Employee-owned companies pride themselves on allowing their employee-owners to take ownership of their work, which ultimately creates a culture of responsibility. Like their work environment, many employee-owned companies and employee-owners practice and preach this same culture in their communities. Throughout the country, employee-owned companies are taking the lead to improve their respective communities.
In Kansas City, Missouri, Burns and McDonnell, a global engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting firm, is reigniting students’ excitement for science, engineering and construction. Each year, more than 30 employee-owners from the firm team up with the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Kansas City and spend the entire school year in local high schools introducing students to the engineering world. The ACE Mentor Program began in 1995 and since then it has reached more than 10,000 students in 80 cities across the United States.
Like Burns and McDonnell, 100% employee-owned Walman Optical of Minneapolis, Minnesota, aids students in their educational pursuits. Each year, Walman grants scholarships to college and graduate students studying optometry. With scholarships ranging from $1000 to $4000, Walman is successfully offering opportunities for students from around the country to achieve their educational goals.
Across the American west, WinCo Foods has acted on the ever-present need to protect and sustain our environment. The employee-owned supermarket company implemented a number of green initiatives to reduce their impact on the environment. The company installed sky lights in most stores to reduce electricity use. In addition, WinCo executives have pledged to use greener LED lights in its future stores, while phasing out the traditional fluorescent lighting in its current stores, and to explore solar power.
These few examples represent the influence employee-owned companies are having in our communities. These companies are taking the charge to practice responsibility both in the office and in the wider community, and are the future of socially conscious businesses.