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 1

The best way to show your member of Congress what your ESOP means to employee owners and the company is to have your member of Congress visit your company. Several ESOP Association members have done just that and we’re going to be sharing their stories over the next two days.

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.

If your member of Congress met with employee owners at your company, or if a meeting was scheduled with a member of Congress in the Washington or District office, please share it with us at media AT

Senator Amy Klobuchar Visits WASP Inc.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) visited WASP Inc., located in Glenwood, MN, on February 19, 2013.

During her tour with WASP employees, President and CEO, Dane Anderson, stressed to the Senator that statistics show that a large percentage of all workers and Americans nearing retirement age have less than $30,000 saved for retirement. An employee at WASP, with 15 years of participation, already has approximately $300,000 in their ESOP account.

Senator Klobuchar was asked to reintroduce the Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act, which she co-sponsored in the 112th Congress. She was also urged to consider support for Senator Ayotte’s bill (S. 273) to block the DOL’s ill-advised efforts to treat ESOP appraisers as fiduciaries and, most importantly, to protect ESOPs from becoming a victim of tax reform. As this posting, Senator Klobuchar has co-sponsored S. 273.

Klobucher at WASP
Senator Klobuchar with employee owners of WASP Inc.

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

Congressman Danny K. Davis Visits Burwood Group, Inc.

Rachel Gibson, Director of Finance and Operations at Burwood Group, Inc., located in Chicago, IL, reported that Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) visited the company on February 21, 2013. Ms. Gibson said of the visit: “The meeting was very positive. Congressman Davis provided an overview of his roll leading one of the most diverse districts in the U.S., along with comments on the general concerns that our nation is facing related to the Sequester. Congressman Davis is a strong supporter of ESOPs and has been for many years. We were honored to share our passion for ESOPs with him and are encouraged to have a strong supporter of our cause on the Ways and Means Committee.”

Employee owners of Burwood Group, Inc. and Congressman Danny Davis.
Employee owners of Burwood Group, Inc. and Congressman Danny Davis.
Burwood Group CEO Mark Theoharous, Congressman Danny Davis, and Burwood Group President, Jim Hart.
Burwood Group CEO Mark Theoharous, Congressman Danny Davis, and Burwood Group President, Jim Hart.
David Solomon, Congressman Danny Davis,  and Rachel Gibson.
David Solomon, Congressman Danny Davis, and Rachel Gibson.

Thanks to Illinois Chapter Administrator Donna Walseth for sharing photos with the Association.

Iowa Chapter Members Step Up in Des Moines, IA for ESOP Day at the State Capitol

A group of 10 Iowa ESOP Association members participated in an ESOP Day at the state capitol in Des Moines on February 27, 2013. The purpose of the visit was to share their support of the Iowa Partners for Economic Progress proposed budget that includes a request for $1 million to establish a program to encourage the formation of ESOPs in Iowa.

Chapter members met with five House members and five Senators presenting a background statement and ownership census flyer (link below photo) asking for their support.  Members felt bipartisan support of the proposal was favorable. Another day at the Capitol may be scheduled prior to a vote on the legislation.

Left to right: Wayne Hansen, CI3; Debbie Williams and Scot Storjohann, BTC ESOP Services; Al Ryerson and Greg Weber, BCC Advisers; Terry McGonegle, Wright Tree Service; Don Brown, Van Meter Inc.
Left to right: Wayne Hansen, CI3; Debbie Williams and Scot Storjohann, BTC ESOP Services; Al Ryerson and Greg Weber, BCC Advisers; Terry McGonegle, Wright Tree Service; Don Brown, Van Meter Inc.

Background statement and ESOP census information leave behindIowa Nebraska Chapter – Day at the Capital – ESOP Census

Thanks to Iowa/Nebraska Chapter Administrator Donna Walseth for sharing information with the Association.