The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

2015 AACE Awards Mission

Join The ESOP Association, and employee owners from across the US, in celebrating the 2015 AACE Award winners.

24th Annual Awards Ceremony – May 6, 2015

38th Annual Conference – May 7 – 8, 2015

Conference information

 

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information

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.

esopaacedarker

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,

March 2015 Wrap-Up

Miss something in March? We have it all here in this month’s link round up.

An ESOP question answered

ESOP transactions survey

2015 AACE Award winners announced

March 2015 ESOP Report newsletter was published

Issue Brief #23 was updated

The 2015 Annual Conference preliminary agenda was released

The Outside Board Registry was updated for March

Four ESOP Association members were named among the top 100 places to work

The Department of Labor seeks comments on Proposed Regulation on the Definition of Adequate Consideration

Proposed topics were announced for the Annual Conference

We talked about the Employee Ownership Foundation’s impact on the national debate

Annual Conference sponsorships are available

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information, Employee Ownership Foundation, Member Services, TEA Members,

AACE Awards 2015 – And the Winner is. . .

esopaacedarkerCongratulations to the 2015 AACE Award winners. Winners will be honored at the 24th Annual Awards Ceremony on May 6, 2015 in Washington, DC and all 2015 AACE Award entries will be on display during the Annual Conference. Join us in Washington, DC, connect with employee owners in the ESOP community and take the opportunity to view the creativity on display at the AACE Awards exhibition. More information about the Awards Ceremony and the Annual Conference can be found here.

Additional information about the AACE Awards can be found here.

 

2015 winners are:

Category 1A, Total Communications, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: MidSouth Building Supply, Inc., Springfield, Virginia

Runner-Up: BL Companies, Inc., Meriden, Connecticut


Category 1B, Total Communications, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Recology, San Francisco, California

Runner-Up: Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Missouri

 

Category 2A, Presentation Videos, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: PERRY ProTECH, Limo, Ohio
Winning Video: ESOP’s Gonna Take Us Far

Runner-Up: Webb Landscape, Inc., Bellevue, Idaho
Winning Video: Webb’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan

 

Category 2B, Presentation Videos, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Big G Express, Inc., Shelbyville, Tennessee
Winning Video: Big G Express Employee Ownership

Runner-Up: Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Winning Video: Welcome to Employee Ownership

 

Category 3A, Printed Materials, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: BL Companies, Inc., Meriden, Connecticut

Runner-Up: Sentry Equipment Corp., Oconomowoc, Wisconsin


Category 3B, Printed Materials, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Runner-Up: Eagle Communications, Inc., Hays, Kansas

 

Category 4A, Intranets, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: Sentry Equipment Corp., Oconomowoc, Wisconsin


Category 4B, Intranets, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc., Lafayette, Louisiana

Runner-Up: Chemonics International Inc., Washington, DC

 

Category 5A, ESOP Advertising/Ownership Marketing, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: Carl Warren & Company, Placentia, California

Runner-Up: MidSouth Building Supply, Inc., Springfield, Virginia


Category 5B, ESOP Advertising/Ownership Marketing, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Missouri

Runner-Up: Recology, San Francisco, California

 

Category 6A, Special Events & Promotions – One Outstanding Event, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: ComSonics, Inc., Harrisonburg, Virginia

Runner-Up: Fabric Services, Bristol, Indiana


Category 6B, Special Events & Promotions – One Outstanding Event, Over 250 Employees

Winner: HISCO, Inc., Houston, Texas

Runner-Up: Glatfelter Insurance Group, York, Pennsylvania

 

Category 7A, Special Events & Promotions – Series of Events, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: Technomics, Inc., Arlington Virginia

Runner-Up: Wiley|Wilson, Lynchburg, Virginia


Category 7B, Special Events & Promotions – Series of Events, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Glatfelter Insurance Group, York, Pennsylvania

Runner-Up: Eagle Communications, Inc., Hays, Kansas

 

AACE Award winners are chosen by a panel of five judges made up of both management and non-management employee owners, each of whom has demonstrated active experience and interest in the field of ESOPs and employee ownership communications. Awards are based on: overall quality and quantity of employee owner education, contributions of employee owners, integration of the ESOP into company culture, frequency of ownership communications, involvement and/or response of employee owners, encouragement of ownership attitudes, clear explanations, creative ideas, graphic design, and technical quality.

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information, , ,

Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest Open for Submissions

Since a number of members have inquired, we thought we’d share information on the 2015 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest. The rules and submission form can be downloaded here.

 

Entries must be received at the national offices of The ESOP Association no later than February 17, 2015.

The winner of the contest will be announced at the 24th Annual Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, in Washington, DC. More information on the Awards Ceremony and the Annual Conference is here.

The judging guidelines are as follows:

  • Good employee owner education of Employee Ownership Month
  • Respect for the contributions of employee owners
  • Integration of the concepts of both employee ownership as well as the celebration of Employee Ownership Month into the fabric of the poster design
  • Encouragement of ownership attitudes in the poster design
  • Clear, simple design
  • Creative use of ideas
  • Good graphic design

Where should entries be sent?

Submit all Poster Contest entries to:

The ESOP Association

1726 M Street, N.W.

Suite 501

Washington, D.C. 20036-4507

Good luck!

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information,

Tips for Winning AACE

AACE 2015With the deadline for the 2015 AACE Awards deadline approaching, we thought we’d share a few tips on winning.

Download a copy of the 2015 AACE Awards brochure.

If you have questions concerning the AACE program, please contact Pat Barnes at (304) 876-3624 or by email at patbarnesart AT gmail.com.

Entering AACE – Things to Know First

  • 2015 Deadline – February 17th
  • Any current corporate member may enter.
  • Restrictions: A company may not be a Top Winner more than once each year.
    They can be a Runner Up Winner & a Top Winner, or Runner Up in several categories. They cannot win the same top award two years in a row. No such restrictions apply to Runner Up Winners.
  • You will be judged on ESOP/Ownership communications, not on products.
  • Materials are returned if you request it. (Do not send anything you cannot replace)
  • Entering AACE provides an opportunity to review your current communications program, look over the past, and plan for the future, in an organized way. It is a way of providing an illustrated, written record, over many years.
  • Come to the Annual Conference in May and you will be able to see what others have done, “borrow” (and improve on) good ideas, and meet and interact with other creative people in your field. Start to establish your own communications network, sparked by the knowledge, experience, and creativity of many.

Organizing Your Entry (Please read the entry form carefully!)

The entry format is slightly different for 2015. Enter by category, i.e. Printed Materials, Special Events, ESOP Advertising/Ownership Marketing, etc. (The Total Programs Category will be judged as an accumulation of all the rest). Each category should be represented by a notebook (don’t overfill!) or well-bound packet. It is important that it be well-marked with company name and category, and easy to find. You may have to duplicate materials entered in more than one category. Each category should have a brief commentary page in the front. This is your opportunity to communicate directly with the judges.

A link to Presentation Videos (place them on YouTube, 5 minute limit) and your web site (if you are entering this in the competition) should be sent to PatBarnesArt AT gmail.com  between February 1 and February 17th, 2015.

It is recommended, but not required, that you add to your entry with a display board, which does not have to pertain to any particular category. (Limit one). Use a standard sized foam core or cardboard backing, such as those used for science exhibits. Label everything with your company name, especially small things. Disks must be labeled with company, title and time. See the entry form for further information such as shipping requirements, weight limits, etc.

How AACE is Judged

There are five judges each year. An effort is made to procure outstanding, knowledgeable people, from different sizes, types and locations of companies, both male and female, and both management and line employee owners. Four judges are new, with the AACE Chair returning for continuity.

The judges only know what you tell them, so be clear in your commentary. Anecdotes are welcome! Organization, presentation, free items, etc. count, but above all else is content. The big question is, how well and how often are you communicating ownership?

Tips on Winning an AACE

  1. Notice everything you do/have with the words “ESOP” or “Ownership.” Start a file early on, and keep it current.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, start putting “employee owned” on everything; business cards, stationery, invoices, signs, trucks, advertisements, job applications, web sites, flags, product packaging, etc.
  3. Keep a camera on site. Designate a photography buff to take lots of pictures, and put them in the newsletter, on the web, on bulletin boards, and in the AACE entry.
  4. Consider making company events “ESOP” events, such as a picnic or a brown bag lunch, a parade float, or Employee Owners of XYZ Company working for Habitat for Humanity, or the Animal Shelter.
  5. How much and how often the ESOP is mentioned counts, such as in a newsletter, in the educational structure, the brochures, the web site. Does ownership permeate the company culture? Tell the judges.
  6. In printed materials, clear, easy to read information and good graphic design counts (not necessarily expense). Ownership communication content is paramount.
  7. Education about ESOP counts. The more informative, fun and creative the better.
  8. Tap into your funny, creative people. Fun and good humor are very powerful. Best of all, upper management with a sense of humor is invaluable, a huge asset.
  9. Consideration for the employee owner counts. Respectful feedback for suggestions is important. Is there a forum for concerns? Write it up as an asset.
  10. Employee owner involvement in the ownership aspect of the company, as well as in actually preparing the AACE entry counts.
  11. Having a theme can make it easier to plan a series of events, or a whole campaign. A fun theme often sparks creativity, and spins off ideas in new directions. It also makes things easier to remember.

Not an AACE Tip, But Important

  • Setting up lines of communication and building credibility in the good times makes it far easier to communicate in the bad times. Honesty is important.
  • Not communicating is still saying something.
  • According to research, ESOP companies who communicate ownership well are among the most productive companies.

A Few More Things to Remember

Have someone who always has access to a camera at all events. However, a flood of pictures really is not necessary; usually some good pictures, with a clear explanation of the event and how it tied into ESOP/Ownership understanding is better.

Judges love a theme — i.e. a “team theme,” a cruise theme, a game theme, a farm theme, etc. That sometimes makes it easier to plan events as well. The more fun you can put into it the better, while still educating (i.e. ESOP “Jeopardy” with a really nice prize). Mixing “old” and “new” ESOPpers to do a skit is a possibility. Someone did a silly (but wonderful) skit on Dorothy & the Land of Oz (ESOP) one year, including upper management.

Speaking of that, if you have management behind the communications effort, you have a “leg up” on the ladder. Their sincere belief in the ESOP goes a long way, and plays well in a video, as long as the employee owners are featured as well. (Avoid “talking heads” in a video as much as possible). If you can “mix up” the new/old employee owners and not just introduce the management to the new ones, it would probably mean more.

A lot of events can be labeled “ESOP” events, such as picnics (games with ESOP items for prizes?), Eggs ‘n ESOP, a team of employee owners helping Habitat for Humanity, an “ESOP Run” for charity, etc. High visibility of the ESOP logo, posters, cups, etc. is a good reminder. Don’t forget stationery, business cards, brochures, ESOP on the web and advertisements. And food!

Sometimes something simple can have great impact. In one company, only the management had their own ceramic cups for coffee. Everyone else had generic Styrofoam cups. When they introduced the ESOP, everyone got a ceramic cup, appropriately labeled. This was very symbolic, and was very successful. Another new ESOP company this past year had a meeting at which little black boxes tied with gold cord were given to the employee owners as they arrived, but they were told not to open them. At the end of the presentation, they opened the boxes to find a little mirror engraved with “Owner.” It was simple but to the point.

If you have a mentoring program, you might feature the program and how it works. A lot depends on the culture of your company and the proximity of other possible locations.

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence,

January 2015 Monthly Wrap-up

As it turns out, January was a busy month…

We noted some upcoming events for February

We reported that the Department of Labor will not mandate ESOP appraisers be ERISA fiduciaries

The ESOP Association filed an amicus in Supreme Court case Tibble V. Edison Int’l

ESOP Association members were named Great Places to Work!

The January 2015 ESOP Report was published

We shared a guest post from AACE Awards Volunteer Coordinator, Paul Horn – 2015 AACE Awards

We highlighted a new report from the Center for American Progress that discusses inclusive prosperity

2015 conference sponsorship were announced

We mentioned a few ways to keep up with Association updates

2015 AACE Awards category information was shared

The Two Day Professional ESOP Forum was announced

The ESOP Administration Handbook was highlighted

ESOP Experts 2015 – If you’re interested, more info here

2015 AACE Awards — we told you what you need to know to enter this year

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Chapter News, Conference Information, DOL Proposed Fiduciary Regulation, Employee Ownership Message, Government Affairs, Member Services, Publication, Retirement Issues, TEA Members,

Guest Post – 2015 AACE Awards

AACE 2015Since the deadline for the 2015 AACE (Annual Awards for Communications Excellence) Awards has been set (Tuesday, February 17, 2015), we thought it would be a good time to invite Paul Horn, volunteer coordinator for the AACE Awards Program, to talk about why the AACE Awards are important and why your company should enter.

 You can download a copy of the 2015 AACE Awards brochure and more information can be found on the Association’s website. Please take a close look as several categories have been updated for this year.

 

AACE is a great way to document your ESOP communications program and see how your company compares with other ESOP companies.

Are there ways to help your AACE submission stand out?

Be creative and think “outside the box.”  The AACE judges review numerous entries in a variety of categories.  Think of something different that will grab the judge’s attention.

Highlight your employees.  Active employee ownership is best evidenced with articles by and pictures of employees in action.

Homegrown education.  ESOP education and open book materials you develop yourself carry greater impact.  The more color you use, the more it will catch the eye.

Events.  Pictures and descriptions of company meetings and events are a great way to showcase your ownership spirit.  For example, meetings with elected officials, themed events, and community activities help make your submission memorable.  Make sure to document when the events occurred.

Fun.  Games, food, more games, and more food are always ESOP company favorites. The stranger the game, the more exotic the menu, and the greater the employee participation, the more likely your submission will stand out.

Organization.  Clearly document your category submissions. A display board and other company paraphernalia also will help draw attention to your materials.

Good luck and we look forward to receiving your 2015 AACE submissions.

Paul Horn is president of WorkPlace Consultants, LLC located in Bethesda, MD. He is a member of The ESOP Association’s Advisory Committee on Ownership Culture and a Chapter Officer of the Association’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter.

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, , ,

2015 AACE Awards Deadline

Reminder — the 2015 AACE Awards deadline for submissions is February 17, 2015! Information, guidelines, and entry forms are HERE. We’re looking forward to seeing this year’s entries.

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence,

2015 AACE Awards Category Information

With the deadline approaching (all entries must be received by AACE Awards Program Manager, Pat Barnes, no later than February 17, 2015 to be considered for the 2015 competition), we thought we’d share information on the awards categories.

Information and entry forms can be found in the 2015 AACE Awards brochure which is available on the Association’s website. If you would like to view photos of last year’s entries, see the Association’s Flickr page.

AACE2015COVER

*Read entry procedures carefully!*

*Note: all entries are to be submitted by category, either tabbed or in separate notebooks. Label clearly.*

CATEGORY 1, TOTAL COMMUNICATIONS

Division A: 250 or Fewer Employees

Division B: Over 250 Employees

*(Follow new entry procedure)*

This award recognizes excellence in a total communications program. Material should reflect a number of aspects of the company’s overall communications program.

Items submitted can include, but are not limited to, newsletters, brochures, promotional items, documentation of special events and meetings, educational material, press releases, advertising art, or any other medium the company uses to promote and explain the ESOP to its employee owners or the public, such as websites and intranets.

Note: if you wish to enter this category, mark it on the entry form, and all the other materials you send will be considered. If there is additional material not included in other submissions, put this extra material in an additional notebook or section and mark “Category 1”. CD/DVD disks or thumb drives should be labeled, put in the front of a notebook and noted on the entry form.

 

CATEGORY 2, PRESENTATION VIDEOS

Division A: 250 or Fewer Employees

Division B: Over 250 Employees

*(Note new entry procedure)*

This award recognizes excellence in the use of video to promote the ESOP concept to employees or the outside world.

Note: presentation videos must be uploaded to YouTube and a link sent to PatBarnesArt AT gmail.com between February 1st and February 17th. There is a five (5) minute time limit. If your video is longer, only the first 5 minutes will be considered. Judges will be looking for ESOP/ownership related material. Content, editing, timing, visual, sound and technical qualities are important. Include the link on the entry form. Entry form must accompany your link, designating category entered.

 

CATEGORY 3, PRINTED MATERIALS

Division A: 250 or Fewer Employees

Division B: Over 250 Employees

This award recognizes excellence in the use of original, printed informational materials which are used to communicate the company’s ESOP to employee owners, customers or the community. If the item contains other information, mark the ownership related information clearly. This can include PowerPoint presentations (send printed copy), banners (photos only) etc. Photos of things printed on trucks, signs and flags should probably be entered under marketing or special events.

 

CATEGORY 4, INTRANETS

Division A: 250 or Fewer Employees

Division B: Over 250 Employees

*(Read entry procedures carefully)*

This award recognizes excellence in ESOP communication efforts using a company intranet, available to employee owners, usually in a password protected area.

Note: a restricted area for judges to view is acceptable where judges are granted access with a link and a password. Alternatively, PDF (readable with the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader), JPG, OR PNG files are acceptable file types for CD/DVD entries. A printed copy may be submitted, with private information blacked out, but it must be readable or will be disqualified from judging. Full page screen shots showing what would be visible in a browser are acceptable. If using a link, provide it on the entry form.

 

CATEGORY 5, ESOP ADVERTISING/OWNERSHIP MARKETING

*(Read carefully, as divisions are now by size)*

Division A: 250 or Fewer Employees

Division B: Over 250 Employees

This award recognizes excellence in print advertising/marketing pieces that are used to promote a company and its ESOP to the outside world. Marketing materials must reference the ESOP or ownership. Mark these references with a sticky note. Consider such things as brochures, marketing materials, marketing videos (see guidelines), print advertisements in newspapers, magazines, on company vehicles, license plates, banners, etc. Also social media, such as YouTube, Twitter, blogs, etc. qualify as long as links or specific access instructions are given on the entry form. Label all items with company name. Please do not send products.

This award includes recognition of excellence in the creative integration of the ESOP concept and ownership into the company web site. The quality and amount of ownership content, ease of access, clarity, presentation and consideration of audience are important. Note: links to web sites should be sent to PatBarnesArt AT gmail.com between February 1st and February 17th. The web site address should also be listed on the entry form.

 

CATEGORY 6, SPECIAL EVENTS & PROMOTIONS – ONE OUTSTANDING EVENT

Division A: 250 or Fewer Employees

Division B: Over 250 Employees

This award recognizes excellence in the organization and creativity involved in one significant ownership event, such as a special celebration, ESOP community service day, parade float, etc. Label all items with company name.

 

CATEGORY 7, SPECIAL EVENTS & PROMOTIONS – SERIES OF EVENTS

Division A: 250 or Fewer Employees

Division B: Over 250 Employees

This award recognizes excellence in the organization and creativity involved in a series of ownership events. Employee Ownership Month events are often entered in this category. Send photos of trucks, banners and other oversize items, as well as events. Label all items with company name.

 

Any current Corporate Member of The ESOP Association is eligible to enter the 2015 AACE Awards. Each Corporate Member is encouraged to enter independently whether entered in other communications competitions or not.

If you have questions, contact AACE Program Director, Pat Barnes, at (304) 876-3624 or PatBarnesArt AT gmail.com.

The judges, who are ESOP company leaders, look forward to seeing your company’s 2015 entry!

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence

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