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Press Releases

Torchlight Award Presented to Colorado Governor Jared Polis By The ESOP Association

May 9, 2022


Torchlight Award Presented to Colorado Governor Jared Polis


Washington, DC – The ESOP Association has presented its inaugural Torchlight Award to Colorado Governor Jared Polis for his leadership in advancing employee ownership and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) in Colorado. The award was given as part of its 47th National Conference, which gathered hundreds of employee owners from across the country in Washington, DC for education, advocacy, and public policy.

This award honors and recognizes an elected or appointed official who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in the public arena in advancement of ESOPs and employee owners.

Anyone who has followed the many exciting developments nationwide related to employee ownership will quickly recognize why Governor Polis was chosen as the first Torchlight Award winner.

In the United States Congress, he was a steadfast champion of employee ownership, sponsoring or co-sponsoring legislation, seeking regulatory assistance, and vocalizing his support to peers and the public. When he chose to run for statewide office in 2018, Governor Polis went even further, making the advancement of employee ownership a central part of his successful campaign. 

After being elected Governor, he followed through and created a cabinet-level commission to advance employee ownership and put resources behind its efforts. 

Today, Colorado has become a leading example of what can be done by a state government when a leader makes employee ownership a priority.

“Governor Jared Polis has never shied away from innovation or leadership, and as a former business owner himself, he understands the value of employee ownership to a company and to our communities,” said The ESOP Association’s President and CEO, Jim Bonham. “He has been, and continues to be, one of our leading champions and is a torchlight for others to follow. Congratulations to Colorado Governor Jared Polis.”




About The ESOP Association
The ESOP Association is the largest organization in the world supporting employee-owned companies, the more than 10 million U.S. employees who participate in an ESOP, and the professionals who provide services to them. Headquartered at the International Employee Ownership Center in Washington, DC and operating as a 501(c)6 organization with the affiliated Employee Ownership Foundation, The ESOP Association conducts and funds academic research, provides more than 160 annual conferences and events attended by nearly 15,000 individuals, and advocates on behalf of employee owners and their businesses to federal and state lawmakers. You can learn more at

About Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) 
ESOPs are a retirement plan that provides employees with a chance to share in the profits they help create. Unlike 401(k)s, ESOPs typically have no out-of-pocket expense for employees. ESOP companies often excel at creating engaging workplace cultures and are far less likely to lay off their employees, according to national research. These plans can provide tax benefits for the business and the owners who sell their shares to an ESOP. 

For more information on ESOPs, The ESOP Association, or the award, please contact Paul Pflieger at The ESOP Association at 202-293-2971 or