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.



Pennsylvania State Representative Kerry Benninghoff issues a resolution declaring October employee ownership month in the state of Pennsylvania

Penn Rep Kerry Benninghoff - Restek IIPenn 2015 Proclamation

On October 1, 2015, Pennsylvania State Representative Kerry Benninghoff presents the employee owners of RESTEK Corporation, Bellefonte, PA., with a Resolution declaring October employee ownership month in the state of Pennsylvania.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad proclaims October to be Employee Ownership Month

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad officially proclaims October to be Employee Ownership Month in the State of Iowa during an official signing ceremony held at the Governor’s office on September 29, 2015. The signing was witnessed by several Iowa/Nebraska Chapter members.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad officially proclaims October to be Employee Ownership Month in the State of Iowa
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad officially proclaims October to be Employee Ownership Month in the State of Iowa.

2015 Iowa October ESOP Month Proclamtion

A proclamation is an easy way to alert your elected officials to ESOPs in their community, district, or state. A proclamation is issued by a legislative body designating an official observance of Employee Ownership Month. You can ask your mayor, state representative, or governor to issue a proclamation.

Congressional Visits

Five days and counting to…Employee Ownership Month! If you’re looking for a way to celebrate, why not invite your member of Congress to visit your company? If you need some starter ideas, check out the Advocacy Kits on the Association’s website.

Following are a few Congressional visit wrap-ups members shared with the Association. If you have news to share, please send an email to We’re always interested in hearing from members.

Senator Ayotte Visits Hypertherm

On September 5th, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) visited ESOP Association member, Hypertherm, at the company’s newest facility in Lebanon, NH. The Senator, who met with Hypertherm employee owners on a previous occasion, stated that she would like visit again.

According to an email from Hypertherm employee owner, Carey Chen, CFO & VP/GM Light Industrial Businesses, “After introductions, the first thing she wanted to do was discuss ESOPs. She discussed the bill she introduced and the bipartisan support she has been able to get. We thanked her for the pro-ESOP legislation she championed and expressed how proud we are that she represents our home state.”

Other topics discussed with the Senator included: workforce development, health care reform, intellectual property protection, and last, but not least, tax reform.

After a tour of Hypertherm’s new 156,000 sq. ft. facility, a picture was taken in the cafeteria.

To explain the sign in the background: Hypertherm’s ESOP is the HSOP (Hypertherm Stock Ownership Plan). The GSVP is the company’s global stock value plan for our international associates. The slogan which is partially cut off reads, “Work Like an Owner, Think Like a Customer.” The “H” in the center is the Hypertherm logo.

The photo below (left to right): Jenny Levy, Senator Ayotte, Carey Chen, Evan Smith, and Gordon Rice.

Ayotte Hypertherm

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II visits Citizens Telephone Company/Citizens Cablevision

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II toured the office of Citizens Telephone Company/Citizens Cablevision on September 4, 2103. In 2013, Citizens Telephone is celebrating its 105th year in continuous operation. The company is also celebrating its 25th anniversary as an employee-owned company. Congressman Cleaver toured the company’s facilities and met several employee owners during his visit.

In the picture below (front row, left to right): Shannon Goetz, Cindy Soendker, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, Brian Cornelius, Pam Gillilan. Back row, left to right: Terry Wells, Jeremy Ratliff, John Wade, Buddy Griffith, Steve Harms, and Paul Trent.

Cleaver Citizens Telephone

WASP, Inc. Employee Owners Visit Senator Fischer

While in Washington, DC for the Annual Conference in May, employee owners of WASP, Inc., located in Glenwood, MN, met with Senator Deb Fischer from Nebraska. Pictured below (left to right): Ruben Koopman, WASP, Inc.; Senator Deb Fischer; Sandy (spouse of) and Dane Anderson, WASP, Inc.; Jeanne Kramer, WASP, Inc.

Fischer WASP

Congressman Cicilline Meets with Employee Owners of Gripnail

In early August, Congressman Cicilline (photo below) met with the employee owners of Gripnail, located in East Providence, RI. Employee owner, Chris Ryding, COO, said the meeting was a success. Information about the ESOP and what it has brought to the company was shared with the Congressman and he was asked for his support of pro-ESOP legislation.

Cicilline Gripnail

ESOP Company Congressional Visits – Part 2

Part 2 of the Congressional visits story. Remember, if you’d like information on how to schedule a Congressional visit at your company, download a copy of The ESOP Association’s Congressional Company Visit Kit.

Don’t forget to share your stories with us, media AT

Senator Amy Klobuchar Visits Douglas Machine, Inc.

On February 22, 2013, Douglas Machine had the honor of hosting Senator Amy Klobuchar for the purpose of ESOP awareness and education.

After a short meet and greet, CFO, Tom Wosepka, gave a presentation on Douglas’s history, products, and ESOP. The presentation led into a discussion on some of the regulatory hurdles Douglas and other ESOPs have been encountering in recent years. The Senator acknowledged these challenges and understood how they impact Douglas’s business. There was also discussion of S. 273, which would keep the DOL from redefining the term fiduciary as it relates to ESOPs. Senator Klobuchar’s staff indicated that they would work with her to consider co-sponsorship of the bill and the Senator co-sponsored the bill on March 6, 2013.

The Senator took a tour of a portion of the Douglas manufacturing facility and was able to discuss what it means to work at an ESOP company with employee owners, Julie Rubner and Andrew Freyholtz. Along the way she had brief discussions with numerous employee owners and saw some of Douglas’s equipment being tested prior to shipment. During this time the MN/Dakotas Chapter’s Government Relations Committee Co-Chair, Steve Storkan, gave the Senator’s aides a more in-depth understanding of the legislative activity surrounding ESOPs.

As the tour came to a close, the Senator was provided with detailed information on ESOPs and exchanged contact information for future dialogue with high hopes that the Senator will use her influence on Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of ESOPs.

Senator Klobuchar meets with the employee owners of Douglas Machine, Inc.
Senator Klobuchar meets with the employee owners of Douglas Machine, Inc.

Thanks to MN/Dakotas Chapter Administrator Sue Crockett for sharing information with the Association.

Congressman Raul Labrador Visits Pacific Steel & Recycling

The following was forwarded to the Association by Dana Friede, Director of Marketing for Pacific Steel & Recycling in Great Falls, MT: “I wanted to let you know that Pacific Steel & Recycling hosted Congressman Raul Labrador as a visitor to its new steel sales and steel processing facility in Nampa, Idaho yesterday. Congressman Labrador toured our office and steel warehouse, observing our employee owners at work and asking them questions. He was interested in the concept of an ESOP and was familiar with the way it works. From what I’ve been told, he seemed very pro-business.”

An article about the visit appeared in the Idaho Press-Tribune.

Congressman Raul Labrador meets with the employee owners of Pacific Steel & Recycling.
Congressman Raul Labrador meets with the employee owners of Pacific Steel & Recycling.

Thanks to Northwest Chapter Administrator Donna Walseth for sharing information with the Association.

Congressional Visits in October Bring Out the Best in ESOPs

Over the past few weeks, several ESOP Association members met with their members of Congress. We wanted to feature a few here.

Cirtronics Corp., located in Milford, NH, meet with Congressman Frank Guinta (R-NH) who co-sponsored H.R. 1244, the Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act of 2011.

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

Wiley & Wilson, Inc., located in Lynchburg, VA, wrote letters to both Senatorial candidates in Virginia, Tim Kaine and George Allen.

Letter to Tim Kaine

Letter to George Allen

Rex-Cut Products, Inc., located in Fall River, MA, met with Republican Congressional Candidate Sean Bielat of Massachusetts. The visit was also a feature in The Herald News in Fall River, MA. You can read the article here: RexCut Article.

Restek Corporation, located in Bellefonte, PA, will meet with Senator Toomey’s (R-PA) regional manager and the state director in late November 2012.

We know many ESOP companies are working to setup visits with members of Congress. Additional information about pro-ESOP bills and how to go about setting up a meeting can be found on The ESOP Association’s website here.

KAPCO Hosts Event with Congressman Ed Royce

KAPCO, an ESOP company located in Brea, California and member of The ESOP Association, was pleased to host Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) of the 40th District of California for a visit and tour of the company’s Brea facilities. Congressman Royce met with a group of employees and answered questions with regard to his stance on ESOPs, the financial situation in California, and the affect that the California Air Resources Board has had on businesses in the state. He strongly believes that ESOPs are the way of the future and will play an important role in seeing economic recovery throughout the nation. He is in support of H.R. 1244 and is willing to consider co-sponsoring the bill and making a strong push for it in Congress. In his words, “This issue needs to not only be supported, but to have a fire lit under it.”

The Congressman took time to tour three KAPCO Brea buildings and meet employees throughout the sites. George Ray of LeFiell Manufacturing and Stephanie Mercado and Nicol Vargas of Carl Warren & Company, also ESOP Association members, joined KAPCO employee owners for the visit.

Thank you to KAPCO’s Desiree Garcia for sharing this information and photos with the Association.


Members Conquer Hill During 2012 Annual Conference – Part 2

As a wrap-up to yesterday’s post, we thought we’d share a few more photos from Congressional visits. We’ll post a few more later this week as well. If you had the chance to visit your member or hosted a Congressional company visit, send us an email at and tell us about it.

Congressman Bobby Schilling (R-IL) with Scott Szafasz, Art Miller, and Danielle Montesano.
Members of the New England Chapter meeting with Congressman William Keating (D-MA).
Rex-Cut employee owners along with members from the New England Chapter on the steps of the Capitol.
Congressman Robert Dold (R-IL) with Art Miller, Tony Lessmeister, Danielle Montesano, Scott Szafasz, and Phill Goodman.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) with Art Miller, Tony Lessmeister, Danielle Montesano, and Scott Szafasz.
Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL) with Scott Szafasz of Bimba Manufacturing, Dick Hill of Parksite, Congressman Hultgren, Danielle Montesano of First Bankers Trust Services, Art Miller of Holden Industries.
Congressman John Larson (D-CT) meeting with Toni Boyle of Carris Reels, Enfield, CT.
Wisconsin Chapter members at the U.S. Capitol. Shown here in front of a statue of Robert M. LaFollette, noted Congressional member having served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the US Senate; LaFollette was also the 20th Governor of Wisconsin.