On October 11th, the People's Light Corporate Circle committee will host Leo Parsons, President and Chief Operating Officer at CTDI in West Chester, as part of our ongoing Corporate Circle Speaker Series. Mr. Parsons will speak about creating and maintaining a meaningful corporate culture from both a local and global perspective. His insights will tie into our season premiere, Such Things as Vampires. We caught up with him for quick Q+A to help us, and you, get to know him.

We hope you’ll join us for a light breakfast, a bit of networking and valuable insights from one of the region’s (and world’s) leading full-service, global engineering, repair and logistics companies.

RSVP to Dawn Elyse Warden, Director of Corporate Relations & Special Events.

How does CTDI define “corporate culture”?

Throughout CTDI’s history, we have preserved a strong sense of family. This stems from the longevity of our employees within the company, and from their personal connections to each other inside and outside of the workplace. We encourage outside interaction whether through life celebrations, recreational activities or volunteerism. Many of our employees have children that have interned or worked at CTDI, and their achievements and special occasions are also celebrated. We extend this to our customers, with whom we have long-term relationships, and who have become part of our history and our evolution. 

What values most represent the organization and its employees?

First and foremost, respect for the traditions and aspirations valued by each of our employees and their families, and similarly for our customers. There are no expectations to conform and we strive to learn from each other’s differences, and to grow closer through that appreciation. For example, the Parsons family, is very faith-oriented. We don’t shy away from the opportunity to say grace before company meals—which all employees are invited to lead—and we aren’t afraid to ask them to keep others in their “thoughts and prayers” when sending messages related to a health issue or other concern. We reciprocate this openness to expressing your faith, and urge all employees to be comfortable—and respectful—in doing so.


Next is trust. Trust that everyone on the CTDI will do his/her best each day on the job, and to put the company and our customer service in the best light possible so that we exceed expectations and run a successful company at every level.


And finally, a strong sense of pride for what we do and for the accomplishments of our employees and their families outside the workplace.


How do you achieve your goals for creating a meaningful corporate culture?

Creating a sense of family means finding ways to connect outside the office that are fun and that promote bonding in a natural way. We like to work hard, but we like to relax, too. Each year we have annual events, such as a summer picnic for employees and their families; an end-of-summer antique/classic car show and cookout, and a holiday party. These are celebrated across all 92 of our global locations. Each office does its own thing, but we share pictures on social media to help our 14,000 employees feel a sense of unity and camaraderie. In fact, social media has become one of our most valued tools for connecting to our other offices and sharing news, achievements and special occasions. It keeps all our employees and locations connected.


Do employees participate in helping to develop strategies and deliverables around this?

Yes, quite a bit. Along with our social events, that employees help plan, CTDI is dedicated to giving back to the community collectively and individually. Here in Chester County, we have a strong presence of working with local charities for whom employees can take the lead in planning such things as clothing and food drives, and also can team up to host company-run golf outings, a Casino Night, and other internal fundraising efforts that benefit our own staff. CTDI Cares is the best example of how we come together and foster a culture of giving. Originally started to assist employees diagnosed with cancer, the initiative now includes all types of life-threatening illnesses and extends beyond “employees only” to their families and extended families. Everyone’s needs are considered and there is no hierarchy of choosing who gets assistance. The employees involved work together to ensure that the direst, time-sensitive needs are met.


How do you, as a founder of CTDI and now its President and COO, relate to employees and their needs, and contribute to their sense of a unified, corporate culture?

I joined the company right out of college, 36 years ago, and worked my way up to this position. I understand the challenges faced in each department because I was there, too. Having come up the ranks like so many others, I have experienced similar types of problems as our younger teams are solving, whether related to process or fast-changing technology. Working on the floor with them, shoulder-to-shoulder to seek solutions, creates a stronger connection across departments and supports that sense of being in this together and working toward a common goal. Which, circles back those values of family and pride. That’s what ties our employees together.


Corporate Circle Speaker Interviews