During the past year I have been in correspondence and conversation with a number of people who are transitioning their companies to employee ownership, starting worker co-ops, or thinking in new ways about worker ownership and cooperative business.
- Rick Dubrow and Cindy Landreth at A-1 Builders in Bellingham, WA, who are working on an employee buyout of the business they bought in 1976 from the original owner who started it in 1955
- Jamie Odegaard who, with four friends, is starting a worker owned building company in Western Massachusetts
- James Kosacz, the president of Autoworks in Kittery, ME, who is considering selling to his employees
- Mark Skimson, in Terrace, BC, who is leading an effort to make a co-op purchase of a small ski area called Shames Mountain (following the path blazed by Mad River Glen in Vermont)
- Jeffrey Hollender and Gregor Barnum, formerly of Seventh Generation in Vermont (Jeffrey was the founder of 7th Gen) who are developing a major new—and very exciting—co-operative enterprise.
And the list goes on.
I was taken by their energy and passion.
One of my most rewarding chance encounters of this sort has been with Brendan Jones of Greensaw Design and Build in Philadelphia. For months we went back and forth as this young entrepreneur and his cohorts worked through a plan to transition from a sole proprietorship to a worker-owned cooperative business.
Last month I went to Philadelphia to participate in a wonderful celebration of the birth of the business in its new incarnation. These kids captured my heart: I was taken by their energy and passion.
Click here to read Crafting a Business Owned by its Workers, an article that was published this week in Philadelphia’s primary daily, the Inquirer.