Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: July 30, 2018 Fact Book 2018

A deeper commitment to Maine

Photo / Tim Greenway
Melissa Smith, CEO of WEX Inc.

WEX Inc. broke ground last year on new 100,000-square-foot headquarters on Portland’s waterfront, which is expected to open in 2019. The company, which employs more than 1,000 people in South Portland and 3,300 worldwide, plans to relocate up to 450 employees to the new headquarters. WEX (NYSE: WEX), Maine’s second-largest publicly traded company, provides corporate payment solutions and had $1.25 billion in revenues in 2017. Mainebiz spoke with WEX President and CEO Melissa Smith about the decision to expand in Maine.

Mainebiz: WEX has a presence in markets around the world, many of which had deeper labor pools than Portland. Why did WEX choose to deepen its roots in Maine?

Melissa Smith: WEX’s culture is a differentiator for us as we attract and grow customer relationships. That culture is rooted in our Maine heritage. Maine is full of industrious, innovative and caring people. Maine is also a wonderful place to live and to raise a family. We have easy access to the outdoors and world-class culinary and cultural amenities. All of that makes it a great place to attract a highly skilled workforce. Maine has been the headquarters and center of our growth since WEX was founded in 1983.

MB: What types of positions are most challenging to recruit and retain workers?

MS: WEX is a vibrant and globalizing business with a heavy technology focus. Due to our culture, career opportunities and our unique benefits package, we have had great success in recruiting associates for all areas of the company from across the world. Finance and technology, STEM-related fields, remain some of the most competitive areas to recruit for both in Maine as well as in most markets.

MB: What strategies have been most effective in recruiting and retaining talent?

MS: Creating an attractive culture with multitudes of career opportunities. This includes offering a unique benefits package including 401K (with a 6% match), a sabbatical program, a generous paid time-off package, pet insurance and adoption assistance. About a year and a half ago, we started offering six weeks of paid parental leave and increased our short-term disability package, so that when there’s a new child, the whole family unit can have more time off.

MB: What’s your internship program like?

MS: We have a phenomenal internship program. We have always had it, but about two years ago we beefed it up, and hired someone to run it and to go out and build relationships with universities. Last year, we had more than 1,200 applicants for 32 intern positions. More than 30% of the interns who were eligible to work were hired. So far this year, there are 3,650 applicants for 65 internship positions. Roughly 70% of those applicants are Maine students, from Maine, or living in the state. When you intern for us, we’re going to give you real work and meaningful responsibility — we will not have you running for coffee.

If you talk to people who work here, they’ll tell you that there’s an energy that comes from being part of growth.

MB: What is involved in creating an attractive culture?

MS: At the core of it is the President’s Club Award [an employee recognition program], which is based not just on what you do but how you do it. That’s an important part of our culture. We’re a place where the ‘how’ matters as much as the ‘what’ does. It’s part of why we win customers, and why they do business with us. Many of our relationships go back more than 20 years. We try to strike that balance between being collaborative in nature, but also results-oriented. If you talk to people who work here, they’ll tell you that there’s an energy that comes from being part of growth. We try to attract people who like the adrenaline that comes with that. But we’re really clear that they have to be able to work with others in order to be successful here.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF