Employee Ownership Month 2012 — The Re-Cap

Employee Ownership Month 2012 was a great month for ESOP Association members. Below are a few of the stories they shared with us this year. Enjoy!

Webb Landscape, Inc. — The employee owners of Webb Landscape, Inc., in Bellevue, ID, organized the 1st Annual ESOP Appreciation Month Bowling Party on October 20th. It’s an event meant to get ESOP companies together to network, exchange ideas, and socialize with other employee owners in the Twin Falls area.

Adworkshop — Adworkshop, located in Lake Placid, NY, celebrated its 5th anniversary as an ESOP during Employee Ownership Month. To commemorate this milestone, Adworkshop’s 30 employee owners participated in ESOP education and community minded activities focused on supporting local thrift stores and food pantries preparing for the holiday season. A month of activities, community outreach, and ESOP education took place, as well as planning for an “Adirondack Safari – Employees Gone Wild,” featuring a scavenger hunt and photo contest. From Adworkshop’s Facebook page: Stay tuned! During October, in celebration of National ESOP month, the Adworkshop team participated in an “Adirondack Safari” photo contest. Each day next week a new photo will be posted – check back to see the entries and “like” and comment on your favorites! Check out all the amazing photos on their Facebook page.

TKDA — TKDA, in St. Paul, MN, celebrates ESOP Week annually during October. 2012 events included a bean bag toss competition with 32 teams at the Saint Paul office participating. The Saint Paul IT team came from an almost 10 point deficit to win. The Duluth office also held a competition, and set the standard with TKDA logo customized bean bag boards. The Downers Grove office had a bowling competition. The Downers Grove group didn’t really keep score, but enjoyed the competition and were grateful no one suffered any permanent injuries! Other events included a service award luncheon with guest speakers talking about Wellness in the Workplace. In Saint Paul, Larry Bohrer was recognized for 40 years of service to TKDA. The branch offices celebrated at different times during the month when President/CEO, Bill Deitner, and the branch division vice president visited the office and recognized the new employees and service award winners. A Professional Growth and Development Seminar panel facilitated by Greg Barlow, Vice President – Human Resources, was also held. The panel was comprised of several TKDA employees who shared their career story with an emphasis on individual career growth at TKDA. The week concluded with a new employee luncheon at the Saint Paul office. The new employees who started at TKDA since last year’s ESOP week were recognized and learned more about ESOP and what it means to TKDA.

Ulteig Engineers, Inc. — Ulteig Engineers, Inc., in Fargo, ND, celebrated Employee Ownership Month with a variety of events geared toward educating employees about their ESOP, spending time together in a fun-filled environment, and thanking employees for their hard work and dedication. The company kicked off the month by hosting an ESOP Lunch and Learn that featured Chief Financial Officer and ESOP Administration Committee Member, Steven Maag, and Finance and Accounting Director, Chris Flanagan, discussing the specifics of the ESOP and explaining how employees receive their share of the company’s stock value. The pair also answered questions employees had regarding the ESOP. By the end of the week, each employee received a treat featuring an employee-ownership fact. For the sixth year in a row, employees in seven different offices faced one another in a battle of the best recipe during the annual chili cook-off. In all offices, employees tasted more than 30 different types of chili and named a cook-off champion for each office, with each champion receiving an engraved ladle. At the end of the month, employees teamed up to carve or decorate pumpkins that were judged on creativity, artistry, and Ulteig pride. Twelve entries were submitted but only one earned the top spot in each of the three categories. Also in October, employees received a company store gift certificate to purchase clothing, hats, or other Ulteig gear. Employees could also respond to the question, “What does working for an employee-owned company mean to you?” for a chance to win an ESOP t-shirt.

Great Lakes Orthodontics — Great Lakes Orthodontics, located in Tonawanda, NY, celebrated throughout the month with different activities and giveaways. This year started with a contest where employees were invited to take the letters E S O P and come up with what ESOP means to them. The winners were given gift cards. A large ESOP cake was also served. There were chocolate, marble, yellow, and white almond layer cakes to choose from. The managers and ESOP trustees served breakfast to all the employees the following week. On the final Friday of October, each employee received a backpack with the ESOP logo that was created for the month.

First National Bank Bemidji — Since 2006, First National Bank Bemidji, in Bemidji, MN, has chosen a week in October to celebrate the company’s ESOP and have fun. This year the theme was “Fall Fest.” The ESOP Communications Committee began planning this year’s events in mid-August to ensure a fun-filled week for all employee owners. The events began on Thursday, October 4th, with a kick-off meeting to share all of the fun events planned for the following week. The Bank’s President, Tom Welle, gave a business update that tied back to the Fall Fest theme and stated that each employee owner plays a critical role in “harvesting” our business. The employee owners were quite proud when it was announced that just days prior, the Bank received a Weiss Rating of A+, which less than 2% of banks receive! Next, one of the company’s Vice Presidents, Hugh Welle, had the opportunity to be dressed as a scarecrow, with each item he wore tying back to employee ownership (picture a long wig to represent fast hair growth…just like the amazing growth of the ESOP). This event outlined the scarecrow building contest that seven teams throughout the Bank would compete in during our October 11th staff meeting. The other twist….each team could only use items beginning with one letter that they drew out of a hat, with the options being: F N B – E S O P. Other events planned for ESOP week included Pumpkin Slingshot, Pumpkin Shot Put, and Pumpkin Bowling, all of which were played in the bank’s courtyard. Throughout ESOP Week, there was also a fall-themed baking contest, an “ESOP-Themed” Pumpkin Carving Contest, and a fun 20-Questions game for employees to learn more about our ESOP. Employee owners were given lanyards stating their name and “I’m and owner” to wear throughout the week as well as a treat bag full of Halloween candy. Popcorn was available throughout the week for everyone at all branches, and the company also catered in a Thanksgiving meal for lunch. When it came time for teams to display what they had created for the scarecrow building contest on Thursday, October 11th, everyone enjoyed a breakfast from McDonalds that was generously provided in exchange for the fundraising/donations that staff would be participating in the following week for the Ronald McDonald House…another great partnership the company created in the community. The morning was filled with laughter as employee owners displayed their creativity in the scarecrow presentations. Prizes were awarded for several events throughout the week, and all prizes tied back to the Fall Fest theme, or to the company’s 27th year being of employee-owned!

Bauer Welding & Metal Fabricators, Inc. — Employee owners of Bauer Welding & Metal Fabricators, Inc., located in Mounds View, MN, celebrated Employee Ownership Month in a couple of ways: A food drive for the local food shelf yielded 115 lbs and $50 donated to the Ralph Reeder foodshelf in New Brighton. A pie and ice cream social (Owning ESOP stock is like having a piece of the pie!) was also held for employee owners.

ComSonics, Inc.  — ComSonics, Inc., located in Harrisonburg, VA, kicked off the company’s Employee Ownership Month with a Congressional visit; hosting Congressman Bob Goodlatte, (R-VA).

Sletten, Inc. — Sletten, Inc., in Great Falls, MT, held an ESOP chili contest and about 30 people came in on their lunch hour to participate. There were three different ESOP companies represented and Mike Golie, from Inland Truck Parts, of Overland Park, KS, won first prize. People voted for their favorite by bringing in food or donating cash to the local food bank.

Restek Corporation — Restek Corporation located in Bellafonte, PA held a flag raising for the ESOP flag. This was the company’s finale for ESOP month and they later had an ice cream social in the atrium (lunch/break area). Restek’s EOCT (Employee Owners Communication Team) held a food social each week: donuts/coffee the first week, star cookies during week two, small pies for week three, and capped it off with the flag raising. The company also had a company wide contest about the company’s corporate governance document. They sent 22 questions around and if a person completed the quiz, they were entered into a prize drawing, and if they answered all questions correctly, they were entered in the grand prize drawing; both for different tiered gift cards.

Apache, Inc. — Apache, Inc., located in Cedar Rapids, IA, as noted via The ESOP Association’s Facebook page: Apache is celebrating with events all month long including a chili cook-off, golf chip shot contest, tug-o-war, football toss, and poster contest! Check out their Facebook page.

WinSystems, Inc. — WinSystems, Inc. in Arlington, TX, created a video about being employee owned and posted it to YouTube. Watch it here.

Woodward Communications, Inc. — The employee owners at Woodward Communications, Inc., in Dubuque, IA celebrated Employee Ownership Month with an ESOP cake!

Pacific Steel & Recycling — Pacific Steel & Recycling, in Great Falls, MT, according to their Facebook page: Although Halloween marks the end of Employee Ownership Month, here’s a message from the President of The ESOP Association, J. Michael Keeling, on the importance of celebrating being an ESOP. We can apply his ideas year-round to continue making Pacific a unique and successful ESOP. Check out their posts.

Murray Securus — Murray Securus celebrated Employee Ownership Month by having the local representative from Senator Pat Toomey’s office speak to the employees. We will follow up this visit by having a visit to the Senator’s office in Harrisburg to discuss employee ownership. Mike Shuey of Restek and 2012 Employee Owner of the year of the PA/DE chapter followed the presentation with a presentation on how Restek engages their employees in the ownership culture.At the conclusion of the meeting, employees were given a mouse pad having our new logo and an employee ownership quote on the cover.

This is only a sample of events that happened across the country to celebrate Employee Ownership Month in 2012. We thank our members for sharing their ESOP stories with us. It was a great month for celebrating ESOPs!

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