On Monday, October 17th, forty-five folks from eight Upper Valley employee-owned companies gathered in the taproom of Harpoon Brewery's Windsor location to celebrate Employee Ownership Month. Following up on the success of last year's screening of the documentary We The Owners: Employees Expanding the American Dream at the Montshire Museum, this year's event was organized by a committee composed of representatives from Hypertherm, King Arthur Flour, Harpoon Brewery, and the Vermont Employee Ownership Center.
In addition to providing attendees with an opportunity to connect with fellow employee-owners over Harpoon beer, dinner, and King Arthur Flour cupcakes, the gathering also featured a short informational program. The talks kicked off with a brief update from Carris Reels CFO Dave Fitz-Gerald, who provided an overview of what’s going on nationally with employee ownership from his vantage point as Vice Chair of the ESOP Association. The focus then moved locally, with Matt Cropp of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center giving an update on the state of the movement in the Green Mountain State, including highlights from the recent census of employee-owned companies and a discussion of the outreach work being done to inform exiting business owners about the option of selling to their workers. Finally, representatives of the companies in attendance took the mic and shared a bit about their companies and what they’ve been doing to celebrate employee ownership month and build ownership culture.
In sum, the evening was a fun time for all, and a great way to celebrate the Upper Valley employee ownership community. Following the event, the organizers agreed it’d be worthwhile to make the Upper Valley Employee Ownership Month Celebration an annual happening, so folks in the area should keep an eye out for details of next year’s shindig!