Panos Vasiloudes knows that giving back to the community is a better public relations tool than any billboard.
And that includes giving back to his employees.
Vasiloudes, the owner and head physician at the Academic Alliance in Dermatology, takes care of his workers with everything from birthday lunches to free Tampa Bay Buccaneers tickets to loans to those having financial troubles.
"(Academic Alliance) is run more or less like a family," he said.
The practice will pay for $5,000 worth of professional development courses — to learn about new procedures or treatments — to any employee who shows the drive and commitment. Every two years, the practice hosts a retreat for continuing education for the entire staff. It isn't mandatory, Vasiloudes said, but almost everyone attends.
That constant encouragement to learn and grow provides many opportunities within the practice, and all of the employees appreciate that, said Laura Ciurlizza, director of hair restoration at Academic Alliance.
"You can grow with the company," she said. "You don't have to stay at one level."
A 23-year-old practice, the Academic Alliance has 87 employees and five offices in the Tampa Bay area, with plans to open a sixth within the next few years.
Vasiloudes said 90 percent of the staff has been there for three years or longer, and the longest-working employee has been there for 18 years.
The company pays 85 percent of health insurance premiums for full-time employees and everyone can get a monthly and quarterly bonus based on productivity and efficiency. The practice also offers 50 percent off gym memberships.
Every year, the practice pays for three season tickets to Tampa Bay Buccaneers games. The department heads choose the three employees who get to go.
It's not a competitive work environment, Vasiloudes said.
The front-desk staff has a monthly quota to meet in terms of scheduling patients and selling the dermatology products available through the practice. Rather than creating a cutthroat atmosphere where no one reveals their numbers until the end of the month, Vasiloudes said everybody gets a bonus if someone beats their goal.
The staff shares the mission to lend a hand to the community, be it making the drive to St. Petersburg to treat a young patient or buying 72 tickets to Tampa General Hospital's Night at the Circus fundraiser.
"If I do not care for my community, my community will not care for me," Vasiloudes said.
The practice will sponsor whatever little league team, school dance or fundraiser that asks, Vasiloudes said. If it's a marathon, cancer walk or some other outdoors event, the Academic Alliance will bring free sunscreen.
"This practice is a grass roots operation that starts with the community and grows from the staff," Vasiloudes said.