The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

The ESOP Association Signs Savings and Investment Working Group Letters Regarding Tax Reform

As a member of the Coalition to Protect Retirement (CPR), The ESOP Association recently signed on to a group letter that was sent to the Senate Finance Committee’s Savings and Investment Working Group. The letter commended the Finance Committee for their work to reform the tax code and noted that “Congress should encourage retirement savings for American workers though the preservation of current tax incentives.”

The mission of the CPR is to encourage and support retirement savings for American workers through the preservation of tax incentives critical to American workers’ retirement security. The Association is one of ten members of the Coalition.

In addition to the letter from the CPR, the Association, as a member of the Retirement Savings Network, signed on to another letter that will be sent to the Working Group on Savings and Investment as well. The letter notes that “Eliminating or diminishing the current tax treatment of employer-provided retirement plans and individual savings arrangements would jeopardize the retirement security of tens of millions of American workers, impact the role of retirement assets in the capital markets, and create challenges in maintaining the quality of life for future generations of retirees.”

As noted earlier on this blog, The ESOP Association also submitted comments to Senate Working Groups regarding comprehensive tax reform.

On March 25, 2015, The ESOP Association submitted comments on comprehensive tax reform to three of the Senate Committee on Finance’s Tax Reform Working Groups: Savings & Investment, Individual Income Tax, and Business Income Tax. The Association specifically stated how employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) are in accord with the seven principles outlined by Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for comprehensive tax reform — Economic Growth, Fairness, Simplicity, Permanence, Competitiveness, Promoting Savings and Investments, and Revenue Neutrality.

As noted by ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling: “Current ESOP tax policy should be viewed with objectivity and considered fairly during the process. As ESOPs meet, and exceed, the seven principles outlined by Senator Hatch for comprehensive tax reform, we feel it is reasonable to ask that ESOP laws to promote the creation and operation of employee-owned companies be preserved, and expanded.” He went on to say, “Research proves that employee-owned companies provide more sustainable employment and preserve locally-controlled jobs in today’s global economy. We need to encourage broad-based, inclusive capitalism and increase employee ownership to ensure sustainable employment for U.S. workers, and more income for average pay employee owners.”

Read the full statements on The ESOP Association’s website.

Filed under: Government Affairs, ,

April 2015 ESOP Report is Available

The April 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.

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Filed under: Publication, ,

RELEASE: The ESOP Association Announces 2015 Silver ESOP Award Recipients

The following release was sent out by The ESOP Association today. Congratulations to all 2015 Silver ESOP Award Recipients.

For Immediate Release: April 15, 2015

The ESOP Association Announces 2015 Silver ESOP Award Recipients

April 15, 2015 (Washington, DC) – The ESOP Association has presented 48 corporate members of the Association with a Silver ESOP Award to recognize their work in sustaining their ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) for 25 years or more. This year, the Silver ESOP Awards are being presented to companies that will be celebrating 25 years or more as an ESOP company in 2015.

This is the eighth year the Silver ESOP Awards have been presented by the Association. In 2008, 117 corporate members were presented with the first annual Silver ESOP Awards; 2009, 12 members; 2010, 22 members; 2011, 41 members; 2012, 49 members; 2013, 26 members; and in 2014, 45 members were honored. To be named a Silver ESOP Award recipient, a company must be a member of The ESOP Association and have an ESOP in place for 25 years or more.

“It is my pleasure to present the following 48 ESOP companies with the 2015 Silver ESOP Award for excellence in sustaining their ESOP for 25 years,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “Research proves that employee owned companies provide more sustainable employment and preserve locally-controlled jobs in today’s global economy. The 300 plus Silver ESOP companies who are members of the Association prove that employee stock ownership through the ESOP is not a short-term corporate model.”

2015 Silver ESOP Award Recipients:

Acme Rigging & Supply Co., Inc., Ukiah, CA

Alpine Lumber Company, Westminster, CO

Ankrom Moisan Architects, Inc., Portland, OR

Aubrey Silvey Enterprises, Inc., Carrollton, GA

AVI Systems, Inc., Lenexa, KS

Barkley, Kansas City, MO

Cactus Feeders, Inc., Amarillo, TX

Carbo Forge, Inc., Fremont, OH

Cellusuede Products, Inc., Rockford, IL

Central Bag Company, Leavenworth, KS

Consulting Engineers Group, Inc., Mount Prospect, IL

CSR, Incorporated, Arlington, VA

Dealers Electrical Supply Co., Waco, TX

Dental Health Services, Inc., Long Beach, CA

Diamond Saw Works, Inc., Chaffee, NY

Dynetics, Inc., Huntsville, AL

ESOP of People’s Bank and Trust Co., Byrdstown, TN

First State Bancorp of Monticello Inc., Monticello, IL

Hainje’s, Inc., Brewton, AL

Hanson Group, Inc., Springfield, IL

Hoffman & Hoffman, Inc., Greensboro, NC

Hyspeco, Inc., Springfield, MO

ICM, Inc., Jacksonville, AR

Kapco Global, Brea, CA

Keenan Energy Company, Columbia, SC

Kleinfelder, Inc., Oakland, CA

Lesman Instrument Company, Bensenville, IL

Los Alamos National Bank, Los Alamos, NM

Lumbermen’s, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI

Marco, Saint Cloud, MN

Market Contractors, LTD., Portland, OR

McCreary Bancshares, Inc., Whitley City, KY

McLean Contracting Company, Glen Burnie, MD

Moss Engineering Corp., Fort Wayne, IN

Olum’s of Binghamton, Inc., Vestal, NY

Parksite Inc., Batavia, IL

Plastic Products Company, Inc., Lindstrom, MN

Rapid Line Inc., Grand Rapids, MI

Saginaw Bay Underwriters, Saginaw, MI

Spirol International Holding Company, Danielson, CT

TDIndustries, Inc., Dallas, TX

Tecolote Research, Inc., Goleta, CA

The Feingold Companies, Worcester, MA

The Plastic Forming Company, Inc., Woodbridge, CT

TriMark Corporation, New Hampton, IA

United States Sugar Corporation, Clewiston, FL

Watkins Ross & Company, Grand Rapids, MI

Your Building Centers, Inc., Altoona, PA

Over 300 Silver ESOP Award recipients will be honored at The ESOP Association’s Annual Conference in May (May 7 – 8, 2015) and highlighted at the 24th Annual Awards Ceremony held on the evening of May 6th.

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The ESOP Association is the national trade association for companies with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and the leading voice in America for employee ownership. The core cause of The ESOP Association is the belief that employee ownership will improve American competitiveness, increase productivity through greater employee participation, and strengthen our free enterprise economy. More information: website – www.esopassociation.org and blog – www.esopassociationblog.org.

 

More Information:

Amy Gwiazdowski

202/293-2971

amy@esopassociation.org

@ESOPAssociation

Filed under: Silver ESOP Awards, TEA Members,

Entrepreneur Magazine Tackles ESOPs

Tony Robbins, author of the new book, Money: Master the Game, was recently featured in Entrepreneur magazine talking about ESOPs. The article: The Tax Saving Tool You’re Not Using can be found here.

It’s a great piece on the use of ESOPs for small to mid-sized companies and the value an ESOP can bring to a company.

Filed under: News Links,

Why You Should Attend the 38th Annual Conference

esop-slide-template - 2015 Annual Conference

Thinking of attending the ESOP Association’s Annual Conference in May? Here are a few reasons to join us.

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AACE Awards Exhibition

AACE Awards 6

Connect with employee owners and take the opportunity to view the creativity on display

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Talk with winners and network with AACE entrants to brainstorm ownership communications ideas

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Annual Awards Ceremony — Celebrate Employee Ownership!

Ownership Culture & Technical Education on ESOPs

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Take a look at the preliminary agenda

Don’s pass up this opportunity to gain ESOP insight

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Learn from your ESOP peers

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Support the Employee Ownership Foundation

Foundation

We’ve got some great prizes lined up for the silent auction!

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 WHERE:

The Renaissance Washington Hotel

999 9th Street, NW

Washington, DC

WHEN:

24th ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

7:00 PM, Grand Ballroom

38th ANNUAL CONFERENCE

May 7 – 8, 2015

 

Register.

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information, Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Message,

Employee Ownership Foundation to Hold Silent Auction

Foundation

Joining us at the 2015 Annual Conference (May 7 & 8) in Washington, DC this year? If so, stop by the Employee Ownership Foundation table! The Foundation will be hosting a silent auction to help support Foundation programs to increase the level of awareness of employee ownership in America.

More information on the silent auction — and exciting prize information as well! — will be available in the coming weeks. Stay tuned…

IMG_1009

Filed under: Conference Information, Employee Ownership Foundation,

Been There; Done That. Does It Have to Be?

The following article originally ran as the President’s Page column in the February 2015 issue of the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association.

Human nature is often an enemy of enthusiasm. By this statement I mean it is normal for a mature ESOP company to react with a ‘been there, done that,’ attitude when pondering how to keep the enthusiasm for employee ownership vibrant among the company employees.

In recent years, when I visit ESOP companies, I often find myself talking to company executives, ESOP committee members, or HR professionals of a company that has had an ESOP for 10, 15, 20, 25, or even more years.

Often, here is the story I hear:

“Well, when we finally put the ESOP in place, needless to say, we were somewhat focused on the details of being sure we met the law and regulations. We were somewhat surprised how creating the ESOP tapped our resources, both money and time wise.

We had our ESOP advisors, and felt that they could keep us posted on all we needed to know.

We told the employees we had an ESOP, but most just scratched their heads, wondering what kind of scheme had been cooked up, as no one was seeing any extra money in her or his pocket.

In sum, we were what one might say a “sleepy” ESOP, assuming that employees would be excited about being owners, and would want to do more and be better.

After some employees left vested, and others saw that the person did get real value, interest seemed to perk up, and we could sense the employees wanted to be more attuned to what this ESOP and their role in being a beneficial owner meant.

So in about year five or so, we began to have employees exposed to other men and women like them at Association Chapter meetings, the national Annual Conference, and the Foundation’s Employee Owner Retreat, for example.

Top level executives, and average pay employees saw the AACE entries, heard about winners of AACE, ESOP Company of the Year, Employee Owner of the Year, attended the Annual Awards Banquet. Some employees became the ‘champions’ for making sure others in the company knew we were special, and everyone would benefit the better if we maximized the human side of ESOPs as a company.

So we entered AACE. We put in applications for awards with our Chapter and thus nationally. We created an ESOP communications committee; we made sure average pay employees were at meetings, networking with others in ESOP companies, and going to break out sessions about ownership culture and the human side of ESOPs.

But after five years or more of going, going, entering, entering, it sort of became old hat all of this intangible ‘love’ of being ESOP.

We need a revival so to speak. We are a good company, don’t get me wrong; but we just wonder if all of this ‘going, participating, entering’ stuff is worth it as we have been down that road, and we do not regret it; but the enthusiasm is gone.”

Well, after hearing this story, I do not jump up and down preaching that persistence is the key to an ESOP company maximizing their ownership structure; persistence is in keeping the enthusiasm alive. But the truth is each company, for many different reasons — growth, or new employees, or new business initiatives — needs to be engaged with the ESOP community year in and year out.

Accepting that the ‘old’ stuff has no more intrinsic value can diminish the subjective impact that being employee-owned has on a better performing company, with a more dedicated, and a more experienced work force, that builds wealth for all.

So, exposing ESOP people to the various tactics used to build a good company, learning about new tactics not used before, is a major way to end ennui that can arise in a mature ESOP company.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Member Services, Publication, , , ,

An Inspired Visit with Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY)

The following was shared with The ESOP Association by Lewis Tree employee owner, Rita Tucker; pictured at left with Congressman Reed:

Lewis Tree Service and Reed 2015“On February 24, 2015, Congressman Tom Reed visited the offices of Lewis Tree Service in West Henrietta, New York and was all smiles as he walked, talked and was led from the Palm executive conference room to the eagerly-awaiting employee owners in the company’s dining facility at the Lewis headquarters in Western New York. He had just concluded a very ESOP-spirited discussion among a small group of ESOP enthusiasts and owners. The corporate office houses just under 100 employee owners who listened intently as Congressman Reed addressed them on the importance of shared values of working hard, and creating job opportunities, in order to promote a healthy economy for our diverse generations to come.

Congressman Reed was genuinely interested in learning about the individual employee’s stories of how the Lewis ownership culture has helped employees plan and save for retirement and how ESOPs can further encourage growth and development in our economy. The originally-scheduled, one hour visit turned into a two-hour visit that left many employee owners feeling proud and positive about the future of ESOPs. Great questions and ideas were shared regarding ways to promote the presence and success of ESOP companies and in educating both our legislative officials and business communities about the ‘American Dream at Work’ — it is working!”

Filed under: TEA Members, ,

New Study Shows Big Returns for S ESOPs

A new study by the Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA) shows that S ESOPs outperformed the S&P 500 Total Returns Index in terms of total return per participant by an impressively large margin (62%), net assets increased over 300%, and distributions to participants totaled nearly $30 billion from 2002 to 2012. The data was compiled by EY’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics (QUEST) practice.

Take a look at the press release here.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message,

RELEASE: The ESOP Association Submits Comments to Senate Working Groups Regarding Comprehensive Tax Reform

The ESOP Association sent the following release this morning. We wanted to share with readers here.

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2015

The ESOP Association Submits Comments to Senate Working Groups Regarding Comprehensive Tax Reform

April 1, 2015 (Washington, DC) – On March 25, 2015, The ESOP Association submitted comments on comprehensive tax reform to three of the Senate Committee on Finance’s Tax Reform Working Groups: Savings & Investment, Individual Income Tax, and Business Income Tax. The Association specifically stated how employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) are in accord with the seven principles outlined by Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for comprehensive tax reform — Economic Growth, Fairness, Simplicity, Permanence, Competitiveness, Promoting Savings and Investments, and Revenue Neutrality.

As noted by ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling: “Current ESOP tax policy should be viewed with objectivity and considered fairly during the process. As ESOPs meet, and exceed, the seven principles outlined by Senator Hatch for comprehensive tax reform, we feel it is reasonable to ask that ESOP laws to promote the creation and operation of employee-owned companies be preserved, and expanded.” He went on to say, “Research proves that employee-owned companies provide more sustainable employment and preserve locally-controlled jobs in today’s global economy. We need to encourage broad-based, inclusive capitalism and increase employee ownership to ensure sustainable employment for U.S. workers, and more income for average pay employee owners.”

Read the full statements on The ESOP Association’s website: http://www.esopassociation.org/advocate/esop-bulletin.

###

The ESOP Association is the national trade association for companies with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and the leading voice in America for employee ownership. The core cause of The ESOP Association is the belief that employee ownership will improve American competitiveness, increase productivity through greater employee participation, and strengthen our free enterprise economy. More information: website – www.esopassociation.org and blog – www.esopassociationblog.org.

More Information:

Amy Gwiazdowski

202/293-2971

amyATesopassociation.org

@ESOPAssociation

Filed under: Government Affairs,

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