Our ESOP is the Ultimate Unifier
By Todd Miller, Essential Ingredients
January 29, 2019
Essential Ingredients is a specialty chemicals distributor based in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1996, we became 100 percent ESOP-owned in 2011. Our 80 employee-owners have made 2018 a banner year, returning record results through regional expansion, focused investment in adjacent businesses, and complementary new ventures. We will eclipse $100 million in revenue for the first time in our history, with double-digit growth expected again in 2019.
We proudly declare that our financial achievements have been the result of a corporate culture deliberately centered around being a blessing. For us this simply means respecting, honoring, and caring for other people, i.e., our employees, our customers, our suppliers, and those in the communities in which we live and operate. This is our purpose, and not just for today, but for future generations as well. In a world of grow-big-fast-then-sell, we intend this entity to outlast us, to carry on in evergreen fashion. In short, our company’s success—past, present, and future—comes from putting other people first. The ESOP structure catalyzes our ability to do just that.
The ESOP’s “owner mindset” brings us ever-closer together as employees. Open-book management (the philosophy and practice of complete financial transparency) affords everyone in the organization, all its owners, an opportunity to witness the impact of our successes and failures in real-time. This helps align us in pursuit of lofty goals and galvanize us in both tactical and strategic endeavors. We are all shooting at the same target. We are all aware of how close we come to hitting the mark. We all appreciate what is at stake: the equity—the literal dollar value—of the very entity for which we jointly toil and, therefore, the well-being of all those who depend on it. There is grand nobility in common sacrifice. We work with each other, yes. But the ESOP means we work for each other as well. And so we are unified.
In the noisy, all-too-often sour clatter of today’s news cycle, it is easy to lament the ways in which America is divided. An ESOP, however, may prove an ultimate unifier. Regardless of ideological bent, net worth, education level, physical description, and so on, each of an ESOP’s employees may simultaneously benefit from this corporate design. There is hope and promise in that.
Essential Ingredients is a chemical distributor based in August, Georgia. the company’s 75 employee-owners take pride in providing raw materials to customers in every corner of the United States.
Todd Miller is VP of Sales at Essential Ingredients.