How they handled the economic downturn

Balloons marking Marty Purcell's 25th anniversary Feb. 18, 2010, with the Graham Co., a commercial insurance brokerage in Philadelphia.

We asked companies how they handled the economic downturn. Here's some of what they said:

ACTS Retirement-Life Communities Inc.
Introduced incentives for prospective residents such as entrance-fee reductions, payment extensions, apartment upgrades, and Realtor incentives.

Arcadia University
The dining hall has eliminated trays. The "trayless movement" is an effort to reduce waste.

CB Richard Ellis Inc.
Continued to "push technology" into traditional tasks, revamping them to automated or Web-based environments.

Chester County Intermediate Unit
Saved taxpayers more than $2 million by jointly purchasing supplies for the county's 12 school districts and 13 municipalities.

Community Legal Services Inc.
Has seen an increase in the number of employment-law cases, particularly in cases dealing with wage theft, and has addressed these cases accordingly.

Creative Financial Group Ltd.
Pursued the "furlough" approach, which is like a temporary layoff, reducing hours, etc. This is appealing because we foresee short-term contractions in demand and do not want long-term damage to our employees.

Deborah Heart and Lung Center
Has chosen to partner with other area hospitals and key community physicians, rather than carve up the market share.

Edmund Optics Inc.
Provided to employees, free of charge, health fairs, budgeting seminars, H1N1 informational sessions, and a walking club.

The Graham Co.
An Expense Reduction Committee, along with other employees, negotiated with vendors for lower rates and identified and eliminated certain underused services.

Lincoln Investment Planning Inc.
Company executives share timely and accurate information with employees regarding the industry, Lincoln's performance in the current marketplace and expectations for the future.

Maris Grove by Erickson Retirement Communities
The Help Line may be used by our employees for personal or professional resources. This is a 24-hour, toll-free service that provides assistance needed for topics such as loss of a job, to budgeting money, to child care.

The Michaels Organization
Seeking out and securing for additional, sometimes nontraditional, funding sources for our deals. Acquiring the portfolios of other developers looking to exit the market because of the economic downturn.

Miller Insurance Agency
Becoming a paperless company, using the Internet, e-mail, and electronic signature pads.

National Label Co.
We did not keep all our business in a sector that was hit hard when the economy declined.

NewAge Industries Inc.
Many companies allowed their stock levels to drop as a cost-cutting measure. NewAge increased inventory levels and is now the go-to supplier when others are out of stock.

Power Windows & Siding
Making our customers aware of the $1,500 Energy Tax Credit available to them as a result of President Obama's stimulus plan. Providing free and inexpensive ways to help them save energy and money.

Quaker Chemical Corp.
As soon as we saw changes in the marketplace in Q4 2008, we instituted cost-reduction programs and increased communication to associates to ensure that they not only understood the actions we were taking, but why they were necessary.

Swarthmore College
Hiring slowdown, budget reductions, strategic planning and fund-raising.

University of Pennsylvania and Health System
Retained jobs and prevented layoffs by managing other operating expenses. Continue to participate in West Philadelphia Economic Development initiatives to retain jobs and use local vendors.

The Vanguard Group
Increased our client interactions through use of online Webinars with our chief economist and investment professionals.

Urban Engineers Inc.
Used job sharing among offices and departments to create billable time, if their home department was slower.

Voice Systems Engineering Inc.
Helped employees with free financial advice from our 401(k) carrier and offered loans through payroll deduction.