From Plastics News:
The seeds for NewAge’s future as an ESOP were initially planted back in the ’80s, when Baker received a piece of literature about employee ownership. The concept immediately resonated with him. While the company already was sharing profits through a gain sharing program, he wanted to take it further to develop committed, involved employees. “I wanted a high-performance team. I wanted people who were really devoted to the company. I didn’t want people just punching the clock and that’s it,” he said.
He flew to Chicago for a two-day seminar on the process and how to implement it. His father was not supportive of the idea, so Baker had to wait until he was in charge to change direction. He ended up having to wait a little longer after he got control, because of debt from the buyouts and the purchase of the company’s current building. But he was committed to showing his employees he meant his promise.”So I decided to print a futuristic newsletter to the employees that was dated 2006, though it was really 2000,” Baker said. “That futuristic newsletter said some of the things that we were going to be growing into at the time. A couple of the things never came true. But the one thing which was the highlight was that I was going to sell 30 percent of the company to the employees in 2006. And that’s exactly what I did.”
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