Alpine SnowGuards

Alpine SnowGuards

Year Founded: 1998

Years of Employee Ownership: 100% ESOP since 2021

Headquarters: Morrisville, VT

Number of Employees: 25

Line of Business: Building Product Manufacturer

Alpine Snowguards designs, engineers, and manufactures roof top snow management systems from its facility in Morrisville, Vermont.

The company was founded by Brian Stearns, who was originally in the business of slate roofing at his company, Vermont Slate and Copper Services (VSCS). In 1998, seeing a gap in the market, VSCS started making snow guards on a full-time basis, and thus Alpine SnowGuards was created.

In April 2021, founders Brian and Sandy Stearns transferred ownership of the company to its employees through an ESOP.

Brian Stearns explains the decision: “This hardworking group of people [employees] has made Alpine the remarkable business that it is today. When I turned 60 I started to realize that Alpine had no transition plan in place. One obvious option would have been to sell the business to the highest bidder and walk away. But the likelihood was that an outside buyer would have moved the business either out of Vermont or offshore. This could have left a very dedicated, loyal and knowledgeable staff unemployed. That just wasn’t the right answer for Alpine. Instead, my wife Sandy and I exercised the ESOP approach giving our employees the opportunity to participate in ownership, shape the direction of the business, and share in the profits.”

Stearns adds that the ESOP, which allows him to stay involved with the company despite the sale, is “truly a win-win situation.” The company states that the ESOP will preserve the company positions, allow Stearns to operate as business leader, and keep production here in Vermont.