Senator Ron Johnson visits Sentry Equipment Corporation

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) visited Sentry Equipment Corporation, Oconomowoc, WI, on October 12, 2015.  During his visit Senator Johnson met with the Sentry Equipment Corporation management team, had a quick shop tour, and then addressed well over 100 employee owners.

Pictured left to right:  Brian Baker, President & CEO, Sentry Equipment Corporation and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.
Pictured left to right: Brian Baker, President & CEO of Sentry Equipment Corporation and United States Senator for Wisconsin Ron Johnson.

 

 

SEL Employee Owners Share Experiences with Illinois Congressman

On June 5, 2014, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) employee owners shared their perspectives on company ownership with Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) when he visited the company’s Fault Indicator and Sensor Division in Lake Zurich, Illinois.

This is Congressman Roskam’s second visit to SEL’s Lake Zurich facility. Last year, the Congressman toured the manufacturing floor and learned about SEL and the products and services it provides for power systems around the world. This time he watched a distribution automation smart grid demonstration and spoke with some of the 95 employee owners about the company’s ESOP.

Senior Manufacturing Supervisor Jose Perez, who has been with the company for nearly 25 years, said when SEL became employee-owned he went from just having a job to being an owner. Human Resources Generalist Linda Coleman, an employee for more than 29 years, noted she works with happier people in an employee-owned company, calling the retirement security “a blessing.”

Congressman Roskam indicated his strong support for ESOPs, which can help employees save for retirement, and Roskam encouraged those in attendance to continue talking about the benefits of ESOPs with their coworkers.

Thanks to SEL for sharing this news with the Association.

SEl Roskam visit

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx Visits Salem Distributing Company

It might be a holiday but we’re still celebrating Employee Ownership Month. Today, we’re featuring a Congressional visit.

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) stopped by Salem Distributing Company located in Winston Salem, NC to meet with employee owners and tour the company’s remodeled facilities. The Mayor of Clemmons, NC, John Bost, was also part of the visit according to a Salem Distributing press release shared with The ESOP Association.

The Congresswoman met with company officials, several members of the company’s ESOP committee, and Mayor Bost for a roundtable discussion that included a brief overview of Salem Distributing and a report on how the company weathered the Great Recession. Salem Distributing, according the release, had the company’s most profitable year to date in 2011. It was also noted that company officials believed that “…the culture of the 100% employee-owned ESOP company attracts talent and motivates employees.” As Gale Marett, assistant controller for Salem Distributing and an active Chapter leader in the Association, stated, “The Company’s ESOP is more than just a benefit; it makes for a cohesive team, working for a common goal.”

During the meeting, it was noted by Salem Distributing that protecting the company’s 100% ESOP was a critical issue. Company representatives asked for Congresswoman Foxx’s support of the pro-ESOP bill H.R. 1244 to promote private company ESOPs. The Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposal to make ESOP appraisers ERISA fiduciaries was also discussed, with the Congresswoman agreeing that the DOL was not a supporter of ESOPs. She asked for more information on H.R. 1244 and said she would review it.

We thank Debbie Hooker of Salem Distributing Company for sharing the above information with The ESOP Association. If you would like to share company news with the Association, please send an email to media AT esopassociation.org.

Congressman Joe Heck Visits Caltrol Inc.

Caltrol Inc., a 100% employee-owned process management and process automation company, and ESOP Association member located in Las Vegas, Nevada, hosted a visit from Congressman Joe Heck (R-NV) on July 2nd.

According to a press release shared with The ESOP Association, Caltrol is a great success story spanning over 76 years. Caltrol has continued to hire and increase their workforce, and continues to meet and exceed corporate goals.

After a tour of the facility, Congressman Heck met with the employee owners of Caltrol and answered questions on current legislative issues affecting ESOPs. When asked about his support for pro-ESOP bill, H.R. 1244, the “Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act,” he commented that he was not familiar enough with the act to comment at the time. Based on his visit and questions from employee owners, he said would make sure to follow H.R. 1244 through the subcommittees and make sure that he had it on his agenda.

Congressman Heck shared with Caltrol employee owners that he too had done business as a chapter S corporation and that he fully understood the company’s position and interest in protecting ownership rights. He further explained that the small to medium sized businesses have done a much better job of managing money. He would like to make sure the company continues to have the ability to reinvest earnings into expanding the business rather than having it eroded by additional taxes.

Caltrol was established, and became an employee-owned company, in 1985.

Thank you to Caltrol’s William Flader for sharing the information and photos with The ESOP Association.

 

It’s Not the Once but the Many

We talk a lot about meeting with your members of Congress — why it’s important, how to setup a meeting, goals, outcomes — and we think it’s just as important to highlight the successes.

Take Steven King, an employee owner at Gala Industries, Inc., an ESOP Association member located in Eagle Rock, VA. Mr. King has been writing letters and meeting with Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia’s 6th District (Mr. King’s member of Congress.) for some time now, and when he was invited to an event being held by the Congressman in November 2011, Mr. King made the decision to go and speak to Congressman Goodlatte about ESOPs. He shared this email with the Association this week:

“To all:

In early November I was invited to attend a “Dutch Treat Luncheon” in Daleville with Congressman Bob Goodlatte, “to discuss issues of national and local importance.”  Having just mailed the Congressman a letter (See Attachment #2) asking him to cosponsor a bill (H.R. 1244) that had been introduced in the House of Representatives, I took advantage of the invitation, thinking it would be a great opportunity to personally ask him to co-sponsor the bill.  After listening to his presentation about our country’s ever growing debt issue, etc., those in attendance were able to ask the Congressman questions regarding pretty much anything.  Questions ranged from the need for Daylight Savings Time, to government involvement in the banking industry, to employment hiring practices.

Towards the end of the meeting, I finally addressed the Congressman regarding his past, positive support of ESOPs, and asked him to consider signing on as a cosponsor to the H.R. 1244, and also presented him another copy of the letter that I had mailed the week before.  Congressman Goodlatte spent several minutes discussing ESOPs and expressed his support for the ESOP concept, actually referencing a plan he and his chief of staff have to introduce some legislation to help ESOPs cut through some red tape that we have to deal with now.

I am happy to report that yesterday I received a letter from Congressman Goodlatte (See Attachment #3) telling us he had cosponsored H.R. 1244 and he “will work hard to see it signed into law.”

If you have any questions regarding this or any other ESOP issue, please feel free to ask.

Regards,

Steven King”

Letters of this nature are great to see and we thank Mr. King for his work on behalf of the ESOP cause. As Mr. King knows so well, persistent, respectful communication with an elected official is more important than relying on the one time-at-bat home run. A key point as Congress will review ESOP tax benefits at some point over the next two years.

If you’re interested and would like to learn more about meeting with your member of Congress, you can find the information on our website:

Advocacy Kit

Congressional Company Visit Kit

The Kits will be updated soon for 2012.

Got a story to share? Let us know.

ESOP Company Congressional Visits

Many of our members have shared with us pictures and information from their meetings with members of Congress. We thank them for taking the time to setup these meetings and make that all important connection with their member of Congress.

Today, we wanted to share with you information from a visit hosted by ESOP Association member, Restek Corporation located in Bellafonte, PA. The company hosted a meeting with Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA) on Wednesday, November 23, 2011.

Mike Shuey, Customer Service, Domestic Supervisor for Restek Corporation shared this email with us after the visit:

“Hello all. The visit was excellent. We presented him and his assistant with a folder full of company, ESOP and Capitol Hill information for review. We thanked him for supporting H.R. 1244, gave him a sheet to address the Secretary of Labor and he gave us a list of Senators to address our ESOP concerns and questions with so Restek will put together a team in the near future for that. I attached most of the documents we presented to him and his assistant. As soon as I get our pictures I’ll send them to you. Thank you all for your support and help. Have a great Thanksgiving!!!!!!!”

Mike’s thank you all was both to the national office and the Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter leaders in particular, Alice Simons of SES Advisors, Inc. in Philadelphia, PA. He also included several documents which are great examples of what to share with your member of Congress during a company visit and we wanted to share those with you here. (Click on the title to open the document.)

Restek Agenda

Reference Sheet on the DOL proposed regulation on the definition of a fiduciary

Summary of HR 1244 

Summary of S 1512

Summary of S 1232  

Information from The ESOP Association on Tax Reform

As J. Michael Keeling said, “Restek did professional work on this visit. They’re a true model and the entire ESOP community thanks Mike, Restek and our Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter for the effective, true grassroots advocacy.”

Take a look at the above and feel free to use these as examples in putting together your company visits.

As many of you know, there are several resources on The ESOP Association’s website to help in setting up a Congressional meeting.

The 2011 Fall Congressional Company Visit Kit

The Fall 2011 Fall Advocacy Kit

And if you’re looking for the most recent legislative developments, you can find emails and links under the ESOP Bulletin link.

As always, if there are questions, please email us at govrel@esopassociation.org.

Got a visit to share? Drop us a comment and tell us about it.