Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

After Nina Pham’s lawsuit, Texas Health called great place to work

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas staff members lined the drive exiting the emergency room in October when Nina Pham was being transported to be treated for Ebola.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas staff members lined the drive exiting the emergency room in October when Nina Pham was being transported to be treated for Ebola. AP

Is Texas Health Resources a great place to work? Or is it a company that puts profit over people and treats its own employees callously in a crisis?

Both depictions of the Arlington-based nonprofit healthcare system went public last week, in startling contrast.

First Nina Pham — one of two nurses who contracted Ebola while caring for a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas in October — sued her former employer, alleging that Arlington-based Texas Health Resources let her down by failing to train her to handle the deadly disease, violating her privacy and then using her as a “PR tool” to help repair the company’s battered image.

Then on Thursday came a news release from Texas Health Resources, announcing that it had been selected for Fortune magazine’s annual list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.

On its website, Fortune said THR, which it ranked No. 69 on the list headed by Google, says THR “promotes an atmosphere of mutual support and optimism” and provides its workers with necessary training and fair promotions. THR CEO Barclay Berdan, who spent many years in Fort Worth as a top executive with the Harris Methodist hospitals, said the recognition “speaks to the way we take care of and support each other.”

Pham’s 36-page lawsuit paints an entirely different picture of THR. Filed in state district court in Dallas, court documents state that THR failed to prepare its employees for Ebola and then became concerned more about its image than its sick nurses. It alleges that Pham turned to the Internet to learn how to protect herself against the disease, that she was told she was at no risk of contracting it from Thomas Duncan, a Liberian who would die, and that a video was made of her while she was hospitalized without her consent and used as part of a public relations campaign called #PresbyProud.

Companies apply themselves to be on Fortune’s list, which is assembled with the help of an outfit called Great Place to Work, that conducts “the most extensive employee survey in corporate America,” according to the magazine’s website.

We reached out to Fortune on Friday to get its take on Pham’s lawsuit and the nurse’s opinion that THR was not one of the best companies to work for. But no one from the magazine responded to our inquiries.

Berkshire adds another Fort Worth company

Fort Worth-based M&M Manufacturing, a 56-year-old business that makes sheet metal products used in commercial and residential ductwork, has been acquired by MiTek Industries in Chesterfield, Mo.

MiTek, which supplies engineered products, proprietary design software and automated equipment to construction and industrial markets, is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, headed by Warren Buffett.

M&M was founded by the Stepp family in 1958. The company has grown from a small sheet metal shop to one of the largest heating, ventilation and air-conditioning ductwork and product manufacturers in the U.S. It operates six manufacturing facilities and employs about 800 workers.

Rob Felton, M&M’s chief executive, will continue with the company.

“The M&M Manufacturing name stands for quality, service and reliability throughout the Southwest,” said Tom Manenti, chairman and CEO of MiTek in a statement. “They earn their customers’ business everyday based on their integrity and a commitment to excellence, two things we value highly.”

MiTek was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001. It operates in 40 countries.

M&M Manufacturing was started by M.M. Stepp and Louis M. Watkins, who bought the assets of a bankrupt sheet metal shop. Its first location was on White Settlement Road. Its headquarters are at 4001 Mark IV Parkway. In 2007, Austin-based TGF Management, a private-equity firm, invested in M&M and became a partner in the company.

New way to chargeit at Grapevine Mills

Electric vehicle drivers can charge up while shopping at Grapevine Mills.

Shopping center owner Simon and NRG eVgo, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, have installed electric car fast-charging Freedom Station sites at the outlet mall. Vehicles recharge in about a half-hour. The stations were also installed at Katy Mills in Houston.

Shoppers can plug in at up to 152 electric vehicle charging stations located at 56 of Simon’s shopping centers nationwide. NRG has 50 Freedom Station sites in Texas. At Grapevine Mills, the station is located between Neiman Marcus Last Call and Saks OFF 5TH.

After snow, DFW readies for spring break

There were still a few patches of ice and snow at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on Friday but airport workers were already preparing for spring break.

The airport said it expects 3.2 million passengers during the spring break travel period March 6-23, up 1.4 percent over last year.

“With the expected increase in spring break travelers, we have added extra help and support in the parking garages, at curbsides and in the terminals for the four busiest travel days,” Sean Donohue, DFW’s chief executive, said in a statement.

The airport had complimentary luggage porters at each terminal over the weekend and will have them back on its busiest days, March 14 and 15.

There are also new concessions that have recently opened in renovated sections of the airport, including UFood Grill in Terminal B and Genghis Grill in Terminal E. Since much of Terminal E’s parking facility is under construction, the airport is encouraging travelers to park in the Express South Parking lot, which is a five-minute bus ride from that terminal.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773

Twitter: @stevekasko