Melanie Matulonis

Melanie Matulonis

Melanie Matulonis is the Marketing Team Leader with ESOP Partners. She is responsible for supporting the company’s strategic goals and mission of "changing lives through employee ownership" through the development and execution of internal and external marketing communications programs and campaigns. Melanie has a Master's degree in New Media & Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University and has worked in the ESOP industry since 2006 in marketing and communications roles.

Recent Posts

ESOP Partners Announces New Managing Director

ESOP Partners is pleased to announce that Joseph “Joe” Fonti has joined the team of employee-owners in the role of Managing Director. 

As a member of the senior leadership team, 
Joe will focus on executing on the strategic goals of the organization. He is responsible for overseeing the daily operations. He will work on enhancing the already strong employee and client experience. He is working as an integrator of ideas to enhance organizational efficiency, promote ESOPs to the business community, to help facilitate the growth of the ESOP communications and ownership culture d
evelopment services and to provide advice to existing clients on methods to enhance enterprise value. 

 "We are excited to have Joe join the leadership team due to his extensive business experience, his passion for creating ESOP millionaires and his ability to relate to ESOP clients since his business became an ESOP," says Aaron Juckett, ESOP Partners President and Founder. 

Joe is an experienced executive leader and owner of several businesses. He is a licensed attorney and has served as the chief operating officer of a 15-location furniture company with nearly 600 employees. His furniture company became an ESOP in 2018 and ESOP Partners has provided to his furniture business administrative services, educational and cultural training and repurchase obligation analysis. ESOPs are his passion and he joined ESOP Partners because it is a best-in-class ESOP provider and because he is committed to creating ESOP millionaires at ESOP Partners and at existing and future ESOP clients. 

ESOP Partners a Sponsor, Exhibitor and Speaker at NCEO 2022 Employee Ownership Conference

ESOP Partners is proud to be a Sponsor,  Exhibitor and Speaker at NCEO's 2022 Employee Ownership Conference being held April 26-28 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA. 



ESOP Partners an Annual Leader Sponsor of the Wisconsin Chapter of The ESOP Association’s Spring Conference

The Wisconsin Chapter of The ESOP Association is hosting this Spring in-person event to engage Chapter members with an educational and networking opportunity.  The programming features several highlights on Culture/Communications as well as Governance/Management topics. 

ESOP Partners is pleased to be an Annual Leader sponsor for this event. 

Columbus Chemical Industries, Inc. Completes Sale to Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

Company Now 100% Employee Owned

After nearly 44 years in business, Columbus Chemical Industries (CCI) has transitioned to a 100% ESOP
(Employee Stock Ownership Plan) owned company. In an announcement made on January 27, 2022, company
founder, Richard Sheard outlined how important it was that the CCI employees who helped grow a strong, prosperous company should share in its ownership into the future.

In the announcement meeting, after expressing his gratitude for efforts by the CCI team, but before telling
employees that the company was sold to the ESOP, Richard stated along with the other Shareholders he had
sold the company. After a pause, he then went on to unveil that the new owners were the employees, to which there was applause and amazement.

Thanking Richard and the shareholders for making such a wonderful decision to benefit the long-term future of CCI and all its associates, President Randall Eppli indicated Richard’s legacy of serving customers and
honoring CCI associates will carry on through an employee-owned company.

About CCI

With facilities in Wisconsin and Arizona and distributor partners reaching global customers, CCI is a specialty chemical company providing custom engineered solutions for the semiconductor, medical device, biotech, laboratory, and industrial manufacturing industries. The CCI team is proud of the recognition regularly received for employee safety, outstanding service, environmentally conscious practices, and active community involvement.

About ESOP Partners

ESOP Partners is an ESOP service provider that changes lives by creating wealth and sustainable employment through employee ownership and works with business owners and companies to determine if an ESOP is a good fit for their situation. ESOP Partners establishes, maintains, and sustains employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) throughout the lifecycle to maximize the benefits of being an ESOP company and provide employees with an ownership stake in the company that they work for.

 About ESOPs

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) are qualified retirement plans that buy, hold, and sell company stock for the benefit of the employees, providing an ownership stake in the company. ESOPs are the only retirement plan allowed to borrow money to purchase stock and are generally funded only by the company. Selling part or all of a business to an ESOP enables a business owner to sell to a built-in buyer in as little as 90 days at full fair market value. There are many significant tax and cash flow benefits of selling to an ESOP. An ESOP also allows for a better-managed ownership transition, preservation of local jobs, and the maintenance of a company’s legacy in the community. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), there are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., covering 10.3 million employees. There are less than 2,500 ESOP companies that are 100% owned by their employees. 

Read the press release here. 

ESOP Partners to Attend and Sponsor the Las Vegas ESOP Association Conference & Trade Show (EO21)

ESOP Partners will be attending and sponsoring the Las Vegas ESOP Conference & Trade Show EO21  November 10-12, 2021  at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV.  

ESOP Partners Named a Gold-Certified Employee Friendly Workplace

 


(Pictured Above):  ESOP Partners' team of employee-owners.  

ESOP Partners has been certified as a 2021 gold-level Employee Friendly Workplace in the Fox Cities (Appleton, Wisconsin) by the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce. Gold-certified employers are community leaders in promoting work/life integration by making significant investments in employee-friendly policies and practices. Employee-friendly workplace policies and practices foster a supportive work environment that improves employee engagement and encourages employee loyalty. A commitment to employee friendliness creates an environment in the Fox Cities that attracts and retains the best employees for the region. To learn more about the Fox Cities Employee Friendly Workplace certification and initiative, please visit http://foxcitieschamber.com/employee-friendly-workplace. 

Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce recognizes employers who demonstrate a leadership-level commitment to promoting work/life integration for their employees

ESOP Partners is an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) service provider that changes lives by creating wealth and sustainable employment through employee ownership. The organization works with business owners and companies to determine if an ESOP is a good fit for their situation and maximize the potential of their ESOP. ESOP Partners walks the talk, as they are also employee-owned. They understand firsthand how ESOP practices align with overall business objectives. They are one of only 179 companies in the state of Wisconsin that are an ESOP.

 
(Pictured Above):  Members of the Leadership Team, including President and Founder, Aaron Juckett, proudly display the award outside of the company headquarters in Appleton, WI.  

Read the full press release

View our current career opportunities: https://esoppartners.bamboohr.com/jobs/. 

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ESOP Partners a Speaker and Gold-level Sponsor at The ESOP Association's Annual Midwest Regional Conference

ESOP Partners is proud to be a Gold-level Sponsor at The ESOP Association's Midwest Regional Conference held September 15-17, 2021 at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown in Des Moines, IA. This collaborative regional chapter event is hosted by the Heart of America, Illinois, Iowa/Nebraska, Minnesota/Dakotas, and Wisconsin Chapters of The ESOP Association. 

ESOP Partners Celebrates 15th Anniversary

 

August 2021 marks another important milestone for ESOP Partners. The company marks its 15th year of serving the ESOP community! The company's purpose has remained unchanged over its history: to change lives through employee ownership.

President and Founder Aaron Juckett says, “I am very thankful for our clients, current and former employees, and strategic partners who have entrusted me and my team to provide them service throughout the last 15 years."

This anniversary milestone joins the ranks of other company announcements, including becoming an ESOP company,  holding a  ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate moving into a new corporate headquarters in 2019. The building includes the Employee Ownership Training Center, which is used to educate the community about employee ownership and how it changes lives by creating wealth and sustainable employment.  

Just like a 15-year-old young adult, ESOP Partners is growing, maturing, and looks forward to a bright future ahead. 

 
(Pictured Above):  As part of the company celebration and recent summer team week event, the Employee Ownership Committee organized a canned food drive. ESOP Partners is proud to share that over 300 canned food items were collected and were donated to a local food pantry. 

Stay up to date with the latest ESOP Partners' news, events and blogs!   Subscribe

Kuno Creative Completes Sale to Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

Kuno Creative, an award-winning digital marketing agency founded in 2000, has announced the successful transfer of 100% ownership of the company to its employees via an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

The inbound marketing agency works with mid to large companies in Technology, Healthcare, Industrial and Sustainable industries to convert qualified leads through innovative digital marketing strategies.

From the beginning, our team has been on the frontline of creativity, pushing the limits of what our clients can achieve,” said CEO Chris Knipper. “Becoming an employee-owned company fully supports my belief that the secret to success is making others successful.”

 An ESOP — a qualified retirement plan that buys, holds, and sells company stock for the benefit of the employees, providing them with an ownership stake in the company — provided the ability to slowly transition leadership of the company over time, and reward the team who helped the company be successful.

 The total number of ESOPs in the country is about 6,600 representing 14.1 million participants and total plan assets of $1.5 trillion dollars. 

 Studies have demonstrated that ESOP companies outperform their non-ESOP counterparts.  A recent study demonstrated that employee-owned companies are 235% better at job retention than their non-ESOP counterparts (Source: NCEO). 

 About Kuno Creative 

Founded in 2000 by Chris Knipper as a traditional marketing and branding agency, Kuno Creative has continuously experienced year-over-year growth, evolving into a global digital marketing agency and a Diamond HubSpot Partner. Kuno now has a fully remote workforce consisting of the top talent across the country. Employees at Kuno have a mission to do marketing that matters for companies they believe make the world a better place. 

About ESOP Partners

ESOP Partners is an ESOP service provider that changes lives by creating wealth and sustainable employment through employee ownership and works with business owners and companies to determine if an ESOP is a good fit for their situation. ESOP Partners establishes, maintains, and sustains employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) throughout the lifecycle to maximize the benefits of being an ESOP company and provide employees with an ownership stake in the company that they work for.

 About ESOPs

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) are qualified retirement plans that buy, hold, and sell company stock for the benefit of the employees, providing an ownership stake in the company. ESOPs are the only retirement plan allowed to borrow money to purchase stock and are generally funded only by the company. Selling part or all of a business to an ESOP enables a business owner to sell to a built-in buyer in as little as 90 days at full fair market value. There are many significant tax and cash flow benefits of selling to an ESOP. An ESOP also allows for a better-managed ownership transition, preservation of local jobs, and the maintenance of a company’s legacy in the community. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), there are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., covering 10.3 million employees. There are less than 2,500 ESOP companies that are 100% owned by their employees. 

Read the press release here. 

Covenant Eyes Completes Sale to Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

The 211 people who work at Covenant Eyes now own the business through a financial vehicle called an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

As of December 31, 2020, Covenant Eyes Inc. belongs to its 211 employees. President, CEO, and co-founder Ron DeHaas previously held the majority interest in the company, along with a few other investors close to the company. The transfer means employees directly benefit from the growth of the company overall and own a stake in the company.

“I can’t think of anyone better to sell the company to than those who work to make it the best service every day,” said DeHaas. “They are the ones who are committed most to continuing the Covenant Eyes mission, and they are the ones who will ultimately benefit from its growth in the future.” DeHaas plans to stay as the president and CEO of Covenant Eyes. Company executives will also continue to make high-level decisions for the company.

Employees learned about adding “owner” to their titles at an online company meeting January 14, 2021. “I’m thrilled that the company I work for cares so much about me and my future to provide me this additional benefit,” said Rhonda Robinson, a human resources assistant who has worked at Covenant Eyes for more than four years. “This is one more reason why I love Covenant Eyes, and now I own part of this very important work and will benefit from its future growth.”

 Ron’s decision to sell the company comes 20 years after starting it. He wanted to ensure that Covenant Eyes would always be true to its commitment and wouldn’t be sold to other interests that could have taken it in another direction.

According to The Employee Ownership Foundation’s 24th Annual ESOP Economic Performance Survey, most ESOP companies showed increases in productivity, revenue, stock value, and profitability, all of which benefit employees. If there is a separation between the company and employee, the employee is compensated their share of the company’s fair market value.

“It is exciting to see such a big increase in the number of employee-owners in the United States as well as the wealth creation associated with Employee Stock Ownership Plans. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), there are now 14 million ESOP participants with ESOP balances of $1.4 billion,” added Aaron Juckett, president, and founder of ESOP Partners, the firm that led the transition.

In Michigan, there are 172 privately held ESOP companies and only a handful that are 100% employee owned. These employee-owned companies employ approximately 31,000 employee-owners.

“Covenant Eyes employees have always ‘bought in’ to how accountability helps with those who want to stop looking at pornography. Now, they’re literally bought in as owners and share in all of the financial benefits of a growing company,” said DeHaas.

Covenant Eyes employees pay nothing to be owners of the company. The company pays for their ownership through profits being reinvested. There is a vesting-time requirement for new employees to become co-owners.

About Covenant Eyes

Pornography is corrupting hundreds of millions of people. Covenant Eyes exists to change the course of history by enabling the world to overcome porn and be restored and transformed.

About ESOP Partners

ESOP Partners is an ESOP service provider that changes lives by creating wealth and sustainable employment through employee ownership and works with business owners and companies to determine if an ESOP is a good fit for their situation. ESOP Partners establishes, maintains, and sustains employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) throughout the lifecycle to maximize the benefits of being an ESOP company and provide employees with an ownership stake in the company that they work for.

 About ESOPs

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) are qualified retirement plans that buy, hold, and sell company stock for the benefit of the employees, providing an ownership stake in the company. ESOPs are the only retirement plan allowed to borrow money to purchase stock and are generally funded only by the company. Selling part or all of a business to an ESOP enables a business owner to sell to a built-in buyer in as little as 90 days at full fair market value. There are many significant tax and cash flow benefits of selling to an ESOP. An ESOP also allows for a better-managed ownership transition, preservation of local jobs, and the maintenance of a company’s legacy in the community. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), there are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., covering 10.3 million employees. There are less than 2,500 ESOP companies that are 100% owned by their employees. 

Read the press release here.