Morton Buildings Employee Stock Ownership Plan to benefit staff, customers

Morton Buildings

Morton, Ill. — Morton Buildings, Inc., a post-frame manufacturing and construction company with an office in Watertown, S.D., recently announced that 100 percent of the company is now owned by its employees. Prior owners sold their shares to the employees’ Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Trust, giving current and future employees full ownership of the company. As an employee-owned company, Morton Buildings will continue to operate under its existing business model and management structure.

“This ESOP transaction will have an overwhelmingly positive effect on the company by further strengthening the historical bond among our very capable and committed employees,” said John Russell, president and CEO of Morton Buildings. “Full ownership will not only increase retirement security for our Employee Owners, but will also reinforce their commitment to our loyal customer base. Employee ownership stimulates enthusiasm and changes lives.”

Morton’s ESOP is a qualified retirement plan that can generate significant retirement benefits for Morton Buildings’ 1,700 Employee Owners. It is not uncommon for owners of private companies to sell their stock to an ESOP as a means of handling intergenerational wealth transfers, and for Morton Buildings it was the perfect succession plan. The former owners wanted to share the wealth with the employees who had worked so hard to make the company successful. The result is that Morton’s employees will now own one of the 75th largest ESOP companies in the United States, according to The National Center for Employee Ownership.

Since its inception in 1903 as the Interlocking Fence Company, the company built its reputation by serving customers and empowering its employees. In 1963, when Henry A. Getz became president, the business grew dramatically as he restructured the company around the construction business. Mr. Getz changed the name to Morton Buildings in 1965 and continued to lead the company until he retired in 2002. He was highly supportive of the sale to the employees.

Today, Morton Buildings operates in 43 states with 103 construction centers and 8 manufacturing plants. The entrepreneurial spirit that shaped what Morton Buildings has become today is not a product of chance, but a result of a management style inspired by Mr. Getz’s leadership. His leadership fostered a work environment where innovation was encouraged and rewarded.

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