The Drumbeat

Employee-Owned Spotlight: Al. Neyer

June 1, 2022

Certified EO is excited to spotlight Al. Neyer, a 100% employee-owned and Cincinnati-based real estate development company. With offices in Pittsburgh, Raleigh, and Nashville, Al. Neyer has over 125 years of experience delivering commercial, medical, industrial, mixed-use, and residential construction projects throughout the Eastern U.S.Founded in 1894 as a carpentry and contracting company, Al. Neyer — named after the founder’s grandson, Alphonse — steadily grew with each new generation of family owners. By the fifth generation of Neyer family leadership, the firm had added licensed designers and architects to its team and began work developing several industrial parks in Greater Cincinnati.Al. Neyer was an early adopter of the “design-build” approach to completing construction projects, an alternative to the more traditional “design-bid-build” method. Design-bid-build requires project owners to separately contract an architect and general contractor, which can complicate communications between the three parties, or even force the owner to mediate disputes between designers and contractors if they arise. Design-build firms, on the other hand, allow owners to sign a single contract, streamline communications, and often complete projects in a more timely fashion. Al. Neyer implements this approach across its portfolio of clients, which includes REI Co-op and Vanderbilt University..In 2014 the company made the transition from family-owned to employee-owned when it established and funded its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The following year, the company appointed its first female president, Molly North, to oversee its expansion into Nashville, its third market, followed by Raleigh in 2019. Now with over 140 employees, all of whom are eligible to join the company’s ESOP and share in the success of its growth, Al. Neyer has its sights set on continued expansion into new markets.The onset of the pandemic in 2020 brough unique challenges and opportunities to Al. Neyer. Following construction shutdowns, a sudden ramp-up of activity in the second half of the year led to an 86% increase in total square footage of construction signings from 2019, followed by another 30% increase in new activity from 2020 to 2021. Since 2014, Al. Neyer has recorded impressive share price growth in its Annual Reports, including a 27% average annual increase between 2014 and 2019. And with the surge of new construction activity in 2020, the company’s share price spiked from $56.42 to $119.55, more than doubling the value of the shares held by employee-owners.Beyond Al. Neyer’s financial success, the company has shown steady commitment to its communities, including over $450,000 in donations and sponsorships granted in 2021. Al. Neyer has also received several awards for its workplace culture, including multiple designations from the Cincinnati Business Courier’s Best Places to Work award and a Top Place to Work award four times since 2017.Al. Neyer became a Member of Certified EO in 2022. If you are a Certified EO Member and would like to see your company’s story featured in a future spotlight article, please contact your Membership Manager.

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New Partnership: Certified Employee-Owned & The Healthcare Anchor Network

May 24, 2022

Certified Employee-Owned and The Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) are excited to announce a new partnership to help over 1,000 hospitals identify procurement opportunities with employee-owned companies! HAN is a nationally recognized collaboration of health systems leveraging their purchasing, hiring, and investing power to improve health and well-being by addressing economic and racial inequities in the communities they serve. HAN works to achieve a critical mass of health systems adopting the anchor mission, a proactive commitment to leverage their economic, political, and human capital to drive equitable, local economic impact. HAN was launched in May 2017 and today represents over 70 health systems with more than 1,000 hospitals, $75 billion of purchasing power, $150 billion of invested assets, and almost 2 million staff. HAN members include Boston Children’s Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, University of California San Francisco, and University of Virginia Health. “We’re delighted to have the support of Certified Employee-Owned's knowledge of the field to help our members know the Certified Employee-Owned companies in their service areas and look for opportunities to do business with them,” stated David Zuckerman, President & Founder, Healthcare Anchor Network. Employee ownership is increasingly recognized as a way to reduce wealth inequality and strengthen local economies. By procuring products and services from employee-owned companies, anchor institutions will create good jobs while benefiting from increased service quality. To date, the main challenge preventing anchors from accessing this win-win opportunity has been the difficulty of finding employee-owned companies. As the only national certification focused on employee-owned companies, Certified Employee-Owned is perfectly positioned to help anchor institutions find employee-owned suppliers. Our standards of significant and broad-based employee ownership span all types of employee-owned companies including Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Worker Cooperatives, Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs), Equity Compensation Plans, and more. Since our launch in September 2017, we have been working to build a list of verified employee-owned companies as well as tools to help people explore employee ownership, for example our Directory of Employee-Owned Companies. This partnership represents the first step to creating widespread purchasing preferences for employee-owned companies. The initial focus with HAN will be on helping their health systems identify current vendors who are employee-owned and educating HAN members on the benefits of doing business with employee-owned companies. Some health systems may be interested in taking the next step of integrating employee ownership into their process for identifying future vendors and filling open contracts. The experience and success stories from this partnership will help us build toward future purchasing engagements and could provide the proof-of-concept required for state or even federal purchasing preferences for employee-owned companies. To learn more about how we are working with HAN to promote purchasing from employee-owned companies, register for our upcoming webinar on July 21st.

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Capital Accounts and Profit Sharing: The Two Ways Employee-Owners Build Wealth

April 27, 2022

Employee-owned companies are great at building wealth for working people. Take WinCo Foods. After roughly 40 years as an ESOP, the 130 workers at a single store in Corvallis, Oregon had a combined $100M in ownership wealth and across the company, over 400 front-line employees were “millionaire grocery clerks”. Or consider Springfield Remanufacturing Company (SRC). From 1983 through 2017, the company paid nearly $100M in distributions to its employee-owners. CEO Jack Stack highlights one person who, “started here in 1983 making $7.50 an hour [and] has now got $1.2 million.” While not every employee-owner will become a millionaire, research shows that these remarkable examples highlight broader trends. The National Center for Employee Ownership found that, on average, employee-owners have nearly double the retirement wealth compared to non-employee-owners ($170,326 versus $80,339). At Certified Employee-Owned, we used data from the Federal Reserve to show that if every American business became employee-owned, wealth inequality would be reduced to historic lows and the wealth of the median household would increase from $121,760 to $230,076. How are employee-owned companies helping people build this much wealth? While there are many ways to create and run an employee-owned company, there are only two ways that these businesses put money in the pockets of their workers: capital accounts and profit sharing. Capital Accounts Capital accounts are distinct accounts that track the ownership value held by individual employees. Capital accounts can hold company stock directly or they can hold derivatives such as stock options. Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPPs), stock options or even direct share ownership are all forms of capital accounts. An individual’s capital account is typically funded through an initial grant or annual contributions, either made by the company as in an ESOP, or funded by the employee-owner, as in an ESPP. Today there are over 5,100 employee-owned companies using capital accounts. The key feature of capital accounts is compound growth.The value of an employee’s capital account is tied to the performance of the company through the share price. Assuming the business is performing well, the company’s share price will increase and the value of the capital account will go up. Importantly, the increase in value from share price growth applies both to contributions as well as prior share price growth, a process known as compounding. Compound growth is how employee-owners build potentially life-changing wealth over time. Specifics vary widely, but many reasonable scenarios that reflect real-world practice lead to six-figure wealth building, and, as we saw with WinCo and SRC, companies that are employee-owned for 25+ years usually have front-line millionaires. While compound growth has tremendous wealth-building potential, the key ingredient is time. Drawing the account down will erase the compounding, and building substantial wealth typically requires the capital account is untouched for 20 years or more. Eventually the employee-owner must be able to turn the capital account back into cash. Because employee-owned companies are private, there are generally two options: the company buys the share back or the accounts are cashed out when the company is sold. Due to the nature of business valuation, companies almost never will have enough cash on hand to buy back all shares at any given point in time. This leads to a situation at mature capital account companies called “share recycling” where shares are bought from selling owners and recycled back to new owners. For example, at ESOPs shares are bought back from employee-owners who have left the company, maybe because they retired. This is a time-tested practice that can continue for a long time so long as both the employee ownership plan and the company are managed well. Profit Sharing Profit sharing is when a company distributes some portion of profits back to employees as cash on a regular cadence. Profit sharing is a flexible concept that is implemented in a variety of ways and not all forms of profit sharing can be considered ownership. For example, a plan that exists solely at the discretion of management can provide a nice benefit, but it is not ownership because it can be taken away by management without any sort of monetary compensation to the employees. In line with our certification standards, to be considered ownership a profit sharing plan must have a legal claim on part or all of the business and it must have codified distribution rules that are inclusive and not overly concentrated. Formal profit-sharing benefit plans that own shares of company stock meet these criteria, but in our experience these plans rarely own enough of the company for it to qualify as “employee-owned”. Currently we see just two types of employee-owned companies where the primary wealth building mechanism is profit sharing and enough of the company is owned by the profit-sharing structure to qualify as employee-owned: Worker Cooperatives and Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs). We know of roughly 350 companies operating through these two vehicles today. The key feature of profit sharing is liquidity. Profit sharing is typically done on a quarterly or annual basis, and once the profits are in and the benefit is calculated a check is cut to qualifying employee-owners within a few weeks. Profit sharing is immediately useful to employee-owners. Tradeoffs Between Capital Accounts and Profit Sharing The basic structure of capital accounts and profit sharing leads to a tradeoff between timing and wealth creation that impacts people and has implications for investing in growth. Wealth Building Due to compound growth, capital accounts help employee-owners build more wealth than profit sharing. Specifics vary, but typically after 30 years compound growth is responsible for at least 80% of the value of a capital account. If the account owner had instead received their annual allocations of stock as cash payments, for example through profit sharing, they would have received just one fifth of the value of the capital account over time. I doubt that any employee-owner has ever built a million dollars in wealth through profit sharing alone. Liquidity (Timing of Payments) While capital accounts have greater wealth-building potential, profit sharing provides money to employee-owners sooner. Most capital account structures at employee-owned companies simply don’t give people the option to withdraw value before retirement because it would not be feasible for the business. On top of that, regularly withdrawing a portion of your capital account will diminish or even completely offset the benefits of compounding. Delayed gratification is inherent in the concept of capital accounts just as liquidity is inherent in the concept of profit sharing. The ultimate point of employee ownership is to create better lives for working people and if people have immediate needs, it simply might not be feasible to wait. While profit sharing has lower total wealth building potential, it provides greater liquidity and that tradeoff might be well-worth it for employee-owners, especially for those making a lower income. Investing in Growth The difference in payment timing between profit sharing and capital accounts has implications for how a company invests in its growth. Theoretically, the immediacy of profit sharing disincentives investing in the business, since investments reduce profit now in exchange for profit later. For example, consider a company thinking about using some excess cash this year to buy a piece of equipment that would increase profitability multiple years in the future. If employee-owners have a strong need for money now, what are they likely to choose? Capital accounts are fundamentally long-term and therefore can be much better for long-term alignment. Of course, the specific fit will likely depend quite a bit on industry. If the company is involved in a people-oriented business that involves little capital, for example consulting, profit sharing might do better in terms of aligning incentives. But if a lumpy investment is required, shares might be better. Why Not Both? Considering the advantages of both capital accounts and profit sharing it’s tempting to ask: why not do both? In theory you could split the ownership of a company in any way between capital accounts and profit sharing. In practice, we find that companies tend to do one or the other. We haven’t counted exactly, but I would estimate that over 95% of employee-owned companies either have capital accounts or they have a formal profit sharing structure, and if they are owned by a profit sharing structure, such as an EOT or Worker Cooperative, it almost always owns 100% of the company. There is a major exception: discretionary profit sharing. While not technically ownership, profit sharing that exists at the discretion of management shares the positive characteristics described above, specifically the immediacy of payment and the attendant culture-building benefits. For this reason, we see many companies that use capital accounts for their ownership while implementing a discretionary profit sharing plan as well. Typically it has a quarterly or annual cadence and the primary focus is to strengthen the connection between the success of the company and the success of the employee-owner. Wealth building for working people is the common thread running through all corners of the employee ownership community. Different companies in different industries employing different people will all find their own balance in the tradeoff between capital accounts and profit sharing. What’s important is to consider what’s right for your company and your people. Special thanks to Jon Shell of Social Capital Partners who read an early version of this post and suggested the point about “Investing in Growth”. That section is adapted from his email.

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Employee-Owned Spotlight: Venturity

April 18, 2022

Certified EO is excited to spotlight Venturity Financial Partners, a Dallas-based firm providing outsourced accounting and CFO services to small and growing companies. Since establishing its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 2020, Venturity has embraced the long-term endeavor of building an ownership culture by practicing open management and aligning the success of the company with the well-being of its newly-appointed employee-owners. While the company’s ESOP is relatively new, Venturity’s leadership team has taken key steps in establishing early momentum towards the sustained success of its employee ownership program, both in terms of company culture and wealth building potential for its team members. As a practitioner of The Great Game of Business, Venturity has implemented open-book management and offers ongoing accounting training to its staff, all with the goal of improving the company’s performance and deepening employee engagement (Certified EO previously spotlighted the pioneer of The Great of Business’s practices, SRC Holdings Corporation). Venturity launched in 2001 after the company’s founders identified a critical need among a potential base of clients for outsourced accounting services, especially for smaller, dynamic teams where functions like bookkeeping, reporting, and forward-looking financial planning can be difficult to perform internally at a high level. Having grown significantly over the next 20 years, Venturity took its first step into the community of employee-owned companies by transferring 20% ownership of the company’s shares to its newly-formed ESOP with the goal of moving to 100% employee ownership over the next 10 years. Now with over 45 team members eligible and enrolling in the ESOP, the company’s growth will stand to benefit each individual’s retirement savings, rather than accumulate to a more concentrated group of owners or a third-party ownership group. With a growing demand for outsourced financial services, Venturity offers its clients ongoing support for financial management, as well as more time-bound projects. The company is part of an increasing trend to offer fractional CFO services, where a qualified CFO may be engaged on a part-time or retainer basis as needed. A fractional CFO can offer flexible support to small companies for key decision making areas, including long-term growth planning, strategic troubleshooting, and overseeing an audit or financial reporting process. Beyond the day-to-day work, Venturity’s team is also frequently involved in volunteering time to local schools and charities. The Venturity Cares Committee organizes these efforts, similar to how a communications or cultural committee might organize educational, social, and other programming to build engagement with and understanding of employee ownership topics. The Venturity team has logged nearly 2,600 volunteer hours since 2016, and team members have made nearly $25,000 in charitable contributions over the past five years. Venturity has received additional recognitions for its workplace culture, performance, mission, and impact, including Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, the Dallas Business Journal’s Best Places to Work, and Forbes Small Giants. Venturity became a member of Certified EO in 2021, soon after it launched its employee ownership program. To learn more about the company, visit their website or find them on LinkedIn.

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Employee-Owned Spotlight: Mountain Hardware and Sports

March 22, 2022

Certified EO is excited to spotlight Mountain Hardware and Sports, a 100% employee-owned hardware store that offers clothing, home decor, sporting goods, fishing gear, rental machinery equipment, and just about anything to fit a mountain lifestyle. Mountain Hardware has four locations tucked in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northeast California, including two hardware stores and a small equipment rental store in Truckee, just north of Lake Tahoe, and a hardware store in Blairsden, on the southeast edge of Plumas National Forest. Three long-time friends opened the first Mountain Hardware and Sports at the old Gateway center in Truckee in 1977, and in 1991 the store’s owners moved to open a store at one of its current locations right along Donner Lake. In 2001, Mountain Hardware began its transition to becoming employee-owned. Initially 49% employee-owned following the establishment of its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), the company became majority-EO in 2005, a few years after it opened its Blairsden location. By 2013, the company had acquired Truckee Rents, its equipment rental business, and it had achieved 100% employee ownership. Now with over 100 employee-owners, Mountain Hardware and Sports ties its core values to its shared ownership structure. The company encourages employees to think and act like owners, understanding that daily and weekly contributions can positively impact the company’s performance and the growth of individual ESOP accounts. Last June, Mountain Hardware and Sports celebrated the 8th anniversary of becoming 100% employee-owned (and the 18th anniversary of the team’s first entrants into the ESOP). The company created a video acknowledging the benefits and impact of the ESOP, which won the team an award at The ESOP Association’s 2022 Annual Awards for Communications Excellence. “I think the thing I appreciate the most about being an employee-owned company is now after 18 years of being an ESOP, we’re starting to see accounts mature, and we’re starting to see balances that really are going to have a positive effect on people’s lives,” said one employee-owner in the video. “And that’s the whole concept, that it’s really a redistribution of wealth.” On its blog and YouTube channel, Mountain Hardware and Sports posts about everything from DIY home and garden tips, to camping and hiking guides, and even installing tire cables for snowy terrain. The company remains active in volunteer and charity efforts in Truckee, including an annual memorial golf event held in honor of one of the company’s founders, Dane Skutt. Mountain Hardware and Sports became a Certified EO member in 2017. To learn more about the company, visit its website.

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Defining “Employee-Owned”: How We Set Our Certification Standards

March 21, 2022

At Certified Employee-Owned, our mission is to build an employee-owned economy by creating national recognition for employee ownership. When starting Certified EO, in 2016, my co-founder Kramer Sharp and I were inspired by the success of programs like Fair Trade and Great Place to Work. We saw certification as a way to amplify the voices of employee-owned companies with a unified brand that would make it easy for job seekers, consumers and businesses to find and support employee-owned companies.As we have grown to over 400 Members, we have started to see our vision come to pass. But, we have also seen how employee ownership is an idea that takes different forms at different companies. Given all the nuance, what exactly do we mean when we certify a company as “employee-owned”? This article walks through how we created our certification standards, including:Why did we need to define “employee-owned”?Common threads from community conversationsFocusing on wealth buildingA specific and simple definition of employee-ownedWhy Did We Need to Define “Employee-Owned”?The idea to create a certification program for employee-owned companies came out of work I was doing as a PhD student at Stanford Business School. I joined the Organizational Behavior department in 2013 with an interest in understanding alternative business structures. In my first year, my advisor pointed me in the direction of the academic work on employee-owned companies. I was excited to see that a group of scholars had spent years studying this model and thrilled that their findings demonstrated increased firm performance and better outcomes for employees. While absorbing this large body of work, I had frequent conversations about what I was learning with a long-time friend, Kramer Sharp. The more we talked about employee ownership the more excited we became about this unique business model. But we kept coming back to the same question: Why have we never heard of this before?As we explored employee ownership, we noticed that, much to our surprise, many companies we already knew and loved were employee-owned. We also started to get to know the amazing community of companies and service providers powering this transformative model and were struck by their passion and commitment. But being new to the space we were confronted with the difficulty of finding employee-owned companies. Getting a rough list of companies required digging through government filings, and even that list was incomplete. It became clear to us that a major obstacle preventing more people from joining and supporting the EO Community was lack of visibility.Thinking about ways to build awareness of employee ownership, we were inspired by the success of certification programs like Fair Trade and Great Place to Work. They demonstrated that certification is a proven model that combines the reach of companies with a common trait to create national recognition. We thought that increasing the visibility of employee-owned companies would make them the employer of choice for millions of job seekers and make being employee-owned a major differentiator with clients and consumers. But creating a certification requires making a yes/no decision about who is eligible to join, so before we could start building towards our vision we had to set down concrete certification standards. In other words, we had to define “employee-owned”.Common Threads From Community ConversationsIn 2016 when we set out to create our certification standards, the ESOP model was already over 40 years old. Shining light on the employee ownership community was the entire point of the certification, so we knew that we had to ground our definition of “employee-owned” in community input.We started by connecting with the major trade associations including the National Center for Employee Ownership, The ESOP Association, Employee-Owned S-Corporations of America, and the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives. We attended conferences to speak with service providers including lawyers, accountants, bankers, and consultants who create and administer employee ownership plans. And of course we contacted as many employee-owned companies as possible. Over the course of the year we had over 250 conversations about what it means to be employee-owned. It’s no surprise that we heard a variety of perspectives. For some companies employee ownership is about giving everyone a financial stake in the success of the business. Take WinCo Foods as an example. They have had broad-based employee ownership for over 30 years and in the process they have created many millionaire grocery clerks. Some companies see employee ownership as encompassing both share ownership and employee involvement in operational decision making, for example open-book management. A few companies even see employee ownership as including employee-owners having a say in important governance issues. For example, Worker Cooperatives give their worker-owners equal votes in electing the board of directors. These three aspects of ownership - money, operational decision making and governance - were the common threads running through what we heard from the EO Community. Focusing on Wealth BuildingIt only took a few conversations for us to see that it would be impossible to come up with a single definition of “employee-owned” that would include everything that everyone saw as important. While money, operational decision making and governance were the common threads, everyone we spoke to had a different opinion on their relative importance. Instead, we started looking for a baseline. What were the aspects of employee ownership that would be broadly seen as necessary? If a company did everything BUT one particular practice would they still be viewed as employee-owned? With this shift in perspective, one element stood out: wealth building for working people. A focus on wealth building also aligned with the notion advanced by many Founding Fathers, and articulated best by Thomas Jefferson, that a healthy democracy depends on broad-based property ownership. While in Jefferson’s time this meant ownership of agricultural land, employee ownership updates this notion for our modern world where the largest asset held by the wealthiest households is the ownership of business. While operational decision making and employee involvement in governance can be positive, the broad-based ownership of wealth stands apart in importance for individuals as well as our country. A Specific and Simple Definition of Employee-OwnedWith our direction focused on wealth building, we distilled the community input down into a common set of standards we could use to certify a company as “employee-owned”:Ownership: At least 30% of the company must be owned by employees. Shares held by company founders do not count towards this threshold.Access: Reasonable access to ownership must be open to every employee at the company.Concentration: The ownership held in line with #1 and #2 must not be over-concentrated. This is controlled either through a cap on the maximum distribution or a maximum ratio between maximum and median distribution.It’s important to acknowledge that our standards are not perfect. For example, we’ve spoken with a company where employees hold a 10% stake that meets the access and concentration components of our standards. They were quick to point out that it could be much better to own 10% of a successful company than 100% of a failing business. There is merit to that point, but at the same time, 10% is not enough to call a company “employee-owned”. Others have told us that our standards are too low. Why not set the bar at a majority ownership stake? There are actually a few strategic reasons for an employee-owned company to keep ownership below a majority that benefit the company and by extension the employee-owners, for example maintaining government purchasing preferences. The 30% threshold is also aligned with historical legislation, for example Section 1042 of the Internal Revenue Code. But the biggest reason is that 30% employee-owned is actually a high bar. According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are roughly 1.3 million firms in America with at least 10 employees. We estimate there are approximately 6,000 companies that meet our certification standards. That means fewer than 1 in 200 businesses met our definition of employee-owned - less than half of one percent! Ultimately we made peace with setting imperfect standards because the mission of Certified Employee-Owned is to build an employee-owned economy. We are not trying to be the arbiters of who is a “good” company and who is a “bad” company. We see certification as a means to an end, and creating a certification program requires a definition of who does and does not qualify. No single definition of employee-owned will ever be perfect, but there is tremendous benefit to the employee ownership community if we can create national recognition. Uniting our voices will help millions of Americans see the value of this model, create a resource that benefits our community, and increase the number of employee-owned companies.

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The Difference Between “ESOP” and “Employee-Owned”

February 16, 2022

If you’ve spent time learning about employee ownership, then you’ve certainly heard of Employee Stock Ownership Plans, or ESOPs. In fact, ESOPs are so common among employee-owned companies that many people use these terms interchangeably. You might be surprised to learn that, while ESOPs are certainly the most common type of plan used by employee-owned companies, there is actually quite a bit of daylight between the two concepts. Not all ESOPs are employee-owned, and not all employee-owned companies have an ESOP. This article walks through the differences between “ESOP” and “employee-owned” including:Quick Background on ESOPsNot all ESOPs are Employee-OwnedMany Employee-Owned Companies Don’t Have an ESOPDefining “Employee-Owned”Quick Background on ESOPsGiven their importance to employee ownership, it makes sense to start with a bit of background information on ESOPs. Since their creation in 1974 as part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), ESOPs have grown dramatically. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, there are currently around 6,300 companies with an ESOP. They range in size from dozens of employees to hundreds of thousands and operate in every industry imaginable. The ESOP’s popularity is due to a number of factors, including nearly 50 years of proven success, strong tax benefits, and a fantastic community of advocates and service providers.By law, ESOPs are extremely inclusive. The basic idea behind an ESOP is that it is a trust that owns a portion or all of a company on behalf of a broad-based group of employees. Shares are usually allocated to eligible employees annually, and the eligibility criteria employees must meet to receive a share allocation are very open. Typically employees need to work 1,000 hours in a year to participate, an average of only 20 hours per week. Additionally, ESOP shares are paid out of company profits and are allocated to employees at no cost. These simple and open criteria drive high levels of participation in the plan and ensure that workers at ESOP companies benefit when their business is successful. Not all ESOPs are Employee-OwnedWhile all ESOPs are broad-based, the percentage of total outstanding stock owned by the ESOP varies dramatically from company to company. There is no minimum, and in practice we’ve seen this range anywhere from a fraction of a percent to 100%. Of course, an ESOP that owns even just a tiny piece of a large and successful company can provide a great benefit to employees, especially since employees are not paying for the shares out of their wages or benefits. However, there is a categorical distinction between a company operating a small ESOP as an employee benefit versus a company where the plan owns a substantial portion of the company, perhaps even 100%. In other words, there is a difference between having an ESOP and being employee-owned. Further clarity can be gained by looking at a specific example. When downloading the publicly available Form 5500 data from the Department of Labor and filtering for all companies that indicate they have an ESOP, we see the largest such company by number of active participants is Walmart. Their ESOP is probably a nice benefit for some of the company's employees. However, it is not having the same impact on people as the ESOP at 100% employee-owned WinCo Foods, which has made many front line employees into millionaires. That’s why it’s important to remember that having an ESOPs doesn't always mean a company is employee-owned.Many Employee-Owned Companies Don’t Have an ESOPWhile the ESOP model is the most popular and successful structure used by employee-owned companies, it is not the only option. There are a number of alternatives that companies can use to implement significant and broad-based employee ownership, including worker cooperatives, employee ownership trusts (EOTs), employee stock purchase programs, and equity compensation plans like stock options. We describe each in more detail here. Companies can even implement employee ownership through direct share ownership, though often there are advantages to a more formal structure. Alternative structures play an important role in building an employee-owned economy because not every company is a good fit for an ESOP. The setup and administrative costs of an ESOP can be prohibitive for companies under 40 people. Companies that want to ensure employees have a strong voice in governance might find the worker cooperative to be a better fit. Perhaps the most promising use case for alternative structures is helping smaller companies become employee-owned. For example, in recent years we’ve seen a growing number of EOTs implemented at companies that are too small for an ESOP, an encouraging trend that could greatly expand the employee ownership community. Defining “Employee-Owned”If not all ESOPs are employee-owned and many employee-owned companies don’t have an ESOP, then it begs the question: What does “employee-owned” mean? Answering this question was priority number one when we started Certified Employee-Owned. Our vision from the very beginning has been to create national recognition for employee ownership by making it simple and easy for Americans to find and support employee-owned companies. We quickly realized that, while companies leveraging different ownership structures certainly have distinct administrative and legal concerns, everyone in the employee ownership community would benefit from increased visibility and awareness . With this big-tent vision in mind, we set out to create specific and verifiable criteria to define “employee-owned” that could be applied to any underlying ownership structure. We searched extensively for historical precedent and had over 200 conversations with companies and advocates. Ultimately, we identified financial ownership as a common thread running through legislation and views of advocates from across the space. After accumulating feedback and input, we created a definition of what it means for a company to be employee-owned that focuses on three main concepts:Ownership: At least 30% of the company must be owned by employees (excluding founders)Access: Reasonable access to ownership must be open to every employeeConcentration: Ownership among employees cannot be too concentratedWe have specific practices that we verify under each of these headings, and while we will provide details on both our certification standards and the development process in a future post, it’s important to emphasize that our goal is not to determine who is a “good” or “bad” employee-owned company. There are businesses doing great things with broad-based ownership below our 30% threshold, and there are other companies that would view our standards as too low. It only took about five conversations to realize no definition would ever satisfy everyone, and that’s not the point. The point is to grow the employee-owned economy. Think about what Organic, Fair Trade, and B Corporation have done in terms of awareness and imagine if we could create that for employee-owned companies. A necessary part of having a certification program is a specific and clear delineation between who does and does not meet the standards. Our standards also allow us to create resources that benefit the entire community, for example our Directory of Employee-Owned Companies, which is an up-to-date list of every company that, to the best of our knowledge, meets the above definition of employee-owned. Our approach has the potential to change the game for the employee ownership community, including the ESOP space, and that’s why it’s important to understand the difference between “ESOP” and “employee-owned”.

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Employee-Owned Spotlight: SRC Holdings Corporation

January 31, 2022

Certified EO is excited to spotlight SRC Holdings Corporation, a 100% employee-owned remanufacturing company with 10 subsidiaries and operations based across Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois. SRC has shared company ownership since its founding in 1983, and in 2011 the company became 100% employee-owned. SRC also works to popularize its open-book management practices, known as The Great Game of Business, which promote transparency, integrity, and business literacy among the company’s 1,800 associates. In the early 1980’s, SRC’s first team of managers, including founder and CEO Jack Stack, were at risk of finding themselves out of work when their original parent company, International Harvester, began laying off employees and selling off company assets. SRC’s management made a last-ditch effort to save the operation by buying out their plant, Springfield ReManufacturing, from International Harvester with a bank loan, a transaction that left them dangerously leveraged and still at risk of closing down. But this also opened the door to revamping the ownership and management structure, including introducing an employee ownership program and open-book management practices that focused on sharing financial information with all staff and training them to understand how to read the company’s books. This pivot helped build the company’s ownership culture and tie the contributions of each employee-owner to the financial success of the plant. The company’s stock price had rebounded from $0.10 in 1983 to $13 only five years later, and by 2017 it had paid over $100 million in distributions to employee-owners retiring or leaving the company. SRC serves clients that produce machinery for agricultural, industrial, construction, truck, marine and automotive markets. The core of SRC’s business—remanufacturing, or “reman”—is an industrial process that involves improving previously used, worn, or non-functional equipment into like-new or better-than-new condition. This helps extend a product’s lifecycle, and it diverts valuable and salvageable materials from landfills. The environmental benefits of remanufacturing versus traditional manufacturing processes are significant. The remanufacturing process uses up to 85% less energy, water, and raw materials compared to traditional manufacturing, resulting in SRC’s companies diverting about 70 million pounds of material from landfills each year. SRC continues to expand its lines of business, and a flatter organizational hierarchy helps maintain an entrepreneurial culture that leads to new ventures and innovations in production each year. In February 2021, the company announced $100 million in planned real estate development over the next 10 years, which is expected to bring its manufacturing and warehousing footprint to over 3.5 million square feet. In October 2021, the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) announced SRC as a member of its Employee Ownership 100, a list of the largest majority employee-owned companies in the country. Learn more about SRC Holdings, a Certified EO member since 2018, on the company’s website.

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10 Reasons Business Owners Have Transitioned to Employee Ownership

January 20, 2022

Since launching Certified Employee-Owned in 2017, I’ve spoken to over 1,000 employee-owned companies. These conversations are the highlight of my day. I love hearing stories about entrepreneurs starting companies and I'm always curious to learn how founders have come across employee ownership. Spending so much time talking to entrepreneurs and leaders in the employee ownership space has shown me a few interesting trends. Most notably, the vast majority of companies I have spoken with did not start out as employee-owned, but transitioned after many years in business. I haven’t kept exact numbers, but I would estimate this is the case with over 95% of the companies I know. While there are as many reasons for conversion as there are founders, there are a few trends that stick out. Here are 10 reasons that stand out as to why business owners have made the transition to employee ownership, along with a paraphrased story for each one that captures the essence of the journey: 1. Keeping it in the family‍“ Starting this company was my dad’s greatest accomplishment and growing the business has been my life’s work. But none of my kids were interested in taking the reins. I know what can happen when a company is taken over by a strategic or private equity and I didn’t have the heart to do that to people I’ve known my entire life. Transitioning to 100% employee-owned was my way of keeping the company in the family.” 2. Giving our owners partial liquidity‍“ To me going 30% employee-owned was a no-brainer. I got some liquidity, and now my people have a direct stake in the action, so the company is doing even better. As a bonus I have a built in succession plan. I don’t have any plans to step back, but you never know what will happen and it’s great to have that option.” 3. Continuity through succession‍“ This company was her baby, she wasn't going to sell it. She really liked the idea of leaving the company in the hands of the employees, because the alternative was going the way of other companies that she had seen bought out and changed completely.” 4. Staying an anchor in our community‍ “Our founder was deeply concerned with what would happen to the local economy. He knew that if he sold to a strategic buyer, they would move the headquarters and maybe even the factory. We’re the biggest employer in the area so that would have devastated the town. By transitioning to EO our founder kept us local and kept the town alive.” 5. Start-up business sharing equity‍ “A lot of start-ups share equity with talented employees in exchange for under-market wages, but my vision for sharing equity in the company was different. I wanted all my dedicated employees to have skin in the game from the beginning. The set formulas for sharing equity with only early employees didn’t work for me.” 6. Aligning employees at a time of growth‍ “After years of start-up hustle, we were finally poised to take our company to the next level, and employees were going to be critical to our growth. We wanted to align the interests of owners and employees by giving employees a stake and a better understanding of what makes our company tick.” 7. Finding alternatives to private equity‍“ Private equity started knocking at our door and it made us think critically about the future of our company. We believe in our mission, our people, and the services we provide and are not willing to compromise those to get the highest dollar. Some of our shareholders were pressuring us for liquidity, and we needed to figure out how to provide that without overburdening the company with debt.” 8. Mission-driven at our core‍ “We have been mission-first since day one. I started the business to help us transition to a sustainable future. Growing the company and making money has always been an outcome of our success, not a goal. I transitioned us to employee-owned to lock that mission-focus into our DNA. I want everyone here to have a stake in our future and to feel as bought-in as I feel as the founder.” 9. Feeling alone at the top‍ “I did not expect to become a solo entrepreneur running a company by myself. I always wanted to do this as a team. I don’t have a co-founder anymore, and I want everyone to be more bought in and engaged as co-owners of this business.” 10. Democracy at work‍“ We wanted to be a worker cooperative from the start. It is the only corporate structure that aligns with our values - that each worker should have equal say in the governance of the company. We are in this together and that should be reflected in every aspect of our structure and culture. ”Are you a business owner looking to learn more about employee ownership? A great place to start is our overview.

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Employee-Owned Spotlight: Superior Farms

October 15, 2021

Certified EO is excited to spotlight Superior Farms, a 100% employee-owned processor, marketer and wholesaler of lamb. Founded in 1964, Superior Farms partners with family ranchers, many of whom have been raising sheep for generations, to bring to market sustainably-raised and antibiotic-free lamb products. Superior Farms operates three brands of lamb products, including Cascade Creek Lamb Company [https://cascadecreeklamb.com/], a premium brand that raises all of its sheep on pastures in open rangelands on the West Coast. The company employs nearly 400 employee-owners throughout its processing plants and offices across California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa and Massachusetts. Through its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), 401(k) matching contributions, and long-term contracts with suppliers, Superior Farms aims to help build generational wealth from grazing pastures to facility plants. Sustainable Lamb, from Farm to Table Many of Superior Farms’ over 1,000 ranchers spread across the western U.S. practice regenerative grazing with their lambs. This involves partnering with crop farmers to bring sheep herds onto fields after crops have been harvested, which helps boost the amount of organic matter in the soil, improve fertility, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for tractors to operate on fields. Lambs grazing on these pastures also receive nutritional benefits, help manage soil erosion and runoff, and even contribute to wildfire suppression. Many ranchers in the company’s network raise herds on “marginal” land, meaning the land is not suitable for growing crops but is optimal for sheep to roam and graze. As undeveloped land becomes more scarce or expensive throughout the West, integrating grazing herds into croplands will provide an increasingly important option for ranchers. In addition to soil benefits, Superior Farms has made strides in sourcing clean energy, reducing emissions in its transportation, and cutting down on plastic waste. The company’s processing plant in Dixon, CA receives up to 95% of its total energy use from wind and solar sources, and efficiency gains made in recent years have helped the company reduce its overall energy use by 28% and its natural gas usage by 54%. By sourcing all of its lamb domestically, the company significantly shortens its supply chain compared to imported lamb from Australia or New Zealand. And by shifting its packaging practices, Superior Farms was able to reduce its use of plastics by a third while also extending the shelf life of its products, helping to reduce food waste. Steven Osguthorpe, the owner of a family farm that grazes thousands of sheep in Park City, Utah, takes pride in the family’s conservation practices and stewardship of their herds. “We look at ourselves as the stewards of the land, and if we take care of it, it’ll take care of us. And if we abuse that land, we’re not going to be in business next year,” he previously told Superior Farms. “If I had my druthers, I would be out here herding sheep every day. I don’t think there really is a better life. It’s everything to me.”

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Employee-Owned Spotlight: Tech Etch

September 13, 2021

Certified EO is excited to spotlight Tech Etch, a 100% employee-owned company that has over five decades of experience and expertise specializing in manufacturing precision engineered thin metal components, flexible printed circuits, and EMI/RFI (electromagnetic and radio frequency interference) shielding. Their commitment to excellence begins with their employee owners who provide world class services and innovative comprehensive solutions that enhance lives globally. They partner with leading global customers in the aerospace, military, medical, telecommunication, and electronics industries that have highly complex precise designs and demanding regulatory requirements. Their solutions ensure unmatched precision, quality, and attention to detail in every project, every time. Founded in 1964 by George E. Keeler, Tech Etch began as a small engraving company in Boston and helped pioneer the photo chemical etching process, which allows manufacturers to produce highly complex parts with precision in a cost-effective manner. The company’s growth, fueled in part by acquisitions, led to the construction of its three manufacturing plants. Tech Etch’s operations are housed within three facilities totaling nearly 260,000 square feet — two of which are in Massachusetts, the Plymouth headquarters and Fall River, and one in Litchfield, Minnesota. In 1999, Tech Etch established its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) program, and the following year George Keeler transferred 30% ownership of the company to the ESOP. In 2018, he sold the remainder of his ownership to the employees, establishing 100% employee-ownership. Today, the company has about 700 employee-owners. In the company’s own words, “When the people who handle the day-to-day work at a company have an investment in the organization, they take pride in the work that they do. They work harder and care more about the products and the clients.” Tech Etch’s manufacturing is highly specialized and cutting edge. Its photo etch materials can be produced in a film as thin as one half of one thousandth of an inch, and its flexible printed circuits can work with conductive layers as thin as five microns (this is very thin). Tech Etch provides customers with products incorporated into implantable devices and diagnostic imaging for healthcare clients; radar and encrypted communications technologies for military clients; and avionics and aircraft equipment for aerospace clients. Tech Etch also offers its customers access to its 3,700 square-foot Innovation Center in its Plymouth headquarters. The Innovation Center allows customers to prototype new designs for products, streamlining the design and development processes to move new products quickly to production. Beyond its day-to-day operations, Tech Etch maintains active involvement in its communities, including extending scholarships to local students pursuing careers in engineering, as well as supporting local charities, hospitals, and military families. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tech Etch has increased its support of healthcare workers and the medical industry, by supplying personal protective equipment. Tech Etch became a Certified EO member in 2020. Visit the company’s website [https://techetch.com/] or LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/company/techetch/] to learn more about its products and employee ownership program.

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Employee-Owned Spotlight: HB Global

July 27, 2021

Certified EO is excited to spotlight HB Global, a near-100% employee-owned company based in Harrisburg, PA that provides HVAC, plumbing, and electrical services. HB Global has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy — which has driven nearly eightfold growth in revenue since the company started its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 2010 — while making considerable investments in its growing workforce of employee-owners. Herbert Bassett McClure founded HB McClure in 1914, and in 1931 the company established its headquarters in Harrisburg. A year later, two inventors pioneered an individual room air conditioner that could sit on a window ledge, and HB McClure soon after entered the air conditioning business. By the 1980s, the company had expanded to commercial HVAC services. Employee Ownership at HB Global In 2008, with the Great Recession looming, Bob Whalen took over as the company’s new owner from its third generation of family ownership and became President and CEO. Soon after becoming the new owner, Whalen identified ESOPs as an effective tax-advantaged strategy to ensure the company’s long-term stability. After gaining the support of the board of directors, he sold the company back to the employees in 2010 in the ESOP transaction. The company then embarked on a growth strategy that included 19 acquisitions between 2011 and 2020, and it established HB Global, LLC in 2017 as the holding company for the new divisions. “When we started the ESOP, we were all within about 45 miles of Harrisburg,” Whalen said in a recent interview. “Today we have eight divisions spanning nine states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We are now doing work across the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and New England regions as well as Arizona.” Acquisitions have helped the company diversify its clients across industries, including large contracts with government, life sciences, healthcare, and convention centers. Between 2010 and 2020, the company’s revenue surged from $25 million to $275 million, and it plans to become a perennial billion-dollar company within the next decade. But acquisitions of existing companies have not meant cutting staff. “A big part of what private equity does is they find synergies, which is code for reducing headcount. We do none of that,” Whalen said. “Our strategy is to grow these businesses and create value for our employee-owners, it’s not to shrink them.” HB Global employs over 1,700 individuals, most of whom are now employee-owners who become eligible after one year of service. Since it created the ESOP, the company has generated over $87 million in retirement savings for employee-owners. For the average field technician who has been with the company since it became employee-owned a decade ago, their ESOP account has generated more than $203,000 in retirement savings, driven in part by the company’s 12% contribution of annual compensation to ESOP accounts. (The current average U.S. net worth at retirement age is $213,000.) Whalen has a strong belief that every business has an obligation to build wealth for their employees through retirement savings, with employees at all levels sharing in the success or failure of the company. “Our intent is for this structure to go on for multiple generations and to continue to thrive,” Whalen said. “That doesn’t happen in three years or five years. It certainly doesn’t happen on a quarterly basis. Everything we’re doing is really a multi-generational project.” HB Global became a Certified EO member in 2020. Visit the company’s website [https://hb-global.com/] to learn more about its employee ownership program.

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Employee-Owned Spotlight: Scott Insurance

July 2, 2021

Certified Employee-Owned is excited to spotlight Scott Insurance, a Virginia-based insurance company and long-time proponent and participant in employee ownership. Scott Insurance offers a wide variety of products to its customers, including employee benefits, surety bonds, personal insurance, and property and casualty insurance. Captive Insurance Beyond its more traditional insurance products, Scott Insurance has also succeeded in partnering with the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) to design captive insurance products for companies that have an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Captive insurance is a form of self-insuring that allows participants to reduce exposure to volatility in the broader insurance market. In its partnership with NCEO, Scott Insurance has created insurance programs that allow a group of companies with ESOPs to band together and self-insure by forming a new, co-owned insurance company. For employee-owned companies with strong year-over-year performance, this can help reduce the cost of insurance and take ownership of their risk management. According to NCEO, ESOP participants in captive insurance programs can reduce their annual premiums by 10% to 25%. In addition, participants can generate investment income and have claims costs returned to them in years when claims are low. Scott Insurance and NCEO currently offer health insurance, workers compensation, general liability, and automobile coverage through their captive insurance programs. Legacy of EO Scott Insurance was one of the country’s first companies to adopt an ESOP in 1975, a year after the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) wrote them into law. The company is now 100% employee-owned through its ESOP, which includes over 315 employee-owners, and it actively markets the advantages of employee ownership to clients and job seekers. In the insurance industry, market pressures from mergers and acquisitions make it rare for a company of Scott Insurance’s size to remain independent. The company maintains its employee ownership has been integral to remaining one of the largest independent insurance agencies in the Southeast, with nine offices across Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The company’s ownership structure — which helps tenured employees build wealth over the long-term — works hand-in-hand to align the interests of its employee-owners with providing high-quality service. Learn more about NCEO and Scott Insurance’s Captive Insurance Program [https://www.nceo.org/insurance] on NCEO’s blog [https://www.nceo.org/employee-ownership-blog/nceo-captive-insurance-initiative-esop-companies-working-together-reduce-costs] , and visit Scott Insurance’s website [https://www.scottins.com/] to learn more about the company’s work.

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Employee-Owned Spotlight: Global Prairie

June 7, 2021

Based out of Kansas City, employee-owned Global Prairie [https://www.globalprairie.com/] was founded in 2008 as “a purpose-driven marketing firm that crafts business-building solutions to help their clients drive social impact and cultivate a healthier world.” Their business model is rooted in the belief that businesses should contribute good to the world and so far, they seem to be accomplishing that goal. As a Certified B Corporation [https://bcorporation.net/] (B-Corp), Global Prairie is required to assess their business, as well as that of their clients, and the impact that it will have on employees, customers, suppliers, the community, and the environment. “We meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. And because our business model is designed for social good, it's not just the work we do - but how we work - that creates our impact,” Global Prairie [https://www.globalprairie.com/our-impact] says. Global Prairie specializes in marketing, digital, advertising, medical communications, interactive marketing, public relations, branding, direct marketing, media relations, research, and communications for each of their many clients. They work closely [https://www.globalprairie.com/our-work#auburn-rec-and-wellness-center] with organizations such as the Negro Leagues Centennial Logo, FEMA, the Auburn Rec and Wellness Center, the Foundation for the Carolinas, Women Leaders in College Sports, FarmNext, and more – each as dedicated to making a positive impact in the world as the next. Every year, Global Prairie gives back [https://www.globalprairie.com/our-impact] at least 10 percent of their profits to their communities. Altogether they have donated over $10 million to organizations around the world that have goals and ideals that are in line with their own. As an employee-owned company, Global Prairie believes that it’s important for their employees have a stake in their company’s efforts. Team members are given about three-weeks of paid time to volunteer for civic and nonprofit organizations that they are personally passionate about. Since 2008, their employees have served on the board of directors for over 275 nonprofits and made an impact on close to 600 philanthropic organizations. Global Prairie was recognized for their efforts in 2019 by B-Corp as a Best For The World: Community honoree and Best For The World: Workers honoree. According to B-Corp [https://bcorporation.net/2019-best-for-the-world], Best For The World: Community honors those who “work every day to build a shared, sustainable prosperity for all. Their mission-driven cultures embrace social engagement, charitable giving, and strong, diverse communities,” and Best For The World: Workers honors those who “prioritize their workforce through employee-focused efforts, from inclusive hiring practices to employee ownership.” During the time of crisis that was seen around the globe during the coronavirus pandemic, Global Prairie reached out their hand to the community to provide services such as crisis issue & response, leveraging purpose in challenging times, leadership coaching & counsel, as well as offered free recommendations for businesses who need help adjusting to a new kind of work and social environment.

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Employee-Owned Spotlight: TDIndustries

May 12, 2021

Certified Employee-Owned is excited to spotlight TDIndustries, a premier construction and facilities service company based out of Dallas, Texas. TDIndustries was founded in 1946 by Jack Lowe. Today, it has grown to be one of the Southwest’s most respected, employee-owned, facilities, maintenance, and mechanical construction companies. Because TDIndustries is employee-owned, their employees are naturally ingrained into the culture of the company. Each person that joins their team is given an equal opportunity to begin as a learner and grow into an educator, a leader. The team of professionals at TDIndustries call themselves Servant Leaders. They have a deep understanding of the services that they provide to the people that they lead; they are teachers and role models who see themselves through the eyes of their followers and act with integrity in everything they do. The things that make TD’s employees different is what makes them strong. “We help our Partners grow by valuing individual differences, talents, and strengths. Our commitment to this philosophy has created an organization and environment of trust,” TD says. They are on a mission to provide career opportunities to all - from students, to women entering the trade or military veterans. TDIndustries is passionate about offering comprehensive solutions for companies from design and construction, to facilities and maintenance. Although their company is large, they treat each one of their clients as though they are family – something that sets them apart from the competition in the southwest. In order to adapt to the quickly changing times, TDIndustries developed their modern facility maintenance tool, Visual Intelligence. It’s a digital reporting system that helps their facility and others to adhere to social distancing regulations while still running an efficient business. With Visual Intelligence, technicians’ reports can be seen from a remote location so facility managers can view maintenance statuses, photos, videos, and documents – as well as sign electronically. By working closely with their clients, they are able to deliver results that fit their unique needs while exceeding expectations. They aren’t afraid to take on projects of any size from mission-critical solutions to ongoing maintenance services. In addition to their recognition by Fortune magazine, TDIndustries was included in the ENR Texas & Louisiana list of 2018 Top Specialty Contractors and awarded the Associated Builders and Contractors [https://www.abc.org/] (ABC) Excellence Pinnacle Award for creating “world-class safety processes and a safety culture where every employee understands that the well-being of those around them is everyone’s responsibility.”

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