Dave Fitz-Gerald
Dave Fitz-Gerald is the Chair of The ESOP Association’s Board of Directors, and is chairing a task force working to make the ESOP Association's Annual Conference an even better experience for our members. 

Dear ESOP Association Members:

I love the theme for the 2017 conference! Yes, it is simple and perhaps cliché, but it is also extremely relevant. In business, we sometimes focus so much on the nuts and bolts that we forget that the emotional connections are what give ESOP companies their competitive advantage.

After all, if you love something, you’ll work twice as hard to nurture it and make it grow.

That applies to your ESOP and your employee owners—and also to our Annual Conference. This is my favorite event—I absolutely love it—and this year it will be BIGGER and BETTER than ever. I’ve had the pleasure of working with awesome volunteers on a multi-year project to make this year’s event—the ESOP Association’s 40th Annual Conference—the BEST it’s ever been.

Here are a few of the changes you’ll see this year in DC:

We have added a full-track of programming exclusively for Directors of ESOP company Boards. This is a great opportunity to get immersed in governance topics and meet Directors from ESOP companies across the country. Outside Directors will come away with a new appreciation for their ESOP, and inside Directors will benefit from a deeper knowledge of best governance practices.

Our program features about a dozen sessions especially targeted to ESOP company executives, and continues to offer double-length round table discussions for CEOs, CFOs, and HR Executives. Speaking of round table discussions. see below...

The reason I LOVE this conference is its emphasis on culture and communications. Now there is more to love! Over the past few years, we have doubled the number of sessions devoted to communication and culture—and now we have doubled it again! And this year our chapter volunteers from across the country selected our culture and communications speakers and topics!

The Annual Conference also is a celebration of The ESOP Association Chapter experience around the country, so this year all 18 Chapters are being featured, recognized, and appreciated by repeating one of their recent, popular programs on the “national stage.”


We have added new peer-to-peer round table discussions focused on these exciting topics:

  • Minority ESOP Issues
  • Large ESOP Company Issues
  • Small ESOP Company Issues
  • ESOP Communications Committees

I look forward to welcoming you to The ESOP Association’s 40th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, May 11-12, 2017. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter @ESOPdave and be sure to register today for your conference! 

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Awards Banquet, May 10. This semi-formal affair features great food and wine, and a celebration of ESOP excellence. Companies are celebrated for winning the Annual Awards for Communications Excellence. The ESOP Company of the Year and the Employee Owner of the Year are honored, and the winning poster for Employee Ownership Month is revealed.

The cost of attending the Awards Banquet is included in your registration. Additional tickets are available for purchase when you register.

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Night Tour of the Monuments, May 11. This tour offers a great way to see DC at night.
(For a sample, see this video.) Be driven around in comfort to various legendary locations in our nation’s capital. See the memorials to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Also on the itinerary: The White House, the Capitol, and the Iowa Jima Memorial. There are opportunities to get out and walk around the sites, so bring your camera! Register early: This event sells out quickly. 

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DC Social Scene. Washington is a uniquely cosmopolitan area rich in diversity. Great dining and dancing opportunities abound. And the area hosts some of the nation’s best museums, most of which you can visit for free! For a glance at some key local attractions you'll want to see--including many within a very short walk of the conference hotel--check out this guide.

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The schedule for the 40th Annual Conference is nearly completed, and this year’s event promises more content—and more great content—than ever before. Take a look at what we have planned:

  • More than 40 Culture and Communication sessions, including:
    • Your ESOP is Great for Your Customers
    • ESOP  Communications Committee Questions
    • Communicating to Employees After a Second Stage ESOP Transaction
    • And more!
  • A new Board of Directors Track
    This is a full-track of programming exclusively for Directors of ESOP company Boards. Get immersed in governance topics and meet Directors from ESOP companies across the country. Outside and inside directors alike will benefit from these sessions.
  • Peer-to-peer round table discussions on:
    • Minority ESOP Issues
    • Large ESOP Company Issues
    • Small ESOP Company Issues
    • ESOP Communications Committees
    • Issues facing CEOs, CFOs, and HR Executives
  • The Best from the Chapters
    Highly popular sessions from each of The ESOP Association’s 18 chapters.
  • Technical Topics
    Get information and insights on the technical aspects of running an ESOP, such as financing, distributions, audits, and more.
  • Viewers' Choice Sessions: You voted and the results are in:
     • Victor Aspengren will discuss “Recruitment, Orientation & Retention in an ESOP Company.”
    • Rich Armstrong will present “Open the Books and Teach the Numbers: Financial and Business 
      Literacy in an Employee Owned Company
    • Jason Wellman will offer insights on “Engaging Millennials in your ESOP.”

Downloadable Conference Agenda

Click here to download the full conference agenda, including sessions descriptions, times, and speakers. 

Or, see all of our great sessions organized by track..

Hotel & Travel 1

JW Marriott Washington DC
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20004

While rooms at the JW Marriott are still available, The ESOP Association's room block (which offered a special rate) is now sold out! Please contact the JW Marriott Washington DC for updated information on room availability and rates.  

Here are other nearby hotels that have rooms available for less than $300 per night (as of March 13):

St Gregory
2033 M Street NW
10 minute taxi ride
$263 per night 

Beacon Hotel
1615 Rhode Island Ave NW
10 minute taxi ride
$259 per night 
Morrison Clark
1011 L Street NW
15 minute walk

Henley Park
926 Massachusetts Ave N.W.
15 minute Walk


Valet parking at the JW Marriott Washington DC costs $59 per day. Overnight valet parking also costs $59. No oversized vehicles are allowed in the garage, which has a height clearance of 6 feet 4 inches.

The hotel is located one block from the Metro Center station, with immediate access to four of the six lines run by the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority. For information on fairs, routes, and travel times, see www.wmata.com.


Area Airports  

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
Distance: 4 miles
Estimated taxi fare: $20 (one way)

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Distance: 26 miles
Estimated taxi fare: $60 (one way)

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
Distance: 34 miles
Estimated taxi fare: $90 (one way)
Alternate transportation: Amtrak train from BWI to Union Station, Metro from Union Station to hotel

Registration Information
Registration Area

Members who register by April 14th get a discounted rate.

Nonmembers who join The Association by April 14th can save more than 30 percent on registration. 

When registering, be sure to purchase:
     * Additional tickets to the Awards Banquet (May 10)
     * Tickets to the Night Tour of the Monuments (May 11)

Ready to love your ESOP even more? Register online here, or download and return a registration form

The ESOP Association 40th Annual Conference, May 11-12, 2017. Don't miss it!