Recently inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame, Marc LeBaron is the chairman and CEO of Lincoln Industries. The company, located in Lincoln, Neb., is a national supplier of products requiring high-performance metal finishing, has 500 employees and operates 24 hours a day. However, Lincoln Industries most often receives attention for the unique wellness program that LeBaron initiated 20 years ago that has become a benchmark for companies across the nation.
“I have always enjoyed working out and being healthy. One of the biggest benefits is just the fact that when you feel better, you look at life differently. One day during a senior team meeting, I had a minor epiphany and thought, ‘Would it not be great if the entire organization could look at life differently?’ Just think how that would affect overall performance,” LeBaron said.
Some basic programs focusing on getting people to think in a new way about their health began at Lincoln Industries. Today wellness is embedded in just about everything Lincoln Industries does. For example, the leadership program has a wellness development requirement.
“I describe our wellness program as a 20-year overnight success. Our goal is not to have everyone fit enough to run a marathon, rather to focus on getting better every year,” he said.
Annual basic physical are provided to all employees and an onsite clinic provides free healthcare for all employees and their families. The clinic focuses on preventative care and an appointment includes discussions about lifestyle choices, eating habits and wellness activities.
“People work all year long to attain “platinum” status through a combination of exercising, education and physical testing. Everyone who qualifies can go on a trip to Colorado to climb a 14,000 foot peak, completely paid for by Lincoln Industries. Last year we had over 100 people climbing,” he said.
He said major medical costs at Lincoln Industries is about 30 percent less than other similar companies.
“The most important benefit is that our people are much more productive, have a more positive outlook on life and approach their jobs is a much more positive way. People that are healthy are more innovative and creative,” he said.
LeBaron also supports his community and is part of the 2015 Vision Group that was instrumental in getting a new Pinnacle Bank Arena built in Lincoln.
“Lincoln had a number of projects that had been discussed for many years, vetted in the community, but were languishing. Our group came together to push the ideas forward and provide the private support. The arena is transforming the Haymarket and downtown Lincoln,” he said.
LeBaron, who graduated with a degree in business administration in 1976, received the UNL CBA Business Excellence Award in 1989 and is one of two Nebraskans to receive the Junior Achievement Gold Award.