The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

Ideas to jump start Employee Ownership Month

EPEOM2014emailsmallEmployee Ownership Month presents an excellent opportunity to tell your company’s ESOP story to anyone who will listen. Employee owners, elected officials, and members of the media are all potential audiences.

Remember, one size does not fit all. What may work for one company may not be the best idea for your company. To help get you started, we’ve included a list below to help brainstorm ideas for this year’s Employee Ownership Month celebrations.

  • Parties
  • Company picnics
  • Brown-bag lunches
  • Ribbon cutting ceremonies
  • Mock game shows
  • Theme days
  • Roundtable discussions with your local Chamber of Commerce or other local membership organizations such as the Rotary Club
  • Award ceremonies
  • Treating employees to a special event
  • Auctions/silent auctions
  • Q & A session with the CEO, plan trustee, or ESOP administrator
  • Team building activities
  • Create a display of Employee Ownership Month posters for your facility
  • Hold an in-house Employee Ownership Month poster contest
  • Charity/donation program to build employee ownership spirit such as a food drive
  • Open house event(s) featuring ESOP/employee ownership theme
  • Vesting ceremonies
  • Special guest speakers such as a member of Congress
  • Secure a proclamation from your local elected officials

Don’t forget to share your stories with the Association, We just might feature your company’s event here on the blog!

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message,

Employee Ownership Month — the Story of ESOPs

The ESOP Association sent out the following release this morning announcing the start of Employee Ownership Month 2014.

For Immediate Release: October 1, 2014

Employee Ownership Month — the Story of ESOPs

Month-long Celebration Begins October 1st

 October 1, 2014 (Washington, DC) – The ESOP Association and its members will celebrate Employee Ownership Month, a tribute to the tremendous spirit of employee ownership, throughout the month of October.

Employee Ownership Month is an opportunity for ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) companies across the nation to educate employee owners, the public, and government officials about the undeniable benefits of employee ownership for employees, their companies, the communities they are a part of, and the nation. For more information about Employee Ownership Month, please visit:

“I’m pleased to announce the start of Employee Ownership Month 2014 and am looking forward to a month of celebrations with our members,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “For over 20 years, our members, and the ESOP community, have been working to promote employee ownership and its benefits every day. During this month, we will celebrate contributions to making ownership ‘real’ for employee owners and ESOP companies across the nation.”

To view additional comments by Mr. Keeling on Employee Ownership Month, click below.


Employee ownership facts:

  • There are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., covering 10.3 million employees (approximately 10% of the private sector workforce).
  • The 23rd Annual Economic Performance Survey conducted in 2014 by the Employee Ownership Foundation found:
  • 93% of survey respondents reported that creating employee ownership through an ESOP was ‘a good business decision that has helped the company.’
  • 70% indicated revenue increased
  • 64% of companies indicated they have created an ESOP education program or ESOP advisory committee since establishing the ESOP.
  • 76% of respondents indicated the ESOP positively affected the overall productivity of the employees.


Filed under: Employee Ownership Month (EOM)

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

NEW EDITION: ESOP Administration Handbook

The ESOP Association’s Advisory Committee on Administration has released an updated edition of the ESOP Administration Handbook. Order your 2014 Edition today; includes book and flash drive.

Designed as an overview and checklist of the entire administration process, this handbook is invaluable to:

  • In-House Administrators
  • Administrative Committee Members
  • Officers & Management Personnel Responsible for Administration of their Company’s ESOP
  • Service Providers in the ESOP Administration Area

Separate chapters are devoted to:

  • Disclosure Requirements
  • Participation & Coverage
  • Contributions & Dividends
  • ERISA Reporting
  • Diversification Requirements
  • Distributions
  • 401(k) Arrangements & ESOPs
  • ESOPs Sponsored by S Corporations

Members $150 + s&h • Non-Members $400 + s&h

Order: Online, click on “ESOP Store”

Phone toll free 1 (866) 366-3832 • Email

AdminHdbk COVER Artwork 2014

Filed under: Publication,

AACE Awards — A few Interesting Facts about the Program

esopaacedarkerIn doing some historical research into the AACE Awards program this summer, ESOP Association staff came across some interesting facts. First, a bit of background on the AACE program. The AACE Awards are sponsored each year by the Association to recognize the outstanding communications and educational programs of its members. The AACE Awards are presented each year at the Association’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC to companies who have excelled in communicating the ESOP 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.

Additional information about the AACE Awards program, including the program brochure (the 2015 AACE Awards brochure will be available in the coming months), tips on winning, and a list of the 2014 winners, can be found here.  AACE Awards videos can be found on the Association’s YouTube Channel as well.  If you have questions concerning the AACE program, please contact Pat Barnes at (304) 876-3624 or by email at patbarnesart AT

Starting with 1992, as far back as staff were able to trace records, 214 ESOP companies have entered the AACE program. Breaking the numbers down by Chapter, the New England Chapter leads the way with 27 entries. The full breakdown: New England (27); Mid-Atlantic (22); California/Western States (21); Ohio/Kentucky (20); Minnesota/Dakotas (15); Southwest (14); New South (12); Pennsylvania/Delaware (11); Carolinas (10); Iowa/Nebraska (9); Heart of America (8); Illinois (8); New York/New Jersey (8); Wisconsin (6); Northwest (5); Indiana (4); Michigan (4); Hawaii (1).

According to information available in the Association’s database:

  • The majority of companies entering AACE have less than 250 employees
  • Average ESOP % of companies entering AACE is 71.77%
  • 72 of the 214 companies that have entered AACE are 100%
  • Average year the ESOP was established for companies entering AACE is 1994
  • Average year the company was established for companies entering AACE is 1962

Totaling up the companies with the most entries and wins:

  • The company that has entered the most number of times is ComSonics, Inc. (Harrisonburg, VA) with 15 entries since 1992. They have won nine AACE awards and nine runner up awards.
  • Company with the most wins overall is Burns & McDonnell (Kansas City, MO) with 10. As a side note, Burns & McDonnell has entered 10 times and won an AACE Awards every time they have entered; including 3 runner up awards.

Does your company have an ESOP education committee? Take a look around and see what your company has to offer. You might just be the next AACE Award winner. The ESOP Association works to promote the best and brightest throughout the ESOP community. Help us show off your company’s hard work.

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence

October is Employee Ownership Month; Download Your Press & Event Planning Kit

October is almost here…are you ready for Employee Ownership Month? You still have time and we have the resources! Download your copy of the 2014 Press & Event Planning Kit today.

A link to the Kit can be found on the Employee Ownership Month page.

Employee Ownership Month is a celebration of the incredible spirit of employee ownership and an opportunity to educate employee owners about the tremendous benefits of ESOPs. It’s also an opportunity to educate the public, elected officials, and the media as to why employee ownership through ESOPs is good public policy.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories from ESOP Association members and highlighting Employee Ownership Month celebration stories from across the nation. If you would like to submit stories and photos of your celebrations, please send an email to We look forward to hearing your Employee Ownership Month stories.

Employee Ownership Month (2)

Filed under: Employee Ownership Month (EOM)

September 2014 ESOP Report

The September 2014 ESOP Report is now available for members. To access this month’s issue, you’ll need to sign into The ESOP Association’s 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,

Release: ESOP Companies Report Economic Growth in 2013

We normally don’t post more than once a day but we wanted to share this release sent out by the Employee Ownership Foundation today announcing the results of the 23rd Annual Economic Performance Survey.

FoundationFor Immediate Release: September 15, 2014

ESOP Companies Report Economic Growth in 2013

September 15, 2014 (Washington, DC) – Results from the Employee Ownership Foundation’s 23rd Annual Economic Performance Survey of ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) companies show that ESOPs continue to see increased economic growth. Additionally, ESOP companies continue to have increased share value, report high productivity among employee owners, and have overwhelming support for the ESOP among leaders of the companies, according to the results of this 2014 survey which was conducted among members of The ESOP Association in the summer of 2014.

Since the Employee Ownership Foundation’s annual economic survey began 23 years ago, a very high percentage, 93% of survey respondents, have consistently agreed that creating employee ownership through an ESOP was “a good business decision that has helped the company.” It should be noted that this figure has been over 85% for the last 14 years the survey has been conducted. In addition, 76% of respondents indicated the ESOP positively affected the overall productivity of the employee owners. In terms of revenue and profitability — 70% of respondents noted that revenue increased and 64% of respondents reported that profitability increased. In terms of stock value, the majority of respondents, 80%, stated the company’s stock value increased as determined by outside independent valuations; 18% of the respondents reported a decline in share value; 2% reported no change. The survey also asked respondents what year the ESOP was established. Among those responding to this survey, the average age of the ESOP was 16 years with the average year for establishment being 1998.

“As we’ve said before, research proves that ESOPs, and companies with other forms of broad-based employee ownership, provide more sustainable employment for U.S. workers,” said Employee Ownership Foundation President, J. Michael Keeling. “Our national leaders need to take note, step up, and encourage broad-based inclusive capitalism and increase employee ownership to ensure sustainable employment and more income for average pay employee owners. It’s the best jobs policy we have in this country.”

The survey asked companies to indicate their performance in 2013 relative to 2012:

  • 65% indicated a better performance; 21% indicated a worse performance; and 14% indicated a nearly identical performance to the previous year
  • 70% indicated revenue increased; 30% indicated revenue decreased
  • 64% indicated profitability increased; 36% indicated profitability decreased
  • 64% of companies have created an ESOP education program or ESOP advisory committee since establishing the ESOP

The 2014 Economic Performance Survey was distributed by the Employee Ownership Foundation to The ESOP Association’s 1,500+ members in June 2014. The results are based on 503 responses, a 34% response rate.


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 –

Filed under: Economic Performance, Employee Ownership Foundation, Retirement Issues,

2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show

esop-slide-template - 2014 Vegas Conference

The ESOP Association’s 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show, November 13th & 14th at Caesars Palace is shaping up to be a program that anyone who deals with the technical side of an ESOP should attend!

  • The Friday lunch will focus on “How will the Mid-Term Elections Impact ESOPS in the Congressional Tax Committee and Tax Reform; at the Department of Labor?”
  • This year the agenda will have over 70 sessions to choose from.
  • Great networking opportunities at the opening night reception and tradeshow.
  • An entire track dedicated to “ESOP Trustees.”
  • A Chance to win great exhibitor prizes at the Friday Lunch.

Click for all things Vegas.

Hotel rooms are going quickly so make your hotel reservation soon.

Booths are still available. If you are interested in exhibiting please contact Rosemary Clements at The ESOP Association at rose AT or by calling 202-293-2971 for booth availability.

By clicking HERE you may do on-line registration or download a copy of the registration form to complete and return to The ESOP Association.

 Hope to see you in November!!

“The ESOP Association: Where the ESOP Community Meets” 

Filed under: Conference Information,

Senator Mitch McConnell’s Welcome to Chapter Conference Attendees

Recently, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) welcomed attendees to the 2014 Annual Tri-State ESOP Conference – Ohio/Kentucky and Indiana Chapters of The ESOP Association – taking place in Louisville, KY on August 27, 2014. We thought we’d share his video remarks with readers.

Filed under: Government Affairs, , ,

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