Congressman Mel Watt visits employee-owned Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.

August 23, 2012

Home News Congressman Mel Watt visits employee-owned Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.

ESCA member company Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) hosted Congressman Mel Watt (D-NC) at their office in Charlotte, North Carolina last week.  The Congressman visited as part of his annual “Trading Places” event, which showcases him working alongside his constituents of the 12th Congressional District, in order to hear their concerns and opinions on federal policy issues.


SEL was thrilled to host Congressman Watt as he toured the facility to learn more about the products, services, and culture of employee ownership.  SEL, whose products are installed in power systems around the world, has one of the world’s largest installations of Real Time Digital Simulator (RTDS®) technology dedicated to engineering services for improving electric power grid reliability. The Congressman was intrigued by the company’s smart grid technology solutions which can be used to rapidly detect outages and restore power to customers in his district.

After touring the facility, Congressman Watt sat down with SEL employee owners to hear more about their ESOP and how employee ownership makes a difference in both their day-to-day work environment and the strength of the company. The Congressman learned that employees are always working to improve and grow SEL because when the company succeeds, so do they.  People respond to the idea that this is your company,” explained Lee Underwood, R&D manager.

When Members of Congress visit employee-owned companies like SEL, they get to see first-hand the enormous benefits the S ESOP business structure has created for the economy and employees since Congress established the structure in 1998. Employee ownership has continued to benefit SEL’s Charlotte office, which opened in 1993 with one engineer and now has growing research and development and engineering services teams, employing more than 80 people. SEL is expanding with eight positions currently open in Charlotte and more than 200 positions available worldwide.

ESCA would like to thank Congressman Watt for taking the time to visit SEL and meet with their employee owners. At a time when Congress is thinking about tax reform, it is important to preserve and expand business models, such as the S corp ESOP model, that have proven to be successful.

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