With great excitement, we announce that Sumitomo Machinery Corporation of America (SMA) has won the Plan Sponsor of the Year award in the Total Retirement Offering category. It is a great honor to have received this award, and we tip our hats to all the great companies who were finalists in our category.
In 2019, we participated as a finalist for this award category and faced stiff competition from the likes of Southwest Airlines and Occidental Petroleum. Considering the comparisons, this was a true David & Goliath scenario, as both companies we competed against were exponentially larger than SMA. While we did not win, it was a testament to our principles, values, and leadership team's ability to offer an excellent total retirement package that rivals many of the US's most successful companies.
With 2019 behind us, and 2020 shaping up to be one for the history books, winning the Plan Sponsor of the Year award is a culmination of years of commitment and dedication to putting employees first. In a business environment where only a small percentage of companies still offer a pension, SMA has not waivered, offering this benefit, which is fully funded as of 2019. In addition to this rare offering, SMA continues to offer a generous 401K match, with a company-wide participation rate of 93%.
When discussing the 401K and Pension, Jim Solomon, President & CEO, commented, "In our [machinery manufacturing] industry, it definitely helps us to attract the kind of employees we want. "And we want to have a lot of long-term employees at this company. Having the pension plan is a differentiator for us. Even though it costs more than a typical DC [defined contribution]-style retirement benefit, we feel it's important to support our employees because we've got so many long-tenured employees. We want them to know that, when they retire, they'll retire with a healthy financial situation."
While winning this award is a great honor, especially in 2020, this is not the summit. In other words, we still have work to do. Our employees' wants and needs continue to change, and we always try to listen and adapt to those needs. For SMA, benefits and total retirement offering will continue to maintain a high priority with our leadership team. Today, our program offering is world-class and a leader in the nation, but it's hard to get to the top like many things in life, but it's harder to stay there. We plan on sticking around for a while.
See the official announcement and the runner ups here.