The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

ESOP Transactions

The Employee Ownership Foundation, the affiliated foundation of The ESOP Association, is collaborating with the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) on ESOP transactions metrics. If you would like to participate in this survey, please see below.

Following is an explanation provided to the Foundation by the NCEO.

Share Your Data: The ESOP Transaction Survey

The NCEO requests the help of current ESOP companies to share some core measures of their ESOP transactions, such as the types of service providers involved, the percentage of shares, and the broad cost range.

You can learn more about the survey and then fill it out here. It should take no more than 15 minutes and requires minimal research, if any.

Your responses will be completely confidential, and the NCEO will release only aggregate results to avoid any exposure for individual companies or even small groups of companies.

The NCEO’s goal is to publish an easy-to-find document that can help business owners considering an ESOP ask the right questions and maximize the chances that companies end up with the best transaction for their situation.

Contact Nancy Wiefek at the NCEO (NWiefek AT nceo.org510-208-1312) with questions.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation, , ,

More Evidence of Foundation’s Impact on National Debate

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.

More Evidence of Foundation’s Impact on National Debate

The first time I walked into a meeting of ESOP Association leaders, after spending many years around the legislative/political process in both the State of Texas and Washington, DC, I noted something differ­ent about the men’s thinking. [Sidebar: In those days, the leadership was all male.] They had two passions, not the typical one of most trade associations I had worked with prior to walking through that door to an ESOP Association governance meeting.

Yes, the men all expressed sincere, animated, inter­est in making sure that the laws that encouraged the creation and operation of ESOP companies remained in place or were improved. In other words, like most interest groups I had been around in my career up to that point, they were looking inward, at their own company, their own company’s bottom line, and at their own way of doing things in their company — the so called “style” or “culture” of the company they loved.

In hearing these expressions of self-interest, my thought was, “Yep, I have heard talk like this from many.”

But soon, I began to hear something different from these men; something one is more likely to hear at a cause oriented group — Common Cause, Right to Life, MoveOn, TEA Party, are examples, left and right — that the Association had to make employee ownership through the ESOP model national policy. Loved by the media; loved by the President; loved by the Congress; loved by academia; loved by think tanks, etc.

This cause orientation of the ESOP community has never gone away. As there are more ESOPs and more people experiencing the power of working and man­aging a well-run ESOP company, it grows bigger and more heartfelt.

This cause orientation led to the adoption of the Association’s Vision statement in 1993, and it has never really been changed. Our Vision is that the United States be a nation where a great majority of employees own stock in the companies where they work so that we have a catalyst for economic prosper­ity and employees can share in the wealth they help create.

Well the two orientations: work like heck to make sure ESOP tax benefits that enrich the ESOP company and the ESOP employees remain in place, and expand the benefits when possible, and spend resources and time to do outreach to the non-ESOP world, are not easily accommodated with the amount of money the Association collects each year. And believe me, if we said we were not going to pay attention to what the Congressional tax commit­tees were doing to tax laws impacting ESOPs because our modest resources and small number of staff were too busy putting on pro­grams convincing non-ESOP companies to be ESOPs, and paying big bucks to a national PR firm to infil­trate TV networks, major newspapers, etc. to only run positive ESOP stories, I suspect the ESOP world would dry up pretty quickly.

So, how to accomplish both passions? One, the nation is not going to love ESOPs if yours truly runs around the nation talking about how great ESOPs are; or writing pos­itive op-ed pieces for major newspapers; or having social media post­ings by thousands of ESOP fans to some elected official. No, when an ESOP advocate sings the praises of ESOPs to a non-believer, that non-believer’s response is “Duh, what does one expect from a self-serving ESOP fan; honest critique when there is ample evidence of ESOP companies, small, medium, and large, going bankrupt and employees getting zero for retirement?”

Key is knowing how big national policy develops in our nation. The typical pathway is academics, and men and women working in think tank who get interested in the issue. They do papers. The papers get published. They get jobs in think tanks and universities focusing on their published papers and research. They get tenure at their schools, or move from one school to another with more prestige.

If Democrats, when a Democrat becomes President, some are hired to work in the bowels of Treasury, Office of Management and Budget, or even on the direct White House staff, say the Council of Economic Advisors. Then their “team,” in my example, the Democrats lose, and the Republican team takes over and hires new people for jobs those Democrats had. Then in four, eight, twelve, sixteen years later, the Democrats win, and those young men and women who worked in these policy jobs years earlier, now come back at higher levels.

For example, many of the top advisors in the Obama Administration worked in the Clinton Administration at levels lower than what they have now.

For example, many of the top advisors to President George W. Bush’s Administration worked in his father’s, or the Reagan Administration in lower level jobs.

Where I am I headed with this commentary?

And what does the Employee Ownership Foundation have to do with it?

Well recently, the leftist think tank the Center for American Progress (CAP) had a summit, led by big name economic policy advisors. Summit leaders were a former Secretary of Treasury under President Clinton, and who was also a major advisor to President Obama in his first term; and a high official of the British government, Larry Summers and Ed Balls respectfully. The other fifteen summiteers developing recommendations to improve the economy mainly in the US were former Democratic governors, top news­paper commentators, economic advisors to President Clinton, and the list can go on.

What did the group recommend in their final report? Broad-based ownership, and mentioned ESOPs spe­cifically as a policy to increase broad-based ownership.

Big news because as a general rule, the so-called left has not touted employee ownership, except in rare instances by someone such as Senator Sanders of Vermont; but now it is front and center, among a liberal leaning think tank’s set of recommendations.

And by the way, the former head of the Office of Management and Budget under President Obama, Peter Orszag, published for Bloomberg an article on January 20 saying that President Obama should push to expand employee ownership, citing the book, The Citizen’s Share, by Rutgers Professors Blasi and Kruse, and Harvard professor Freeman.

What did the Employee Ownership Foundation have to do with these actions by big thought leaders endorsing more employee ownership? The Foundation did not have anything to do with the CAP summit; the Foundation had no role in any writing of The Citizen’s Share; no one in the Foundation ever said any­thing to Dr. Orszag.

But people at CAP in working slots that develop materials for men and women who made decisions at the summit have liaised with the Rutgers program which the Foundation supports, among others, with over $75,000 a year; The Citizen’s Share set forth findings, among many, that in some instances were developed with grants from the Foundation, such as grants to the National Center for Opinion Research’s quadrennial General Social Survey.

Public policy is not embedded in a nation by one magic moment. Reaching goal B is often not a straight line from A. Major changes in policy often take zig-zag routes over a long period.

But what was put forth by the CAP summit, and what Dr. Orszag said in that Bloomberg article had in a way, be it minor or major, outcomes for which the Foundation and its supporters can say, “Progress is being made in our journey to make our Vision real — and we, our Foundation, played a role.”


 

We have shared this video before but thought it was a fitting end to this column…

Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation, Publication, , , ,

February 2015 Wrap-Up

Miss something? We’ve got you covered.

We shared a list of upcoming Chapter events for March.

Don’t forget — the Edmunson Scholarship deadline is March 6!

Find your ESOP Chapter.

ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling, talked about the importance of inviting your member of Congress to visit your ESOP company.

The ESOP Association submitted comments to the Senate Committee on Finance Tax Reform Working Group regarding tax reform.

Déjà Vu? Tax Reform in the Senate?

Download your copy of the February 2015 ESOP Report.

Edmunson Scholarships are open for applications.

We shared some ESOP company news.

Updated publication –> Your ESOP: It’s for all of us.

A thank you to Chapter leader, Gale Marett

The Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest opened for submissions.

The ESOP Association submitted comments to the House Ways and Means Committee regarding the state of the U.S. economy and policies that can promote job creation and economic growth.

We shared some tips for winning AACE.

The ESOP Association expressed disappointment once more over a provision in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget that pertains to ESOPs.

Filed under: Chapter News, Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Message, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), Government Affairs, Publication, TEA Members,

2015 Edmunson Scholarships Deadline Approaching

FoundationThe Employee Ownership Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2015 Charles R. Edmunson Scholarships. Deadline is March 6, 2015. Application information is on the Employee Ownership Foundation website or download the application form: 2015 Edmunson Application.

This Scholarship program honors employee ownership leader and advocate Charles R. Edmunson who dedicated a significant part of his life to educating employee owners of the benefits of widespread ownership in a free enterprise system. Mr. Edmunson was also instrumental in the creation of the Employee Ownership Foundation.

An Edmunson Scholarship awards an ESOP employer up to $1,250 to defray the expense of sending employee owners to employee ownership training programs such as the Employee Ownership Foundation’s Employee Owner Retreat or the Association’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC. The Scholarship may also be used for Association Chapter and Regional Conferences. The Scholarship is for non-managerial employee owners.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation,

2015 Edmunson Scholarships Open for Applications

FoundationThe Employee Ownership Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2015 Charles R. Edmunson Scholarships. Deadline is March 6, 2015. Application information is on the Employee Ownership Foundation website.

2015 Edmunson Application

This Scholarship program honors employee ownership leader and advocate Charles R. Edmunson who dedicated a significant part of his life to educating employee owners of the benefits of widespread ownership in a free enterprise system. Mr. Edmunson was also instrumental in the creation of the Employee Ownership Foundation.

An Edmunson Scholarship awards an ESOP employer up to $1,250 to defray the expense of sending employee owners to employee ownership training programs such as the Employee Ownership Foundation’s Employee Owner Retreat or the Association’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC. The Scholarship may also be used for Association Chapter and Regional Conferences. The Scholarship is for non-managerial employee owners.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation,

2015 Edmunson Scholarships

Foundation

The Employee Ownership Foundation will be accepting applications for the 2015 Charles R. Edmunson Scholarships early next year. Deadline information will be announced on the Employee Ownership Foundation website in the coming weeks.

This Scholarship program honors employee ownership leader and advocate Charles R. Edmunson who dedicated a significant part of his life to educating employee owners of the benefits of widespread ownership in a free enterprise system. Mr. Edmunson was also instrumental in the creation of the Employee Ownership Foundation.

An Edmunson Scholarship awards an ESOP employer up to $1,250 to defray the expense of sending employee owners to employee ownership training programs such as the Employee Ownership Foundation’s Employee Owner Retreat or the Association Annual Conference in Washington, DC. The Scholarship may also be used for Association Chapter and Regional Conferences. The Scholarship is for non-managerial employee owners.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation, ,

Employee Ownership Foundation, 2014 Las Vegas Conference Discussion

Employee Ownership Foundation President, J. Michael Keeling, discusses the Foundation’s work which was on display at the Foundation lunch held during The ESOP Association’s 2014 Las Vegas Conference and Trade Show in November 2014.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation,

Employee Ownership Foundation Meets Goal…and Goes Even Higher!

FoundationThe trustees of the Employee Ownership Foundation set of goal of raising $125,000 at the 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show. This year, the Employee Ownership Foundation raised $133,000 to support the ongoing programs of the Foundation — going above and beyond the goal!

“A sincere thank you to all those who supported, and continue to support, the Foundation. You are helping to further the cause of employee ownership in America,” J. Michael Keeling, president of the Employee Ownership Foundation.

The Employee Ownership Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible. There is still time to donate in 2014 and make a difference in the employee ownership community. For more information: http://www.employeeownershipfoundation.org/howtohelp.html.

Gwenn and Duff - ref goal 1

Employee Ownership Foundation Lunch Video

The video that was shown at the Employee Ownership Foundation Lunch at the Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show that highlighted the work of the Foundation and media coverage of the book, The Citizen’s Share, is below.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation

Employee Ownership Foundation Lunch Video

We wanted to share with our readers a video that debuted at The ESOP Association’s Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show last week. The following video aired at the Employee Ownership Foundation Luncheon held on Thursday, November 13, 2014 and highlights a few of the Foundation’s projects in 2014 as well as media coverage of the book, The Citizen’s Share by Dr. Joseph Blasi, Dr. Richard Freeman, and Dr. Douglas Kruse.

 

Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Message, , ,

Foundation Activities at the 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show

esop-slide-template - 2014 Vegas Conference

Are you joining The ESOP Association at the 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show at Caesars Palace this November 13th and 14th? Don’t forget to stop by the Employee Ownership Foundation booth located in the Palace Ballroom area for Foundation news and information.

Foundation Fundraising!

This year, the Employee Ownership Foundation will be reaching for a goal of $125,000 to support Foundation programming. Please stop by and help the Foundation reach its goal!

Filed under: Conference Information, Employee Ownership Foundation,

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