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Updated: January 8, 2024 / 2024 Best of Business Awards

Best of Business 2024: Best Employee Services

A company logo Photo | Courtesy of Sullivan Benefits Sullivan Benefits won the Best Employee Benefits Consultant award for 2024.

Best Employee Benefits Consultant: Sullivan Benefits*

With a team of 10, Marlborough-based Sullivan Benefits offers deep industry experience in employee benefits consulting to its mid-market companies. Chrystine Heier, founder and president of Sullivan Benefits, said her employees average 29 years in the field and 12 years with the company and include benefits analysts, client consultants, and wellness experts. 

“Our team is really committed to continuous education. Everything is changing constantly and we have to be on top of it,” Heier said. 

Specializing in mid-market companies with anywhere from 50 to a few thousand employees, Heier said such clients had a great need for benefits consulting when she formed Sullivan Benefits with a former partner in January 1999. That need remains today, as such companies often have lean human resource departments facing ever-evolving federal and state laws governing employee benefits.

The big new changes have been state laws around family leave and medical leave, as well as the federal Affordable Care Act of 2010 which, among many things, increased coverage requirements for employers across the nation. The majority of her clients are private businesses, and many are family-owned.

“There is just a ton of compliance, so that’s what we help them with,” Heier said, of her clients. “They really care about their employees and are looking to have a program that's really going to help their employees.” 

That instinct is crucial in a tight labor market, which is the other major problem Sullivan Benefits helps solve. Flexibility is king, she said, and that doesn’t necessarily need to cost more money. It may be a matter of offering multiple health insurance plans, or simply flexible work arrangements. One trend is to offer lifestyle benefits, which offer employees a stipend to spend however they want.

“It’s more inclusive of all sorts of people’s situations, letting them spend the money how they want to,” Heier said.

An insurance broker as well as a consulting firm, Sullivan Benefits is committed to transparency, sharing with clients how much they earn as they negotiate health plan, helping control costs. Heier said employee communication is another key component of the work; that may mean creating videos or websites to help a client explain a benefits package to their workforce. The company advises clients to stay ahead of the game when it comes to tweaking health plans to stay competitive while managing the costs. 

“We look at the levers we can pull, and we are doing that ahead of time,” Heier said.

- Story written by Emily Micucci

*denotes repeat winner

Best Limousine Service: Knight’s Airport Limousine*

Photo | Courtesy of Knight's Airport Limousine
Knight's Airport Limousine


Top executives: President Michael Hogan and General Manager Thomas Hogan, both co-owners

Founded: 1985

Employees: 120

Knight’s offers a fleet of vehicles ranging from private sedans to passenger vans and executive vans. Its service area extends eastward from Worcester to include MetroWest and Greater Boston, including Boston Logan International Airport. The company prides itself on exceptional service and exceeding client expectations, using its top-of-the-line vehicles, attention to detail, and chauffeurs.

Notable runner-up: Joey's Limousine Service

Best Professional Training Company: MindsetGo*

A man with glasses
Photo | Courtesy of MindsetGo*
Mark Altman, founder and executive coach of MindsetGo


Top executive: Founder and Executive Coach Mark Altman

Founded: 2014

Employees: 5

In 2023, MindsetGo expanded its reach nationally and internationally. In addition to being focused on growing Massachusetts and New England area companies, the company now serves 15 different states and has added six European clients. MindsetGo supports clients’ change initiatives, leadership development, and abilities to coach individuals at all levels of their respective organizations.

Best College for Business Education: Nichols College*

A large building with a statue of a bison in front of it.
Photo | Courtesy of Nichols College
Nichols College in Dudley


Top executive: Bill Pieczynski, interim president

Founded: 1815

Employees: 370

Nichols offers a career-focused business and leadership education, including professional development and experiential learning programs and a 96% employment rate for graduates. The college ranks eighth nationally among undergraduate business schools in salary potential and is the 10th Best Value Business School in the nation, according to Payscale. Nichols earned business accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, becoming one of just 6% of institutions to be AACSB accredited.

Notable runners-up: Worcester State University, Assumption University

Best Auto Detailer: Nick’s On-Site Detailing

A man smiles while washing a car
Photo | Courtesy of Nick's On-Site Detailing
Nicholas Lazzaro, chairman and founder of Nick's On-Site Detailing


Top executive: Chairman & Founder Nicholas Lazzaro 

Founded: 2019 

Employees: 1, with five subcontractors

Nick’s mantra is to provide customers with fair, affordable cleaning services to last all seasons. In 2023, the company exceeded its sales goals by 25%, all while its owner, Nicholas Lazzaro, completed his first semester studying for his MBA at Boston College.

Best Luxury Automobile Dealership: Wagner Mercedes-Benz of Shrewsbury*

A car sits near a counter in a car dealership
Photo | Courtesy of Wagner Mercedes-Benz of Shrewsbury
Wagner's showroom in Shrewsbury


Top executive: Owner Mark Wagner

Founded: 1980

Employees: 100

Wagner’s efforts to treat all customers like a member of the family helped ground the company during the rapid transition in 2023 toward electric vehicles. Despite all of the technological upgrades, the changes in the way the vehicles work, and the immense amount of training coming with learning a new product, Wagner integrated the new EQ lineup seamlessly into its product offerings.

Notable runner-up: Lexus of Northborough

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