STATE OF THE COMPANY ADDRESS
A lot has happened so far in 2020. We started the year with a strong economy and one of the most prolific M&A markets in history, making it a great time for existing ESOP companies and the formation of new ESOPs. On March 1st we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of our new ESOP Partners corporate headquarters and the Employee Ownership Training Center (EOTC).
Then, the pandemic changed everything. We have spent the last few months navigating through economic shutdowns, startups, PPP loans, and the fallout of our economy and schools moving to a new virtual reality.
At ESOP Partners, we were already positioned from a technology standpoint to be able to work remotely, so we were able to keep things going with minimal disruption to our business operations (though all of us and certainly those with children at home have experienced challenges). New ESOP formations and transactions completely stopped in March and April and all client projects that were not deemed necessary (e.g. annual administration) were paused or cancelled altogether. I know the word is overused, but there is no better word than ‘uncertain’ to describe what we would be able to expect in the weeks and months ahead.
This is where being an ESOP company has its advantages! As an ESOP company, we remained committed to our long-term strategic plan (make the plan and work the plan) and continued with our hiring plans. We hired four people in March and April and have plans to hire more.
Fortunately, almost all the ESOP formations and transactions that stopped in March and April have since decided to resume their pursuit of an ESOP transaction in 2020, making it a busy summer for us! For the baby boomers that have been putting off their decision, the economic uncertainty has been a big wake-up call and hopefully the final catalyst to move forward with an ESOP transaction.
As part of our continued growth, we are building and developing our senior leadership and management teams. Jessica Quaday (Client Services) and Jason Wellman (Ownership Culture) were promoted to Directors. In addition, there were several other promotions across the organization.
With growth comes opportunity for our client-facing team members. Michelle Cargile and Meis Heu were promoted to ESOP Administrator, joining Jake Niehof, and Zach Molner as our ESOP Administrators. Mike Bertram and Ryan Kuchta also continue to provide consulting and administration services as part of our Client Services team. Kerry Pomplun was promoted to Client Services Coordinator. Kim Anderson and Stacey Fischer joined the team as Associate Client Services Coordinators.
I also want to thank Sarah Trovato for all her contributions and efforts that helped build the foundation of who we are today. Sarah recently left ESOP Partners to pursue other opportunities and we wish her the best in her next chapter.
On behalf of our entire team, I am thankful and appreciative of your partnership and friendship. I look forward to continuing to grow and develop our companies together. As we move forward in these uncertain times, I am focused on achieving the ESOP Partners' Purpose and Vision to change lives by creating wealth and sustainable employment through employee ownership.