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Mini-cast 196: How Owners Talk About EO

The EsOp Mini-cast: How Owners Talk About EO

Bret Keisling shares an excerpt from the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler with three employee owners from ESOP Web Industries who share how they talk about employee ownership with others including collaboration, financial awareness, access to upper management, building trust and more.

This excerpt is from Episode 25 of the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler. Jesse was joined by three great co-owners at Web Industries: Jeremy Goodwin, Production Supervisor (28 years); Stephen Holt, Manufacturing Operator II (28 years); Rodney Giguere, Lead Manufacturing Operator (2 years).


About Web Industries

From the Web Industries website:

“The Essence of Life is Relationships.” - Bob Fulton, Founder

Where Web Started: Web Industries is a classic example of a successful entrepreneurial American start-up company. Founded in 1969 by Bob Fulton on $10,000 raised from family and friends, the company initially focused on serving the rolled goods, slitting and spooling market in the greater Boston area. In the early days, Web flourished by exceeding the expectations that clients and their customers demanded, and they earned a reputation throughout the Northeast as the converting company to trust for precision converting of technically advanced flexible materials.

Almost 50 years later, Web has seven locations with 600,000+ square feet of dedicated advanced converting and manufacturing space in the United States and Europe. They’re proud to have played a key role in nearly every market that uses flexible materials as a component, and look forward to helping invent the future with their customers.

Employee Ownership Makes the Difference: As a 100% employee-owned company, they know that their success is driven by the success of their clients, making them stewards not just of their business but those of their customers as well. This intersection of employee ownership and customer stewardship drives them to constantly improve their business and manufacturing processes, discover new efficiencies, develop new capabilities, and deliver a level of responsiveness that cannot be found in other companies. Employee ownership gives them, and ultimately gives their clients, a competitive advantage.


Mini-cast 196 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. This week, the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler wrapped up season one with an episode featuring three great employee owners at Web Industries.

[00:00:28] Two of them, Jeremy and Steve, have 28 years each had Web and the third guest, Rodney has two years at Web following a 32-year career at a company that wasn't employee owned.

[00:00:40] Jesse Tyler, who works at Hypertherm, does a masterful job of hosting the podcast. His guests are just like Jesse; actual employee owners whose careers and lives are impacted by being owners.

[00:00:53] In this excerpt, Jesse asks his guests, starting with Rodney, how they describe employee ownership to family and friends. I hope you enjoy.


[00:01:04] Jesse Tyler: I'm curious, specific to your, you know, two years in, when you describe ownership to your friends and family, what is that like? How do you talk about it? What have you shared?

[00:01:15] Rodney Giguere: I've just shared my experience since the time that I've been here, as far as, you know, what I was saying earlier and you actually, everybody's aware of what's going on as far as financials and how the wealth is just spread around and just not seeing all of your hard work going into one person's pocket and knowing that your future and your retirement is going to be so much better.

[00:01:39] And that's how I explain it to them. It's just a, it's a whole new way of looking at your employment.

[00:01:46] Jesse Tyler: That's fantastic. Thank you. Steven, I'd love to hear your thoughts on, your insights on how you describe ownership to your friends and family. Can you share those with us?

[00:01:54] Stephen Holt: Yes. A lot of times, when I first talked to my wife over the years, I graduated with a degree in business and economics and she had always over the years been saying, oh, you should be a manager. You should be, you know, have some type of position. And what I found was based on some of the things we talked about already, and with the people, being supportive within the company, the peace of mind, aspect of things, not having that grind because I had done managing in other areas and boy was it tough.

[00:02:29] And so, I found that being in this environment, you know, peace of mind, you can't put a, you can't put a price on it. You know, not having to struggle every day with conflicts and such has kept me here for the time that I've been. So, when I say to other people, it's I talk a lot about that support system and dealing with people who are not out to get you. You know, it's so much different and that's what's kept me in my role and being here at Web.

[00:03:01] Jesse Tyler: That's great. That's great. Jeremy, can you share your thoughts when you're with your friends and family how you talk about it, how they've heard you talk about it?

[00:03:09] Jeremy Goodwin: Yeah. Similar to some of the other things that we just mentioned from Rodney and Steve I'm big on explaining that it's a really a team environment that people really care about each other.

[00:03:17] It's not your typical place where, like everybody says, you have your upper management, your bosses. We do have that structure that we follow, but it's an open-door policy. The team collaborates. Usually you don't get, I mean, we all have our stressful days, but we help each other out. Even when you go home after a bad day, it's not as bad as it could be somewhere else, I don't think, just because of the teamwork we have, the collaboration we have. And it's an open-door thing. Like I said, I can go to my upper line to my team to different parts of our company to get support where I need it.

[00:03:47] And, you know, you bring some of that home with you, because it just shows that you know, we are here during the week more than we are at home or with our family. So, this place becomes kind of like family to you, especially after the time we've all been here. Like Steve and I know each other, about a lot of our kids. I've gotten really close with Rodney. We know some stuff about our personal lives with each other. So, it's kind of a special, you don't just come in, do your hours, and go home. You kind of care about the people, not just the job. So, that, that's how I describe it and it shows when I go home to my family and friends,

[00:04:14] Jesse Tyler: That's great. That's great. So, I'm curious for a little bit of a, carry that forward a little bit farther. How is a leadership position different? If you were to describe what it's like to be a leader at traditional company, publicly owned or private, versus being at Web, being at an employee-owned company. How is it different? If you look out at your team and everybody's voice matters and they're full of ideas and full of, full of velocity and momentum and energy and questions, how is leadership how, you know, as a production supervisor how is leadership different for you in the EO world?

[00:04:46] Jeremy Goodwin: Real time communication. Face to face conversations. Listen to what they have to say. Be open to their opinions and thoughts. Even when we have the tough disagreements, honesty is key. It's not a black and white situation, you know, treat each other humanly. There's rules we follow, but there's also, I have the leniency as a supervisor to take one on one basis with situations which more humanizes it to me, which earns the trust on my team, I believe. I think the biggest thing is trust and collaboration.

[00:05:14] So, that's how I run my team. I think my team would agree that we have a good trust factor. And I don't think you'd get that in a regular company where it's just pushing numbers out, doing as much as you can, as little amount of hours as you can do it, or just mandating things. You know, we talk through things. If we're in a pinch, we're behind schedule, we come up with creative ways how can we shave time off this job instead of just saying, hey, I need you guys to work Saturday. And my team does all that work. I just collaborate it. I let the team kind of run it and when we have to make a decision, we will, but it's very team oriented.

[00:05:45] Jesse Tyler: That's great.


[00:05:46] Bret Keisling: You can find all 25 episodes of season one of the Owner to Owner podcast at They really are amazing conversations and I really hope you'll check them out.

[00:06:00] With that we'll wrap up today's episode of the Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.

[00:06:07] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook at EO Podcast Network and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. This podcast has been produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network, original music composed by Max Keisling, branding and marketing by BitsyPlus Design, 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 cannot guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.


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