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Mini-cast 148: The EO Podcast Network

The EO Podcast Network; The EsOp Podcast logo; Photo of Jesse Tyler of the Owner to Owner podcast; Photo of Rodney North of the Why Worker Co-ops podcast; "Coming September 2021!"

Bret Keisling talks about the two new podcasts, Owner to Owner and Why Worker Co-ops, that will help launch the EO Podcast Network in September 2021, and tells the NCEO’s Tim Garbinsky why he’s excited for the Fall ESOP Forum. Also, Victoria Huerta spotlights ESOP Wood Stone Corporation.


Mini-cast 148 Transcript

[00:00:00] Bret Keisling: Welcome to the ESOP Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling, and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. As you know, the NCEO Fall ESOP Forum is now virtual only. Tim Garbinsky, communications director for the NCEO, was on our primary EO/ESOP Podcast earlier this week talking all about the Fall Forum.

Shortly, I'll bring you an excerpt from that conversation where I discuss my excitement that all three hosts of the EO Podcast Network will be attending the Fall Forum. But first, Victoria Huerta, the new communications manager for the EO Podcast Network, joins us once again to highlight a great employee-owned company.

Victoria, who gets your spotlight today?

[00:00:50] Victoria Huerta: Well, Bret today I'm very excited to talk about Wood Stone Corporation. As you know, I'm from the restaurant industry. More specifically, I worked at a pizza shop in central Pennsylvania. So, when I found out about Wood Stone Corporation, I just had to talk about them.

Based in Bellingham, Washington, they have been creating stone hearth ovens and other commercial kitchen equipment since 1990 and since then have been doing installations in over 80 countries. In January of 2014, they were acquired by the Henny Penny Corporation and by December of 2014, the two were ESOPs.

In Wood Stone's mission statement, they state, "our mission is to help customers create [great] food and a memorable experience," and I believe Wood Stone has achieved that statement. One thing I thought was really cool is they have a 1500 square foot test kitchen showcasing their own recipes and enabling their customers to try their kitchen equipment themselves before they make their purchase.

[00:01:41] Bret Keisling: Victoria, that's great. You know that I am a fan of pizza and it's just so cool to know that in 80 different countries, people are eating pizza, strombolis, calzones from an oven that's made by employee-owned companies. So, I love that. Great spotlight and we celebrate the employee owners at Wood Stone and at Henny Penny.

Great job, Victoria.

[00:02:07] Victoria Huerta: Thank you so much, Bret.

[00:02:09] Bret Keisling: With that, here's my conversation with Tim Garbinsky and my excitement about the EO Podcast Network.

Tim, thank you. Can I ask you to indulge me for just a moment? There's one other thing that I'm very excited that wouldn't have happened if the conference hadn't gone virtual. May I share that?

[00:02:27] Tim Garbinsky: Please.

[00:02:28] Bret Keisling: As you are aware, and I've just kind of teased them a little bit, I'm adding two podcasts to my podcast family this fall. We're launching the EO Podcast Network. They're going to be anchored by the EsOp Podcast and the ESOP Mini-cast that I host.

But I'm joined by Jesse Tyler of Hypertherm, who is going to host the Owner to Owner podcast. This, I think, is the only thing in the space like it. It's an actual owner talking to employee owners. When I talk to employee owners, it's either as a trustee or as an advocate. Owner talking to owner about what's important to owners.

Jesse Tyler of the Owner to Owner Podcast

Second podcast is Why Worker Co-ops with Rodney North. Rodney is a well-respected, pretty well-known co-op developer and consultant in that space. Both of these podcasts are launching in September as, again, part of the EO Podcast Network.

Rodney North of the Why Worker Co-ops Podcast on The EO Podcast Network

But here's why I'm grateful. And, Tim, as you probably have had the sense, nobody makes lemonade like I do. I registered to attend in person and when it was converted to online only I was given three registrations and I am a single podcast host. So, I spent a day or two saying, what do I do with these two other registrations? Perhaps I give them away, perhaps I share.

And then I realized, we're launching a new EO Podcast Network with two new hosts! So, I'm very happy, Tim, to share that at the Fall ESOP Forum, September 22nd to 24th, I'm going to attend, Rodney North is going to attend, Jesse Tyler is going to attend and it will be the first time that all three hosts of the EO Podcast Network podcast are going to be somewhere.

And all of us are just going to go to the sessions that we're interested in. There's no podcast agenda. We are all just going to soak up what NCEO is bringing to everybody. And then, no doubt, we're going to talk about it on our various podcasts. So, Tim, I'm frankly, more excited than ever because I've got a couple of new podcast hosts that are going to join me at the conference.

I couldn't be happier.

[00:04:32] Tim Garbinsky: That's super cool. Bret, I'm always, always, always into the perspective of employee owners, talking to employee owners, selling owners, this like the more perspectives that are on the ground involved in employee ownership that get out there, the better.

And then also the NCEO, and the Forum especially, is an ESOP-heavy event and that's great. I also am a proponent of all the forms of employee ownership. I'm very passionate about just improved outcomes for employees generally and worker co-ops are a big part of that. So I, you know, super excited about both of these podcasts, happy to welcome them to the fold, and eager to see what they do.

[00:05:10] Bret Keisling: Well, and it's a great thing. And by the way, this has big picture that I have the pleasure of watching Rodney and Jesse interact with each other. But Rodney, particularly I'll never know what Rodney knows in co-ops. Rodney is just the real deal. But, regularly in our conversations, he's saying, wait, ESOPs do this? ESOPs do that? He didn't realize that.

Meanwhile, Jesse and I see lots of different things in our conversations where there's a whole lot -- I'll put it this way, co-ops are the purest form of employee ownership. Co-ops in many respects, in terms of one vote, participation, et cetera, there's a purity to it. And so we get to see the co-op space up close through the podcast, and our listeners are going to experience this.

There's a lot in the co-op world that ESOPs should adopt, particularly on the culture side. And the co-op world can absolutely perhaps learn from the more business model of the ESOPs, if you will, if you understand what I'm trying to say. But there's so much everybody in the sandbox can learn from each other.

[00:06:14] Tim Garbinsky: Agreed. A hundred percent agreed.

[00:06:16] Bret Keisling: And the best news is we can all learn it together at the NCEO Fall ESOP Forum, September 22nd through the 24th, virtual only.

[00:06:27] Tim Garbinsky: Perfect. Thank you so much, Bret. Yep. That's the place to be. I look forward to welcoming everyone back there.

Register for the National Center for Employee Ownership's Fall ESOP Forum with code EOPod25 (case-sensitive) for $25 off

[00:06:32] Bret Keisling: Before we go, remember when you register -- not if, when you register -- for the NCEO Fall ESOP Forum held virtual only September 22nd through the 24th, at checkout enter the code EOPod25, case sensitive capital E, capital O, capital P, small od, 25 to save $25 off the cost of registration.

With that, join us next Tuesday on our primary EO/ESOP podcast. Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:07:07] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you! To contact us, find us on Facebook at KEISOP, LLC and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. To reach Bret, with one "T", email, on LinkedIn at Bret Keisling, and most actively on Twitter at @EO_Bret. Again, that's one "T". This podcast has been produced by The KEISOP Group, technical assistance provided by Third Circle, Inc. and BitsyPlus Design. Original music composed by Max Keisling, archival podcast material edited and produced by Brian Keisling, and I'm Bitsy McCann.

Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.

A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Descript, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The EsOp Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.


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