SOURCE: The ESOP Association

October 04, 2016 09:00 ET

ESOP Association Starts Employee Ownership Month by Celebrating 9,650 Years of ESOP Management

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - October 04, 2016) - The ESOP Association proudly kicks off Employee Ownership Month by announcing it has presented the prestigious Silver ESOP Award to 26 of its corporate members. The Silver ESOP Award honors companies that have maintained their ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) for 25 years or more.

Including this year's 26 honorees, the total number of Silver ESOP companies now stands at 386. (The Silver ESOP Award has been in place since 2008.)

Combined, the Silver ESOP companies represent nearly 10,000 years of ESOP company management.

"This longevity would have surprised the early critics of ESOPs, who argued that this form of ownership was not sustainable," said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. "But for those familiar with the ESOP community, it is no surprise to see companies maintain their ESOPs long term."

Business owners and founders who sell their stock to an ESOP -- which then allocates shares to employees' retirement plan accounts -- often do so because they want the businesses they build to remain viable. And they want to entrust those firms to the people who helped build them and have a vested interest in maintaining them for the long haul: the employees.

If a company is sold to a competitor, it may be consolidated, rebranded, or shut down entirely. But when employees own the business via an ESOP, they are motivated to see the firm thrive. And the ESOP -- and its trustees -- are required to act in the best interest of the employees.

In addition, because ESOPs are a retirement plan -- the longest term benefit possible -- they encourage employee owners to focus on the long term health of the business.

"Research has shown that employee-owned companies are more likely to provide sustainable jobs and to outperform conventionally-owned companies," said Keeling. "Those are qualities that fit perfectly with businesses built for long term success."

Employee Ownership Month is an annual celebration of the ESOP model. If features numerous educational and community outreach activities conducted by The ESOP Association's roughly 1,600 corporate members. Employee Ownership Month activities can be tracked on Twitter via the hash tag #EOFESOP.

The companies that earned the 2016 Silver ESOP Award include:

American Systems Corporation, Chantilly, VA

Black, Gould & Associates, Inc., Phoenix, AZ

BRPH Companies, Melbourne, FL

Bryant Air Conditioning & Heating, Lincoln, NE

Cannon Cochran Management Services, Inc., Danville, IL

CTL Engineering, Inc., Columbus, OH

EBO Group, Inc., Sharon Center, OH

Edmund A. Allen Lumber Company, Momence, IL

First State Bancorp, Inc., Caruthersville, MO

Goettle Construction, Cincinnati, OH

Granco Clark, Inc., Belding, MI

Great Lakes Orthodontics Ltd., Tonawanda, NY

Jackson's Hardware, Inc., San Rafael, CA

KCI Technologies, Inc., Sparks Glencoe, MD

Kemner-Iott Group Agency, Adrian, MI

Kendall Electric, Inc., Portage, MI

Messer Construction Co., Cincinnati, OH

Morton Buildings, Inc., Morton, IL

New England Controls, Mansfield, MA

Pavement Recycling Systems, Inc., Mira Loma, CA

Prime-Line Products Company, Redlands, CA

Rable Machine, Mansfield, OH

Slakey Brothers, Sacramento, CA

Telephone Electronics Corporation, Jackson, MS

Trans-Overseas Corp, Romulus, MI

Veterinary Service, Inc., Modesto, CA

The ESOP Association is the national trade association for companies with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and the leading voice in America for employee ownership. The core cause of The ESOP Association is the belief that employee ownership will improve American competitiveness, increase productivity through greater employee participation, and strengthen our free enterprise economy. More information: website -- www.esopassociation.org and blog -- www.esopassociationblog.org.

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