Shine United Ranked #5 in OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work 2016

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Wisconsin-based advertising agency ranked in the top 100 places to work for the fourth consecutive year

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Our philosophy, since we opened our doors in 2001, has been to create a place where employees can do great work, have fun, have room to grow, and feel like partners — and it’s still our approach 15 years later.

Shine United has been ranked #5 out of 100 companies named in OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work of 2016. Each year, OUTSIDE recognizes the top companies in the United States that help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. These companies encourage employees to lead active lifestyles, are eco-conscious, and prioritize giving back to the community. Created in conjunction with the Outdoor Industry Association and Best Companies Group, the list of winners appears online at

“Our philosophy, since we opened our doors in 2001, has been to create a place where employees can do great work, have fun, have room to grow, and feel like partners — and it’s still our approach 15 years later,” says Curt Hanke, founding partner and CEO of Shine United. “We’ve worked hard to create an environment that in a variety of ways sparks creative thinking and rewards employees for their hard work and dedication, and we are thrilled that Outside Magazine has recognized Shine for the fourth consecutive year as one of the best places to work in the country.”

“This year’s list of Best Places to Work highlights employers who go above and beyond for their staffs,” said OUTSIDE Online Editor Scott Rosenfield. “Included are organizations that emphasize a healthy work-life balance and promote, encourage and reward employees who live active and healthier lives.”

To create the Best Places to Work 2016 list, OUTSIDE started by comparing employers in five core categories, reflecting the magazine’s values and focus: Adventure/Travel, Wellness, Culture, Gear, and Media. OUTSIDE then conducted a rigorous vetting process in partnership with the Best Companies Group to assess the policies, practices, and demographics of hundreds of companies.

Powered by employee workplace reviews, and taking into account factors like corporate culture, job satisfaction, work environment and overall employee engagement, the Best Places to Work list represents only the top companies that are not only empowering, but also encouraging, their employees to live better, healthier and more active lives.

Shine United is located in a newly renovated historic downtown building in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin. The space features an open floor plan with several communal areas that accommodate Shine’s collaborative work style. Beyond the workspace itself, Shine’s benefit package stands as one of the best in the country. Shine pays for 100% of its employees’ health, dental and life insurance premiums, provides paid parking and home Internet service, offers competitive salaries, and for those reaching their 10-year work anniversary, a $10,000 bonus and an extra week of vacation. In addition, employees are made to feel like owners, with a profit-sharing program that in the past five years has shared more than $500,000 in profits with its employees.

Shine United also strives to play an active role in the community by supporting the American Family Children’s Hospital, University of Wisconsin Athletics department, the Overture Center for the Arts, and Outreach for World Hope. In 2016 the agency donated to, and developed, the name, logo, pamphlets, and website for The Ride – a bike benefit designed to fund cancer research in partnership with the University of Wisconsin’s oncology department.

Culturally, Shine boasts half-day summer Fridays, free bagel Wednesdays, and weekly happy hours. The agency calendar is peppered with extracurricular activities such as the annual summer picnic, a holiday dinner and a monthly birthday lunch to feed the work-play balance — and ultimately help fuel the creative process.

Companies from across the country entered the two-part survey process to determine the Outside’s Best Places to Work. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company's workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process, analyzed the data, and determined the final rankings. The complete list of Best Places to Work winners is published at The Best Places to Work: 2016.


About Shine United:
Shine United is a $41 million advertising, design, and interactive agency located in Madison, Wisconsin. The privately held company’s client roster includes national brands such as Harley Davidson, LaCrosse Footwear, Wisconsin cheese, GORE-TEX® Running Footwear,, Winston Fly Rods, and Kohler Co. Shine is an environment where creativity, brilliance, and teamwork are allowed to flourish — part of the reason we were named one of the best places to work by Outside Magazine for the past three years.

Learn more at Shine On.

OUTSIDE is America’s leading active lifestyle brand. Since 1977, OUTSIDE has covered travel, sports, adventure, health, and fitness, as well as the personalities, the environment, and the style and culture of the world Outside. The OUTSIDE family includes OUTSIDE magazine, the only magazine to win three consecutive National Magazine Awards for General Excellence, The Outside Buyer’s Guides, Outside Online, the Outside Podcast, Outside Television, Outside Events, Outside+ for the iPad, Outside tablet edition, Outside Books, and Outside GO, a revolutionary, 21st-century adventure-travel company. Connect with OUTSIDE online, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

About the Best Companies Group:
Best Companies Group works with national and local partners around the country and internationally to establish and manage “Best Places to Work,” “Best Companies,” and “Best Employers” programs on a national, statewide, regional and industry basis. Through its thorough workplace assessment, utilizing employer questionnaires and employee-satisfaction surveys, BCG identifies and recognizes companies that have been successful in creating and maintaining workplace excellence.

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Aleah Schroeder
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