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Owners at Work Podcast

The Owners at Work Podcast is a continuation of the biannual Owners at Work Newsletter which ran for 19 years (1990-2019). We are hoping to continue the same conversations and focus on providing updates on everything employee ownership. We plan to interview practitioners with expertise in different facets of employee ownership, academics doing new and interesting research, and most importantly, individuals who have a personal experience with employee ownership, including current and former employee-owners, mid-level to C suite management, and selling owners.

We Want to talk to YOU!

We want to produce a show that engages with relevant questions and provides practical lessons and information. We want this podcast to include the voices of those who practice employee-ownership each and every day. To that end we want to hear from you! We want to highlight what you are doing, whatever your relationship to the  employee-ownership community is.

***Please reach out via email: oeoc@kent.edu

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Season 5

Episode 1: The European ESOP – A New Model of Employee Ownership

In this first episode of season five we speak with David Ellerman and Tej Gonza of the Institute for Economic Democracy about a new model they have developed which combines features of the ESOP and worker cooperative models...More

Episode 2: Employee Ownership in the Americas: A Path to Shared Prosperity

We speak with Rodrigo Fernandez del Valle and Gonzalo Hernandez Gutierrez about an edited book they published, which includes chapters on employee ownership contributed by practitioners, researchers, and thinkers worldwide. Their goal?...More

Episode 3: Gina Schaefer on the Power of Telling Your Story

We publish the audio of the Keynote Address of our 38th Annual Ohio Employee Ownership Conference given by Gina Schaefer. Her story of how her company came to be, her approach to building culture within the business...More

Season 4

Episode 9: The Fund for Employee Ownership's Reflections on the Kendeda Fund's Big Bet Grant

In this episode we speak with Jeanette Webster and Emma Sherrie who head up the Evergreen Cooperatives' Fund for Employee Ownership...More

Episode 8: Nexus Community Partners' Reflections on the Kendeda Fund's Big Bet Grant

In this episode we talk with Patty Viafara and Christina Nicholson who both work for Nexus Community Partners' Worker Owner Initiative...More

Episode 7: Project Equity's Reflections on the Kendeda Fund's Big Bet Grant

In this episode we speak with Alison Lingane, co-founder and Chief Innovation and Investment Officer at Project Equity...More

Episode 6: ICA Group's Reflections on the the Kendeda Fund's Big Bet Grant

In this episode we speak with David Hammer, Executive Director of ICA Group...More

Episode 5: Cooperatives at Work with George Cheney

For too long cooperatives have been cast to the margins of our economy and discussions around economic development and community building. In this episode we sit down with George Cheney and discuss his new....More

Episode 4: Unpacking the Meanings of Ownership

If one thing is true, its that the word ownership has baggage – every person has a different conception of what it means. In this episode we speak with Chris Mackin, and talk about how the multiple meanings of ownership....More

Episode 3: Preparing for a Sale - What You Need to Know

In this episode Chris Cooper speaks with Eric Zaleski and Michael Rosendahl of PCE Investment Bankers, about what business owners should be thinking about, and doing, to prepare for a business succession. In many...More

Episode 2: Economic Outlook and What it Means for Company Valuations

In this episode we sit down with two valuation experts,  Eric Flickinger and Matt Silla of Apple Growth Partners, and discuss the economic trends we saw in 2022 and what their general outlook for 2023 is. We also discuss...More

Episode 1: From Family-Owned to Employee-Owned – The Hamill Manufacturing Company

In this episode we speak with Jeff Kelly, former CEO and selling owner of Hamill Manufacturing about what led him to sell the company to employees and how it helped ensure the legacy of this family owned business...More

Season 3

Episode 9: Lessons From the Field: Communicating Ownership

In this episode we sit down with Bina Smith, who is the Human Resources Generalist and Communication Committee Chair at Palmer Donavin, a 100% employee-owned company. Drawing on Bina's experience we...More

Episode 8: The EO State Centers (Owner to Owner Rebroadcast)

So, what exactly are state employee ownership centers, what do they do, and why do we need more of them? This episode is a re-broadcast of an interview originally aired by Owner to Owner – another EO-podcast. We talk...More

Episode 7: Maintaining Culture Through Rapid Growth and Change

In the past two years, Butler/Till has nearly doubled its workforce, opened up a new headquarters, and implemented a hybrid work option – all while navigating covid. In this episode, we speak with Deanna Colombo about how...More

Episode 6: Reinventing Companies, Capitalism, and Who Owns What

We sit down with Corey Rosen and discuss the new book he recently co-authored with business reporter John Case. The interview is wide ranging and touches upon what's driving economic inequality today how employee...More

Episode 5: LLC ESOPs? The Facts, Risks, and Possibilities

It is common understanding that only C-corporations and S-corporations can sponsor Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). But is this indeed the case? In this episode we speak with Mike Sorice about how LLCs can...More

Episode 4: Third Party Administrators - The Who, What, When, and Why

In this episode we speak with Pete Shuler of Blue Ridge ESOP Associates and go into the mechanics of ESOP administration and talk about Third Party Administrators (TPAs) what they do and why they...More

Episode 3: New Research - How Employee-Owned Companies Weathered Covid-19

A growing body of research shows that employee-owned companies outperform traditional companies on a range of measures but is has this pattern continued through covid-19? We speak with researches at the NCEO about...More

Episode 2: Cooperative Development in Ohio - Reports from the Field

In this episode we speak with Jonathan Welle of Cleveland Owns and Ellen Vera of Co-op Cincy – two Ohio-based nonprofits that are working around cooperative development and community wealth building. We dig into...More

Episode 1: The State of the State Centers

In this episode we speak with Steve Storkan, Executive Director of the Employee Ownership Expansion Network (EOX) -  a national nonprofit focused on establishing and supporting a network of independent State Centers...More

Season 2

Episode 11: Growing Employee Ownership Through Acquisitions

In this episode we speak with Chris Fredricks, CEO of Empowered Ventures and Tim Rettig CEO of InTrust IT, both of whom are focused on growing the employee ownership sector through acquisitions of other mid-market...More

Episode 10: Employee Ownership Updates: Taking Stock and Looking Forward

In this episode we take stock of employee ownership developments in Ohio and discuss how covid has impacted businesses and employee-owned companies from a macroeconomic perspective First, Mike Palmieri...More

Episode 9: How Wise Consulting Maintained its Ownership Culture Through Covid-19

In this episode we speak with Eamon Muholland, Senior Consultant at Wise Consulting and current head of the company's communication committee. We discuss how the company, a relatively new ESOP, maintained its...More

Episode 8: Building Community: How A Few Cool Hardware Stores Transitioned to Employee Ownership

In this episode we speak with Gina Schaefer and Courtney Belew of A Few Cool Hardware Stores about their recent transitions to employee ownership and what that means for their community, workplace culture...More

Episode 7: Rethinking Your Company's Repurchase Obligation

In this episode we speak with Josh Young of UBS about how ESOP companies can rethink their approach to repurchase obligations in a way that...More

Episode 6: Preserving Beacons of Hope; Reducing the Racial Wealth Gap Through Employee Ownership

In this episode we talk with Sean-Tamba Matthews of SES ESOP Strategies about how ESOPs can be used to preserve minority owned businesses while creating wealth building opportunities for selling owners, workers and...More

Episode 5: Preparing for and Executing a Sale to an ESOP - The Douglas Company

In this episode we talk with Pete Douglas and David Brockbader of the The Douglas Company about their recent transition to employee ownership using and ESOP... More

Episode 4: Are Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Employee Ownership Values?

In this episode we sit down with Dr. Joy and Ty Miller to talk about some of the preconceived notions that surround DEI, ways in which these values can be put into practice, and what... More

Episode 3: New Funds for Employee Ownership

In this episode we talk to Brett Jones of Evergreen Cooperatives and Ellen Vera of Co-op Cincy about each of their organization's new loan funds designed to help convert existing businesses into employee owned companies...More

Episode 2: Getting to the Other Side - One ESOP's Journey Through the Covid Crisis

Research consistently shows that employee owned companies weather economic downturns better than their conventional counterparts, but we rarely get an 'inside view' of this outcome is achieved. In this episode, we...More

Episode 1: Living the Employee Ownership Life

We talk to Anthony Mathews, Secretary of the California Center for Employee Ownership and former Director of the Beyster Institute about his decades long career in employee ownership and how it can help cure what ail us...More

Season 1

Episode 14: Employee Ownership: Reducing Inequality and Building Assets

We hear a lot about the the rising level of economic inequality in our society, the precarious nature of employment, and the difficulties of saving for retirement. What we hear about much less is the how employee ownership...More

Episode 13: The Employee Ownership Trust

In this episode of OAW we sit down with Chris Michael, an attorney and professor, to discuss a lesser known model - the employee ownership trust. We dig into the history of the model, talk about its...More

Episode 12: End of Year Considerations: Valuations and Repurchase Obligations

We’re getting to the end of year, and a general theme of our upcoming programming, as well as many of our conversations with companies and advisors alike, focuses on taking stock of what’s happened...More

Episode 11: Beyond COVID - Keeping your ESOP On Track

In this episode we speak with six experts in the field of employee ownership about how to approach 'regular' operations that all ESOPs must undertake while at the same time keeping an eye on planning for...More

Episode 10: Existing ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plans) in the Current Economy

It is well known within the employee ownership community that employee-owned companies do better in times of crisis compared to conventionally owned companies. However, this not a law of gravity, it is the result of...More

Episode 9: Selling Your Business to an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan)

In this episode we speak with five experts in the field of employee ownership about the process of selling a business to employees via an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Each interview focuses on...More

Episode 8: Measuring the Employee-Ownership Difference

In this episode we talk to Nancy Wiefek of the National Center for Employee Ownership and discuss her groundbreaking research project that highlights the difference employee ownership makes for...More

Episode 7: Can Networks of Worker Cooperatives Reduce Economic Inequality?

In this episode we sit down with Kristen Barker of Coop-Cincy and Michael Peck of One Worker One Vote, to talk about how they are working to create a network of worker cooperatives with the aim... More

POP-UP Episode: Managing the Present; Planning for the Future

In this episode, we talk with two financial experts to get their views on where we are now, and how to successfully get to...More

Episode 6: Selling Your Company to An ESOP: What you need to know

For this episode we talk with attorney Avery Chenin of SES ESOP Strategies on outlining, and demystifying, a sale to an ESOP. We discuss...More

Episode 5: Building Employee Ownership

For this episode  we talk to IntrustIT CEO (and selling owner) Tim Rettig, a new ESOP company in the Cincinnati area. Tim talks about why he chose...More

Episode 4: Employee Ownership in the Crisis and Beyond

For this episode we check in with Corey Rosen, Founder of the National Center of Employee Ownership (NCEO) and Kim Blaugher,  Executive Director of the Beyster Institute...More

Episode 3: Communication, Culture, and COVID-19

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, good strategies for building culture and facilitating communication are more important than ever...More

Episode 2: Leadership

What is leadership? How do we ensure continuity in the leadership of our company? Is a concept like leadership more important in an employee owned company? ...More

Episode 1: Value and Values

There are a lot of things that create value in an employee-owned company. Some of those things are bottom line related: sales, .... More

Introducing Owners at Work (Trailer)

We introduce the show and give you a preview of what to expect.

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