Aisin Drivetrain donates to local causes

CROTHERSVILLE — Through employee appreciation days from May to August in 2022, members at Aisin Drivetrain Inc. in Crothersville raised nearly $5,000 for six local causes.

Add in the automotive parts maker’s contribution, and the total given out was $9,000, resulting in each organization receiving $1,500.

In 2023, expanding from April to August, the employees were able to raise $8,000 for 11 causes. The company’s contribution added in made the total $19,000, resulting in nine getting $1,500 each, two getting $750 apiece and two school groups also having an opportunity to make some money.

Joe Neuman, general manager of operations for ADI, said it was great to see the initiative grow in the second year.

“It was more awareness in what we were trying to do,” he said.

The food vendors for the monthly employee appreciation days included Crothersville FFA with its famous pork burgers and the school’s senior class with walking tacos. Neuman said having students and school officials present made an impact on the members’ donations given, too.

“Having them tied in here, we saw more donation dollars for some of our prizes, and we changed up some of our prizes, too,” he said, as employees could make a donation each month for a chance to win prizes. “We had some women’s themes — purses and sunglasses and some of those things. We mixed it up a little bit to entice them, as well. It really was just another year of good. Now, they really know what to expect and what we’re trying to do.”

It was nice to help the school groups with fundraising, too, he said.

“It was a chance to engage them, and they had a chance now to make money for their stuff while also coordinating with our theme,” Neuman said.

Each month, there was a different theme for the event, ranging from Kentucky Derby to Indianapolis 500 to ‘Merica. Along with food and prizes, there were games based on the theme.

A new pavilion shelter was built on the front lawn by a local contractor in April, and it was ready for employee appreciation days events starting in May.

Neuman said it was a big plus for the committee because they didn’t have to put up and take down a tent, tables and chairs each month.

“Every couple months, we bring in our members with executive management and we just ask them. They are called What’s Up Days,” he said. “What’s going on in the plant? How do you like it? What do we need to change? They go ask people and bring ideas.”

That’s where the idea for the pavilion came from, and Neuman said they will have a naming party for the structure, which can be used by employees during their shifts.

“It’s just an investment back to our members,” he said.

This year, the benefiting organizations chosen by employees were Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry, Humane Society of Jackson County, Crothersville Police Department, Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department, The Helping Hearts and Crothersville Senior Citizens Center in Jackson County and Humane Society of Scott County, Scottsburg Middle School, Austin Police Department, We Care and Kids First in Scott County.

Through the day on the last employee appreciation day on Aug. 31, ADI officials presented checks to the groups.

Again this year, Neuman said the initiative improved employee morale and attendance.

“It’s huge morale booster again today. They get a full hour lunch. We’ll make production, but they’ll get to come out and have fun,” he said. “It has really maintained our low turnover, and our attendance is still better now because of it. Members are starting to give ideas on even how to improve these type of things and give their feedback. Again, it’s just now part of our culture at ADI. It’s not a fad. It’s not something that’s just a one-time thing.”

Next year, Neuman said there may be a different committee to provide some fresh blood and new ideas for employee appreciation days.

“It’s hard to put a target on members’ own personal money, but again, everything goes back to local organizations and charities, so some of that stuff overcomes,” he said. “I would say that goal is probably going to be, instead of $10,000, probably $12,000, $12,500 next year and just keep trying to bump up more. Any time you put a target at $10,000, that’s still a lot of money that you’re able to give out to a lot of people. It has been good.”