NCEO Board

Chair

Mary Boettcher, CFO of Realityworks, Inc. a Wisconsin-based ESOP, led the company's implementation and education efforts to instill an employee ownership culture. During her tenure she established ESOP structure, led ownership through ESOP goals, led the board through fiduciary responsibilities, completed several ESOP transactions, and defined employee roll-out and communication programs. Beyond Realityworks she is passionate about ESOPs and has educated owners and legislators by sharing Realityworks story and design. She serves on the Executive Committee for the Wisconsin ESOP Association, has been featured as a presenter at conferences, and recently completed an interview on CFO.com about ESOPs.

Immediate Past Chair

Judy Kornfeld, the founder and president of ESOP Economics, Inc., has been working with ESOP companies for more than 20 years on all aspects of repurchase obligation planning, focusing on developing strategies for managing and funding these obligations. She has authored many articles about ESOP repurchase obligations and is a frequent speaker at regional and national ESOP conferences. Judy received The ESOP Association's Life Service Award in 2008 and was elected to the Board of the NCEO in 2011. She holds a JD/MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and The Wharton School.

Executive Committee

Alison Wright is a partner in the San Francisco office of Hanson Bridgett LLP. Alison's practice focuses on the tax, securities, and ERISA aspects of executive and equity compensation (including nonqualified deferred compensation plans, stock compensation plans and employee stock purchase plans) and of traditional employee benefit plans — including 401(k) and other retirement plans — health and welfare plans and cafeteria plans.

Executive Committee

Corey Rosen, Ph.D., is the cofounder and senior staff member of the NCEO. He 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. Rosen received his Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University in 1973, after which he taught politics at Ripon College in Wisconsin before being named an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in 1975. He worked on Capital Hill for the next five years, where he helped initiate and draft legislation on ESOPs and employee ownership. In 1981, he formed the NCEO.

Victor is the President of Keltek, Inc. a division of Rayser Holdings, a 100% ESOP. He has been heavily involved in ownership transition work for over 20 years as a consultant and board of directors member. As a former CEO, HR manager and shareholder at ESOP-owned companies, he has lived the ownership transition experience. He is a past board member of the ESOP Association and the EOX (Employee Ownership Expansion Network). 

Rich has more than 25 years of experience in improving business performance and employee engagement through open-book management (OBM) and employee ownership, with service as a consultant and as a current executive at SRC Holdings Corporation, a 34-year employee-owned company. Rich has been instrumental in the ongoing development of SRC's OBM and employee ownership practices through practical, first-hand experience leading several of SRC's business units. This experience has enabled him to successfully apply the practices of OBM and employee ownership in both small- and large-scale company implementations around the world.

Ted Becker

Ted is a partner in McDermott Will & Emery LLP. He focuses on employee benefits and ERISA litigation and has special expertise relating to ESOPs. Ted has defended some of the highest-profile lawsuits involving ESOPs. He represents ERISA and ESOP plan sponsor companies, their directors and officers, plan fiduciaries, administrators, investment advisors, and other service providers in a wide variety of matters, including U.S. Department of Labor investigations and lawsuits brought by plan participants and the DOL.

Bill Carris, recently retired from serving as a Vermont State Senator, was a second generation owner of Carris Reels, Inc. founded by his father, Henry. Carris Reels has 710 employees in 15 plants in eight states and is 100% employee owned. Bill created a long term plan to move his company not only from family to employee ownership, but to transform it's culture and employees into community stewards as well as profit making owners.

Barbara is a director at Newport Group (formerly Verisight) in the firm's national ESOP administration and consulting practice. Barbara is responsible for client relations, training, mentoring, and managing the ESOP team as well as oversight of the administration and compliance for their ESOP business. Barbara holds a BS from the University of Massachusetts. She is chairwoman of the ESOP Association Administrative Advisory Committee; a member of the ESOP Association, NCEO, and ASPPA; and a frequent speaker and author.

Amanda has more than 15 years of experience as a marketing professional and is responsible for driving strategic thinking, creative solutions, and innovation across the agency. As vice president of engagement, she is helping to set the course of Butler/Till (and its newly acquired agency Brand Cool). Butler/Till believes that success is based on talent; Amanda is charged with keeping a close eye on ensuring that the culture is preserved. She has helped companies such as Abbott Laboratories, Citrix Online, Rent-A-Center, and Winn-Dixie/BI-LO.

Achaessa James

As an equity compensation consultant and in-house administrator since 1999, Achaessa has worked with numerous innovative plans geared toward increasing employee ownership in creative and valuable ways. Her goal as an NCEO director is to start a conversation about equity compensation that goes beyond traditional plans and makes such innovations more well-known, to get private company founders to talk about their reasons for structuring these innovative plans, and to research how these types of plans encourage employee engagement beyond simple stock ownership. Achaessa managed the NCEO's Certified Equity Professional Exam Prep Course from 2011 to 2018, tripling registration revenues and growing student enrollments to 750-plus per year. Between 2015 and 2018, an average 83% of all new CEPs were NCEO Prep Course students. Achaessa is a published author and blogger on equity compensation topics and would be thrilled if all companies were as engaged as ESOP companies. 

Kevin Long is a California State Bar Association Certified Taxation Law Specialist. Kevin and his firm Employee Benefits Law Group PC have been practicing exclusively employee benefits law since 1989. He has been an active supporter and contributing author, and speaker for NCEO since then. Kevin is a co-author of the course book on ESOP plan administration for the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) ESOP-A Certification Exam. He is an admitted Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (ACEBC) of the American Bar Association. He holds an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell, and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. Kevin began his tax career in 1984 in the tax division of Arthur Andersen & Co. Kevin has served on boards of directors of ESOP companies and has formed, organized and served on boards of 501(c)(3) organizations in other fields of public benefit. (And he's a real nice guy.)

Suzanne McDowell is co-CEO and CHRO for King Arthur Flour, a 227-year-old baking company, employee-owned since 1996 and a founding B-Corporation in 2007. For 17 years, Suzanne has helped lead KAF's mission of maintaining responsible company practices and a high-performing ownership culture. Under her leadership, KAF has been named a Best Place to Work in Vermont each year since its inception in 2006, ESOP Company of the Year in 2016, and received NCEO's Innovation Award in 2017. Suzanne shares her passion for ESOP culture and responsible business by serving on the board of Johnny's Select Seeds and as a Delta Dental Plan of Vermont Trustee.

Scott is the founding partner of ESI, which provides financial consulting services to private business, specializing in management buyouts, business valuations, fairness opinions and ESOPs. He is a nationally recognized authority working with hundreds of business owners, has authored five books on mergers, acquisitions, and transaction planning, and he publishes frequently in major professional journals. He graduated from Kenyon College and holds an MBA from Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Sandra Reid is the vice president of corporate communications and strategic planning at The Davey Tree Expert Company. Since joining Davey in 1986, Reid has worked in numerous corporate communications and marketing capacities. She has served as editor of the company magazine, The Bulletin,; company spokesperson; manager of public relations; and manager of corporate communications. Reid holds a master's degree in organizational management from The University of Phoenix and a bachelor's degree in business administration, with a dual major in marketing and public relations, from Ohio Northern University. She is affiliated with numerous local, national, and international organizations.

Bill Roark is co-founder and CEO of Torch Technologies, Inc. Roark has worked diligently to ensure top benefits and working conditions, guiding Torch to national recognition as one of Entrepreneur Magazine's Fastest Growing Companies in America, Forbes' Best Small Companies in America, Principal Financial Group's The Principal 10 Best Companies, 10 consecutive years on the Inc. 5000 list, and recognition by Fortune and Great Place to Work. Locally, Torch has received the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for outstanding business ethics three times. Roark earned a M.S. from University of Kentucky and a B.S. from Cumberland College.

As the NCEO's director of publishing and information technology, Scott is in charge of all publications except the Employee Ownership Report. He designed and created the NCEO's present line of books and is the author or coauthor of several books himself, including the best-selling An Introduction to ESOPs, Understanding ESOPs, and The Decision-Maker's Guide to Equity Compensation. He is an attorney and served at the U.S. Department of Labor as an attorney-advisor from 1991 to 1993 before coming to the NCEO. Before law school, he earned an MA in music from UCLA, where he served as a teaching associate. Scott is also a Web developer; he created the NCEO's first website in 1994 and has been involved with the NCEO's Internet presence since then.

David is a partner with Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC in Chicago, Illinois. David founded and serves as the chair of the firm's ESOP practice which serves clients who engage in ESOP transactions as well as represents many middle-market companies in a "general counsel" capacity by handling various business law issues. David also serves as the Executive Vice President of the Illinois Chapter of the ESOP Association and has lectured frequently and published articles in several publications on various ESOP-related topics.

Brian is a partner and board member at Redpath and Company, a 100% ESOP-owned CPA firm. He leads the commercial audit service area specializing in financial statement audits, business and systems consulting, advisory services and mergers and acquisitions. Brian also serves as the ESOP Industry Team Leader focusing on client services to employee-owned companies. Brian is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants, National Center for Employee Ownership, The ESOP Association, and Employee-Owned S Corporations of America.

Joanne cofounded Swerdlin & Company with her husband Dorn over three decades ago. Swerdlin & Company provides actuarial and retirement plan administration. Involved in new business development and client relations, Joanne has over 35 years of experience in the retirement plan industry, with a focus on ESOPs. Joanne received a BS degree from Georgia State University. She was instrumental in the establishment of the New South Chapter of the ESOP Association and served on the board for several years. She was recently selected to be a trustee for the Employee Ownership Foundation (EOF).

Cecil Ursprung is the retired CEO of Reflexite Corporation, where he served for 25 years, including helping to establish their ESOP in 1985. Since his retirement Cecil has served on the boards of eight employee-owned companies and is currently the chairman of the board for the Employee Ownership Expansion Network (EOX), a nonprofit incubated at the NCEO as the State Center Task Force. EOX is dedicated to the growth of employee ownership in the United States through the creation of state centers for employee ownership. In addition, Cecil has served as co-chair of the NCEO and VP of government relations for the New England Chapter of the ESOP Association.