Innovations Award WinnersDriven by engaged, entrepreneurial employees, employee-owned companies often emerge as industry leaders, pioneering best practices in a range of areas. The Innovations in Employee Ownership Award seeks to recognize the innovative practices that result from having an engaged workforce of employee-owners, as well as ideas that tie stock to improved company culture or performance. By sharing these ideas with the employee-ownership community, this award strives to encourage employee-owned companies to continue to innovate.
2015 Award WinnersOn April 22, 2015, the NCEO and the Beyster Institute announced the winners of the 2015 Innovations in Employee Ownership Award.
Radian Research, Inc.
www.radianresearch.comRadian Research, a 100% employee-owned company that researches and develops systems for energy testing, has created an employee culture that fosters trust and innovation. By emphasizing engagement, employee-owners, irrespective of position, tenure, or department, feel empowered to improve and implement practices that the benefit of the company. The company has an ESOP Ambassador team that consists of both management and non-management employees, as well as eight "cross-functional" groups from multiple departments that discuss and restructure practices, that lead to a well of ideas that make Radian Research a leader in its field.
www.omniresources.comOmni Resources originally started thirty years ago as an information technology staffing firm but has since changed not only its ownership structure but its entire way of doing business. In the face of difficulties during the recession and following the transition to 100% employee ownership, the company began to focus on a more sustainable and innovative business model through the development of what the company calls "Omnivation." The Solutions Group behind this process has grown to include more than fifty employees, all working on helping clients innovate their use of technology to better serve their customers. Additionally, Omni Resources strives to provide an example to Wisconsinites by creating a platform for students, teachers, and companies in their communities to engage and learn from one another.
2014 Award WinnersOn April 9, 2014, the NCEO and the Beyster Institute announced the winners of the 2014 Innovations in Employee Ownership Award.
www.hypertherm.comHypertherm designs and manufactures advanced cutting products for use in a variety of industries such as shipbuilding, manufacturing, and automotive repair. Its product line includes handheld and mechanized plasma systems, as well as fiber laser and water jet cutting products, CNC controls, and CAM cutting software. The company enjoys leading global market share within the plasma cutting category and is proud to design, engineer, and assemble nearly all of its products in the United States. The award winning and 100% associate-owned company has more than 1,300 associates around the world.
Steve Silver Company
www.ssilver.comSteve Silver Company, a majority employee-owned wholesale furniture distributor, has two main segments of current business: casual dining and occasional furniture. Recently, the company entered the home office and leather upholstery segments of the furniture market and plans to expand business in both. Despite turmoil in the housing and furniture market, the Steve Silver Company has experienced growth for four consecutive years with the help of innovative teaching programs and employee engagement processes that have empowered employees to implement their innovative ideas.
2013 Award WinnerThe NCEO and the Beyster Institute at the University of California San Diego's Rady School of Management announced the winners of the 2012 Innovations Awards on April 26 during the Annual Employee Ownership Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Judges selected four winning companies for innovations in employee engagement, corporate giving, and wellness.
Software Engineering Professionals (SEP)
www.sep.comThe Innovation: Software Engineering Professionals (SEP) was recognized for offering an in company version of the Kauffman Foundation's Startup Weekend. Occurring twice a year, SEP Startup Weekend allows participants to use SEP's offices and technology to work on unique and imaginative product ideas. Participants pitch ideas on Friday, spend the weekend in groups developing the ideas, and present them to their colleagues on Sunday evening.
The Company: SEP is a software and technology development company, providing complete project life-cycle support for industrial strength challenges. Started in 1988 by software engineers who wanted to create a more desirable work environment, SEP is now 100% employee-owned by its 95+ engineers.
2012 Award Winners
Environmental Science Associates
www.esassoc.comThe Innovation: Conducting a company-wide employee survey and using the results to build the company's 5-year strategic plan.
San Francisco, CA
The Company: ESA is an environmental science and planning firm that specializes in all aspects of project planning, environmental analysis and assessment, and regulatory compliance. Founded in 1969, the company now has more than 340 employee-owners and 14 offices. The company became 100% employee owned in 1994.
www.nlink.netThe Innovation: Conducting an annual employee survey that is used to develop the company's goals and objectives for the year.
The Company: n-Link is an information technology and professional engineering company that provides services and commodity to the U.S. government on civilian and Department of Defense Contracts. n-Link was founded in 1994 by Sandra Green. The company became 100% employee owned in 2009.
Torch Technologies, Inc.
www.torchtechnologies.comThe Innovation: An employee-created, employee-run, 501(c)(3) charitable giving foundation called "Torch Helps" that has 100% financial efficiency.
The Company: Torch provides a broad range of aerospace and engineering services including planning, execution, performance analysis, design and reporting. Torch was founded in 2002 in Huntsville, Alabama, and became 100% employee owned in 2011.
www.vigilent.comThe Innovation: A wellness program that rewards participating employees with stock options.
El Cerrito, CA
The Company: Vigilent is a privately held firm specializing in intelligent energy management systems for data centers, telcos, and large, commercial buildings. Since its start in 2004, the company has pioneered the application of advanced, artificial intelligence technology to the real-time demands of energy usage, delivering reductions in costs and increased reliability.