PRESS RELEASE: Employee-Owned Austin Commercial Brings Solar Power to Phoenix Airport

For Immediate Release:

January 14, 2012

Home News PRESS RELEASE: Employee-Owned Austin Commercial Brings Solar Power to Phoenix Airport
(Phoenix, AZ) Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport is now retrofitted with more than five megawatts of solar electric capacity, thanks to the work of more than 200 personnel at Austin Commercial, the company announced today. The success and on-time completion of the project—one of Arizona’s largest commercial solar panel systems—reinforce findings that employee-owned private companies, or “S corporation employee stock ownership plans” (S ESOPs) like Austin are high-performing businesses.

Sky Harbor selected SunPower, who then selected Austin Commercial over three other contractors to enable the airport to reduce its utility energy consumption through a total of 16,512 SunPower solar modules.

“We believe Austin stood apart as the right contractor for this project because, from the get-go, our employee-owners were invested in its success,” said Lori Brakhage, Director of Corporate Communications for Austin Industries. “Austin’s team operates with pride in ownership, and we believe it shows in every megawatt of solar energy at Sky Harbor.”

S ESOP companies like Austin create not only employee motivation and success but also higher productivity, profitability, job stability and job growth that generate a collective $19 billion in economic value that otherwise would not exist, according to a University of Pennsylvania study. Further, S ESOPs contribute $14 billion in new savings to their workers each year beyond the income they would otherwise have earned. This is because company profits flow into the ESOP (retirement) accounts of the workers. Moreover, most S ESOP employees have retirement account balances three to five times higher than the average 401 (k) or other defined contribution plans, as compared with most working Americans who, according to an Associated Press poll, say that they lack confidence in their ability to live comfortably in retirement.

“Evidence has shown us what workers at Austin and other S corporation ESOP companies already know,” said Greg Klein, chairman of the board of directors of the Employee-Owned S Corporations of America. “Employee-owners work smarter and harder because of their commitment and investment in the business, and this makes our workers and our economy stronger.”

Austin Industries is a diverse, merit-shop construction company owned 100 percent by its employees. The three operating companies of Austin Industries—Austin Bridge & Road, Austin Commercial and Austin Industrial—engage in almost every type of civil, commercial and industrial construction. The company’s total workforce numbers about 5,300 and the completion value of projects in progress exceeds $1 billion. Founded in 1918, Austin is one of the largest and most diversified construction organizations in the United States. Offices are in Texas, California, Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.


The Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (“ESCA”) is the Washington, DC voice for employee-owned S corporations. ESCA’s exclusive mission is to preserve and protect S corporation ESOPs and the benefits they provide to the employees who own them. These companies have an important story to tell policymakers about the tremendous success of the S ESOP structure in generating long-term retirement savings for working Americans and their families. ESCA provides the vehicle and the voice for these efforts. ESCA represents employee-owners in every state in the nation.

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