The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

The ESOP Association’s Outside Board Registry

As a member service, The ESOP Association maintains an Outside Board Registry. This registry is a list of potential board members knowledgeable about and familiar with ESOPs and employee ownership.

Members of The ESOP Association can be listed free of charge in the registry. To be listed, participants must be employed at or retired from a current ESOP Association member company, or be a current member of the Association in any member category. There is no charge for the registry if requested by a member of the Association.

If you would like to be included in this registry, contact Sharon Spencer at Sharon AT

The registry can be found on The ESOP Association’s website under Network. To access the information, you will need to login. The member login is at the top of the page. The Outside Board Register is a member service provided by The ESOP Association.

Filed under: Member Services, Publication, TEA Members, , , ,

The ESOP Association Announces 2014 Silver ESOP Award Recipients

The ESOP Association sent out the following release this morning announcing the 2014 Silver ESOP Award Recipients. We’re sharing with readers here. Congratulations to all 2014 recipients.

For Immediate Release: April 16, 2014

For More Information: Amy Gwiazdowski, 202/293-2971, amy AT

The ESOP Association Announces 2014 Silver ESOP Award Recipients

April 16, 2014 (Washington, DC) – The ESOP Association has presented 45 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 2014.

This is the seventh 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; and in 2013, 26 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 these 45 ESOP companies with the 2014 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.”

2014 Silver ESOP Award Recipients:

Accutrex Products, Inc., Canonsburg, PA

AGM Container Controls, Inc., Tucson, AZ

Allen Insurance and Financial, Camden, ME

American Technical Publishers, Inc., Orland Park, IL

Atlantic Track & Turnout Company, Bloomfield, IN

Avery W. Hall Insurance Agency, Inc., Salisbury, MD

Chesapeake Financial Shares, Inc., Kilmarnock, VA

Citizens Telephone Company of Higginsville, Higginsville, MO

Cleaves-Bessmer-Marietti, Inc., Kansas City, MO

Delta Star, Inc., Lynchburg, VA

Diversified Industrial Capital Group, Inc., Cincinnati, OH

ESOP Services, Inc., Scottsville, VA

Financial Corp. of LA, Crowley, LA

First Citizens Bankshares, Waxahachie, TX

Floturn, Inc., Fairfield, OH

H & G Sales, Inc., Saint Louis, MO

Harps Food Stores, Springdale, AR

Houchens Industries, Inc., Bowling Green, KY

J. F. White Contracting Company, Framingham, MA

Johnson Supply, Houston, TX

Leighton Enterprises, Inc., Saint Cloud, MN

Mattern & Craig, Inc., Roanoke, VA

McBride & Son Companies, Inc., Chesterfield, MO

McGarvin-Moberly Construction Company, Worland, WY

Morley Builders, Santa Monica, CA

Morrow Insurance Agency, Inc., Hendersonville, NC

Moss Engineering Corp., Fort Wayne, IN

National Wire & Cable Corporation, Los Angeles, CA

NCM Associates, Inc., Shawnee Mission, KS

Newton Manufacturing Company, Newton, IA

NTH Consultants, Ltd., Northville, MI

Ollis & Company, Springfield, MO

ParEn, Inc. Dba Park Engineering, Honolulu, HI

Physical Sciences Inc., Andover, MA

Plastic Products Company, Inc., Lindstrom, MN

Pleune Service Company, Grand Rapids, MI

SC2 Inc., Peoria, IL

Scicom Data Services, Minnetonka, MN

SECHAN Electronics, Inc., Lititz, PA

Southeast Power Systems, Inc., Orlando, FL

SPS Companies, Inc., Minneapolis, MN

The Bank NA, McAlester, OK

Tunnell Consulting, Inc., King of Prussia, PA

Unette Corporation, Randolph, NJ

Vigo Coal Company, Inc., Evansville, IN

All 312 Silver ESOP Award recipients will be honored at The ESOP Association’s Annual Conference in May (May 8 – 9, 2014) and highlighted at the 23rd Annual Awards Ceremony held on the evening of May 7th.


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 –

Filed under: Silver ESOP Awards, TEA Members, ,

2014 AACE Award Winners

The ESOP Association is pleased to announce the 2014 AACE Award winners. You can view a complete list of AACE Award winners here.

Congratulations to all of the 2014 winners!


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

Annual Awards Ceremony to Honor AACE Award Winners

Will you be joining us for the 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC on May 8th and 9th this year? If so, don’t forget about the Awards Ceremony on the evening of May 7th. Each registrant for the 37th Annual Conference is entitled to one ticket to the Awards Ceremony; the ticket price is included in the registration fee.  In advance of the 2014 Awards Ceremony, we thought we’d take a look back at the 2013 AACE Award winners.

During the last week of March, the AACE Awards judging will take place and the 2014 winners will be announced in April on the Association’s website and in the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association.

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

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. Named 2014 Better Workplace Award Winner

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) located in Pullman, WA, received a 2014 Better Workplace Award from the Association of Washington Business (AWB). Pictured: Stacey Doty, SEL Director of Human Resources and Luis D’Acosta, SEL Chief Operating Officer accept the 2014 AWB Better Workplace Award.

SEL Accepts AWB Award

AWB’s Annual Better Workplace Awards recognize member companies that provide a family-friendly work environment, promote safety, and enable employees to achieve their best. Awards are presented to companies that demonstrate innovation in workplace safety, job training and advancement, and benefit and compensation programs.

SEL received the award in the Innovative Benefits/Compensation category and was selected based on the company’s imaginative employee benefits, including the decision to locate a new manufacturing facility closer to where the employees live and the soon-to-open employee child-care center. In addition to SEL’s ESOP, the company also offers an on-site health center staffed with an advanced nurse practitioner, and a wellness program complete with a workout facility and trained staff. The company also offers monthly education benefits and adoption assistance, in addition to more traditional benefits, such as healthcare insurance, paid personal leave, a 401(k) retirement savings plan, and others.

“It’s exciting to be recognized for the Innovative Benefits/Compensation award,” said Stacey Doty, director of Human Resources. “We strive to provide exceptional benefits, and this award acknowledges that others see value in what we are doing, and that makes us proud.”

SEL was among five companies to receive an award from AWB, which is recognized as Washington’s state chamber of commerce, manufacturing, and technology association, and represents 8,100 private employers from across the state.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Member Services, TEA Members, ,

Carl Warren & Company Celebrates 70 Years

Carl Warren & Company, located in Placentia, CA, recently celebrated its 70th anniversary. To help kickoff the celebration, former Congressman, Joe Baca, stopped by the company’s office to join the employee owners in celebrating. Pictured: Caryn Siebert, President/CEO, Carl Warren & Company and former Congressman Joe Baca.

Carl Warren - Caryn and Joe Baca1And in More Carl Warren News…

On March 7, 2014 the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) announced finalists for the 2014 CLM Professionals of the Year Award. Caryn Siebert, President and CEO of Carl Warren & Company was named as a finalist in the category of Claims Management. Finalists were chosen based on their commitment to the profession, leadership in the industry and contribution to the success of their company or clients. Ms. Siebert is a long-time ESOP Association member and Carl Warren & Company was named the ESOP Company of the Year in 2013.  CLM Award winners will be announced in April at the CLM Annual Conference in Florida.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Member Services, TEA Members, ,

Congressman Ron Kind Visits ESOP Company, W.A. Roosevelt

On February 13, 2014, Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) was on site to visit W.A. Roosevelt in La Crosse, WI. Congressman Kind spent an hour at the company meeting employee owners and spending time with members from the company’s ESOP committee. W.A. Roosevelt is a leading distributor of quality plumbing, electric, refrigeration, and heating and air conditioning equipment & supplies.  W.A. Roosevelt is a division of Dakota Supply Group, a member of The ESOP Association.

Kind WA Roosevelt 1

Kind WA Roosevelt 2

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Government Affairs, Member Services, TEA Members, , , ,

ESOP Company News

We thought we’d share news from our members this week. To start this week off, a note from ESOP Association member, Hypertherm.

In January 2014, Hypertherm, Inc. announced its transition from being a minority owned ESOP to a 100% associate-owned ESOP.  King Arthur Flour, a neighboring 100% employee-owned ESOP, sent us a token of congratulations. See below.

KAF Photo

The Associates at Hypertherm thank our friends at King Arthur Flour – Your company and its employee owners are a class act!

Thanks to Carey Chen, VP / GM – Light Industrial Businesses & CIO of Hypertherm, Inc. for sharing this news with us. And, congratulations to the employee owners of Hypertherm!

If you have company news to share, please send an email to media AT with information and photos. We’ll include as many member posts as we can.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Member Services, TEA Members, , ,

February 2014 ESOP Report Newsletter

The February 2014 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.


Filed under: Member Services, Publication, TEA Members, , ,

Guest Post: Benchmarking Limits of Liability

Benchmarking Limits of Liability: A Greater Percentage of ESOP Companies are Purchasing Higher Limits of Liability

Jeff Gelburd 4x5By: Jeffrey S. Gelburd, Vice President of Murray Securus, Lancaster, PA

It has been a little over five years that we had researched our affinity program database to report on the limits of liability being purchased by ESOP Association members for their executive liability insurance. As a result, we have prepared this update to determine if purchasing habits have changed among the over 240 members in this program.

For background purposes, this affinity program offers members the ability to purchase Director’s and Officer’s Liability (D&O), Fiduciary Liability, Employment Practices Liability (EPL), Crime and Cyber Liability on a group basis thereby providing members with more competitive policy premiums and coverage terms than if they were purchasing this protection by themselves in the traditional marketplace. The program is underwritten for Association members on an exclusive basis by Great American Insurance Company and is endorsed by the Association.

In this article, we will compare the policy limits of liability for ESOP Association members are purchasing based on (i) corporate asset size and (ii) employee count for the D&O, Fiduciary and EPL. Typically, the D&O, Fiduciary and EPL coverages can be purchased under one policy. The criteria of corporate assets and employee count is normally how insurance company underwriters base their premiums. Also, these benchmarks are sometimes used by policyholders when comparing themselves to other ESOP companies.

Shared Vs. Separate Policy Limits:

Before we discuss the results of our benchmarking study, it is important to note that ESOP companies generally are able to purchase their policy with limits being either “shared” or “separate” for the D&O, Fiduciary and EPL coverages. A policy limit that is “shared” involves the coverage or limit spread among the three aforementioned coverage types. So a claim payment involving one coverage of the policy would reduce the policy limit available to pay potential future claims involving the other two coverages. Policy premiums are typically lower if coverage is purchased on a “shared” basis. Having a policy with “separate” limits means that a separate limit applies to each of the three coverages independently.

Our observations from this study indicates ESOP companies are purchasing (i) higher limits of liability than they were five years ago and (ii) a greater percentage are purchasing “separate” limits rather than having the limits “shared” among the three coverages. Our 2008 study concluded that only 13% of the ESOP companies purchased “separate” limits of liability.

Today, 56% of ESOP companies are purchasing “separate” limits of liability!

Thus, more ESOP companies than ever before are spending a little more premium for the better protection.

Comparing Policy Limits of Liability Based On Corporate Asset Size:

For our benchmarking analysis, we divided the Association members purchasing these coverages into three categories based upon the size of their corporate assets. The categories are:

Category I       Corporate Assets less than $10MM

Category II      Corporate Assets between $10MM to $50MM

Category III     Corporate Assets over $50MM

Of the approximate 200 or so companies whose data was analyzed, about 51% were companies in Category I.  Another 44% in Category II and 6% in Category III. Here is what we found out:

The average amount of policy limit for ESOP companies in Category I is $1.73MM, or rounded up, $2MM. Some 51% of ESOP companies in this category maintain limits of $1MM while 44 % carry $2MM or more.

The average policy limit for ESOP companies in Category II is $2.45MM with 40% of ESOP companies in this category having a $1MM policy limit. Approximately 60% have limits at least $2MM or greater. Of this 60% roughly two thirds of ESOP companies have limits in the $3MM to $5MM range.

We noticed those ESOP companies in Category III are companies that have their policy limits set as high as $15MM. Also, the overall average limit for companies in this category are $5.40MM with 67% in this Category having limits between $3-5MM.

As you might expect, as the size of the company’s assets increased, so did the limits of liability being purchased. Compared to the similar study completed over five years ago, higher limits of liability are being purchased by ESOP companies representing Category III ($3.8MM average limit five years ago to today’s average of $5.40MM)and slightly higher limits for those in Categories I and II.

Comparing Policy Limits of Liability Based on Employee Count:

Because many of ESOP companies purchase Employment Practices Liability (EPL) as part of their policy package, employee count is often a valid criteria for comparing policy limits. From a Fiduciary Liability standpoint, employee count may also be useful for benchmarking purposes as it relates to the number of active plan participants.

For this comparison, we used a total of four (4) categories of TEA members in this study. They are:

Category I       Employee Count less than 50

Category II      Employee Count of 50-100

Category III     Employee Count of 100-250

Category IV     Over 250 Employees

The majority (55%) of ESOP companies in our group have 100 employees or less.

Like with what we saw in our corporate asset comparison, those ESOP companies having higher employee counts purchase higher limits of liability.

ESOP companies having 100 or less employees (Categories I and II) carry an average of $1.8MM limit. Approximately 60% of ESOP companies in this category carry $1MM limits and roughly 27% carry $2MM.

Those ESOP companies with 100-250 employee count, Category III, have an average policy limit of $2.5MM while 41% of this group carry limits of between $3-5MM.

ESOP companies with more than 250 employees, Category IV, carry an average limit of $3.4MM. A convincing 80% of this group carry limits of between $3-5MM.

ESOP Companies Represent a Variety of Industries:

In general, ESOP companies participating in this affinity program range from small to large, all are privately held, represent many different types of industries and are domiciled in almost all of the fifty states. Not surprising, the majority of the policyholders are made up of professional type firms (engineering, architectural, environmental, financial, healthcare and insurance). This group represents roughly 46% of the policyholders. Manufacturing/Distribution represent 24% of the group. Roughly 13% are in the Construction and Transportation sector. Media/Communications and Retail represent 10% and 7 % respectively.

Some final thoughts to share is when considering what limit of liability to purchase, keep in mind that defense costs (legal fees) paid on a covered claim will erode the policy limit of liability. Legal fees to defend a claim can exceed $500,000 and even beyond $1,000,000. In addition to corporate asset size and employee count, consider whether your policy “shares” the limit with the other coverages offered by the policy ( see above explanation)or on a “separate” basis. Also consider whether your policy also insures other retirement plans like a 401(k) and the percentage ownership of your ESOP of the company. The higher percentage of employee ownership, the great the potential of a significant size claim.

The author, Jeffrey S. Gelburd is Vice President of Murray Securus (an ESOP company) which administers the Executive Liability Insurance Program endorsed by The ESOP Association. This Program marks its 25th anniversary in 2014. The author would like to acknowledge appreciation to the Association for their support, the underwriting partners at Great American Insurance Company who provide this protection, the ESOP professionals who offer advice and counsel and to the over 200 Association members that participate in this affinity program. He can be reached at jgelburd AT or 717-620-2476.


Filed under: Member Services, TEA Members,

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