Manufacturing Awards 2012: Employee Culture: EMG, Inc.

Company: EMG, Inc.

Address: P.O. Box, 4394, Santa Rosa 95402, 707-525-9941,

Employees: 87

Products: Electromagnetic musical-instrument pickups and related equipment. Retail $30-$390.

"The best way to keep them working is to keep them happy," said Rob Turner, founder and president of EMG, Inc., about the more than five dozen production employees in the north Santa Rosa factory.

From injection molding for plastic cases around the company's dozens of variations of electromagnetic pickups for amplifying musical instruments to precise wire winding for pickup coils to cable assemblies, the factory staff make and assemble most all the key components in a 30,000-square-foot factory in an industrial park near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

"We wouldn't be here if we didn't have a good labor base," Mr. Turner said. Most of the production workforce are sons and daughters of immigrants and the legacy of high-technology companies in the county for the past four decades has provided a base for design and engineering staff.

To help production workers excel inside and outside the factory, EMG for the past year has been offering English language classes through the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, which splits the $1,000 cost for 10 sessions. Sensitive to the family ties and needs of workers with family, EMG tries to be flexible with holiday and family leave schedules. The company also accommodates breastfeeding schedules.

[caption id="attachment_57782" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="Electromagnets in guitar pickups transform metal string vibrations into electrical signals."][/caption]

EMG is known for its revolutionary design for a low-electrical-impedance humbucking pickup with a built-in preamplifier powered by one or two 9-volt batteries. In the mid-1980s, the company developed passive pickups, which don't have preamps, incorporating some design of the active pickups to make them electrically quieter than traditional passive pickups.

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