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Mini-cast 43: Building the Assets of Low and Moderate Income Workers

In Episode 43 of The ESOP Mini-cast, Bret Keisling calls in from the road to highlight the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations report “Building the Assets of Low and Moderate Income Workers and their Families: The Role of Employee Ownership,” and how it inspires the “why” behind expanding our work.

We also continue our regular Employee Ownership Calendar feature, with updates from The ESOP Association and NCEO on events that are taking place around the country in the coming months.

Listen to this episode on Soundcloud. Or subscribe on Google Play or iTunes/Apple Podcasts. Links to all the sites we mention in this podcast are included in the transcript below.


Mini-cast 43 Transcript

Brian Keisling: 00:00 Welcome to The ESOP Mini-cast, a great way to wrap up the week.

Brian Keisling: 00:22 Hi everybody, and welcome back to The ESOP Mini-cast. This is

Brian Keisling and I am joined once again this week by Bret Keisling. Bret, how are you?

Bret Keisling: 00:30 I'm great, Brian, how are you?

Brian Keisling: 00:32 Doing well, thanks. When you were on the Mini-cast last week, you told us you were going to be starting your travels. How are they going so far?

Bret Keisling: 00:40 Well, Brian, I'm having a great time. It is sort of a working vacation for me. I'm in Colorado this week. I'll be in Nevada next week and then make my way back to Pennsylvania in a few weeks. The funny thing is I assumed that I'd be working on what I'd be doing next. That's actually pretty straight forward. What has me motivated, is I'm spending a lot of time addressing why we'll be doing what we're doing next.

Brian Keisling: 01:08 And you and I have talked quite a bit about the study that just came out in March from the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing that came out of Rutgers university. Can you tell us a little bit about how that study relates to the "why"?

Bret Keisling: 01:25 It's really important Brian, particularly at this time in employee ownership history. NCEO, The ESOP Association, Dr. [Joseph] Blasi who was with Dr. [Doug] Kruse were the primary researchers -- or, I apologize, primary authors -- of the report, are discussing the report thoroughly on social media. There's YouTube videos. We're going to include a link to it at, our website. [Link:] But one of the things, Brian, in all the discussions of the report, there's a focus on why this is a great time for employee ownership and at The ESOP Association conference in Washington, as we've talked about a bit quite a bit, they've discuss a goal of 40 million employee owners in 10 years. And then I pulled up the report, this week thinking you and I would chat about some of the statistics on the stuff we find interesting and I'm really hit Brian, by the title of the report and I think literally the headline's been buried a little bit. The title of the report formally was "Building the Assets of Low and Moderate Income Workers and their Families, The Role of Employee Ownership." So my, what doesn't change, we're going to be offering a panoply of products directly to employee owners and their families and looking to work with all of the companies, more than 6,000, that aren't connected with any of the organizations. But for me, the why is now changing. There's a lot of power in the statement building assets of low and moderate income workers and their families. So that's kind of driving, turning this even more so into a mission.

Brian Keisling: 03:09 Sure. Yeah, that makes sense. You know, we've talked a lot about both on the podcast and out in ESOP and employee ownership world at these different conferences with people about, you know, what is, what is the goal? What are you trying to get out of your employee ownership plan? Whether you're an ESOP or a Co-op or doing some sort of employee ownership model, what are you trying to get out of it? And I think that this report is, is looking at a really important part of that which is building those assets for people who otherwise wouldn't have that opportunity.

Bret Keisling: 03:43 I think you're exactly right Brian. And one of the things that I'm excited about is, you know, I did my first transaction in 2008 and then I was President and CEO of a 100% employee owned company for a couple of years before forming Cap Trustees. And I've always, since I've been involved, been a firm believer of employee ownership, but for me, I believe that employee ownership offers an opportunity for everyone. Exactly what I look for professionally. I want to be valued in what I do. I want to believe that I'm having a positive influence. I want to be fairly compensated for what I do. And, for me, I'm very lucky that my career and my passion and my personal life all come together. But even in terms of the employee owners who go to work and their job just allows them to have a lifestyle that they like. That's okay too. But I think that my focus is going to be in recognizing that employee ownership is very important. It won't solve all of the problems of low and moderate income workers, but it's a great way to start addressing some serious issues. We'll include a link to the report. Although you have, if you Google it, it won't be difficult to find. But I suggest anybody who's really interested in expanding employee ownership, read through the report and then reach out to us. Because throughout the summer and probably for a couple of years to come, we're going to be using the report as a basis for some great work we're planning.

Brian Keisling: 05:25 Absolutely. Yeah, I think, I think we'll find that it's incredibly helpful research and important research for the employee ownership world going forward.

Bret Keisling: 05:35 All right. Brian, as you know, when I host the ESOP Podcast and we'll be back in September, I tend to talk a little bit long, but you've done a great job of keeping the Mini-cast relatively short, so I don't want to go too long. But I'm very excited, Brian, last week on the Mini-cast we included a calendar of events from The ESOP Association and this week we're going to include The ESOP Association and also calendar of events from NCEO, is that right?

Brian Keisling: 05:59 That's right Bret. And thank you for calling in. First up, we've got these NCEO events. First off NCEO has their "ESOP Nuts and Bolts. What you need to know about employee stock ownership plans," sort of event series where they go to different locations and bring this presentation with them. There's one in Bellevue, Washington on July 11th, 2019 and then another one in West Des Moines, Iowa on August 7th, 2019. And then they are also holding the 2019 Fall ESOP Forum. It's going to be a really big event in Salt Lake City, Utah. That's going to be September 17th through 18th with a pre-conference day on September 16th with some offerings then.

Brian Keisling: 06:43 And once again here are some upcoming events for The ESOP Association. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter will have their breakfast meeting on July 18th spots are filling fast, so make sure you register. The New South Chapter of The ESOP Association including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi will host their lunch and learn on July 19th. The Northwest Chapter is having their ESOP Conference July 25th through 26, and that's in Spokane, Washington. And they have two golf events coming up July 10th in Bloomingdale, Illinois and July 18th in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. And finally, don't forget to register for the Employee Owner Retreat, which is being held in early August by the Employee Ownership Foundation. Make sure you get registered for that, it promises to be a really good event.

Brian Keisling: 07:34 Thank you very much for tuning in once again to the ESOP Mini-cast, and thank you Bret Keisling for calling in. We will be back on Tuesday, continuing The ESOP Podcast's Summer School series, and again, next Friday with The ESOP Mini-cast. 'Til then, have a great weekend and thanks for listening everybody. Good bye.


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