Business Succession, Major Decrease in Employee Turnover
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When we founded our ESOP I was afraid that I was asking too much because of the unique provisions I wanted. I had talked to several other potential attorneys and advisors. They said “Why, and you can’t do that”. Deb cut through ESOP law and got our ESOP exactly like I wanted and it has worked beautifully. Deb is smart, fast, knowledgeable and efficient. I would recommend her for anyone considering employee ownership. -Bill Carris, selling owner & current board chair, Carris Reels, Inc.
Carris Reels, Inc. is a family owned company with 710 employees in 15 plants in eight states and sales estimated at $83 million in 1995. Henry Carris started the Company in 1951, with 2 employees. In 1980, Henry retired and was succeeded by his son, Bill Carris. Carris Reels initiated an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in 1995 by contributing approximately 10% of its stock to the ESOP, and has become 100% employee owned and governed over a period of approximately 10 year, providing a capital gains deferral of any of the proceeds used to purchase qualified replacement property (generally US corporate stock.) Atty. Deborah Olson assisted Bill Carris and his company to design the ESOP using a process that involved a broad range of employees. Owner Bill Carris is a strong believer in participation and community building. Bill Carris created a long term plan to move his company not only from family to employee ownership, but to transform its culture and employees to community stewards as well as profit making owners. Some of the first concrete steps in this process were the creation of the ESOP plan, and the employee participation committee, and involvement of the employees in designing the plan. In 2013 Carris Reels CFO, David Fitzgerald said “Before the ESOP, we had 100% employee turnover in our Michigan and North Carolina facilities. Now that the ESOP owns the company, turnover is 20% companywide. Although many of our jobs are physically demanding, our company has become an employer of choice.”
Carris Reels has been supplying wood, metal and plastic reels to the wire and cable industry for over 45 years, providing the most comprehensive product line of any reel manufacturer. Carris Reels also has subsidiaries producing furniture and pallets.