PRESS RELEASE: North Carolina Awards $65.5 Million Project to Employee-Owned Company

For Immediate Release:

May 16, 2011

Media Contact:

Rebecca Einhorn

(202) 466-8700

Home News PRESS RELEASE: North Carolina Awards $65.5 Million Project to Employee-Owned Company

Austin Bridge & Road Credits Success to ESOP Structure

(Dallas, TX) The North Carolina Department of Transportation has awarded a $65.5 million contract to Austin Bridge & Road for improvements to Interstate 85 in Davidson County. Structured as an employee-owned private company, or a so-called “S corporation employee stock ownership plan” (S ESOP), Austin Bridge & Road credits its success to the employee-owners who operate with a vested interest in the company’s growth and development.

The project will widen a four-mile stretch of Interstate 85 to eight lanes and update an interchange. The scope of work is a natural fit with the company’s extensive background, as Austin Bridge & Road—the oldest of Austin Industries’ 100 percent employee-owned companies—has built such landmark structures as the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport spine roads, a five-level interchange in Fort Worth, the Gulfgate Interchange in Houston and the Queen Isabella Causeway, the longest bridge in Texas.

Austin Bridge & Road cites employee ownership as a primary motivator in its long-term success, as well as high employee retention and job creation. “Our employees have a stake in the game,” said Jim Andoga, president of Austin Bridge & Road. “At the end of the day, we see that the effort and ingenuity we put in directly contributes to the growth of our company, our retirement security and—as a result—our families’ financial well-being.”

S ESOP companies like Austin, according to a University of Pennsylvania study, create not only employee motivation and success, but also $14 billion in new savings for workers that they otherwise would not have. This is because profits of the company 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. This helps to explain why Austin’s employees are so successful, as compared with most working Americans who—an April 2011 Gallup poll found—think they will lack enough money 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. “When times are tough, 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. For the NC DOT project, Austin’s joint venture team is comprised of Austin Bridge & Road and Balfour Beatty with Florence & Hutcheson serving as the lead design team.


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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