About the Association

Executive Bios

J. Michael Keeling, CAE 
The ESOP Association

J. Michael Keeling, CAE, is the President and Chief Staff Officer of The ESOP Association, a national trade association promoting the growth of employee ownership in America through Employee Stock Ownership Plans, or ESOPs.

Since assuming his position in April 1991, the Association has experienced strong growth in membership and revenues, and is the largest organization in America dedicated to ensuring employee-owned companies are effective in operating their ESOP in an environment of ownership.

He is also President of the Association’s affiliated 501(c)(3) educational and research foundation, the Employee Ownership Foundation.

Prior to becoming President, Michael was General Counsel from 1984. Prior to 1984, he represented the Association on several legislative initiatives before Congress. While General Counsel, he maintained a private practice of law focused on legislative and administrative issues related to tax and retirement income policies.

During the 1970's, he was Chief of Staff for former Congressman J. J. Pickle of Austin, Texas. Prior to that, he worked as an aide in several statewide campaigns in Texas, as a private consultant to labor and farm groups, and as an employee of the Texas State Legislature.

He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Texas Law School.

The American Society of Association Executives has certified Michael as a Certified Association Executive. He is listed in Who’s Who in American Politics and Who’s Who in America.

He is married and has two children.

Cindy Turcot 
Chair, The ESOP Association
Chief Operating Officer of Gardener's Supply Company located in Burlington, Vermont

Cindy Turcot, Chief Operating Officer of Gardener’s Supply Company, the nation’s largest catalog and web marketer of gardening products.  She has been at Gardener’s Supply since 1983.  Prior to becoming COO in 2003, she was Chief Financial Officer, along with many other roles over the years.  Cindy has been a key contributor to the company’s profitable growth with over 275 employees. 

Gardener’s Supply started their ESOP in 1987 and in 2009 became 100% ESOP owned.  Cindy is a national speaker on ownership culture, open book and participatory management practices.  Gardener’s Supply is a past winner of the AACE Award for Communications Excellence and in 2008; Cindy won the Outstanding Board of Governor’s Award for The ESOP Association. 

She has been a past Board member of The ESOP Association and is the Immediate Past President for the New England Chapter of The ESOP Association.  She was the founding President of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center and currently serves as Treasurer.