Central States Manufacturing has been in business since 1988. The maker of metal building components and roofing materials has 550 employees in six locations across the United States.
In 1991, the company became partially employee-owned—35 percent—before workers took complete ownership in 2012.
The long but continuous move to total employee ownership has more than paid off, said John Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for Central States.
"Our company has grown dramatically over this time period," said Williams. "In 2010, we opened our fifth manufacturing facility. In 2008, we did $165 million in sales, and this year we'll do $270 million."
"We have the mindset that as owners of the company, we have a stake in what's happening," he added. "It's been very rewarding to see this."
Central States is just one example of an American company that has become partially or fully owned by its workers, and the number of such companies is increasing by 10 percent or more annually.
In 1999, there were 9,400 firms with employee stock ownership plans (ESOP). Currently, there are at least 11,500 such firms with assets totaling $400 billion and employing some 13 million people, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership.
And the NCEO says the growth rate for companies setting up ESOPs—for either partial and full employee ownership—is now 10 percent or higher every year.