OEOC

The Ohio Employee Ownership Center

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.

and

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.

Cooperative Organic Farming Benefiting Ohio Family Farmers

Family farmers in Ohio are turning to organic cooperatives to stabalize finances and to grow more stable businesses. 

According to an article submitted to the Public News Service, “[t]he organic industry is expanding . . . with almost 20 percent growth every year.” The cooperative allows farmers to focus on day-to-day activities and appeal to consumers concerned about food quality. 

George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley, the brand associated with the largest organic farming cooperative in North America will be speaking on the future of organic agriculture and the benefits of the co-op on February 16 at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Associations’ conference in Granville, OH. 

More information is available at the OEFFA Conference website.

New Microloan Program from USDA to Help Minority, Socially Disadvantaged, and Beginning Farmers

According to The Dispatch, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a new microloan program to “help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000.”

The goal is to help producers through their first years with resources and increased equity so that these farmers can eventually qualify for commercial credit. Producers can apply for a maximum of $35,000 with an interest rate for the microloan currently at 1.25 percent charged monthly by contacting their local Farm Service Agency Office.

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:

It’s Cold Here…

…How about where you’re at?

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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

My Co-op Rocks: Video & Photo Contest Winners Announced

My Co-op Rocks! Video + Photo Contest is a competition hosted by the National Cooperative Grocers Association, and sponsored by Organic Valley, National Cooperative Business Association, National Association of Housing Cooperatives, and U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives. 

Contestants were asked to come up with a theme and show through a video or photo how their co-ops build a better world. 

Check out what these employee owners came up with, the winning entries can be found at mycooprocks.coop.

Other Co-op articles of interest:

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:

Austin Cooperative Summit organized by NCBA and the Austin Cooperative Think Tank (Jan 2013)

The National Cooperative Business Association and the Austin Cooperative Think Tank have announced a Cooperative Summit at The University of Texas at Austin to “facilitate the exchange of best practices and cross-sector learning among cooperators and to strengthen the local cooperative community.”

Benefits of Attending

  • Share common best practices and innovative approaches on key issues
  • Identify challenges and opportunities that exist in the co-op community
  • Develop relationships and network with cooperative leaders across sectors

Who Should Attend

  • Cooperative leaders, board members, staff and supporters
  • Regional representatives from all co-op sectors
  • All those interested in learning about the cooperative business model

Friday, January 25
Reception/Exhibit Showcase & Introductory Panel
Vuka Co-op
7 – 10 pm

Saturday, January 26
Cooperative Summit
The University of Texas at Austin
8 am – 7 pm

Registration & More Information