Giving back to the community a priority for local company

With locations in Clark and Preble counties, Silfex employs more than 1,000 people

While most nonprofit organizations continue to struggle financially even as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to wind down, there are companies that have continued to do well, despite the economic downturn. One local company that has always had a focus on philanthropy, has stepped up efforts to help others this past year.

Stephanie Parks-Gale of Beavercreek is the director of human resources for Silfex, a company with locations in both Clark and Preble counties with more than 1,000 employees. She chose the field of human resources because she has always loved helping others, something she learned growing up with a social worker mother as inspiration.

“I watched my mom make a career out of helping others,” Parks-Gale said. “It just became ingrained in me, and I’ve long had a passion for helping and supporting people in many ways.

Parks-Gale chose human resources as a major and graduated from Wright State University. She has remained in human resources jobs for her entire career so far. And as she worked around the Dayton area, she discovered how much the philanthropic piece of her jobs meant to her personally.

“When I joined Silfex, I knew they prioritized giving,” Parks-Gale said. “And this is obviously aligned with my personal goals.”

In fact, the company encourages all its employees to participate in the corporate giving programs and has throughout its long history. Thirty years ago, the company began as a small family-run business that specialized in ultrasonic machining techniques. In 1999, the company added silicon crystal manufacturing and in 2006, Lam Research Corporation purchased the company’s silicon fabrication division. Today, Silfex manufactures a wide range of custom silicon-based components.

The Silfex Activity Involvement League (SAIL) is managed by Parks-Gale.

“Silfex is a leading provider of precision pieces to make semi-conductor manufacturing equipment,” Parks-Gale said. “These are parts used to make anything from tablets to cell phones to computers and even cars and appliances.”

Since all these items have continued to be in demand during the global pandemic, Silfex has had a remarkably busy year and continues to hire to keep up with demand.

“We have hosted a number of drive-thru career fairs,” Parks-Gale said. “In normal times we’d have in-person fairs and people would come in and meet managers. But we obviously still needed the help and had to rethink how we were doing this. We hired more than 100 new people in 2020.”

While Parks-Gale remained busy during the hiring surge, she also knew she needed to remain focused on SAIL, encouraging every employee to remain involved with the community.

“At Christmas, we usually do an angel tree to help get gifts to needy kids,” Parks-Gale said. “We did this in Springfield and in Eaton this year and the entire company was engaged.”

SAIL is appropriately named since it’s an employee-driven engagement group housed in both Springfield and in Eaton. Parks-Gale said it’s the employees who drive the group and make decisions about how the company will give back to the surrounding communities.

“We have historically been involved in activities with the Salvation Army and with local school districts, which are extremely important to us,” Parks-Gale said. “As we all know, 2020 was very difficult for everyone and we couldn’t offer in-person support as we’ve done in the past.”

Instead, Silfex identified areas of need for local schools and provided water bottles to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and they also provided iPads and accessories for Chromebooks, both of which became vital to students who ended up learning remotely in 2020.

“With the Salvation Army, we have made contributions to their kettle drive that have helped pay rents and mortgage payments for people potentially facing homelessness,” Parks-Gale said.

Silfex also stepped up early in the pandemic and donated 10,000 masks to nursing homes, Clark County Emergency Management, and the Preble County Health Department. The company also gave a donation to the American Red Cross for COVID-19 antibody testing, and provided technology funding to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton.

“We knew going in that it was going to be an unpredictable year,” Parks-Gale said. “So, we kept our ears to the ground and continued to meet, creating plans as we went along.”

Silfex management attributes their ability to not only retain their workforce, but also add in 2020 members of the so-called “essential work force.”

“We appreciate all of the work our health care, police and fire departments have done to keep us safe,” Parks-Gale said. “We couldn’t do anything without our employees.”

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