The ESOP Association

2017 AACE Award Winners & Runners Up

The 2017 AACE Award Winners & Runners Up

The 2017 ESOP Awards Dinner

Listed below are the 2019 winners and runners up for the AACE competition. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Companies with 250 or Fewer Employees

Companies with 250 or Fewer Employees

VIDEO

Winner: Mid South Building Supply Inc.
Judges’ Comments: An effective video that proves the axiom less is more. In fewer than two minutes,
this video provides a clear and concise overview of Mid South, its values, and the pride of ownership felt by the many employees who are featured.
 

Runner Up: Bowers + Kubota Consulting Inc.
Judges’ Comments: The video provides a good explanation of the Bowers Kubota’s ESOP and involves many employee owners, all while engagingly demonstrating the company’s culture and sense of humor.

 

PRINTED MATERIALS

Winner: TVSDesign
Judges’ Comments: Overall, these materials are well designed and invite employees to read them. Exceptional use of graphics makes the section on reading an ESOP statement easy to understand. The Summary Plan Description includes a definitions page. The company intentionally focuses on print materials, instead of digital,
and clearly explained this strategy in its entry.

Runner Up: Cisco Eagle Inc.
Judges’ Comments: These company newsletters are consistently good and offer employee owners a wide variety of useful information, including quizzes,
regular updates on the company share value, and excerpts of relevant stories from The ESOP 
Association’s newsletter, the ESOP Report.

Bright Ideas
Butler Till—An Owners’ Manual is distributed to all employee owners, who are quizzed about the contents of the document at employee meetings.

INTRANET

Winner: Geographic Information Services
Judges’ Comments: This easy-to-navigate site features a page that introduces the ESOP, well done FAQs, links to ESOP accounts, a calendar of events, and a 2016 Employee Ownership Month page.

Runner Up: TVSDesign
Judges’ Comments: This intranet can be accessed via a mobile app and does a nice job of communicating
employee information. Examples include listing those vested in the ESOP, and including posts from employee ownership meetings. One post shared the idea for a Pocket Change piggybank, which encourages saving for retirement using pocket change.

 

EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP MARKETING

Winner: Mountain Hardware and Sports
Judges’ Comments: The fact this is an employee owned company is touted everywhere: in the company logo; television advertisements; employee owners’ name tags; and the firm’s social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The recently redesigned website consistently uses employee ownership language and proudly proclaims the businesses as 100 percent employee owned.

Runner Up: Mid South Building Supply Inc.
Judges’ Comments: The company announces to the world that it is employee owned in a variety of ways, including its logo (which states it is 100 percent employee owned), website, return address envelops, invoices, trucks, and brochures for customers.

 

ONE SPECIAL EVENT

Winner: Geographic Information Services
Judges’ Comments: The company celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a multiday event that included time for the ESOP Committee. Employee owners had access to multi-track sessions offering career development and content on topics such as innovation and the future of the company. An app was developed to help employees from three locations across the state get to the event on time.

Runner Up: Wiley Wilson
Judges’ Comments: The fifth annual ownership retreat was a two-day event at which all employees received training on employee engagement and how the company was progressing. Morning sessions concentrated on individual accountability and engagement, and afternoon sessions focused on why these are especially important in employee owned companies.

Bright Ideas
DHC—The company asked vendors to contribute prizes for its 25th ESOP Anniversary, and found this provided a good opportunity to educate those who did not realize the company was employee owned.

BL—The company asked all employee owners to send Thank You notes to commend one another on their good work. For every note, the company donated $1 to the Wounded Warriors Project.

 

SERIES OF SPECIAL EVENTS

Winner: Butler Till
Judges’ Comments: For Employee Ownership Month the company offered 31 Days of Honoring Ownership,which featured a visit from the founder, who discussed how the ESOP was started, and conversations with executives. Fun events included: Strike it Rich (bowling), Wrap Up in Benefits (a Mexican take out lunch), and ESOP Is Sweet (a cupcake cart).

Runner Up: Mid South Building Supply Inc.
Judges’ Comments: The company offered 38 special events designed to maintain awareness of the ESOP throughout the year. At one event, employees guessed the share value and discussed why it declined. Other events benefited charity, offered employee appreciation, focused on wellness, and provided a trip to the ballpark.

 

TOTAL COMMUNICATIONS

Winner: Mid South Building Supply Inc.
Judges’ Comments: The company won first place in the Video category this year, and was runner up in the Employee Ownership Marketing and Series of Special Events categories. Overall, the company excelled at promoting employee ownership and executing an ambitious array of employee ownership events.

Runner Up: Thomson-Shore Inc.
Judges’ Comments: The company offers a number of excellent initiatives for communicating with employees, such as a wall where those on each shift can post photos
and information to share. An Employee Owner board offers trivia, wellness, safety, continuing education,
and core financial information. A series of events to benefit the community included a food drive, adopting a family for Christmas, and mentoring young children
in writing. 

Companies with More Than 250 Employees

Companies with More Than 250 Employees

VIDEO

Winner: Wright Service Corp.
Judges’ Comments: This is an engaging video that uses good story telling techniques to explain the company’s ESOP and history. The clever use of graphics emphasizes key points, provides effective transitions, and concisely shows the company timeline. Lots of employee owners appear in this video, and their genuine enthusiasm for the company culture is readily apparent.

Runner Up: Air Tractor Inc. Judges’ Comments: This is an upbeat, engaging
video
. A nice variety of employee owners explain in everyday language how the ESOP benefits them and the company, offering a clear and credible message. Showing employee owners in their work environments offers a glimpse inside the company and makes the employees easy to relate to. Good use of music and great group shot at the end.

 

PRINTED MATERIALS

Winner: Eagle Communications Inc. Judges’ Comments: This is a comprehensive and well executed suite of printed materials. The quarterly newsletter and recruitment pamphlet offer a great deal of ESOP-specific information. Materials on an ESOP Ambassador program for new hires are well done. All employee owners receive a lanyard with the share price and the phrase: “100% responsibility, 0 excuses.” Colors are used effectively and consistently.

Runner Up: Travel and Transport Inc. Judges’ Comments: A concise monthly newsletter shows an inclusive spirit by featuring lots of submitted content. Other materials include a good ESOP 101 PowerPoint, desktop calendars featuring photos of employee owners, slides from the ESOP 2016 roadshow (which were printed and distributed to employee owners), and a clear performance review form that focuses on employee ownership skills.

Bright Ideas
Thomson Shore Inc.—The company places Employee ESOP boards where employee owners can post and share information. Burns & McDonnell—Following a communications strategy that shows print materials are vital for this firm’s audience, the company distributes newsletters digitally but also prints and posts them where employee owners can see them.  

INTRANET

Winner: Entertainment Partners Judges’ Comments: This intranet is a great example of using technology to spur interaction. The CEO posts each week—and employee owners can offer unfiltered responses visible to everyone. Up to 900 users access the intranet every day. Other features include links to national and chapter ESOP Association information, including chapter newsletters.

Runner Up: Eagle Communications Inc. Judges’ Comments: A clean layout and multiple tabs make it easy to find the comprehensive, easily digestible information. Content includes access to ESOP documents, company newsletters going back several years, ESOP education videos, links to ESOP Association info, and information on awards the company has won (including a past AACE award).
Bright Ideas
Butler Till—The company intranet includes selfie videos in which employee owners talk about what the ESOP means to them, which is a great technique for engaging a widespread workforce.
Folience—This intranet features ESOP memes that employee owners create and submit.
Emery, Sapp and Sons—Information is organized by life cycle (tabs range from info for those first joining the ESOP, to those preparing to retire), making it easy for employee owners to find what they need.

 

EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP MARKETING

Winner: Van Meter Inc. Judges’ Comments: Photos of employee owners line the Meet the Owners wall, which greets visitors when they arrive. Employee ownership is prominently featured on the company website and careers page, and appears consistently on a variety of marketing materials, including fliers and brochures. The company uses social media to draw attention to articles and education about employee ownership.

Runner Up: Entertainment Partners
Judges’ Comments: Handouts for potential clients tout the fact the company is employee owned, as does the home page of the website. Other pages give a history of the ESOP, explain what an ESOP is, and include links to education and articles.

 

ONE SPECIAL EVENT

Winner: Glatfelter Insurance Group
Judges’ Comments: At a special fundraising event, employee owners were encouraged to donate .007 percent of their annual salary to the United Way. The CEO and VP of HR sang songs in a karaoke show as an incentive. The event raised $224,000—more than any other United Way drive in the county.

Runner Up: Van Meter Inc. Judges’ Comments: The company revealed its share price at an “Academy Awards” like event that included videos. Well thought-out and executed, the event ensured that employee owners at multiple locations could participate at the same time.

 

SERIES OF SPECIAL EVENTS

Winner: Recology Judges’ Comments: To celebrate its 30th ESOP Anniversary, the company created fairs customized for each of its 27 sites. The fairs offered a combination of fun and educational activities, arranged by booths. Employees received passports that were stamped at every booth they visited. The series of events were designed to reach 3,000 employees.

Runner Up: Telligen
Judges’ Comments: The company offered a variety of activities for Employee Ownership Month, including: a day for fun ESOP facts, employee owner appreciation day, spouse day, a United Way fundraiser, a benefits fair and the Share Price Awakens event.

Bright Ideas
Plastic Products Co. Inc.—The company hosted five different members of Congress over the year.
 

TOTAL COMMUNICATIONS

Winner: Burns & McDonnell
Judges’ Comments: A strong overall communications package was highlighted by an excellent total benefits compensation document and company newsletter. To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the ESOP, the company spent two years planning an all-day gala for 3,000 employees and their guests. The event featured live music, dancing, casino and arcade games, and taxis to take people home.

Runner Up: Entertainment Partners
Judges’ Comments: The company intranet, which won the AACE this year, provides unfiltered interaction between the CEO and employee owners. The company displays employee ownership materials prominently and publicly, through a variety of channels. At a special event, Kevin Brady, Chair of the important House  Ways and Means Committee, visited the company headquarters in California, even though none of the company offices are in Rep. Brady’s home state of Texas.