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Kent State University’s Ohio Employee Ownership Center Hosts 28th Annual Ohio Employee Ownership Conference

Posted April 21, 2014

Kent State University’s Ohio Employee Ownership Center will host the 28th Annual Ohio Employee Ownership Conference on Thursday, April 24, at the Hilton West in Fairlawn. The theme for the conference is “A Wealth of Opportunity: Employee Ownership Fuels Growth.”

Participants at the conference will hear from the following keynote speakers:

  • Karl Warnke, president and CEO of Davey Tree Expert Company, a 100-percent, employee-owned company. Davey Tree is located in Kent, Ohio, and has operations in 45 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. The firm became employee-owned in 1979 and has more than 7,000 employees.
  • Jordana Barrack, New Belgium Brewing Company, a 100-percent, employee-owned company. New Belgium Brewing is located in Fort Collins, Colo., and has 480 employees with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) since 2000. The company became 100 percent employee-owned in January 2013.

Widely regarded as the “best one-day conference on employee ownership in the country,” this annual event brings together employee owners, both management and shop floor workers, to learn how to improve the performances of their companies.

The conference also attracts community and economic development professionals, government officials, nonprofit organizations, students and professional service providers. Over the course of the day, 19 panels (some featuring CEOs from several of Ohio’s employee-owned companies) will provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about topics ranging from the basics of employee ownership to more technical issues, such as fiduciary responsibility, repurchase obligation and valuation, to visions for the next decade of employee ownership.

In addition, the evening before the conference includes a number of events, including a reception sponsored by the Exit Planning Institute and a showing of the movie We The Owners.

The conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on April 24, followed by a reception until 6 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m. The cost is $125 in advance and $195 at the door.

Kent State’s Ohio Employee Ownership Center is a non-profit program established in 1987 to provide outreach, information and preliminary technical assistance to Ohio employees and business owners interested in exploring employee ownership. Since its inception, the Ohio Employee Ownership Center
has helped more than 15,000 Ohio employees become owners.

For more information about Kent State’s Ohio Employee Ownership Center, call 330-672-3028 or visit