinion surveys and input from business leaders.

Opportunities for growth are among the reasons employees say they like StarTech. With about 400 employees worldwide, the company has hired 142 people in the last year and expects to hire a similar number in 2015.

It specializes in hard-to-find connectivity parts for electronics— and chicken hats.

(No. Not really. The chicken bit's a joke.)

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