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At the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), a nonprofit membership and research organization,
our task is to provide accurate, unbiased information
about employee stock plans such as ESOPs and
serve our thousands of members. But the often technical information we provide doesn't always provide interested people with straightforward illustrations of where employee
ownership is found and how it works, and it doesn't always provide the right tools to communicate employee ownership and its benefits.
This site exists to illustrate the world of employee ownership (for now, in the U.S. only)
through maps, infographics, and videos, and other means. Please let us know what you think and check back soon.
New: We feature the video We as Owners, a message from the associate-owners of Hypertherm, a 100% employee-owned ESOP company where they can proudly state that as owners, "customers, not investors, are our top priority."
An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is a benefit plan with advantages for the company, employees, and the original owners. Owners sell shares to the ESOP trust, which holds them for the employees.
Currently, there are about 6,940 ESOPs and equivalent plans employing roughly 13.5 million U.S. employees. ESOP companies are diverse: there are ESOPs in almost every industry and in all company sizes.
In 1968, Hypertherm founder Dick Couch and colleague Bob Dean discovered a way to create a narrower plasma arc, capable of cutting metal more quickly and more accurately than ever before. The company opened its first manufacturing facility in 1975 and continued to expand over the years, receiving ISO 9001 certification in 1992. In 2001, Hypertherm became 30% employee-owned, and 2014, it expanded its ESOP to become 100% employee-owned. In this video, the worker-owners of Hypertherm talk about what ownership means to them, what their values are, and how it makes Hypertherm a better company.