SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. — NewAge Industries is now entirely owned by its employees through its employee stock ownership plan.
The firm said in a Sept. 6 news release that the event is a culmination of a plan first developed by CEO Ken Baker more than 20 years ago.
"I've had a lot of other business owners ask me, 'Why employee ownership? Why not just take the highest offer and walk away?'" Baker said in a statement. "And my response has always been, 'Because I don't want to see the company that my father started, and that we've worked so hard to build, get broken into pieces, or shuttered, or absorbed by some big conglomerate.'"
Baker added that there are a number of employees who have been with the firm for more than 10 years, with others reaching their 15- and 20-year anniversaries. "The ESOP is one way to reward these long-term team members after they retire."
The ESOP doesn't cost employees anything and is overseen by a trustee, whose job is to handle the ESOP's assets in the best interests of the employee-owners, Baker said. NewAge will receive tax benefits, which also will benefit the ESOP.
"The ESOP means that we, as owners, have an understanding about our company and how we all play a fundamental role in not only the success of our business but also in the health of our retirement by remaining focused on our customers and our team members," Joel DeVine, NewAge quality control supervisor who's been with the firm for 14 years, said in a statement.
Founded in 1954 and based in Southampton, NewAge manufactures plastic and rubber tubing in reinforced and unreinforced styles.