Article on Employee Ownership touts Success of ESCA Members HDR, Inc. and Ferrellgas

August 7, 2014

Home News Article on Employee Ownership touts Success of ESCA Members HDR, Inc. and Ferrellgas

When a company becomes employee owned, the surrounding community is often the first to take notice. After all, employee-owned companies are well known for keeping workers motivated, happy and employed. So when you have businesses like HDR or Ferrellgas in your hometown, it’s easy to witness the positive changes that come when a local business becomes employee-owned. According to a recent article in the Southern Business Journal titled, Employee-owned companies: Sharing in the risks and rewards of ownership, these hugely-successful companies are serving their local community by sticking to an ESOP business model – and it’s paying off.

HDR, ESCA Board member and employee-owned since 1997, opened its doors in 1917 to bring water works, sewer systems and electric plants to local communities. Today, HDR has 8,500 employees in 200 locations around the world. Rex Fisher, senior vice president at HDR, attributes employee ownership to the company’s success. “That ownership and motivation when you are an owner makes you invested in success. We believe that’s why we’ve risen to the top,” said Fisher.

While growing its business internationally, HDR also improves the lives of Illinois residents. For example, HDR designed the longest continuous bridge in the Illinois bridge system on I-270 over the Chain of Rocks Canal, the Mississippi shipping canal, which is set to be complete by August of next year. HDR also employs hundreds of Illinoisans, who, according to Fisher, are invested financially and emotionally in the company through the ESOP model.

ESCA Board member Ferrellgas, which will soon be celebrating 75 years of home, business and agricultural propane supply, also serves local communities in Illinois – with 39 locations and 176 employees across the state. According to company spokesperson Scott Brockelmeyer, “The research that we conducted at the time said that companies that have an employee-ownership plan have employees more mindful of very important things, like expenses and customer services. That’s a benefit we see every day.” Twice a year, stocks are put into Ferrellgas employees’ accounts. “It is a unique retirement benefit. We offer a 401k and a company match,” he said.

At Ferrellgas, every individual employee has the chance to impact their future daily –According to Brockelmeyer, employees see their relationship with the company differently. He says, “I am an employee owner in the business, and I am going to treat it as my own. Our folks go the extra mile to treat that customer as their own.”

HDR and Ferrellgas are excellent examples of how a company can influence surrounding neighborhoods while simultaneously leaving a lasting impact on its employee’s mentality and dedication to the businesses they own. ESCA also recognizes the exceptional growth HDR has seen since it implemented an ESOP in 1997 and congratulates Ferrellgas on 75 years of outstanding service.

Latest News