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No dirty laundry at this software company

Analytical Graphics Inc. tops a list of best employers for the second year in a row. Free washer-dryer privileges for workers didn't hurt.

Looking for a better employer? Consider software maker Analytical Graphics Inc.

The Exton, Pa.-based company has been named the best small employer in America for the second straight year by the Society for Human Resource Management, which unveiled its rankings of small and medium-size workplaces on Monday.

Among the factors that kept AGI at the top of the little-company heap is a "nurturing, supportive atmosphere," according to the society. Some dot-com style perks also helped: AGI serves breakfasts, lunches and dinners; offers free snacks and drinks; and has a laundry room with free washers and dryers, according to the society.

AGI, which makes software for the aerospace industry, wasn't the only tech company to rank high on the small-company list, which covers workplaces with 50 to 250 employees and is compiled by the Great Place to Work Institute.

Placing third this year was Insomniac Games of Burbank, Calif. Insomniac "has given bonuses as large as 50 percent of base pay and offers facilities for basketball (and) volleyball, (as well as) putting greens and a gym for employees to unwind," the society said.

In the category of the best medium-size companies, one IT-focused business ranked in the top 10, the society said: management and technology services company Calibre, based in Alexandria, Va. The employee-owned company ranked sixth. Medium-size companies are defined as those with between 251 and 999 employees.

"The most successful companies in today's increasingly competitive business climate will be those that create environments with the most highly motivated and innovative employees who cooperate well with each other," Robert Levering, co-founder of the Great Place to Work Institute, said in a statement. "This only happens in companies where there is a high level of trust, which is what distinguishes these winning companies."

When it comes to the best large companies to work for, the tech industry lost some bragging rights this year. Fortune magazine's annual ranking of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in January included just one tech company in the top 10: semiconductor maker Xilinx. The year before, Xilinx had been joined by software makers Adobe Systems and SAS Institute.

Semiconductor companies Intel and Nvidia fell off the list completely between 2004 and 2005, and Microsoft dropped from 25th place to 57th. Adobe went from sixth place to 13th; SAS from eighth to 16th. To make the Fortune list, companies needed to be at least 7 years old and have at least 1,000 employees.