The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

May 2014 Wrap-Up

It’s June and that means it’s time for a May link round up.

Moody’s Collision Centers, Inc. hosted an event with Senator Susan Collins in Gorham, ME

We shared a photo of the 2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest Winner

The May 2014 ESOP Report was released

We highlighted the ABCs of ESOPs

The Employee Owner Retreat is open for registration

Big G Express hosted at event with Congresswoman Diane Black in Shelbyville, TN

We shared some photos from the 2014 Annual Conference in Washington, DC

The Leading in an Ownership Setting Program is open for registration

We featured items from the Employee Ownership Foundation Auction that took place at the Annual Conference

We announced the 2014 ESOP Award Winners

We shared video highlights from the Awards Ceremony

We shared a link to the Annual Conference Lobbying Kit

We extended an invitation to Conference attendees to visit the AACE Awards display

The Annual Conference App was announced

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information, Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), Government Affairs, Member Services, Publication, Silver ESOP Awards, TEA Members,

2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest Winner

The Winner of the 2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest…Entertainment Partners!

Entertainment Partners, located in Burbank, California, has been selected as the 2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest Winner. The winning poster design was unveiled at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

Entertainment Partners’s poster was chosen because of the idea it expressed: We Own Our Future. This is the second time Entertainment Partners has won this award; the first win was in 2010.

Congratulations to the employee owners of Entertainment Partners. More information on Employee Ownership Month.

EOM Poster Contest Winner

Copyright 2014 Marty LaVor

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

2014 Award Winners

The following press releases were sent out by The ESOP Association announcing the winners of the 2014 AACE Awards and the 2014 ESOP Awards. We’ve also included news and announcements regarding new Board of Directors members, new Advisory Committee Chairs, and the announcement of the 2014 – 2015 Kelso Fellowships. All of this information is available on The ESOP Association’s website.

Congratulations to all the 2014 award winners.

The ESOP Association Honors Members for Excellence in Employee Ownership Communications

The ESOP Association is pleased to announce the 2014 winners of the Annual Awards for Communications Excellence (AACE). The AACE Awards are sponsored each year by the Association to recognize the outstanding communications and educational programs of its members. The awards were presented at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC to companies who have excelled in communicating the ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) and its meaning to employee owners.

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.

The 2014 AACE Award winners are:

Total Communications Program, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: PERRY proTECH, Lima, Ohio

Runner Up: Salem Distributing Company, Inc., Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Total Communications Program, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Runner Up: Recology, San Francisco, California

Video, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: Engineering America, Inc., Saint Paul, Minnesota

Video, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Austin Industries, Inc., Dallas, Texas

Runner Up: The Haskell Company, Jacksonville, Florida

Printed Materials, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: Mid South Building Supply, Inc., Springfield, Virginia

Runner Up: PERRY proTECH, Lima, Ohio

Printed Materials, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Eagle Communications, Inc., Hays, Kansas

Runner Up: Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Intranet, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Recology, San Francisco, California

Runner Up: Maine Drilling & Blasting, Inc., Gardiner, Maine

ESOP Advertising, Ownership Marketing – General

Winner: Carris Reels, Inc., Proctor, Vermont

Runner Up: Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

ESOP Advertising, Ownership Marketing – Website

Winner: Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Missouri

Runner Up: Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Special Events & Promotions, 1 Outstanding Event, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: Wiley|Wilson, Lynchburg, Virginia

Runner Up: Priority Sign, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Special Events & Promotions, 1 Outstanding Event, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Douglas Machine Inc., Alexandria, Minnesota

Runner Up: CarePro Health Services, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Special Events & Promotions, Series, 250 or Fewer Employees

Winner: Adworkshop, Inc., Lake Placid, New York

Runner Up: Mid South Building Supply, Inc., Springfield, Virginia

Special Events & Promotions, Series, Over 250 Employees

Winner: Entertainment Partners, Burbank, California

Runner Up: Apache Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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Steve Earle of Mid South Building Supply, Inc. Named 2014 Employee Owner of the Year by The ESOP Association

Steve Earle of Mid South Building Supply, Inc., located in Springfield, Virginia, has been named the 2014 Employee Owner of the Year by The ESOP Association. The award was presented at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 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.

Mr. Earle is the Director of Installations – Cabinetry for Mid South Building Supply, Inc. He joined the company in 2002 and has been actively involved since he became an employee owner. Continually working to explain the concept of shared ownership to his fellow employee owners, he is a member of the company’s Board of Directors and an ESOP Trustee. He ran for election to this position in 2006 and has been elected every year since. As stated by Mid South’s President, Drew Tavss, “We not only found an ESOP cheerleader, but a true leader.” Mr. Earle’s ESOP involvement goes beyond Mid South: he’s an active member of the Association’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter, volunteering his time as Vice President of the Capital Region; a speaker on ESOP issues at both Chapter and National meetings; he participates in the Association’s AACE Awards competition on a yearly basis; participates in Employee Ownership Month activities each October; and still finds time to mentor Mid South employees on ESOP issues. He understands what it means to be 100% employee owned and 100% customer committed.

Mid South Building Supply, Inc. is a wholesale distributor of residential building products. The company supplies remodeling contractors and residential home builders and specializes primarily in kitchen and bath cabinetry, exterior siding products, and new and replacement windows and doors. The company was founded in 1966 and remained family owned until 1985 when its founders sold the business to the Mid South Building Supply Employee Stock Ownership Trust. Mid South immediately became one of the first 100% employee-owned, 100% bank-financed transactions to occur in the ESOP community. More information about Mid South Building Supply: http://www.msbs.net/.

“Steve is a true ESOP leader, not only at his company, but in the ESOP community as well. I’m pleased to present him with the 2014 Employee Owner of the Year Award,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “Steve makes employee ownership real for his fellow employee owners at Mid South and he has carried that message to other companies and to members of Congress. The ESOP community could not ask for a better ambassador.”

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Dakota Supply Group Named 2014 ESOP Company of the Year by The ESOP Association

Dakota Supply Group, an employee-owned company headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, was named the 2014 ESOP Company of the Year by The ESOP Association. The award was presented at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 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.

Since Dakota Supply Group’s establishment in 1898, the company and employee owners have worked hard at making a name as a full-line distributor of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, communications, utility, automation, waterworks, filtration and metering technology products and systems. In 1996, the company became an ESOP, and in May 2006, Dakota Supply Group became 100% employee owned. Continually growing since 1898, the company has had 10 acquisitions since 1999 and Dakota Supply Group now numbers 595 employee owners and over $350 million in sales. For more information about the company: http://dakotasupplygroup.com.

Dakota Supply Group is a strong supporter of employee ownership and its employee owners strive to represent the company at both Chapter and National ESOP Association events. Employee owners are regular attendees at Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter meetings and enthusiastically participate on Chapter committees and as presenters at Chapter and National conferences. The company actively recruits “Dakotas” ESOP companies to join the Chapter and was a catalyst for changing the Chapter name to accurately represent North Dakota and South Dakota. Working to strengthen employee ownership in America, the employee owners of Dakota Supply Group meet with members of Congress and work to promote ESOP issues not only in their home state but on the national level as well.

“I’m delighted to present the employee owners of Dakota Supply Group with the 2014 ESOP Company of the Year Award,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “The employee owners integrate the ESOP into all they do at the company and also endeavor to share that ESOP spirit with the community. Dakota Supply Group is an example of the value and potential that employee ownership can bring to a company.”

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Southwest Chapter Wins Big at ESOP Association’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC

Named 2014 ESOP Chapter of the Year

Recognized for Chapter Membership Recruitment

The Southwest Chapter of The ESOP Association was named the 2014 ESOP Chapter of the Year for the second consecutive year by the Association. Additionally, the Chapter was recognized for its commitment to membership recruitment for the third year in a row. The awards were presented at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 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 Association’s Southwest Chapter experienced all-time highs in meeting attendance in 2013 and Chapter members outdid previous work in fundraising for the Association’s affiliated foundation, the Employee Ownership Foundation, and support of the Association’s government relations efforts. The Chapter of the Year Award recognized the Chapter members’ overall work in spreading the employee ownership message in 2013. Members of the Southwest Chapter also met several targets in the promotion of employee ownership in the Southwest region as well as Chapter membership goals in 2013 earning the Chapter recognition for membership recruitment.

The Southwest Chapter was selected from among 18 Association Chapters across the United States for these honors. The Southwest Chapter includes members in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

“For the second year in a row, I’m pleased to present the leaders of the Southwest Chapter, and its members, with the 2014 ESOP Chapter of the Year Award. I’m also proud to recognize the Chapter for its membership recruitment efforts for the third consecutive year,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “The Chapter provides excellent programming and value to ESOP Association members in the Southwest region and members worked hard to meet target prospect goals and to promote the cause of employee ownership among ESOP companies in the Chapter.”

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Tracy Woolsey Named Chapter Officer of the Year by The ESOP Association

Tracy E. Woolsey of Horizon Bancorp, located in Michigan City, Indiana, was named the 2014 Chapter Officer of the Year by The ESOP Association. The award was presented at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 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.

Ms. Woolsey has been actively involved with the Association on both the Chapter and National levels for several years. She is currently President of the Association’s Indiana Chapter and has been influential in the development of the Chapter’s programming and events. Ms. Woolsey has been active in sharing the employee ownership message and working to promote the Association to new members in the Indiana Chapter.

“I’m proud to present Tracy with the Association’s 2014 Chapter Officer of the Year Award,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “She has contributed to not only the Chapter but the Association as a whole with her leadership of the Indiana Chapter. I’m pleased to present Tracy with this award for her work in promoting the employee ownership message and The ESOP Association.”

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Heart of America Chapter Recognized for Outstanding Membership Development by The ESOP Association

The Heart of America Chapter of The ESOP Association was recognized for its commitment to membership development at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 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 Heart of America Chapter demonstrated a focused commitment to membership development in the last year, and as a result, directly increased membership in the Chapter. The Chapter saw a 9% increase in membership in 2013. The Chapter was selected from among 18 Association Chapters across the United States for this honor. The Heart of America Chapter includes Association members in Kansas and Missouri.

In 2007, the Heart of America Chapter was recognized by The ESOP Association for its commitment to membership recruitment.

“I’m pleased to present the Heart of America Chapter with an Outstanding Membership Development Award for their commitment to increasing membership in The ESOP Association,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling.

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Indiana Chapter Recognized for Outstanding Membership Development by The ESOP Association

The Indiana Chapter of The ESOP Association was recognized for its commitment to membership development at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 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 Indiana Chapter demonstrated a focused commitment to membership development in the last year, and as a result, directly increased membership in the Chapter. The Chapter saw a 10% increase in membership in 2013. The Chapter was selected from among 18 Association Chapters across the United States for this honor. The Indiana Chapter represents Association members in Indiana.

In 2006, the Indiana Chapter was recognized for its commitment to membership recruitment, and in 2012, the Chapter was named the ESOP Chapter of the Year by The ESOP Association.

“I’m pleased to present the Indiana Chapter with an Outstanding Membership Development Award for their commitment to increasing membership in The ESOP Association,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling.

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Entertainment Partners Wins 2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest

Entertainment Partners, an employee-owned company located in Burbank, California, has been selected by The ESOP Association as its 2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest Winner. The winning poster design was unveiled at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 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.

Entertainment Partners’ mission is to wow clients by delivering personalized client service and innovative, reliable solutions. The company provides payroll services, production employee services, residuals and talents payments, central casting, and production incentives to the entertainment industry. The employee owners of Entertainment Partners number more than 700, with offices in Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Since 2004, Entertainment Partners has been fully owned by the employees. More information about Entertainment Partners: http://www.entertainmentpartners.com.

Entertainment Partners’s poster was chosen as the 2014 winner because of the idea it expressed: We Own Our Future. This is the second time Entertainment Partners has won this award; the first win was in 2010.

The winning poster will be used by The ESOP Association to promote Employee Ownership Month, which takes place every October and is a celebration of the incredible spirit of employee ownership. For more information about Employee Ownership Month, please visit: http://www.esopassociation.org/advocate/employee-ownership-month.

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Kathryn Daly Named Outstanding Board of Governors Member by The ESOP Association

Kathryn A. Daly, Managing Director of Chartwell Capital Solutions, located in Portland, Oregon, was named the 2014 Outstanding Board of Governors Member by The ESOP Association. The award was presented at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 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.

Ms. Daly is an active member of The ESOP Association’s Board of Governors and has served in numerous volunteer capacities for the Association; most recently as the Chair of the Advisory Committee’s Chairs Council and as a member of the Association’s Board of Directors. She is involved on both the Chapter and National levels and has been actively working to promote the Association and employee ownership in America.

“I’m proud to present Katie with the Association’s 2014 award for Outstanding Board of Governors Member,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “Katie is a committed advocate of employee ownership and has shown leadership at the Chapter level as well as taking on additional involvement in programs on the National level. I’m pleased to present her with this award for her work in helping to grow the cause of employee ownership.”

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Brian Bornino Receives 2014 Membership Recruitment Award from The ESOP Association

Brian D. Bornino of GBQ Consulting LLC, located in Columbus, Ohio, was presented with The ESOP Association’s 2014 Membership Recruitment Award for a Professional Member. The award was presented at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 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.

Mr. Bornino is enthusiastically involved in the work of The ESOP Association, and in particular, the Ohio/Kentucky Chapter of the Association. His commitment to employee ownership through the ESOP concept is evident in the work he has done, not only for his clients, but for the Association. Mr. Bornino actively educates companies about the Association and promotes the cause of the Association as well.

“It is my pleasure to present Brian with the 2014 Membership Recruitment Award for the work he has done to promote employee ownership and the Association and its work to new members,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling.

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The ESOP Association Announces New Board of Governors Members

The following ESOP Association members have been elected to serve on The ESOP Association’s Board of Governors starting May 1, 2014.

For election to another three-year term to the Board of Governors as a representative of a Corporate Member of The ESOP Association:

  • Carey Chen, CFO &VP/GM Light Industrial Businesses, Hypertherm, Inc., Hanover, New Hampshire

For election to another three-year term to the Board of Governors as a representative of a Professional Member of The ESOP Association:

  • Susan Ledingham, Sr. Administrator, SES Advisors, Inc., Brunswick, Georgia
  • Andrew Ward, Managing Director, Stout Risius Ross, Inc., Chicago, Illinois

For election to the Board of Governors for the first time for a three-year term as a representative of a Corporate Member of The ESOP Association:

  • David R. Corbin, COO, Steve Silver Company, Forney, Texas
  • Roseline H. Marston, President, A.D. Marble & Company, Inc., Conshohocken, Pennsylvania
  • Raman Venkat, Office of the CEO/CFO, LeFiell Manufacturing Company, Santa Fe Springs, California

For election to the Board of Governors for the first time for a three-year term as a representative of a Professional Member of The ESOP Association:

  • Scott D. Miller, CPA/ABV, CVA, President, Enterprise Services, Inc., Delafield, Wisconsin

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The ESOP Association Announces New Advisory Committee Chairs

On May 1, 2014, two ESOP Association members were elected as Advisory Committee Chairs of The ESOP Association. These Committees are comprised primarily of members of the Association who work in the area of their Committee’s jurisdiction. The Advisory Committees play important roles in developing services for members of the Association and are comprised of both corporate and professional members of the Association.

In addition to the new Chairs, Peter J. Shuler of Crowe Horwath LLP, Columbus, Ohio, was named Chair of the Association’s Advisory Committee’s Chairs Council on May 1, 2014.

New Advisory Committee Chairs:

  • Ted M. Becker, Drinker Biddle & Reath, Chicago, Illinois; Chair of the Association’s Interdisciplinary Advisory Committee on Fiduciary Issues
  • Barbara M. Clough, QPA, QKA, Blue Ridge ESOP Associates, East Providence, Rhode Island; Chair of the Association’s Advisory Committee on Administration

Current Advisory Committee Chairs:

  • Steven B. Greenapple, Esq., Steiker, Fischer, Edwards & Greenapple. P.C., Cedar Knolls, New Jersey; Chair of the Association’s Advisory Committee on Legislative & Regulatory Issues
  • Michael J. Harden, Eureka Capital Partners, LLC, Costa Mesa, California; Chair of the Association’s Advisory Committee on Finance
  • Rod Reinertson, Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chair of the Association’s Committee on Ownership Culture
  • Jeffrey S. Tarbell, Houlihan Lokey, San Francisco, California; Chair of the Association’s Advisory Committee on Valuation

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Employee Ownership Foundation News

Louis O. Kelso Fellows Chosen by Rutgers University

Employee Ownership Foundation Provides Grant for Fellowship Program

The Employee Ownership Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of the Louis O. Kelso Fellowships for 2014 – 2015. The Louis O. Kelso Fellowships are awarded to scholars studying broadened ownership of capital in the U.S. The Fellowships are part of the national fellowship program on employee stock ownership of the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) at Rutgers University. For additional information about the Kelso Fellowships and the SMLR, please visit: http://smlr.rutgers.edu/kelso-fellows.

“The Employee Ownership Foundation is pleased to sponsor the Louis O. Kelso Fellowships through the Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations,” said Employee Ownership Foundation Chair, Frieda S. Takaki. “We are proud to support this scholarly research on the impact of employee ownership on employees, their companies, the communities, and, yes, our country.”

2014 – 2015 Louis O. Kelso Fellows:

Karla Walter: Master of Urban Planning and Policy, Economic Development, University of Illinois at Chicago, American Worker Project, Center for American Progress, Washington, District of Columbia. Research topic: Federal and State policies on inclusive capitalism in the United States.

Richard Van Doel: PhD candidate in Organizational Leadership, Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana. Research topic: Stewardship characteristics of leaders in employee-owned companies.

Vernon Woodley: Assistant Professor in Sociology and Anthropology, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois. Research topic: Factors influencing firm decisions to create an ESOP in the United States.

Frank Mullins: Assistant Professor of Management, North Carolina A&T University School of Business and Economics, Greensboro, North Carolina. Research topic: The use and effectiveness of employee ownership in family firms in the United States.

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Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), Silver ESOP Awards, TEA Members, , , ,

The November 2013 ESOP Report is Available

The November 2013 issue of the ESOP Report is now available. To access this month’s issue, you’ll need to sign into the 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.
Nov2013ESOPReportCOVERsmall

Filed under: Employee Ownership Month (EOM), Member Services, Publication, TEA Members, , ,

October 2013 Re-Cap

There was a lot going on in the ESOP community in October. Now’s your chance to catch up!

Employee Ownership Month Began October 1st with a message from ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling

We shared a few Employee Ownership Month ideas

We announced changes to the 2014 AACE Program

ESOP Association members shared their Congressional visits

Congrats to a few of our members

The Carolinas Chapter Hosted an ESOP U Summer Conference

Don’t forget to visit The ESOP Association’s booth, #107, at the Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show on November 7 & 8

LinkedIn Link Up in Vegas – Hint, you should stop by if you’re joining us at the Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show

Stringing the pieces together for the future of ESOPs

We highlighted a couple more Employee Ownership Month celebrations

And more Employee Ownership Month celebration ideas

The Employee Ownership Foundation will be in Vegas on November 7 & 8

Membership, Advocacy, and Education – what you need to know

Carrying on the Employee Ownership Month theme

Celebrating employee owners – another Employee Ownership Month story to share

Employee Ownership Month – rodeo!

Download the 2013 Las Vegas Conference and Trade Show App!

Restek Celebrates EOM with Life Long Learning

Two more EOM celebration ideas to share

And one more Employee Ownership Month post

Stay Focused – why Employee Ownership Month isn’t the end of spreading the word about employee ownership

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Chapter News, Conference Information, Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Message, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), Government Affairs, Member Services, TEA Members, ,

Stay Focused

This article originally ran as the Washington Report column in the October 2013 issue of the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association. The ESOP Report newsletter is available to Association members on the website.

With the conclusion of Employee Ownership Month, we thought it was an important message to stay focused on your ESOP.

There is no question that the mess in D.C. with the Congress and the President not able to keep basic government functions operational causes most people to throw their hands up and say, “Don’t bother me about possible legislative action involving ESOP laws; Congress cannot even keep the government’s doors open. Fie on all.”

This reaction dominates citizen views, be they left, right, middle of the road, or all of the above.

This column has often said that the effective advocate has to understand the Big Picture to win a specific campaign for ESOPs. But, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

So, ESOP advocates will be taking a very risky posture to tune down outreach to their members of Congress on the grounds that Congress will do nothing to alter current tax laws to the detriment of employee owners.

Number one, the Congressional tax committees are not Congress. What they do in developing new tax laws is not 100%, or even 50%, determined by the Congressional and White House gridlock.

Number two, what the tax committees do is 90% of the final tax law changes that will be included in a reformed tax code when action by Congress is finally taken.

In other words, the tax committees may finalize their versions of a new tax bill in 2014, and Congress may not send a new tax reform proposal to the President until 2015/2016 or even beyond. But that 2015/2016 proposal will be very likely be nearly the same as what the tax committees agreed to in 2013/2014.

Number three, what is the negative outcome of ESOP advocates continuing to make the case that the Federal tax code should continue a modest national policy to continue the best jobs policy in the U.S. because ESOP companies in the vast majority of instances are more productive, more profitable providing locally-controlled, sustainable jobs with excellent retirement savings benefits? There is none.

Some ESOP advocates also explain their sitting on the sidelines because her or his member of Congress is not on the Congressional tax committees — the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Constituent to member advocacy is the most effective advocacy work possible; the second most effective advocacy work is Congressional member to Congressional member. In other words, a Republican member of Congress not on Ways and Means advocating for ESOPs because her or his constituent has asked him or her to do so with a Republican on the tax committee, especially if from the same state or region, is very effective. In other words, a pro-ESOP statement from a Texas Republican not on Ways and Means to a Texas Republican on Ways and Means or a New England Democrat not on Ways and Means to a New England Democrat on Ways and Means is priceless.

In sum, do not let disgust with partisan shenanigans in D.C. back you off advocating for ESOPs with your Congress people.

Be safe; not sorry.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), Government Affairs, , , , , ,

And One More Employee Ownership Month Post

Today’s Employee Ownership Month (EOM) ideas come from ESOP Association members, Carl Warren & Company and ComSonics, Inc.

Carl Warren & Company Reaches Out to Members of Congress

While not specifically related to Employee Ownership Month, it’s a great year round project by the employee owners of Carl Warren & Company to raise the company profile and get the most out of their ESOP Company of the Year title in 2013. The employee owners are reaching out to their members of Congress and telling them about being named the 2013 ESOP Company of the Year.

Earlier in the year, the company received letters of congratulations from Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) congratulating the employee owners in the Georgia location; a certificate of recognition from Placentia Mayor, Scott Nelson; and a letter of congratulations from Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) to the employee owners in the Kansas location. See this post for the letters. Additionally, former Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA) stopped by the company’s office.

Thanks to Caryn Siebert and Mark Bernstein for sharing the letters.

 Carl Warren – Letter from Congressman Scott Peters

Carl Warren – Letter from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren

Carl Warren - Joe Baca with CWC team

ComSonics Inc. Pinks Out

From ComSonics, Inc.:

This year, our company has been directly impacted by breast cancer as we learned several months ago that one of our owners was diagnosed with this disease. As her treatment continues, we wanted to do something to show our support so we turned our day “Pink” on October 22nd and challenged owners to wear pink in honor of not just our fellow owner, but in honor of any loved ones who have faced this or any other health challenge in the last year. We served healthy snacks on this day also in keeping with our wellness incentives.

We were amazed by the number of guys who were proud to break out in pink and we were touched by the stories of survival and loss that were openly shared with our committee. And rather than giving the most “pink” person of the day a prize, we are preparing a special package that will be delivered to our recovering owner at home this week complete with a scrapbook from the day and special t-shirt from all of us who continue to keep her in our thoughts and prayers!

P.S. Even owners who had traveled to ATL for our national trade show on this date wore pink!

Thanks to Markita Madden for sharing the information and photos.

ComSonics 2ndshift_hbg

ComSonics christy_atl

ComSonics EOM 2

ComSonics EOM 3

ComSonics EOM

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

Two More EOM Celebration Ideas to Share

Today’s Employee Ownership Month (EOM) ideas come from ESOP Association members, Carris Reels and Entertainment Partners.

Carris Reels Raises a Flag and Cash

From Carris Reels:

To start off Employee Ownership Month, Carris Reels raised the ESOP flag over the company’s headquarters in Proctor, VT and employee owners in the company’s Virginia site donated an ESOP money tree to the Employee Ownership Foundation at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter conference held in early October. Employee owner, Kevin Hedrick, suggested a logo during Virginia’s October Planning Committee meeting and it was used on picnic t-shirts and throughout the month.

Carris EOM FLAG - 072

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Carris EOM PaulTreeSteve

Thanks to Carris Reels for sharing photos.

Entertainment Partners Goes Old School and Sends out Employee Ownership Month Cards

The ESOP Association received this card from the employee owners of Entertainment Partners wishing everyone a happy Employee Ownership Month! Needless to say, we love it.

Entertainment Partners EOM Card 2

Entertainment Partners EOM Card

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), TEA Members, , , , , ,

Restek Celebrates EOM with Life Long Learning

Today’s Employee Ownership Month (EOM) story comes from ESOP Association member, Restek Corporation.

On October 1st, Restek had two L3 (Life Long Learning) ESOP presentations from Jeff Gelburd of Murray Securus and Loren Rodgers of the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) to kick-off ESOP month. Jeff’s presentation outlined his ESOP history, what Murray Securus has achieved as an ESOP and what it means to be a successful ESOP. Loren’s presentation outlined the varieties of ESOPs around the world, the state of ESOPs and data on effective ESOPs. We also had a Roundtable event with our ESOP Trustees and EOCT (Employee Owners Communication Team) where we received great suggestions, ideas and feedback from Loren. We also started our ESOP trivia game the same day. I attached our agenda for ESOP month as well. Our first day of events was very informative for our employees.

Restek’s October ESOP Month Activities

  • October 1st
    • Jeff Gelburd from Murray Securus will talk to us about how the ESOP at Murray Securus functions
    • Loren Rodgers from the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) will present on the current state of ESOPs and will share some motivational words about being an ESOP company
  • October 10th
    • The EOCT will be re-showing the “We the Owners” DVD – A documentary about 3 different ESOPs are set up
    • We’ll be giving out a limited number of Restek’s ESOP poster magnets!
  • October 24th
    • Another screening of “What the Heck is an ESOP,” narrated by your favorite mad scientist, Scott Grossman, explaining how Restek’s ESOP works
    • Attendees will be entered into a raffle to win full sized Restek ESOP posters!
  • October 30th
    • Rebecca DeHainuat from our 401(k) provider will be coming to explain:
      • Accessing & Using the John Hancock Participant Website, including
      • Retirement Goal Setting
      • Retirement Fitness Quiz and Calculators

Restek EOM - JeffGelburd2013  Restek EOM - LorenRodgers2013

Restek EOM - LorenRodgersRoundtableThanks to Mike Shuey of Restek for sharing the company’s 2013 EOM events.

Got a story? Tell us all about it – media AT esopassociation.org.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), TEA Members, , , , , ,

Employee Ownership Month – Rodeo!

Today’s Employee Ownership Month (EOM) story comes from ESOP Association member, First National Bank of Bemidji.

Howdy! Since 2006, First National Bank of Bemidji has chosen a week in October to celebrate employee ownership. The ESOP Communications Committee began planning this year’s events in mid-August to ensure a fun-filled week for all employee owners. Celebrating our 28th year being employee-owned, this year’s theme encompassed everything “Rodeo!”

The events began on Thursday, October 3rd, with a kick-off meeting to share all of the fun events planned for the following week. The bank’s President, Tom Welle, gave our quarterly business update, and then the Rodeo commenced! With the ESOP Communications Committee dressed as rodeo clowns, rodeo queens, and a rodeo announcer, members of our Executive Management team competed in tricycle barrel racing, lassoing, and a cowboy boot putting contest. Many laughs were had, and ultimately, Tom “Leader of the Pack” Welle, won the competition, riding his horse, “Nice Guy!”

The events planned for ESOP Week included: Lassoing, Cowboy Boot Ball, a Cow-Tipping Contest, Horseshoes, and of course the return of our favorite game from last year, Sling-Shotting. The goal of Sling-Shotting this year was to knock over cans of Pork ‘n Beans! All games were played in our bank’s courtyard. Throughout our ESOP Week, there was also a Western-Themed Baking Contest, an “ESOP-Themed” Belt Buckle Contest, and “ESOP-Themed” Stick Horse Competition, and an ESOP’m Poker Tournament where cards for each employee’s poker hand were earned by answering ESOP quiz questions correctly. Employee owners wore nametags throughout the week stating, “I’m and owner,” and local media outlets covered the events throughout the week, helping to promote Employee Ownership Month. With employees dressing in casual Western-Wear throughout the week, many questions arose from customers, and many opportunities were taken to share the benefits of employee ownership!

Bemidji ESOP 3-Legged Race

Bemidji ESOP Belt Buckle Winner

Bemidji ESOP Communications Committee 2013

Bemidji ESOP Lasso

Bemidji ESOP Rodeo Clowns

Bemidji ESOP S'Mores

Bemidji ESOP Tricycle

Thanks to Nikki Brink of First National Bank of Bemidji for sharing the company’s EOM story with the Association.

Got a story? Tell us all about it – media AT esopassociation.org.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), TEA Members, , , , ,

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