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Posted by Kristian Montenegro

What Employee Ownership Means to Me

July 20, 2023

ESOP – Employee Stock Ownership Plan.  To some people ESOP is simply another form of a retirement plan, and that is okay.  It means many different things to different people. For me, it is one of the things that drew me to starting a different career with Hallam-ICS.  I always wanted to own my own company, and as a member of a 100% employee owned company, I am there.

To me an ESOP is a culture, versus a retirement number.  So what is different about the ESOP culture?  I can narrow it down to a few items that I will then expand upon below:

  • Influence on the company
  • How we treat each other
  • Business development, and
  • Open book

I have always felt like I can make a suggestion and it will at minimum be listened to.  Even if it is not accepted, being listened to, is always meaningful. For example, when our employees asked for more education on the ESOP itself; I brought this to the board level and an ESOP education initiative was started and is ongoing.   I also feel we can influence the company from a financial standpoint; the more efficient we are with a project the better the company does financially, and the better individuals do as well.

At Hallam-ICS, I feel like everyone’s opinions matters and we treat everyone’s opinion with respect.  That is different from other places where you can have an opinion and it will not matter or be heard.   This can be in project related work or in office related matters; our culture promotes being open about all matters and opinions. your_opinions_matter

As any business owner, I feel like I am always promoting our company and not just during work hours.  This ranges from friends, family, bars, dinners, running events, soccer, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  “Always be selling”, but not because you have to be, because you want to be.  I know many of my colleagues also feel this way.

Finally, yet importantly, our culture promotes an open book philosophy.  Our leadership shares our financials with everyone.  This includes our financial goals, performance, profits, forecasts, planning, and strategies.  If anyone has questions about how money flows in our company, they can ask our leadership and they would be more than happy to sit with them and share the details.  In a company filled with engineers that love numbers, this is very valuable. 

Putting all these company traits together reinforces why I love the ESOP culture.

About the Author

Kristian is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Clarkson University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Engineering & Management Systems.  He joined Hallam-ICS as a Senior Project Manager in 2014 after spending 8 years in the rotating equipment field.  He focuses on project management, leadership and is also currently the Board of Director’s ESOP representative.

Read    My Hallam Story  

About Hallam-ICS

Hallam-ICS is an engineering and automation company that designs MEP systems for facilities and plants, engineers control and automation solutions, and ensures safety and regulatory compliance through arc flash studies, commissioning, and validation. Our offices are located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont,  North Carolina, Texas and Florida and our projects take us world-wide. 

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Topics: Culturally Different, Social Mission, Employee Ownership

Kristian Montenegro

By Kristian Montenegro

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July 20, 2023

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