Longtime Employee ‘Astounded’ by ESOP Retirement Funds

One of the most appealing features of participating in an ESOP is the retirement funds that build over time for employee owners. Who better to ask about how transformative those funds can be than a recent retiree from an Empowered Ventures (EV) family company?

“It’s going to be wonderful for my retirement and I haven’t contributed a dime to that,” says Suzanne Freeman, a senior sales consultant who retired in March and was the first woman hired into TVF’s sales department. Suzanne worked for the company for nearly 39 years. “It’s all put in there for you and it just gives you, well, you can sleep better at night. You don’t have to worry about these things. You know it’s going to be there in place for you.”

TVF became 100% employee owned through an ESOP in 2010. The fabric supplier’s success as an employee-owned company undergirded the launch of EV in 2020. Since, Firstar Precision Corp. and Paramount Plastics have joined the 100% employee-owned holding company.

At Empowered Ventures, all employee owners participate in the EV ESOP, which works like this:

  • EV companies are subsidiaries of Empowered Ventures Inc., which is wholly owned by the Empowered Ventures ESOP Trust.
  • Empowered Ventures Inc. makes an annual retirement benefit contribution to the trust on behalf of each employee, funded by the operating companies’ profits.
  • The contribution is converted to shares of Empowered Ventures, Inc. within each employee’s account.
  • Accounts accrue value inside the trust, with the share price revalued annually by an accredited valuation firm.
  • The trust repurchases vested shares from employees when they retire or leave the company.

Suzanne considers the funds she received after retirement “a wonderful benefit that very few people are lucky enough to have and we’re all… truly blessed.” She adds “if you stick around for 30 years, you will just be astounded. I kind of wish it had all started when I was 24, because our company has done really well… I think everybody who’s gotten one of those statements or two realizes the impact it could eventually have on your life and on your retirement when you’re there.”

For owners of companies looking to sell their business, we’re here to discuss our ESOP holding company as an option. Longtime employees like Suzanne receive extraordinary peace of mind when they retire as employee owners.

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