Dave Fitz-Gerald
Dave Fitz-Gerald is the Chair of The ESOP Association’s Board of Directors and has been dedicated to making the ESOP Association's Annual Conference an even better experience for our members. 

Dear ESOP Association Members:

What happens when you invest in your strengths? You make a great thing even better.

Over the past few years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to doing just that: Maintaining the best of our favorite Annual Conference traditions—like the Awards Banquet, the Annual Awards for Communications Excellence (AACE) program, and the Night Tour of the Monuments—while improving the number and quality of educational and networking experiences.

What’s on tap for this year? Here’s a quick look:

We will offer a two-day track of programming for Boards of Directors of ESOP companies. This is a great opportunity for outside directors to learn more about ESOPs, and for inside directors to learn more about best practices in governance.

Many attendees make time while in DC to visit their elected officials in Congress. If you can come a day early, reach out to your Chapter leaders, who often set aside the afternoon prior to the conference for such visits and may be able to join you. 

We are expanding our peer-to-peer networking sessions, adding roundtables on ESOP Committees, Health and Wellness, and Safety. And, we'll bring back the CEO, CFO, and CHR roundtables we had in the past. Many people tell me they attend the Annual Conference because of these sessions; now there will be even more reasons to attend!

We are continuing the Chapter Showcase program, giving plenty of opportunities to highlight the great programs offered at all 18 of our chapters.  

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Norman Kawakami, CEO of
Chart Rehabilitation, explains why he
finds the Annual Conference so
valuable. (Click here to see video.)

I’m often asked, “Who should attend the Annual Conference?” Historically, this has been the place for employee-owners—especially those on ESOP communication committees—to learn about communications and culture. But truly everyone can benefit from attending.

Leaders from The Association's 18 Chapters gain by gathering and sharing best practices. And the high-quality technical sessions and networking opportunities make the Annual Conference a perfect destination for executives and members of the Boards of Directors from ESOP companies.

As our conference theme states, we are Better Together! No one person or company has cornered the market on great ideas, and we can all learn something from our peers. 

I know the ideas I’ve brought back from the Annual Conference truly have made our company more valuable. And I know I am not alone! Check out the video to your left to see what others think of the Annual Conference. 

I encourage you to register today, and experience that kind of insight for yourself. And I look forward to seeing you in D.C., May 24-25!

Dave Fitz-Gerald signature
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AACE Statue edited

Awards Banquet, May 23. 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 24. 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 city rich in diversity. Great dining and dancing 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—many within a very short walk of the conference hotel—check out this guide assembled by The ESOP Association staff. Or, check out this list offered by the conference hotelSticking around for Memorial Day? Then check out these great activities for the long weekend

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ESOP Association volunteers and Committee Members have developed a top-notch schedule of sessions for the 41st Annual Conference.

See the latest schedule here (updated May 14). 

Or, look here to see the whole conference at a glance, based on the type of content being offered

This year's event offers:

  • More than 40 Culture and Communication sessions
  • A 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.
  • The Best from the Chapters
    Highly popular sessions from each of The ESOP Association’s 18 chapters.
  • 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
  • Technical Topics 
    Get information and insights on the technical aspects of running an ESOP, such as financing, distributions, audits, and more.

Hotel & Travel 1

JW Marriott Washington DC
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20004

The ESOP Association's room block (which offers a special rate) is available until April 27 or it sells out—whichever comes first. Rooms tend to go quickly in Washington in May, so click here to reserve your room today

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 25th get a discounted rate. 

Nonmembers who join The Association by April 25th can save more than 50 percent on registration!

When registering, be sure to purchase:
     * Additional tickets to the Awards Banquet (May 23)
     * Tickets to the Night Tour of the Monuments (May 24)

Ready to be better together with your ESOP peers? Register online here, or download and return a registration form

The ESOP Association 41sth Annual Conference, May 24-25, 2018. Don't miss it!