Several of our Georgetown, Texas employees, myself included, attended the Southwest Chapter of the ESOP Association Spring Conference last week. Eleven of us piled in to two vans for the three-hour trek to Dallas. And as if just traveling on Interstate 35 isn’t hazardous enough, it was raining with an occasional mixture of ice and snow. But, no amount of rain could dampen the spirits of this group because we were winners.
Yes, this motley crew which included folks from welding, engineering, human resources, marketing, production, shipping, information support, product management, purchasing and more, were headed north to collect our prize. We’ve always been winners. From the first day CPI was founded more than 16 years ago, we’ve been winners. Not because we make great products (though we do), but because we are employee owners. We’re not 40% employee owned or 60%, we are 100% employee owned. All of us have something at stake and all of us reap the rewards of our work. Now, here we were, headed to Dallas to receive two Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) awards.
We arrived Thursday afternoon just in time to get ourselves ready for the awards dinner. Jeans and t-shirts were replaced with dress shirts and jewelry – no safety glasses or ear plugs required. After a prime rib dinner any Texan can appreciate, we were called up front to receive our awards: the Best ESOP Company Communication for a Small Company Award and the Best Combined Effort ESOP Committee/Communications Award. All of us stood up front to receive the awards and were by far, the largest group, and in my opinion, the most enthusiastic group there.
These employees are responsible for planning ESOP events at our Georgetown facility, but it is the entire group at Georgetown who earned the awards. Throughout 2007 our employees not only learned about and celebrated our employee ownership, we eagerly shared our time and resources with our community. We provided more than 200 coats for needy families, visited our veterans and their spouses in retirement homes, collected school supplies for more than 200 children (our goal was 100), collected 3,300 can food items for a local charity, and held a silent auction to help the Rotary Club buy Christmas gifts for local families.
Last October our Chatsworth, Calif. facility received the prestigious ESOP Company of the Year for the Western States Chapter. This award, along with our two new awards will be considered for a national award at the ESOP Association Conference in Washington, D.C., this May.
Our Dallas road trip came to a conclusion when we returned home after attending several educational ESOP lectures Friday morning. The weather on our return journey was sunny and the camaraderie inside the vans was warm. Dresses and slacks went back into the closet. Where did we leave those safety glasses?