Kark Warnke, CEO of Davey Tree, recently spoke about the impact of employee ownership at the 23rd Ohio Employee Ownership Conference.  He was quoted in the Akron Beacon Journal.  Here is a link to the original article.

The following are excerpts of the article featuring Warnke’s quotes:

“Headquartered in Kent, the 130-year-old Davey was sold by its founding family to employees in 1979. Since then, the company has grown to 7,000 employees in 45 states and five Canadian provinces, and it has seen revenue grow from $60 million in 1979 to $600 million in 2008.

”I think that speaks volumes” to what employee ownership has meant to the growth of the company, Warnke said.

The recession has brought some challenges, and there was a spike in stock redemptions as some stockholders last year either needed or felt better having cash in hand, Warnke said.

”So we did have a little run on the bank, but we were able to handle it. No problem,” Warnke said. In fact, Davey stock value grew in 2008, and has paid $200 million in cash and dividends to stockholders in the past 30 years, he said.

Key to sustaining such an environment is a fundamental belief ”that people are your greatest asset,” Warnke said.

”If you are truly going to turn your company over to employees and expect employees to collectively run an organization profitably and sustain it for many, many years, you have got to have absolute faith and confidence that people can do that,” Warnke said.”

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