The Ohio Employee Ownership Center

Category Archives: Succession Planning

Interview with Graeme Nuttall on the Applications of Employee Ownership

Angela Perry the Chair of Employee Ownership Australia & New Zealand interviewed Graeme Nuttall, expert in Employee Ownership; partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse, UK; and author of Sharing Success: the Nuttall Review.

Topics include:

  • Key barriers to employee ownership in the UK
  • Essential elements tosuccessful employee ownership
  • The connection between employee engagement and employee ownership
  • Importance of employee ownership in succession planning and saving companies
  • Driving productivity and innovation
  • Importance of employee ownership for small to medium enterprises and start-up businesses
  • The global application of the developments in the UK

Watch the full video . . .


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 oeoc@kent.edu or 330–672-3028.
And, there’s still time to become a conference sponsor, contact Kelley Fitts at kfitts@kent.edu or 330-672-0336.

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 PhillyBurbs.com.

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

Studies Continue to Find that Employee Ownership Can be a Boost to Companies and Employees

Earlier this month, employee owned company Automated Packaging Systems of Streetsboro, Ohio, was rated 8th among the Top Work Places in Northeast Ohio for the second year. According to the news release on the company’s website, “Automated Packaging received feedback that employees feel like they can make a difference, they do have an impact on the company’s success, and they feel appreciated.”

As these articles suggest, this is one of the many benefits employee ownership can offer a company. 

Christina Nelson, Managing Editor of the Journal of Financial Planning, also blogged earlier this month about how an ESOP can be a “Relationship Builder” in a company, and is especially beneficial for companies with retiring owners. You can read her post on the Practice Management Center Blog for more details. 

Loughborough University of Leicestershire, UK, also published the results of their own study into the impact of employee share plans. Among the results, the university found that “employee share plans can deliver positive outcomes for employees and employers alike — even during financially challenging times.” Read more about the resuts in this article from HR Magazine.

Registration is open for "An Introduction to Farm Succession Planning"

UPDATE (8.14.2012) This session has been cancelled. Look for information on a webinar in lieu of this event coming soon.

On September 18, 2012, the Business Succession Planning Center at Kent State University and Braintree Business Development Center will be presenting An Introduction to Farm Succession Planning. 

This workshop will be targeted at farmers and other small family businesses that want to explore transferring ownership to the next generation, but will also be of interest to business and financial consultants, bankers and economic development professionals. 

Facilitators include;

  • Bob Cohen, Braintree Business Development Center and Cooperative Development Center at Kent State University
  • Bob Hendrix, Attorney
  • Edward R. Klesack, CLU, LUTCF, MBA, RFC of Centarus Financial, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.

For more information, click here.

Cooperative Conference Highlights Employee Ownership and Succession Planning

A group of North American cooperative organizations are hosting a conference on business succession planning and employee ownership in Quebec City from October 11-13. Roy Messing from the OEOC will be participating in a number of events during the 3 days.

Interested? Find out more here.

Planners Need Succession Planning Too…

Came across an interesting article from Financial Planning magazine today that outlines best practices for financial planning and advisory firms.

One of its more interesting points (at least to me) is on the need for these firms to properly plan for succession. On the surface one would think that these businesses would intuitively understand the need for such planning and incorporate it into their culture. The reality is that like other entrepreneurs, professional advisors can get caught up in the day-to-day pressures of running a business, otherwise known as the “working in the business instead of on the business” cycle, and insufficiently plan for their exit from their business.

Everybody Needs Succession Planning

I came across an interesting article today about the importance of succession planning for federal agencies. While the article is talking about organizational and leadership/management succession rather than business succession, the reality it outlines cuts across all types of organizations: The coming mass retirement of the baby boomer generation is coming.

Planning for this eventually is key.

ESOPs Bring Retirement Peace to Employee Owners

The Hill’s Congress Blog posted an interesting entry last Monday on the effectiveness of ESOPs in providing an effective retirement savings mechanism for employee owners. Two money quotes:

The majority of working Americans believe they won’t have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, according to a Gallup poll out this week. And while Washington debates the future of Social Security, three out of five non-retired Americans have already declared they hold little hope of ever receiving benefits.

And then:

Perhaps the most successful, federally created savings initiative to date are employee stock-ownership plans, or “ESOPs,” and particularly ESOPs in private companies where employees otherwise would not have an opportunity to have a ‘piece of the rock.’  These so-called “S corporation ESOPs” have been remarkably effective in enabling employee owners to amass retirement savings. 

Yet more proof, if any were needed, that employee ownership works for America.

Planning for Business Succession Doesn’t Have to Mean Retirement

Many business owners hesitate to plan for succession because they may not have a plan for what to do next. In actuality, planning for business succession doesn’t have to mean retirement.

I discuss some alternatives to the “succession planning=retirement” issue in a new post at the COSE Mindspring site. Let me know what you think!