The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

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

Employee Ownership Foundation Meets Goal…and Goes Even Higher!

FoundationThe trustees of the Employee Ownership Foundation set of goal of raising $125,000 at the 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show. This year, the Employee Ownership Foundation raised $133,000 to support the ongoing programs of the Foundation — going above and beyond the goal!

“A sincere thank you to all those who supported, and continue to support, the Foundation. You are helping to further the cause of employee ownership in America,” J. Michael Keeling, president of the Employee Ownership Foundation.

The Employee Ownership Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible. There is still time to donate in 2014 and make a difference in the employee ownership community. For more information:

Gwenn and Duff - ref goal 1

Employee Ownership Foundation Lunch Video

The video that was shown at the Employee Ownership Foundation Lunch at the Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show that highlighted the work of the Foundation and media coverage of the book, The Citizen’s Share, is below.

Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation

ESOP Experts 2015 Listings

Do you have an ESOP dilemma?

Are you an ESOP Expert?

The answers are in the ESOP Experts Online Directory! The ESOP Experts Online Directory is an easy-to-use, category-by-category listing of specialized ESOP services offered by Professional Members of The ESOP Association.

Are you an ESOP expert? Market your ESOP specialty. ESOP Experts Brochure 2015! The deadline for 2015 ESOP Experts is January 9, 2015.

ESOP Experts Brochure 2015 COVER

Filed under: Member Services,

ESOP Companies in Minnesota and The Dakotas Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Chapter

Minnesota Dakotas Chapter COLOR logo copyThroughout the month of October, ESOP Association members in the Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter celebrated several milestones. In addition to celebrating Employee Ownership Month, the Chapter also celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The Minnesota/Dakota Chapter includes 114 corporate members and 78 professional members in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and has been serving the employee ownership community in the region for 25 years. The Chapter hosted an event on October 9th to honor those Chapter members whose work has helped the Chapter grow tremendously.

“I’m pleased to note the Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter’s 25th anniversary and the benefits the Chapter has brought to members,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “This is an incredibly active Chapter, with members making personal visits to members of Congress to share the value of employee ownership with their legislators, and this year Chapter members have secured Employee Ownership Month proclamations from the Governors of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. What a great way to celebrate Employee Ownership Month.”

“Minnesota and The Dakotas have a strong legacy in successful ESOPs. Employee ownership not only changes the way we do business, it changes lives. We celebrate our 25 years as a Chapter in The ESOP Association with those who have been with the Chapter from the very beginning and those who are just beginning their ESOP journey. We look forward to many more years of advocacy, friendship, and growth in the ESOP community,” said President of The ESOP Association’s Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter, Missy McManigle.

The Chapter’s celebration was also noted in a blog post by a past Chapter President and ESOP Association member, Steve Sheppard. On his personal blog, Winds of Peace Foundation, Mr. Sheppard noted that the party felt like a homecoming for him and the sense of ownership that people in the room felt for the cause of employee ownership. You can read his post here.

MN Dakotas Chapter Celebration 1 MN Dakotas Chapter Celebration 2

Congratulations to the Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter on 25 years!

Filed under: Chapter News, ,

Employee Ownership Month 2014 Re-Cap (Part 2)

The ESOP Association and its members celebrated Employee Ownership Month (EOM), a tribute to the tremendous spirit of employee ownership, throughout the month of October. Following is a re-cap of events shared with the Association and events shared via social media. We’ll be posting additional stories and photos on The ESOP Association Blog this week. Have EOM info to share? Email:

Harpoon Brewery in Boston, Massachusetts, a new ESOP and new member of The ESOP Association, shared a custom-etched glass with employee owners — cheers to employee ownership! — and talked EOM on the company website.

What Employee Ownership Means to Harpoon Brewery

Harpoon Brewery EOM glasses

M. Griffith Investment Services, Inc. in New Hartford, New York might be a new ESOP but went all out this year. From COO Cathy Cucharale: As a fairly new ESOP company (formed June 2012), we held our very first, month-long national Employee Ownership Month! It was a huge success. Our ESOP Ambassadors put together a great program and we had one of our talented employees draw up all of the icons for each event. The employees enjoyed it so much they are already talking about next year!

M. Griffith Investments Employee Ownership Month 2014

Murray Securus in Lancaster, Pennsylvania invited 2014 Employee Owner of the Year, Steve Earle of MidSouth Building Supply in Springfield, Virginia, to speak to Murray employee owners. Steve also presented Matt Pfeiffenberger of the Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter with the Chapter Employee Owner of the Year Award.

Murray Securus EOM

Newton Manufacturing Company in Newton, Iowa welcomed employee owners with an Appreciation Breakfast and each employee owner was given a mug in celebration of Employee Ownership Month.

Newton Manufacturing EOM 2014 Facebook Post

Recology of San Francisco, California, shared a blog post about their Employee Ownership Month events which include an annual raffle to build employee ownership pride and honoring outstanding employee owners with Employee of the Year Awards.

Recology EOM Blog post

Restek Corporation in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania invited a few local ESOP companies to share their ownership ideas and talk about their companies. Greg Myers and Andy Ferrari of C.S. Davidson Company in York, Pennsylvania shared their company history, history of the company’s ESOP, and how their ESOP Committees are structured. Restek also received a Certificate of Special Recognition from Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA) commemorating October as ESOP Month.

Restek CS Davidson EOM Event 2014 - 2 Restek CS Davidson EOM Event 2014 Restek Toomey Certificate for EOM

Rex-Cut Abrasives in Fall River, Massachusetts, hosted the company’s annual TEAM Day on October 7th to celebrate Employee Ownership Month. James Lamond, the New England Chapter’s Employee Owner of the Year, also received his Chapter Award at the celebration.


TEAM Software in Omaha, Nebraska talked about employee ownership on the company blog.

Team Software EOM 2014

Transitions Group in Wichita, Kansas celebrated Employee Ownership Month with Tailgate Parties in all 10 of the company’s locations. They also held an ESOP 101 course for 30 employee owners at the company’s Wichita location which was videotaped and shared with the other locations.

 Transistions Group EOM

Wiley|Wilson in Lynchburg, Virginia sent out a release announcing the company’s celebration of employee ownership and talked about planned activities.

Wiley Wilson EOM

This is only a glimpse of the celebrations held by members over the last few weeks, and by all accounts, it was a successful EOM 2014! If you have a story to share, we’d love to hear it. Email us:

Filed under: Employee Ownership Message,

Employee Ownership Month 2014 Re-Cap (Part 1)

The ESOP Association and its members celebrated Employee Ownership Month (EOM), a tribute to the tremendous spirit of employee ownership, throughout the month of October. Following is a re-cap of events shared with the Association and events shared via social media. We’ll be posting additional stories and photos on The ESOP Association Blog this week. Have EOM info to share? Email:

Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana held a spaghetti cook-off on the company’s campus. The company holds cook-offs every October, and this year not only featured a cook-off, but other events to celebrate the employee owners.

 Acadian Ambulance Celebrates it's Employee-Owners

AdWorkshop in Lake Placid, New York talked EOM on the company’s website.

AdWorkShop EOM 2014

Apache Inc. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa invited employee owners in the Cedar Rapids location to participate in a pumpkin decorating contest. They also shared photos from the dessert bake-off on the company’s Facebook page.

Apache EOM 2014 Facebook Post

Apache EOM 2014 Facebook Post - 2

Apache 2014 EOM Facebook EOM photos

Big G Express in Nashville, Tennessee shared a company video on what employee ownership means to employee owners.

Burns and McDonnell in Kansas City, Missouri posted a photo of their growing number of employee owners on Facebook and talked about EOM on the company blog.

Burns and McDonnell FB post

Burns and McDonnell Co Blog post.JPG

Chatsworth Products in Westlake Village, California noted it was Employee Ownership Month on the company website.

 Chatsworth EOM 2014

Cirtronics’s ESOP Committee hosted a fun game of Wheel of Fortune, ESOP was the topic of course, which they shared via Facebook. Cirtronics is located in Milford, New Hampshire.

 Cirtronics ESOP of Fortune game  FB post


Cirtronics ESOP of Fortune game  FB post - 2

Entertainment Partners in Burbank, California, the winner of the 2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest, added the poster to their Facebook header.

Entertainment Partners EOM 2014 Facebook Post

First National Bank of Bemidji (FNBB) located in Bemidji, Minnesota sent in the following: Aloha! First National Bank of Bemidji has been employee owned since 1985, and since 2006, FNBB has chosen a week in October to celebrate employee ownership. The ESOP Communications Committee began planning this year’s celebration in August, and planned a week’s worth of games, food, and ESOP education for all employee owners. The theme for the celebration was, “Hawaiian Luau.” Not only did employee owners get involved in the celebration and fun events; they took every opportunity to discuss employee ownership with customers as well. The “I’m an Owner” nametags spurred many of these conversations, as well as the Hawaiian apparel that employees were wearing all week.


FNBB’s ESOP Week Celebration began on October 2nd with a kick-off meeting to share all of the events planned for the following week. The bank’s ESOP administrative committee members and communications committee members participated in a wacky tourist relay, and “The Bank (Beach) Boys” performed, “Surfin’ USA.”


The events held during ESOP Week included luau-themed games in our courtyard, a pig roast for our luau lunch, a Hawaiian food/baking contest, and ESOP trivia. The fun-filled week concluded with performances from each department, where employees had to incorporate both ESOP and one of the Hawaiian Islands into a performance about ESOP/retirement. As usual, creativity exceeded expectations, and employees revealed some hidden talents! It was another successful year of celebrating and promoting employee ownership!

First National Bank of Bimidji 12 First National Bank of Bimidji 11 First National Bank of Bimidji 10 First National Bank of Bimidji 9 First National Bank of Bimidji 8 First National Bank of Bimidji 7 First National Bank of Bimidji 6 First National Bank of Bimidji 5 First National Bank of Bimidji 4 First National Bank of Bimidji 3 First National Bank of Bimidji 2 First National Bank of Bimidji 1

Garney Construction in Kansas City, Missouri announced Employee Ownership Month on the company website.

Garney Construction EOM 2014

Gripnail Corporation in East Providence, Rhode Island shared some brew from a new ESOP friend, quizzed employee owners, and contributed to the local food bank. From CEO of Gripnail, Chris Ryding: We hoisted Harpoon beer in honor of a New England company joining our ranks. (Notice all the tops are still on; drinking begins at home!) Yes, that’s me in the Jimmy Buffet shark fin hat. Employee owners worked hard on the Gripnail ESOP quiz and Gripnail employees contributed $300 in cash and four boxes of food to the RI Food Bank; delivered by the employees whose team won the quiz! Gripnail matched the employees’ contribution, and the Food Bank corporate donors matched our combined donation — win, win, win!

Gripnail 1 Gripnail 2 Gripnail 3 Gripnail 4 Gripnail 5 Gripnail 6 - Happy Halloween From Gripnail

Tomorrow, part 2 of EOM 2014!

Filed under: Employee Ownership Month (EOM),

Highlights from the Las Vegas Conference

Before we all take a break to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we wanted to share some photos from this year’s 2014 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show. Enjoy, and if you joined us at the Conference, we’d love to see your photos too!

Take a look at our 2014 Las Vegas Conference Flickr album.


Filed under: Conference Information,

November 2014 ESOP Report is Available

The November 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: Publication, ,

Employee Ownership Foundation Lunch Video

We wanted to share with our readers a video that debuted at The ESOP Association’s Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show last week. The following video aired at the Employee Ownership Foundation Luncheon held on Thursday, November 13, 2014 and highlights a few of the Foundation’s projects in 2014 as well as media coverage of the book, The Citizen’s Share by Dr. Joseph Blasi, Dr. Richard Freeman, and Dr. Douglas Kruse.


Filed under: Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Message, , ,

ESOP Association Lunch

esop-slide-template - 2014 Vegas Conference

Today’s ESOP Association Lunch will feature a government affairs update by ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling: 2014 Congressional Elections.

Lunch details:

Friday, November 14

12:15 pm – 1:45pm

Palace Ballroom

Join us and find out how ESOP advocates fared in the recent election.

Filed under: Conference Information,

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