A funny thing happened to me at work the other day – my title changed.
Not because my immediate responsibilities were changing, nor because I was being promoted. Not because I did anything particularly awesome (or, at least, more awesome than my normal day-to-day awesomeness). We didn’t have some big organizational shakeup, either. I didn’t get a new boss, I wasn’t relocated, and I didn’t do anything different today than I did yesterday. I didn’t pay anything out of pocket, nor was I given a salary increase.
On December 31, 2014, I became part-owner of DISTek. That’s right! I’m the big dog, the grand pooh-bah, the head honcho, one of the bigwigs! Well, sort of. And even “sort-of” isn’t entirely accurate. What is accurate is I, along with most of the rest of the DISTek employees, really did become part-owner of DISTek. Allow me to explain.
A few years ago the owner of DISTek, Matt Dickinson, decided to share a part, and, maybe, eventually, all of the ownership of DISTek with his employees by forming an ESOP – an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. And late that snowy evening in December of 2014, a stock transaction occurred that provided many of us at DISTek with title changes – Employee Owners!
Just like that, without a penny of my own money, I’m now an owner of the company I’ve chosen to work for these past eight years. Just how the heck does that happen? One day we have a single owner, the next, nearly 100 owners – and counting! And the only real requirement is that you are an employee of DISTek. (Sure, there’s some legal mumble jumble about having worked 1000 hours in the previous calendar year and being of legal age – blah-blah-blah.) But at the end of the day, the current employees and anyone coming on board in the future, became, and will become, part-owners.
Now there’s a lot that goes on beyond the scope of this little blog entry to fully understand what an ESOP is, but basically, it’s a retirement plan for employees that is completely funded by the company. In other words, the original owner, Matt, is, in essence, gifting shares of stock to the new employee-owners. Sure, there’s a bunch of financial, tax and retirement benefits he gets from the deal, but likewise, a bunch of financial, tax and retirement benefits all of us new owners get as well. And don’t forget, a new title, too – Employee Owner!
I’ll still go about my day-to-day activities as before, assuring the security and operation of the DISTek technology, that won’t change just because I’m part-owner. And I don’t get to move into the corner office, use the corporate limo-service, or fly on the company jet (not that we have any of these anyway!). But what I now get to do is continue to provide my best effort in the work I do knowing that my fellow co-workers, my fellow owners, have a vested, long term interest in the success, growth, and prosperity of this, OUR company – DISTek: An Employee Owned Company!