NewAge Industries CEO Creates EO Program at Local Community College
Ken Baker, the CEO of Southampton, PA-based NewAge Industries, has donated $3 million to Montgomery County Community College to start the Baker Center of Excellence for Employee Ownership and Business Transformation. The Center will promote and provide resources on ESOPs and other employee-employer partnerships. It is the largest gift in the college’s 56-year history.
Ken inherited the company from his father and started its ESOP in 2006 after learning about ESOPs at an NCEO conference. The ESOP started with a minority interest, and now NewAge is 100% ESOP-owned. There are 16 millionaires among the 226 employees. NewAge manufactures plastic and rubber tubing, and recently has been involved in producing ventilators for COVID patients. It has about $100 million in annual sales.
Victoria L. Bastecki-Perez, president of the college, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that “Ken is enabling us, as an organization, to advance our strategic agenda, our mission and our vision of inspiring, leading, and transforming not only the lives of our students, but our community.” Baker is also the cofounder and chair of the Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership and a board member of the Employee Ownership Expansion Network, a nonprofit dedicated to creating state employee ownership centers.
“There’s going to be lots of conversation and courses [at the center] about how employee ownership changes the culture of a company and how it makes it much more productive and creates wealth for the employees,” he said. The program is the first of its kind.