Greg Piefer, SHINE Technologies founder & CEO
At its core, SHINE Technologies exists to make the world a better place.
Our Janesville-based team works to develop clean energy, nuclear waste recycling, and medical isotope production. Our goal? To play an important role in providing humanity the tools needed to increase access to healthcare and energy in a sustainable and ecologically sound way.
At the core of our culture is a unifying purpose in the pursuit of technological solutions that enhance the greater good, and that work is grounded in the brilliance of our people. So it’s no surprise that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts are also a priority to us here at SHINE. In fact, we’re making DEI a part of our inherent culture. Our DEI efforts are central to cultivating diversity of thought to the various challenges we tackle and creating an environment where our employees are willing to challenge the status quo and take every challenge and success as an opportunity to grow.
From recruiting to ongoing employee training and engagement, we emphasize diversity and inclusion at all levels of our organization. We put a special emphasis on recruiting, taking steps to mitigate and eliminate recruiting and hiring bias such as employing a blind resume process for applicants.
Our outreach has expanded to support DEI within the communities we live and work by supporting programs such as:
• The Janesville Multicultural Teacher Scholarship through financial contributions and participation on its advisory board. This program offers scholarships to multicultural students who intend to work in the Janesville school district after college. Efforts here boost the teacher-student ratio and help diversify educators in our Janesville schools.
• The Fatherhood Initiative, a program run by Community Action Inc. that helps adjudicated fathers in the area by connecting them with job training, employment placements, and family strengthening skills.
• The IDEAL Opportunity Scholarship at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville. We developed a partnership with BTC to financially support, provide SHINE mentors and hire interns to support STEM engagement among multicultural students, helping people of color who are low-income and first-generation college students pursue careers in STEM fields.
Inside SHINE, employees started a diversity-focused book club and formed employee resource groups for SHINE women (trans and non-binary inclusive) and for veterans. We also give employees the opportunity to support their communities through participation in racial equality work by offering Martin Luther King Jr. Day off as a paid Day of Service. With these initiatives, employee engagement around DEI is showing marked improvement.
Between external training and bringing in local experts to speak to staff, we engaged with a significant portion of our team in voluntary diversity training throughout 2021.
Continuing our DEI efforts
It’s especially gratifying to see our employees volunteer to be part of this important work. Our DEI task force, made up of a volunteer group of employees each year, continues to drive efforts with pay equity and diversity in job applicants.
We are proud of our DEI efforts and grateful to our community to be awarded the 2020 YWCA Rock County Dorothy Height Racial Justice Award for Diversity in the Workplace.
Of course, awards and accolades aren’t the motivating factors for us. Rather, it’s a sense of equity that sits deep within our culture. One day, we hope that our efforts will provide heat in Serbia, streetlights in Africa, and cancer treatment in Thailand. And that’s because people around the world — regardless of gender, color, or sex — simply should have it
Greg Piefer is the founder and CEO of SHINE Technologies and has 16 years of executive management experience at growth-stage technology companies. He holds a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering and B.S. degrees in physics and electrical and computer engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Greg believes strongly that there is clear value to a company, along with its stakeholders and stockholders, associated with fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. His passion is the growth of technology companies that take scientific advancement to commercialization, providing the opportunity to serve and better humanity.