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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

May 1, 2015

(Loren Rodgers)

Pro-ESOP Legislation Introduced in House

On April 29, Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced the Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act of 2015 (H.R. 2096). Rep. Reichert's announcement describes the bill as designed "to encourage owners of S Corporations to sell their stock to an ESOP, expand financing opportunities for S Corporation ESOPs, provide technical assistance for companies that may be interested in forming an S Corporation ESOP, and ensure that small businesses that become ESOPs retain their Small Business Association certification."

Rep. Kind said that "by making it easier for companies to become employee-owned, this legislation will not only grow the number of employee-owned businesses, it will provide retirement security to more Americans. Employee-owned companies perform better—not just for themselves but for every one of their employees as well." Both Reps. Kind and Reichert are on the House Ways and Means Committee.

The other original cosponsors of the bill, similar to legislation introduced in the last Congress, are Reps. Paulsen (R-MN), Blumenauer (D-OR), Tiberi (R-OH), Neal (D-MA), Boustany (R-LA), and Pascrell (D-NJ).

The Employee Ownership 100: Should Your Company Be on the List?

The NCEO is currently compiling its annual list of the 100 largest employee-owned companies. To qualify for the list, companies must be majority-owned by an ESOP and/or some other employee ownership arrangement in which at least half of all full-time employees meeting basic service requirements participate. The list is ranked by the total number of all employees, full and part-time, whether in the ESOP or not.

Last year, the smallest company on the list had 1,150 employees. If your company might qualify (or come close to qualifying), please tell us a bit about you. If you have been on the list before, please update your information. Take our very brief online survey or contact Dallan Guzinski (dguzinski@nceo.org, 510-208-1301) by May 15.

2015 Employee Ownership Conference: Thank You!

The NCEO staff and board thank the 1,420 people who joined us in Denver last week for the annual Employee Ownership Conference. Attendance set another record, with an 18% increase over last year's record. Mary Tilley of W.L. Gore gave a keynote address that participants described as "awesome" and "amazing," and she then sat down to answer questions for over an hour about Gore and how it created and maintains its inspirational culture. The conference had one hundred breakout sessions, round-table discussions, plenty of networking, and one-on-one expert sessions. We're delighted that over 99% of the people who filled out the conference evaluation say they would recommend this conference to someone else. Save the date for our 2016 conference: April 12 to 14 in Minneapolis, with preconference sessions on April 11.

2015 Vermont Employee Ownership Conference

The Vermont Employee Ownership Center will host its annual conference on June 2 in Colchester, VT, featuring a keynote by Steve Voigt, former CEO of King Arthur Flour Company, and 18 focused workshops designed to both inspire and inform. Learn more or register online.

UK Employee-Owned Firm's Foundation Funds Small-Town Electricity in Kenya

Waitrose stores, part of the United Kingdom's largest employee-owned company, the John Lewis Partnership, funds a foundation that recently provided extensive electrification in the Kenyan town Eldama Ravine, where some Waitrose suppliers are based. Funding for the Waitrose Foundation comes from sales of specially labeled produce sold at Waitrose stores.

Update the FAA's Technology by Converting the Agency to Employee Ownership

On April 15, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) proposed splitting the Federal Aviation Administration into two parts, one of which he would transform into a private, employee-owned company. "The employees and leadership in FAA can run it better than big government bureaucracy," said Rep. Mica.

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