The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

ESOP Company News Edition

The following news from ESOP Association members ran in the April 2015 ESOP Report and we wanted to share with readers here. If you have ESOP company news to share, please send an email to media AT

Gibson Named Best Places to Work in Indiana for Third Consecutive Year

Gibson-Insurance-Logo-300x116Gibson, an ESOP Association member, was recently named as one of the 2015 Best Places to Work in Indiana.  The statewide survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best places of employment in Indiana, benefiting the state’s economy, its workforce, and businesses.  The 2015 Best Places to Work in Indiana list of 100 companies is made up of four different size categories.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process first by evaluating each company’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics.  This part of the process was 25% of the total evaluation.  The other 75% consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience.  The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking.  An independent firm, Best Companies Group, managed the process, analyzed the data, and used their expertise to determine the final rankings.

Gibson will be recognized at the Best Places to Work Awards Dinner in May. Gibson is a 100% employee-owned (38% ESOP), regional insurance broker and risk management services firm with offices in South Bend, Plymouth, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and National Association of Manufacturers Honor Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers

On March 10, 2015 the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) awarded Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence at an event hosted by NAM member Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, Washington.

“American manufacturing is critical to the strength of our nation’s economy,” said Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, president of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. “We applaud Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’ efforts in support of a free, flat, and fair environment that enables manufacturers to grow, create jobs, and keep ahead of global competition.”

“Contributing almost 290,000 jobs to Washington state, manufacturers help grow our local economy from the bottom up,” said Congresswoman McMorris Rogers. “As a representative of the most trade-dependent state in the nation, I am proud to support this innovative, expanding industry that strengthens our opportunity economy. Our exports are critical to men and women across the state, and manufacturers understand that better than anyone.”

You can see more on the company’s Facebook page.

SEL - IMG_7404

SEL - IMG_7570

SEL - IMG_7630

Filed under: Government Affairs, Member Services, TEA Members, ,

NEWS: Cindy Turcot Elected Chair of The ESOP Association – Mark R. Lomele to Become Chair of the Employee Ownership Foundation

The ESOP Association and the Employee Ownership Foundation sent out the following releases today.

esop-logo-large1.jpgFor Immediate Release: May 1, 2015

Cindy Turcot Elected Chair of The ESOP Association

Members Installed to Board Positions

May 1, 2015 (Washington, DC) – Cindy Turcot, Chief Operating Officer of Gardener’s Supply Company located in Burlington, Vermont, has been elected to serve as Chair of The ESOP Association. 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. Turcot is an active member of The ESOP Association and the Association’s New England Chapter. She has served on The ESOP Association’s Board as Vice Chair for the last two years. Her term as Chair begins May 1, 2015 and will continue until April 30, 2017.

“Cindy has been active in the ESOP community and with the Association for many years,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “Her contributions have increased the effectiveness of Association services and we are excited Cindy will be the Chief Elected Officer of the Association and the primary driver of the Association’s mission to advocate and educate for employee ownership for the next two years.”

In addition to Ms. Turcot’s election to Chair: David Fitz-Gerald, Vice President & CFO, Carris Reels, Inc., Proctor, Vermont will become Vice Chair; Raman Venkat, Office of the CEO/CFO, LeFiell Manufacturing Company, Santa Fe Springs, California will become Secretary/Treasurer; David L. Kelly, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc., Lafayette, Louisiana will become Immediate Past Chair. Mark R. Lomele, Senior VP & CFO, Recology, San Francisco, California will become Chair of the Employee Ownership Foundation. Joining the Association’s Board as At-Large Board Members representing corporate members: Cindy Lewis, President/CEO, AirBorn, Inc., Georgetown, Texas and Michael Willard, CEO, Salem Distributing Company, Inc., Winston Salem, North Carolina. Joining the Board as an At-Large Board Member representing a professional member: Linshuang Lu, Consultant, Praxis Consulting Group, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Returning Board Members: Tony Lessmeister, Manager/Integration & Configuration Center, Forsythe Technology, Inc., Skokie, Illinois, Chair of the State and Chapter Regional Council; Peter J. Shuler, Manager, Crowe Horwath LLP, Columbus, Ohio, Chair of the Advisory Committees Chairs Council.

The Board of Directors is the premier governing body of The ESOP Association. Seven members of its ten person Board of Directors are elected by the Association’s Board of Governors who are elected by Association members.


FoundationFor Immediate Release: May 1, 2015

Mark R. Lomele Elected Chair of the Employee Ownership Foundation

May 1, 2015 (Washington, DC) – The Employee Ownership Foundation announced today that Mark R. Lomele, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Recology located in San Francisco, California, will take over as the new Chair of the Foundation. The Employee Ownership Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Foundation dedicated to promoting employee ownership and is an affiliate of The ESOP Association, a national trade association for employee owned companies.

Effective May 1, 2015, Mr. Lomele will take the wheel from outgoing Chair Frieda S. Takaki, President and Chief Executive Officer of CHART Rehabilitation of Hawaii, Inc. located in Honolulu, Hawaii who served as Chair of the Employee Ownership Foundation for the past four years. Ms. Takaki will become the Immediate Past Chair of the Employee Ownership Foundation.

Mr. Lomele is active in the California/Western States Chapter of The ESOP Association and has served in several leadership positions as a member of The ESOP Association. He has been very active as a Foundation Trustee and from 2011– 2013, Mr. Lomele served as Chair of The ESOP Association.

“We are excited Mark will be taking over as Chair of the Employee Ownership Foundation,” said J. Michael Keeling, President of the Employee Ownership Foundation. “He is a dynamic leader with new ideas to lead the Foundation forward.”


The Employee Ownership Foundation supports research, education, and public awareness of programs that will increase the level of understanding and appreciation of the benefits of employee ownership and increase the number of employees who have access to this benefit. For more information: The Employee Ownership Foundation is The ESOP Association’s affiliated 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting employee ownership.

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 – and blog –

More Information:

Amy Gwiazdowski



Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation, TEA Members,

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.


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 – and blog –


More Information:

Amy Gwiazdowski



Filed under: Silver ESOP Awards, TEA Members,

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, ,

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,

ESOP Association Members Make Fortune’s 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For List

We noted this news on Twitter recently but wanted to once more congratulate four members of The ESOP Association that have been named to Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Way to go ESOP companies!

Burns & McDonnell Engineers-Architects, Kansas City, MO

W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., Newark, DE

Publix Super Markets, Inc., Lakeland, FL

TDIndustries, Inc., Dallas, TX

To view the complete list, click here.

Filed under: TEA Members

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,

ESOP Company News

ESOP Company News from ESOP Association Members

Kocolene Development Corporation Hosts Visit with Congressman Todd Young (R-MN)

Kocolene Development Corporation hosted a visit from Congressman Todd Young at their headquarters in Seymour, Indiana to thank him for his support of ESOPs. Kocolene established its ESOP on December 31, 2009 and became 100% on February 1, 2014.

During his visit, Congressman Young toured both the Kocolene Marketing, LLC office building and Ranger Enterprises, LLC facilities so he could see first-hand the operations of Kocolene Development Corporation.

“Congressman Young’s visit provided our management team the opportunity to discuss with him several business issues important to our company and our industry. We greatly appreciated his willingness to meet with us over the busy holiday season,” stated Gary Myers. Congressman Young is pictured in both the lobby (below) and the Board Room (below) of the Kocolene office alongside Gary F. Myers, Chairman of the Board and Andrea S. Myers, President.

Kocolene began in August of 1938 when Carrie M. Myers purchased the entire capital stock of a very young oil company. Two services stations, one in Seymour and the other in Columbus, Indiana and an old used tank truck were the setting for success. Since its meager beginning, Kocolene has grown to be one of the most respected oil companies in the Midwest. Kocolene today is headquartered in Seymour, Indiana and owns and operates a chain of convenience stores with fuel in Indiana and Kentucky under the name of Fast Max; operates a chain of discount tobacco stores in Indiana under the brand of Smokers Host; a warehousing, logistics and recycling company operating under the name of Ranger Enterprises, LLC; and an environmental services firm operated as Komack Environmental, LLC.

CO News - Todd Young GFM ASM

Co News - Board Room Experience

Malco Products Meets with Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN)

Congressman Tom Emmer, the Republican Congressman from the 6th District of Minnesota, recently visited Malco Products, Inc. in Annandale, Minnesota. During the plant tour, Congressman Emmer expressed his support for the ESOP business model and some Malco associates shared their thoughts with him about Malco’s ESOP. Mardon Quandt, Malco’s President, updated Congressman Emmer on current ESOP related legislation and tax reform discussions. Congressman Emmer also expressed his support for modifying the road design at an intersection in front of the Malco facility to improve safety.

In photo below, from left to right: Congressman Tom Emmer, Drew Emmer (Emmer support staff), Jeannette Rieger-Borer (CFO of Malco Products, Inc.), Mardon Quandt (President of Malco Products, Inc.).

Malco Products

Hawaii Chapter Members Hear from Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI)

At the 2014 Hawaii Chapter’s Annual Conference (October 9, 2014), Chapter members were privileged to have Senator Mazie Hirono as the lunch speaker. below are a few photos from the event.

Hawaii Chapter - IMG_7028

Hawaii Chapter - IMG_7029

Filed under: Chapter News, TEA Members, , , ,

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,

ESOP Association Members Named Great Places to Work!

Congratulations to ESOP Association members Clif Bar & Co., Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc., and W. L. Gore & Associates on being named to the 2015 Great Place to Work list. All three companies were honored in the People’s Picks: 15 Great Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production category. Take a look at the list.

More on each company

Clif Bar & Co.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.

W.L. Gore & Associates

15 Great Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production release

From the website: About Great Rated!™ – While organizations look to recruit and hire the right candidate, job seekers are equally interested in finding the right position at the right company. That’s why Great Rated!™ —the new survey-based workplace review website—from Great Place to Work® uses data and insights for a true picture of the workplace and elevates the hiring experience. Great Rated! organizations are serious about creating great workplaces, comfortable with transparency and interested in sharing the unique aspects treasured by employees.

About Great Place to Work® – Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and employer branding programs, including Best Companies lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. Great Place to Work®’s Trust Index©, a 58-question employee survey that measures trust, is used around the world to help companies increase the levels of trust across their organizations and improve business results. Annually, Great Place to Work® produces the annual FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list and the Great Place to Work® Best Small and Medium Workplaces list.

Filed under: News Links, TEA Members, ,

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