The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

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, ,

ESOP Company News – December 2014

ASU Group Celebrates Employee Ownership Month

The ASU Group in Okemos, Michigan joined the ESOP community in celebrating Employee Ownership Month this year. From ASU employee owner, Theresa Cooper: “The ASU Group held weekly events to celebrate ESOP month and honor employee owners this past October. Events included a photo caption contest (winning caption below) and an ESOP themed crossword puzzle on our intranet. Also, every employee owner received a large Hershey’s chocolate bar with a special ESOP candy-wrapper.”

Thanks to Theresa Cooper for sharing information on ASU’s Employee Ownership Month celebration.

ASU Group ESOP Photo caption winner 2014 d

C.S. Davidson Holds an ESOP Appreciation Lunch and Meets with Congressman Scott Perry

C.S. Davidson of York, Pennsylvania held an ESOP Appreciation Lunch. From employee owner, Greg Myers: “Attached is a photo from our ESOP Appreciation Lunch held at C.S. Davidson on 10/31/14. In the photo from left to right are: Greg Myers, Congressman Scott Perry, and John A. Klinedinst, CEO of CSD. Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA) delivered a letter of congratulations and spoke to our employee group after joining us for lunch. Mike Shuey from Restek also did a presentation about his company and their ESOP culture.”

Thanks for Greg Myers for sharing the photo with the Association.

CS Davidson

Have ESOP company news to share? Send email to media AT

Filed under: Member Services, TEA Members, ,

AACE Awards 2015

ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling, talks about the 2015 AACE Awards (Annual Awards for Communications Excellence) program, why all Association members should enter, and the importance of the program for the employee ownership culture community.

2015 Entry Deadline: February 17, 2015

More info on the AACE Awards.

Photos of AACE Award entries.


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

ESOP COMPANY NEWS – November 2014 Wrap-Up

AFCO Industries Meets with Congressman Cassidy

Dr. Bill Cassidy, the Republican Congressman from the 6th District of Louisiana, recently visited AFCO Industries in Alexandria, Louisiana. Dr. Cassidy was interested in learning more about employee-owned companies. After a plant tour, Dr. Cassidy met with the management staff and fielded questions regarding “S” Corporation status and the effect of potential tax reform. Dr. Cassidy stated that he saw a strong entrepreneurial spirt among the employees and particularly liked the term “employee owners.”

 Afco - Bill Cassidy event

Vance Metal Fabricators Meets with Congressman Reed

Vance Metal Fabricators, located in Geneva, New York, recently welcomed Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY), only the second politician the company has welcomed, the first being Teddy Roosevelt in 1900, noted Joe Hennessy, the President of Vance. Congressman Aaron Schock (R) of Illinois joined Congressman Reed at the visit. Both Reed and Schock are members of the House Ways and Means Committee and stated their interest in helping businesses.

Mr. Hennessy shared an article that ran in the Finger Lakes Times about the Congressmen’s visit with the Association and noted: “We had a valuable discussion about the merits of employee-owned businesses and I believe they are on our side.”

Vance Metal - Reed Visit

If you have ESOP company news to share with The ESOP Association, please send an email to

Filed under: Member Services, TEA Members

October 2014 ESOP Company News

Senator Burr Visits with Carolinas Chapter Members

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr (R) met with Carolinas Chapter members at the Chapter’s ESOP U Summer Conference held at the Pinehurst Resort on August 14, 2014. Senator Burr spoke for about an hour about the economy, tax reform, energy independence and a thirty year road map to national fiscal independence. This was followed by a Q & A session with no subject off limits. The Carolina’s Chapter wishes to thank the Senator and his staff for taking time to speak at the event which enjoyed record attendance.


Carl Warren & Company Named to Inc. 5,000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies

Carl Warren & Company, located in Placentia, California, has been recognized on Inc. Magazine’s annual 5,000 list, based on a significant 68% growth rate over the past three years. Carl Warren & Company ranks No. 52 for the top insurance firms and No. 4196 overall.

As stated by Carl Warren’s CEO, Caryn Siebert, “Inc. Magazine’s announcement comes this year as we are celebrating our 70th anniversary. This prestigious honor and the success of our company is a direct result of the hard work of our employee-owners, as well as the loyalty and support of our clients and partners. We are focused on the future and are attentive to marketplace needs as we expand and enhance our services.”

Filed under: TEA Members,

September 2014 ESOP Company News

We thought we’d share a few member highlights from September.

Wisconsin Chapter Members Visit Congressman Paul Ryan

During The ESOP Association’s 2014 Annual Conference in Washington, DC, members of the Wisconsin Chapter visited Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and their staff. This was the Chapter’s sixth annual organized effort as a Chapter, and members made a total of six visits. At right is a photo of Wisconsin Chapter members with Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

 WI Chapter - 2014 Cong Ryan Visit

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.’s Lewiston Location Hosts Visit with Senator Mike Crapo

The employee owners of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) shared their perspectives on employee ownership with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, when he visited the company’s manufacturing facility in Lewiston, Idaho in August 2014. He toured the manufacturing floor, learned about SEL and the products and services it provides for power systems around the world, and spoke with some of the 230 employee owners about the company’s ESOP. Senior Operations Manager Dave Strerath praised the retirement benefits afforded by the ESOP. Senator Crapo indicated his strong support for ESOPs and suggested that more businesses should follow the model. SEL Lewiston recently doubled the size of the manufacturing facility to 245,000 square feet. The plant specializes in producing high-quality relays, data cables, voltage regulator controllers, and plastic parts. Thanks to SEL’s Larry Camm for sharing the news.


Restek Corporation Visits with Congressman Glenn Thompson

On August 15, 2014, the employee owners of Restek Corporation in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania held a visit with Congressman Glenn Thompson (D-PA) to discuss the pro-ESOP bill, H.R. 4837. According to Restek employee owner, Mike Shuey, “Our meeting with Congressman Thompson was excellent. He co-sponsored the previous bill and is a co-sponsor of H.R. 2041 so he gave us his word he’ll get on this when he gets back to DC. Congressman Thompson is a true ESOP advocate and we greatly appreciate his support!” Thanks to Mike Shuey for sharing the news.

Restek Thompson Visit - 20140815_121214_resized

Filed under: Member Services, TEA Members

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