By Cass Jacoby.
Spend a few days at a Central States Manufacturing plant, office or Metal Central location and you will hear the term “ESOP” said at one point. This four-letter acronym means more than just employee stock ownership, or employee share ownership, to the employees at Central States Manufacturing it is a strong promise of legacy. Metal Central’s Dave Barr sits down with Central States Chief Financial Officer Chad Ware for an interview about Employee Stock Ownership Plans and how they have impacted Central States.
Chad tells Dave that when the company started, they believed providing ownership for employees was key to a company culture rooted in care. By giving employees shares of the company, they would have stake in the growth of the company.
“Because of that mindset, the profits that the company earned were given back to the employees. So, the Carpenter family spearheaded this move and converted the company to an ESOP,” Chad tells Metal Central. “Since 2012, when we went to 100% employee owned, we’ve added more sites and have continued to grow and continued to focus on the customer. That has always been at the center of who we are and I think being an ESOP is also the core of Central States. It’s a very important part of our culture.”
An ESOP employee-owned company is rare, especially given the size of Central States. Chad says he has seen statistics that claim as low as 0.7 percent of all companies in the U.S. are employee owned. In an ESOP company, all the value of the company is given back to the employees through their shares, which affords them financial freedom as employer-owners.
“It’s the power of the ESOP that allows people to retire so much sooner than they would have otherwise,” says Chad. “It’s not like a certain group of people either, it’s spread across all of the different roles in the organization. If you look at the chart on the materials that we put out, the people who have $500,000 or more in their accounts is split. At the end of the day, it’s all about tenure.”
Cass works as a reporter/writer for RoofersCoffeeShop, AskARoofer and MetalCoffeeShop. When she isn’t writing about roofs, she is putting her Master degree to work writing about movies and dancing with her plants.
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