The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

2015 Employee Ownership Month Poster

The 2015 Employee Ownership Month Poster is now available. You can purchase your poster here.

The poster was designed by ASU Group, an employee-owned company located in Okemos, Michigan. The winning poster design was unveiled at the Association’s 38th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. ASU Group’s poster was chosen as the 2015 winner because of the idea it expressed: Flying as a team gives our ESOP wings.  The winning poster also graced the cover of this year’s Employee Ownership Month Planning Kit.

Congrats to the employee owners of ASU Group on the winning design!


Filed under: Employee Ownership Month (EOM), , ,

2015 Employee Ownership Month Kit Available!

Employee Ownership Month 2015 –

Download Your Press & Event Planning Kit Today

2015EOMKitCOVERsmallEvery October, The ESOP Association and its members celebrate Employee Ownership Month (EOM). Each summer, the Press & Event Planning Kit, which highlights EOM activities of ESOP Association members, is shared with all corporate members to help generate event ideas.

Download your copy of the 2015 Press & Event Planning Kit.

EOM is a celebration of the incredible spirit of employee ownership and an opportunity to educate employee owners about the tremendous benefits of ESOPs. It’s also an opportunity to educate the public, elected officials, and the media as to why employee ownership through ESOPs is good public policy and this Kit will help you in your endeavors.

A special message from ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling:

“It is with significant pride that The ESOP Association provides this one of a kind Press & Event Planning Kit, or EOM Kit, to members. While it may sound like bragging, this attractive document is really an activities, advocacy, media, and even a marketing kit, in one. I feel comfortable that if any company went to a reputable inside-the-beltway public relations firm focused on public policy for such a document, the price tag would run in the thousands of dollars if developed from scratch. And, each year, the local and national recognition of ESOP companies’ activities during EOM becomes more prominent, helping our community make the case to our national decision makers that ESOPs are our best national jobs and retirement savings policy. Let us know if you have questions about using the Kit.”

Get started TODAY! A link to the Kit can be found on the Employee Ownership Month page.

If you have questions or would like to submit stories and photos about your EOM events, please send an email to

You will receive in the coming weeks a complimentary copy of this year’s winning poster designed by ASU Group in Okemos, Michigan (pictured at top).

Additional copies of the poster can be ordered online here.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Month (EOM),

ESOP Association President Visits Omni Cable

J. Michael Keeling, President of The ESOP Association, visited the Omni Cable corporate office, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, on Friday, July 31st. During his visit, he met with the Jeff Siegfried (President & CEO), Greg Donato (Chief Operating Officer), the ESOP Trustees, and a few Committee members to discuss everything ESOP. Omni Cable’s ESOP, the state of ESOPs, what other people are doing, and more. His visit concluded with a tour of the distribution center, guided by Jimmy Moreno (Distribution Center Manager).

Photo from left, Brian VanBuskirk (Omni Cable Controller & ESOP Trustee), Steve Glinski (Omni Cable Chief Financial Officer & ESOP Trustee), Michael Keeling (President of the ESOP Association), Jeanine Bilotta (Omni Cable IT Director & ESOP Trustee), and Jimmy Moreno (Omni Cable Distribution Center Manager)

He left with a nice Omni Cable ESOP goodie bag.

ESOP Association President Visit_2

Filed under: TEA Members,

ESOP Company News Part 7: Congressman Reid Ribble Visits Hatco Corporation

Congressman Reid Ribble (R-8) visited the Hatco Corporation manufacturing facility in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on August 11.  Congressman Ribble toured the facility and held a very constructive meeting with employee owners discussing what employee ownership has done for the company and for them personally.   Congressman Ribble stated his support for employee ownership and committed to reviewing H.R. 2096 (The Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act of 2015) after the visit and that he would consider signing on to the bill after that review.

Hatco is a worldwide designer and manufacturer of commercial foodservice equipment that offers innovative solutions to the foodservice industry.  The company has grown steadily through the years by product line expansion and great customer service. Hatco began in 1950 and first became employee owned in 2004.  Today Hatco is a 100% S Corp ESOP.

Hatco Ribble Visit 1

Hatco Ribble Visit 2

Hatco Ribble Visit 3

Filed under: Government Affairs, TEA Members,

Moving to the Offense. Touchdown for ESOPs on the Horizon?

Please note, the following article originally ran as the Washington Report column in the August 2015 issue of the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association.

In the first decade or so of the 21st Century, after the perfection of the S ESOP law — which was being abused by one and two person 100% S ESOPs — at the turn of the Century, the general mantra of the Association’s government relation’s message has been: “The best defense is a good offense.” In non-sports terms, the thinking is that when a cause has many members of Congress especially, on key Congressional Committees expressing support for specific laws by openly co-sponsoring proposals to expand those laws, cynics about the specific laws are not likely to “win” their efforts to cut back those laws.

Whether we like it or not, there are still men and women in key policy positions among Congressional offices, and among Executive Branch agencies, that see ESOPs as a waste of tax payer money, as bad retirement savings plans due to lack of asset diversification, and as not real ownership. If these people had a chance, which they would if fewer members of Congress openly supported ESOPs, they would maneuver to severely diminish, or to even eliminate laws to encourage creation and operation of ESOP companies.

Since 1990, they have had no time when a movement to cutback or eliminate pro-ESOP laws appeared; why, because on the advice of former super ESOP champion former Congressman Beryl Anthony, the ESOP community has put forth modest, but meaningful pro-ESOP proposals to expand ESOPs. This defense is the best offense strategy led to the passage of the pro-ESOP S ESOP law in 1996, perfected in 1997, and protected in 2001 from attack.

In this 1990 to 2000 time frame, over 100 members of Congress stood up and publicly proclaimed, “I am for ESOPs!” (More comments about this later in this report.)

Now we have, just after a few months post introduction of S. 1212, and H.R. 2096, 23 Senators and 33 members of the House saying, expand ESOP law. These bills, formally titled “Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act of 2015” have a very positive statement of reasons for encouraging ESOPs as an introduction and three similar sections, with the House bill, H.R. 2096, having an additional fourth provision. The section that has garnered the most attention is to permit sellers of S stock to an ESOP to take advantage of IRC 1042 for deferral of gain of the sellers proceeds. (If law, this provision would trigger a substantial increase in the number of S corporations that hold 30% of the company’s stock, but not 100%.). See to read all provisions.

Last Congress, support for the House version of H.R. 2096 was a factor that recommendations to eliminate special tax rules in the tax reform proposal developed by former Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) kept all positive rules for ESOPs untouched.

Now, this Congress, in this year, the Senate Finance Committee created task forces to study specific areas of the income tax laws, and the task force reviewing ERISA laws did not just propose that the Senate keep current ESOP tax laws, but encouraged the enactment of S. 1212. In other words, the task force was saying, “Let’s not stand pat for ESOPs; let’s have more ESOPs.”

Then on July 29, the Senate Small Business Committee released a proposal to change tax laws impacting small business that included S. 1212, as Title IV of its proposal.

Bottom line, if the ESOP community remains active, focused, and persistent, in getting more members of Congress, House and Senate, to openly support S. 1212 and H.R. 2096, it is doable, probably not this year, a little more likely next year, but really a possibility after 2016, to once again expand ESOPs, which are good for America, good for the communities where ESOP companies are located, and good for companies with ESOPs, and good for employees.

Number one, have your member of Congress see first-hand your ESOP company to learn what being “ESOP” means; and then politely ask, join your colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, liberal and conservative, and make our nation become more capitalistic, with more ownership by more employees. Sounds like big talk? Yes, and doable.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, ESOP Report, Government Affairs,

ESOP Company News Part 6: ComSonics Meets with Congressman Goodlatte

CEMSI, ComSonics Electronic Manufacturing Services Incorporated, located in Harrisonburg, Virginia recently hosted Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R) of Virginia’s 6th District for a tour of the ComSonics manufacturing facility. ComSonics reported that Congressman Goodlatte has always been a strong supporter of employee ownership and he is always willing to take time from his busy schedule to visit with our employee‐owners when he is available.

During his visit, there was time to answer questions and the Congressman shared his views about employee ownership and his ongoing belief that it works. ComSonics employee owners also took the time to discuss H.R. 2096 and asked for his support on the Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act.

ComSonics also provided a letter asking for his backing upon his departure. Within a few weeks the company received a letter from the Congressman noting that he was pleased to inform ComSonics that he had become a cosponsor of the legislation.

ComSonics Goodlatte 1ConSonics Goodlatte ComSonics Goodlatte 3 ComSonics Goodlatte 2

CSI Goodlatte Letter5-15_Page_1CSI Goodlatte Letter5-15_Page_2


Filed under: Government Affairs, TEA Members,

August ESOP Report Available

The August 2015 ESOP Report newsletter is now available for members. To access this month’s issue, you’ll need to sign into The ESOP Association’s website. The Member Sign In button is located at the top of the page.

To get to the ESOP Report, click Meet & Learn. A link to the ESOP Report is located on the left side menu.


Filed under: ESOP Report, Publication,

ESOP Company News Part 5: Restek Meets with Congressman Glenn Thompson

Restek Meets with Congressman Thompson

In July, the employee owners of Restek Corporation, located in Bellafonte, Pennsylvania, met with Congressman Glenn Thompson (PA-5) to review H.R. 2096. According to Restek employee owner, Mike Shuey, the Congressman expressed support for the bill. And we are happy to report that Congressman Thompson became a co-sponsor of H.R. 2096 on July 28.

Restek Thompson meeting

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Government Affairs, TEA Members,

August 2015 Outside Board Registry Available

Because more and more ESOP plan sponsors are adding “outside” board members to their Boards, often on advice of counsel, leaders of ESOP companies need to be sure an outside Board member understands ESOPs, both the practical, legal, and operational aspects of ESOPs, and, very important, the unique cultural style that often exists in an ESOP company.

In the Outside Board Registry are names and contact information for men and women who meet these criteria: they know ESOPs, and they know ESOP cultural style, and how it can vary. Those who are listed under “Corporate” members have served on the Board of an ESOP company and/or as a senior executive of an ESOP company. Those listed under “Professional” members primarily proved services to ESOP companies and/or have served, or are serving, on the Board of an ESOP company.

All requested that they be listed on this one-of-a-kind Outside Board Registry sponsored by The ESOP Association.

If you’re interested, you can find the registry on The ESOP Association’s website here. The link to the Outside Board Registry is located on the left side menu. NOTE: You will need to login with your membership information to access the Registry.

Filed under: Member Services,

ESOP Company News Part 4: PPI Meets with Senator Joni Ernst

ESOP Association members have been busy advocating for ESOPs. Iowa ESOP Association member, PPI (Precision Pulley & Idler) in Pella, IA, recently met with Senator Joni Ernst to talk ESOPs.

PPI visit Ernst 1

PPI visit Ernst 2

Filed under: TEA Members,

Welcome to the employee ownership blog of The ESOP Association.
The place where you'll find the latest information on ESOPs and employee ownership news.
Serving the entire ESOP community.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 146 other followers




Iowa/Nebraska Chapter

More Photos

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 146 other followers