HUNTERSVILLE – SABIC Innovative Plastics’ specialties don’t include spreading mulch, re-painting playgrounds, landscaping or working at a food bank.

That didn’t stop about 80 employees of the Huntersville-based provider of engineering thermoplastic solutions from spending time out of the office and in the community on June 21.

SABIC’s annual Community Service Day drew volunteers who worked at North Mecklenburg Park, the Levine and Dickson Hospice Center, McDowell Creek and Second Harvest Food Bank. Members of the petrochemical company put their time to good use.

They picked up litter, removed trash, repainted the playground and spread mulch at the park. Other employees contributed landscaping at the hospice center, picked up trash, litter and brush at McDowell Creek as part of SABIC’s Adopt-a-Stream initiative and organized goods at the food bank.

“It’s exciting when the enthusiasm and energy of so many SABIC people unite around a community-focused purpose,” said Emmett Harrigan, supply chain director for SABIC’s Innovative Plastics. “As individuals, as citizens and as representatives of SABIC, we’re committed to building a strong legacy of caring and service, and demonstrating that SABIC genuinely cares about the communities in which it operates.”

SABIC isn’t the only business to show its appreciation.

A strong commitment to the community permeates throughout the region, Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce President Bill Russell said. He said businesses aren’t just dedicated to succeeding in the area. They also want to leave a positive legacy on the community.

It’s more prevalent among business now than in the past, thanks in large part to more companies putting their corporate bases in Huntersville, Cornelius or Davidson.

Power and automation giant ABB put a cable factory in Huntersville last year. ABB employees painted classrooms and did light landscaping at the David B. Waymer Children’s Center in June 2012, not long after the company opened its doors.

Ingersoll Rand, a Davidson-based industrial company, has hosted the Lake Norman Sprint Triathlon, a running, biking and swimming event, for the past three years. Employees from locally based companies including Lowe’s, Newell Rubbermaid and Carolinas Healthcare System participated in last year’s triathlon. It raised $42,000 for Davidson’s Ada Jenkins Center.

“You’re seeing (companies giving back) through all kinds of things,” Russell said. “There’s no bigger ambassador to the Ada Jenkins Center and what they try to accomplish than Ingersoll Rand.

“We’re seeing companies step up (and help out). Big Day at the Lake (an annual children’s lake event in Cornelius) wouldn’t be possible were it not for the support of the businesses who come out and participate in it.”

SABIC’s Polymershapes President Pete Arvan said SABIC’s commitment to the lake area is put on display when its annual service event takes place.

“Our Community Day events give us the chance to display our values, the things that we consider important, and our aspiration to lead in our communities,” Arvan said. “In addition to what our people give, everyone gets a lot back as well (including) having fun, getting to know colleagues better and improving the quality of life in the places where we live and work.”

Russell echoed Arvan’s sentiment.

“It’s not going to be a good place to work if it’s not a good place to live,” he said. “It’s important for companies to invest back in the community.”