Godshall's Quality Meats Inc. has announced plans to convert to an employee-owned company. The owners -- Mark Godshall, Floyd Kratz and Ron Godshall -- said they took this extraordinary step to ensure that the company remains independent and maintains its unique culture.
"It seemed like the next step in our philosophy of treating our employees like family," Mark Godshall explained. "I don't think we could hope for a more dedicated, hardworking team ... (of) real problem solvers. As Ron, Floyd and I looked forward, we wanted to be prepared for the future, one in which folks didn't have to worry about ownership by a competitor or outside investors, freeing them to do what they do best."
Ron Godshall said the move makes each employee an “entrepreneur, of sorts."
"When it's yours, you do care just a little more, and employees really will benefit from their company's success," he said.
Ron, the current vice president of manufacturing, started with the company in 1984, making boxes and washing up the facility. "There's no ivory tower here, regardless of your last name, and as we've grown, we make sure our values and the way we treat people stays rock solid. We started feeding local folks at farm markets, and now we feed the nation, but outside of scale, I'd like to think nothing changes." That's a fitting sentiment from owners who still arrive before the sun rises.
Kratz said the move was "probably the easiest decision we've ever made. We agreed that this was the way to keep the company intact and growing the way it has since 1945."
The Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP, will begin to roll out this month. There are more than 6,000 ESOP companies throughout the U.S. in every sector of the economy.