Dagoba Chocolate of Ashland has been named the top small company to work for in Oregon.

Dagoba Chocolate of Ashland has been named the top small company to work for in Oregon.

The organic chocolate maker was recognized Thursday night by Oregon Business Magazine during an awards dinner in Portland.

There were 248 companies participating in the 21st "100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon" survey, which evaluates the best practices toward creating great places to work. More than 11,000 Oregon employees participated in the survey.

Plant Manager Doug Massey said the award speaks to Dagoba's positive workplace culture.

"Employees across our organization believe in our values-based culture and company vision, which makes Hershey and our plant in Ashland an exceptional place to work," Massey said.

Dagoba, which is owned by Hershey Co., has 15 full-time employees and additional seasonal temporaries, said Trish Ford, Dagoba's human resources and safety manager who has been with the chocolatier since 2009.

"We were pretty excited about being No. 1," she said. "The interesting thing is that most the companies are from Portland."

All told, seven Jackson County businesses made the Top 100, including three others in the small company (15-34 employees) category.

Medford-based RHT Energy Solutions, owned by Buzz Thielemann, came in No. 10, after going unrated a year ago.

"Workers at this family-oriented energy-efficiency firm in Medford plug their electric vehicles into a 10 kilowatt solar system and take pride in saving clients more than 250 million kilowatt hours annually," the magazine wrote.

Jackson County Physical Therapy of Medford slipped a few notches to No. 15 from No. 4, but still got rave reviews.

"Like the Hotel California, no one ever leaves this Southern Oregon-based health care provider," Oregon magazine wrote. "Loyal employees credit caring owners, strong relationships between co-workers and myriad opportunities for professional development."

Core Business Services of Medford made the list at No. 33, after not being rated in 2013.

"Employees dig the office culture at this information technology firm," the magazine wrote. "Each week, Core hosts 'four o'clock Fridays,' featuring food, drinks and contests for its staff."

Following Dagoba were law firm Barran Liebman of Portland and Rose City Mortgage of Portland.

Central Point-based Grange Co-op moved up a notch to No. 10 from No. 11 among large companies with more than 100 employees. The co-op has 221 employees.

"This agricultural supply cooperative supports an educated workforce," the magazine wrote. "Benefits include a 100 percent educational assistance program, which covers the full cost of college classes and textbooks."

The top large companies were law firm Perkins Coie of Portland, Gentiva Hospice of Portland and Northwest Mortgage Group of Portland.

The top medium-sized companies were accounting firm Delap of Lake Oswego, management consulting firm Point B of Portland and HealthCo Information Systems of Tualatin.

In the medium division (35-99 employees), Central Point's Rogue Creamery came in at No. 14, after not being rated last year. The magazine commented about the company's egg and garden-sharing program.

"The dairy's sustainable practices also inspire staff to get involved in local boards and government," Oregon Magazine wrote.

Spokane-based Avista Utilities' Medford office ranked No. 18, after going unrated last year.

The magazine noted career advancement is important at the energy company, which provides "great opportunities for all employees to improve their position within the company."

Work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, as well as benefits and compensation factor into the competition.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/EconomicEdge.