#31 AFN, LLC

>AFN, LLC, a third-party logistics company founded in 2003, operates on seven values: integrity and ethics, client service, continuous improvement, sense of urgency, open communication, personal initiative and team work. The company also prides itself on rewarding initiative that goes above and beyond the call of duty.

We need Gen Y employees to be willing to take risks and make mistakes because that’s how [we all] learn.

Keeping true to these values, AFN has grown 65 percent in 2012, and not only makes our list for the Top 50 Employers for Gen Y Emerging Talent, but was also named one of the Top 100 Workplaces by the Chicago Tribune in 2011 and ranked on the Inc 5000 list in 2012. With such rapid growth, and 80% of their staff being Gen Y, continuous improvement, personal initiative and open communication are of utmost importance.

“Every role is a stepping stone to get new hires into their correct role, the role that they’re ideally hired for,” explains Kira Meinzer, Vice President of Human Resources. When employees first arrive at AFN, they go through between two and five weeks of training depending on their role before hitting the sales floor.  Everyone, regardless of role or experience goes through this training.  After training, all benefit from working cross-functionally with each department on the sales floor, thereby gaining a full-circle view of the company.

Along with training, AFN recognizes the need for frequent feedback and recognition, especially among their Gen Y employees. In response to this desire, they created a “high-five” program – displayed on a news feed on the intranet home page.  Employees send their colleagues a virtual high-five for a job well done. They also recognize an Employee of the Month and Employee of the Year, both employee-nominated awards. 

That commitment to continuous improvement doesn’t stop at developing Gen Y employees. Michael Nervick, CEO, says what Gen Y finds most attractive about AFN is their willingness to learn as an organization, especially because they expect their employees to do the same. “We’re going to make mistakes. We need [Gen Y employees] to be willing to take risks and make mistakes because that’s how [we all] learn.”

Nervick has an open-door policy and is always willing to hear ideas from every employee. “I really like the open-door policy.  Actually, we all have the opportunity to interact and communicate across all areas, regardless of our department.  I think that is crucial to AFN’s success,” says Maggie Kostecki, Customer Solutions Specialist and Gen Y Employee.

Along with professional development, AFN looks to improve their employee’s wellness by offering an on-site gym, accessible to employees 24/7. They also commit to improving their community by supporting various Chicagoland charities, and offer a donation matching program for their employees.

Office Size: 
51 - 250 employees
Gen Y Employees: 
7230 North Caldwell Avenue, Niles, IL
Fun Fact: 
Employees can nominate their colleagues as employee of the month or year, and send electronic "high fives" for a job well done.
Employees are saying: 
  • "I like that I have a direct impact on the materials our customers see." - Lorilei H.
  • "There's a lot of opportunity for growth and to be independent on a day-to-day basis." - Scott S.