January 9th 2009
Today, Tom Wegman, President of Stevens Industries, Inc. announced a change in ownership at Stevens Industries, Inc. On December 23, 2008, Stevens Industries’ Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) became the 100% owner of Stevens Industries. This completed a process that was started in 1998 when the ESOP acquired 46% ownership in the company.
Stevens Industries, Inc., which employs approximately 525 people year round with an additional seasonal workforce, is a major supplier of Commercial Cabinetry, Millwork, Laminated Panels for other manufacturers and Shelving Products in North America. Stevens Industries, Inc. was started in 1956 by Chuck Stevens and has been majority owned by Tom Wegman since 1998. From its beginnings as a kitchen cabinet manufacturer, Stevens Industries now sells cabinetry into Schools, Hospitals, Medical Clinics and laminated panels to manufacturers of Office Furniture, Store Fixtures, and Shelving Systems in all 50 states and Canada.
“This is a very exciting time for all Stevens Industries and a great time to be part of the Stevens team. The original Employee Stock Ownership Plan from 1998 has produced great results and we expect our associates to enjoy additional ownership and stock appreciation in the future. The ESOP allows for a transitional plan that keeps the ownership in the local community, specifically our associates.” stated Tom Wegman. “It was very important to keep local ties to the ownership and I wanted to make sure the company was in the hands of people who care about the company, the employees and the community,” Mr. Wegman added.
The Employee Stock Ownership Plan is a benefit to employees to participate in the earnings of the company through stock ownership. The Stevens ESOP does not require cash contribution from the employees, in fact, it is not allowed. The corporation is financing the ESOP buyout on behalf of the employees. Over time, as the loan is paid down, the shares are distributed to the employees who then participate in any stock price changes over time in their ESOP retirement account.
Additional announcements were made in respect to management transition. Beginning January 17, 2009, Todd Wegman will assume the role of President of Stevens Industries, Inc. Additionally, Jim Buhnerkempe continues as Chief Financial Officer and Randy Thoele will assume the position of Vice President of Manufacturing. Tom Wegman will continue as Chairman of the Board and Director of Research & Development.
“I have the utmost confidence in our new executive management team. Todd, Jim, and Randy have demonstrated the skills necessary to drive Stevens into the future,” says Tom Wegman.
“There are great opportunities for Stevens going into the future. This 100% ESOP structure is an exciting benefit to all of our employees. With the ownership structure change and the managerial changes, it allows Stevens Industries to remain a locally owned and managed employer for our 525 employees. We want to remain viable in the Teutopolis/Effingham area,” Tom Wegman noted.