The cover story for the November issue of FW Inc. (Fort Worth, Texas magazine’s sister business magazine) lists the winners of its Best Companies to Work for in Fort Worth competition (see pages 42 and 43 in this issue for the list of winners). The judging was done by a third-party research group. In reading through many of the benefits of the winning companies, I came to realize how different the workplace with millennials is today from when I started my career in the late 80s. 

As a baby boomer (I was born in the cut-off year for boomers), my mindset in the first 10 years of a career was much more conventional than the mindset of millennials in the early part of their careers today. I was just fine with a salary, set paid vacation and traditional benefits. Millennials today value more non-traditional compensation such as flexible work hours, working from home, casual dress, ping-pong tables at work, company-catered lunches and company-sponsored happy hours during work hours. 

If you look at most great companies, they almost always have great employees. Considering that millennials will make up roughly half of the workforce by 2020, those of us who run companies that have a desire to make them great better figure out how to provide the younger generation value outside of traditional compensation. To that end, we had freelance writer Gail Bennison do a little research into Fort Worth millennials, which is our cover story this month. 

We selected 12 Fort Worth millennials who we felt define their generation. While millennials have been typecast as entitled and lazy, this group of 20- and 30-somethings contradicts that stereotype. These remarkable individuals are making noticeable impacts in their careers, are greatly involved in their communities, and are doing their part to help change the way society views millennials…one amazing accomplishment at a time. Among them are business owners, vice presidents, real estate developers, directors, a pediatrician, horse trainer, car dealers and a couple of musicians. 

Jamey Ice, the millennial we chose to represent the story, is a lot of things, but lazy is not one of them. At 32 he is the lead guitarist for the extremely popular band called Green River Ordinance (GRO), a co-owner and partner in the real estate company 6th Avenue Homes that rehabilitates older homes in the Fairmount Historic District and a co-owner and partner in the restaurant and coffee house BREWED on Magnolia Avenue. And if his wife and young daughter don’t keep him too busy, he is also a photographer.

His strongest character trait is determination. He loves knocking through doors, chasing down dreams, figuring out how to make something work and overcoming challenges. He sounds a lot like a baby boomer. Perhaps we are not as different as I once thought.