Request a quote

Forge Innovations

Hot Off The Press

ESOP Photo
October 15, 2021

Employee ownership: It's more than a job.

More than 40 years later, Scot Forge continues to be a proud, 100% employee-owned company. On the surface, our ESOP is a retirement plan, but within our day-to-day operations, it serves a greater purpose.

In 1978, former owner Pete I. Georgeson sold Scot Forge to his employees, giving way to the Scot Forge Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). More than 40 years later, Scot Forge continues to be a proud, 100% employee-owned company. On the surface, our ESOP is a retirement plan, but within our day-to-day operations, it serves a greater purpose. We asked four employee-owners to expand on what they believe it means to be a part of an ESOP company. Here is what they had to say!

  Mark Dowell - Scot Forge Employee-Owner Richard Hobday - Scot Forge Employee-Owner   Sarah Marski - Scot Forge Employee-Owner   Michelle Ridel - Scot Forge Employee-Owner

Mark Dowell: Blacksmith, has been an employee-owner for 14 years.
Richard Hobday: Spring Grove Plant Manager, has been an employee-owner for 5 years.
Sarah Marski: Inside Sales Manager, has been an employee-owner for 17 years.
Michelle Riedel: Manager Executive Office Operations, has been an employee-owner for 20 years.

What does being an employee-owner mean to you?

Mark: "It means that I personally have a say within the company we own together. It also means that I have an obligation to bring to work the best version of myself and expect the same from others. Being an employee-owner gives me confidence that I have support in my daily tasks and decisions."
Richard: "Being an employee-owner cultivates a sense of pride in what you do and creates a feeling that you can come in and be a part of something bigger than yourself. We have an interconnected fate with our employee-owners, our customers and our suppliers. Personally, I've fallen in love with our model and what we stand for as a company. As an employee-owner, we are constantly learning from yesterday's performance through building a learning organization."
Sarah: "It means more than having a 'regular job' because you have ownership, responsibility and accountability. Being an employee-owner gives me a sense of pride knowing what I work on is mine and that it is helping the company progress."
Michelle: "It means I have a team of hardworking people, with similar values, around me every day. When you own a business with 500+ other people, it's important that you are aligned and work together to be successful. After all, it's up to us to create value for our retirement and preserve the company for future generations. Being an employee-owner is special – being a part of this great company and serving my fellow owners is such a privilege."

What does employee ownership do for your future?

Mark: "Employee ownership at Scot Forge has historically set up employees for a successful future, financially. I am a firm believer that as long as, we as owners, remember the core values that were built and developed by the Scot Forge owners amongst and before us, and we continuously grow as one, the sky's the limit for what our future can hold."
Richard: "We are here to develop ourselves, to pass on what we've learned to others and to create a legacy and to give back. Being an employee-owner has helped me prioritize helping others win at work and in life, which to me is the most enriching gift you can give."
Sarah: "When I think of future responsibilities, it makes me want to work harder to make the company better. There is also an aspect of security that comes with employee-ownership because I am not worried about my financial future."
Michelle: "This question is two-fold for me. Obviously, the financial piece is important to have a secure retirement. But, it's the other things I've learned along the way as an employee-owner that I feel will also serve me well in the future. Teamwork, personal accountability, the value of safety, continuous learning and serving others are all characteristics that will help me in the next chapters of my life. So many of these qualities are on display by others around me every day."

How does employee ownership affect your day-to-day?

Mark:  As owners, we depend on one another to strive for excellence. When we genuinely focus on our day-to-day operations to win the day, we continuously improve for tomorrow. No matter the obstacle, if we approach our challenges together head-on, we will rise above what's expected for our customers, our company and our future."
Richard: "Our culture is not a natural act, [in that it doesn't happen by accident], and we are constantly reminding ourselves of our responsibilities and not just our rights. In terms of our leadership, it's about ensuring we are working for our customers every day. Keeping [our customers] in the path of our work. We all have a lot of responsibilities, and actually owning a piece of the company keeps you accountable - knowing your work makes a difference."
Sarah: "Everybody wears a lot of hats around here, and you do what needs to be done when you see something that needs to be accomplished. Day-to-day you're busy, but it pays off."
Michelle: "Whether I am making a purchase on behalf of the company, serving a member of our community or taking a class to improve or learn a new skill, I do it with integrity, knowing that I am accountable to and represent 500+ other owners. Our employee-owned company has a mission statement that I strive to live up to every day. Keeping the values in front of me reminds me who I'm here to serve and what the expectations of being an employee-owner are."

How would you explain an ESOP to a future owner?

Mark: "[An] ESOP is a great personal opportunity and time investment. It's a plan by which a company's capital stock is bought by its employees. Scot Forge is 100% employee-owned. Thanks to previous employee-owners, I and others have been set up with a solid base and structure for success heading into the future. In my opinion, people in the market for a career opportunity should highly consider ESOP companies. The benefits from non-ESOP companies cannot compare."
Richard: "Our ESOP is a retirement plan, not a retirement job. If we do the right thing for each other and our customers, we earn the right for our company to become more and more valuable over time. Our ESOP plan requires teamwork and collaboration amongst our employee-owners to win. It's a delicate system that, if nurtured and cared for, will be passed on for many generations to come."
Sarah: "An ESOP is an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself. It's an opportunity to work towards something to help both you and your fellow employee-owners. So if you want more than a job and are looking for a career and a second family, employee-ownership and our culture at Scot Forge is the way to go."
Michelle: "An ESOP is a plan that provides employee-owners shares of the company's stock that is built-up over the lifetime of their career at the company.  Every employee-owner creates the value of that stock by the way we: stay safe, continuously improve processes, look for cost savings and [focus on the] quality of our work to name a few. The more value we create together, the greater our stock price and, therefore, a larger account balance for retirement.  It takes all of us to create the value of our company though, not just one person, department or plant can do that – we must all do it together as employee-owners."