Category Archives: ESOP

Three-Part Series of Webinars for ESOP Companies Begins Next Week-Register Now

Our next series of webinars begins next week with a presentation on Department of Labor regulations related to ESOPs, presented by Dale R. Vlasek, Attorney.

Register now to take advantage of this convenient and economical way to learn from some of the most experience, knowledgeable, and dynamic professionals in the ESOP Community.

Upcoming Presentations:

  • March 6, 10 AM – DOL Enforcement and ESOPs; Current Issues – Presented by Dale R. Vlasek,  Attorney, McDonald Hopkins LLC. View archived video
  • March 8, 10 AM – Explaining Ownership Culture – Presented by Christopher Mackin, President, Ownership Associates, Inc. View archived video
  • March 12, 10 AM – An Appraisers Perspective on Acquisitions – Presented by Davin Gustafson,  Principal, Apple Growth Partners. View archived video

Learn more about the webinar series.

To answer any questions you may have, or for further information concerning these events please contact Jay Simecek or Chris Cooper at the Ohio Employee Ownership Center,  330-672-3028.

New Series of Webinars for ESOP Companies Scheduled for March 2013

We are excited to offer you and your employee owners a convenient and economical way to learn. In March, we will be offering three “one-hour” webinar sessions covering a variety of topics presented by some of the most experienced, knowledgeable, and dynamic professionals in the ESOP community.

DOL Enforcement and ESOPs; Current Issues
Presented by Dale R. Vlasek,  Attorney, McDonald Hopkins LLC
March 6, 2013  10 AM (Register Here)

This program will discuss the US Department of Labor regulations that ESOP companies should be aware of. It will also examine the proposed fiduciary definition including appraisers and look at the trend of cashing out participants from company stock when they terminate employment.

Dale R. Vlasek is an experienced ESOP attorney in Cleveland, Ohio and is chair of the Employee Benefits Practice Group.

Explaining Ownership Culture
Presented by Christopher Mackin, President, Ownership Associates, Inc.
March 8, 2013  10 AM (Register Here)

Ownership Culture is a term that most ESOP employers have heard or seen in newsletters for conference brochures. It sounds good, but what is it? This webinar will explain the core foundations of ownership culture, differentiating between Ownership Facts, Ownership Skills, and Ownership Values and explaining how simple structures for employee participation can help make ownership real. 

Ownership Associates (OA) specializes in “after the transaction” consulting to ESOP firms interested in implementing an ownership culture. In addition to his consulting, Chris teaches at Rutgers and Harvard University about employee ownership topics.

An Appraisers Perspective on Acquisitions
Presented by Davin Gustafson,  Principal, Apple Growth Partners
March 12, 2013  10 AM (Register Here)

In this session we will get perspectives of an experienced ESOP valuator on how an acquisition may impact your valuation. He will also provide some strategic thought on structuring an acquisition, discuss some interesting tax and other planning opportunities, point out some of the common mistakes he has made or seen made, and focus on the elements that will help you truly enhance your company’s value.

Dave is a principal in the business valuation and litigation consulting group in Cleveland, Ohio. He has completed over a thousand valuation engagements in his twenty-five plus years in the profession and is a licensed attorney. 

Registration for any of these webinars is only $25 for members of Ohio’s Employee-Owned Network; $50 non-members. Registrants will be invoiced by the OEOC.

To answer any questions you may have, or for further information concerning these events please contact Jay Simecek or Chris Cooper at the Ohio Employee Ownership Center 330-672-3028.


Announcing the OEOC’s 27th Annual Employee Ownership Conference-April 19, 2013

Employee Ownership: Building Jobs, Wealth, & Communities

The 27th Annual Ohio Employee Ownership Conference

April 19th, 2013, Akron Fairlawn Hilton

Featured speakers for the event will include:

Corey Rosen
Co-Founder and Senior Staff Member of The National Center for Employee Ownership

Rosen co-authored, along with John Case and Martin Staubus, Equity: Why Employee Ownership Is Good for Business (Harvard Business School Press, May 2005). Over the years, he has written, edited, or contributed to dozens of books, articles and research papers on employee ownership. He is generally regarded as the leading expert on employee ownership in the world.


J. Michael Keeling, CAE
President of The ESOP Association

Since assuming his position in April 1991, the Association has experienced strong growth in membership and revenues, and is the largest organization in America dedicated to ensuring employee-owned companies are effective in operating their ESOP in an environment of ownership.

Studies have showed that Employee Ownership is an effective means to building more jobs, increasing local wealth, and creating stronger communities.

Topics at the conference will include:

  • Fundamentals of Ownership for Employee Owners
  • Building an Ownership Culture – Teams, Communication, and more
  • ESOP Technical Issues: Fiduciary Issues, Legal Update, Valuation, and more
  • Selling to Your Employees Through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) or a Cooperative
  • Community Development Strategies and Employee Ownership

And, don’t forget our Pre-Conference on Thursday, April 18 … A chance to share and learn!

More information and updates on the conference can be found on our 27th Annual Ohio Employee Ownership Conference page.

Contact us for additional info or to register at or 330–672-3028.
And, there’s still time to become a conference sponsor, contact Kelley Fitts at or 330-672-0336.

Employee-Ownership in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”

Last week, Fortune Magazine released their 2013 list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Among those recognized in the list were employee-owned companies like Burns & McDonnell, Publix Super Markets and CH2M Hill. The magazine bases the list and rankings on factors such as the companies’ commitments to employee wellness, community outreach, professional and leadership development, and diversity.

Burns & McDonnell

Based in Kansas City, Burns & McDonnell engineering firm ranked 18 this year, up from the 26 spot last year. Employees bought the company from Armco Steel in 1986, and the Kansas City location now has 2,200 employee owners.

Publix Super Markets

Since George W. Jenkins founded Publix Super Markets in 1930 in Winter Haven Florida, the company has grown to become the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States. The company ranked 77 on the list for 2013, up one spot from 78 last year.

CH2M Hill

After not making the top 100 last year, he civil engineering and construction firm, CH2M HILL, returned to the list this year, ranking 100. The Englewood, Colorado-based company is 100% employee owned.

Other employee-owned companies on the list:

Can ESOPs Provide Better Outlook for Construction & Engineering Industry?

According to a recent statement from Verit Advisors (C&E Industry Outlook and Company Valuation), employee ownership may be a valuable tool for driving C&E companies during this uncertain time for the industry. Although the industry outlook predicts an increase in infrastructure growth, there are a number of factors stacked against companies in construction and engineering.

Rob Ruszkowski, currently vice president at Verit Advisors, has a background in chemical engineering at S&C Electric Company in Chicago, an ESOP company. He knows first hand how insentives like employee stock ownership plans can drive performance, increase equity, and attract and retain employees.

The article states:

“C&E companies are driving value different ways. Many of the top performing companies have significant employee ownership in the form of options, direct ownership, stock appreciation rights and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).”

The National Center for Employee Ownership lists “The Employee Ownership 100: America’s Largest Majority Employee-Owned Companies,” and more than a quarter of the companies fall within construction and engineering, some of which are 100% employee-owned.

Engineering consulting firm, Boucher & James Inc, headquartered in Doylestown, PA recently saw the benefits of converting to an ESOP and announced their new corporate structure on

The Bluebook Building and Construction Network, a publishing company specializing in contractor and project information for commercial construction also recently converted to an ESOP to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. According to the article at TMC News, an ESOP was attractive to the business because it would “ensure it would live on with the people who helped build it.”

“The Blue Book Network employees now own the company and the ESOP enables them to control their own destiny. With the investment of a little hard work and an unbeatable team of employees, the ESOP will help steer The Blue Book Building and Construction Network into the future!” -Blue Book Network President, Richard Johnson

Casino Queen Becomes Employee-Owned

Casino Queen opened on the East St. Louis riverfront in 1993–the first casino in the core of the region–and was recently bought through an employee stock ownership plan for $170 million. 

Jeff Watson, the Casino Queen’s general manager and president will help manage the ESOP as a trustee. Watson believes his business is the first ESOP casino in the country and the new system will benefit the employees as well as the company, which has been struggling with increased competition and the weakened economy. 

To learn more about this transaction, read the full story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The benefits of ESOPs are also making prominant headlines. According to a December 28th article in Forbes, “Employees Quietly Emerge as New Force in Buyouts,” experts are expecting more Employee Stock Ownership Plans to buy companies in the coming year. Not only does the ESOP offer tax advantage, layoffs are less likely, and there’s less risk of defaulting on acquisition debt, making it an attractive strategy for retirees looking to sell their business.

Read more on this topic:

Employee-Owned Businesses Reaching Milestones and Voicing Importance of ESOP

In these recent announcements from the ESOP world, the importance of employee-ownership is highlighted as companies reach milestones or prepare for transitions: 

On September 10, Stow-Glen Retirement Village of Stow, Ohio announced the celebration of their 2nd Anniversary of 100% Employee Ownership. The retirement village, home to more than 300 residents, became 46 % employee owned in 2000 and the employees purchased the remainder in 2010. The employee-owners spent week celebrating the milestone with a OWNER-BINGO game developed by the OEOC and an ESOP dinner. 

Oswald Companies of Cleveland, Ohio has announced that current chairman and chief executive officer, Marc S. Byrnes will be succeeded as chief executive officer by Robert J. Klonk effective January 1, 2013. The employee-owned company was founded in 1893 and is currently among the top 55 largest insurance brokers in the US. The retiring chairman reports that the new leadership is “committed to employee-ownership and remaining privately held. That alone distinguishes us from our competition and gives Oswald the client-focused outlook to keep building on a 25-year period of exceptional growth as one of the premier brokerage and consulting firms in the country.”

The St. Louis, MI electrical products distributor, Graybar, also announced a change in leadership. Robert Reynolds Jr., executive chairman of 40 years will be retiring and Kathleen Mazzarella, current president and CEO will succeed him as chairman of the board. Graybar is a Fortune 500 company and is one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America. The article quotes the retiring chairman saying, “Graybar is a remarkable employee-owned organization, and I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to lead the company.”

A new ESOP was recently created at GLMV Arcitecture as stockholders sold their shares to the GLMV Employee Stock Ownership Plan. This transition created 120 new employee-owners at the Wichita, KA based company. GLMV Chairman, Bill Livingston, believs that the ESOP will give the company a long-term edge over the competition. 

For all of these businesses, Employee Ownership is an integral part of their business plan. Recent studies by the Employee Ownership Foundation as reported by The Business Journal shows that companies with an ESOP saw a financial upturn last year and experienced improved productivity. The artical quotes Michael Keeling, president of the foundation, “Employees with employee stock ownership, including those with ESOPs, in general, have more sustainable employment.”

Employee-Owned Bimba Manufacturing selected as tour site for AME Conference

On October 18, 2012, participants in the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Conference will be given a tour of Bimba Manufacturing and introduced to the company’s manufacturing processes. Bimba, located in University Park, Illinois is a 100% employee owned company and provider of actuators used in machinery and automation. Part of this the tour and demonstration for the AME Conference will be an introduction to the company’s employee-ownership and engagement structure.

According to the article on MarketWire, Jim Umland, Director of Operations said, “this will be a great opportunity for Bimba to showcase the lean processes that empower our employees and position as an industry leader.” 

Congratulations to Bimba for being selected for this opportunity. 

Three New Webinars Scheduled for Fall 2012

We’re excited to announce new webinars coming up this fall. The new series will cover a variety of ESOP topics and are presented by experienced professionals from the ESOP community.

October 2, 2012 10 AM – Practical Issues of the Repurchase Obligation – A Human Conversation – Presented by Tim Regnitz, Senior VP of SES Advisors and Jim Staruck, President / COO of GreatBanc Trust Company. 

October 9, 2012 10 AM – Board Evolution – What’s best for YOUR ESOP or closely held/Family Owned Company? – Presented by Jack Veale, President/CEO PTCFO, Inc. 

October 23, 2012 10 AM – Creating Incentive Plans to Support Your ESOP – Presented by Alex Freytag, Partner, Workplace Development Inc.

You and your employee owners will want to take advantage of this convenient and economical way to learn. Registration is only $25 for members of Ohio’s Employee-Owned Network and $50 for non-members. Registrants will be invoiced by the OEOC.

To read more about each of the webinars or register, visit the OEOC’s Network Webinar page. 

Talk of expanding ESOPs in China

There has been a lot of news about employee ownership in China.

First, is the announcement that Chinese telecom kit manufacturer, Huawei is looking to extend its employee ownership model to its foreign employees. The company, now present in about 140 countries, currently covers 5,596 Chinese employees through their employee ownership plan and expanding the plan to cover foreign employees would add thousands of beneficiaries.  

In China, the promotion of employee stock ownership plans has met mixed reviews from experts. Currently plans in China favor and encourage executive stock ownership, but recently attempts are being made to expand this to average employees. Challenges faced by the regulation in China include; taxation insentives, overcoming traditional emphasis on senior executives, and criticism of the plan as a “salary increase in ‘disguised’ form.” Read more about the initiation of the regulation, and a brief overview of the policies included in the draft regulation.

As of August 19, China’s security regulator announced that the regulation will be launched at a “proper time.” The commission is currently reviewing feedback on the draft.