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April 1, 2022

A Rising Star of an ESOP

The LBS/CI/AP Team and Governor Kim Reynolds at our CI RIGIDBOX™ facility.

Being an employee-owned organization means making long-term stability commitments to the families we employ and the local economy we reside in. We’ve been making good on that promise.

A bill supporting Iowa ESOPs

Early in February, we were proud to host Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ press conference on the introduction of a tax bill that could motivate more Iowa business owners to sell their companies to their employees. The bill addressed the “Silver Tsunami” in Iowa, as 28,000 businesses in Iowa will need a succession plan over the next few years.

Governor Reynolds was able to see what employee-owner dedication looks like as our employee-owners walked her through the intricacies of our plant from production to shipping.

An Employee Stock Ownership Plan is, at its core, a retirement savings plan that presents a wealth-building opportunity for the employee-owners by allowing them to hold shares in the company stock. However, the financial benefit is really only a small part of what it means to operate and be an active participant in an ESOP. ESOPs act as incentives for “greater effort, more cooperation, more innovation, and more sharing” (Source: Third Way).

This all contributes to a more productive and integrated workplace, which means fresh ideas and open communication for our customers. One of our financial trustees put it really well when he explained the difference between being an employee and being an employee-owner: as a renter at your first apartment, you may have vacuumed once in all your time living there, but as a homeowner, you’re going all out—maybe you even replaced the carpet! It’s the same thing with employee ownership. As an ESOP, each employee owns the company, and works with an owner’s mindset.

The advantages of working with an employee-owned company

Maybe we’re a bit biased—but the numbers just make sense. The ESOP Association reports that employee-owned companies were 235% better at keeping jobs rooted when compared to conventionally owned companies.

Rooted jobs mean that our customers are working with employee-owners who have a deep knowledge of Corporate Image’s products and processes and are dedicated to delivering solutions for our customers’ brands as if it’s our own. And, in a way, it is, because each employee-owner’s success directly benefits the company’s success.

Partnering with an employee-owned company means working with a dedicated and informed team of people who all have a genuine stake in their work.

Governor Reynolds returns

You can imagine our delighted surprise when we were contacted about hosting a second event with the Governor in March; signing the proposed bill into law! It was a warm afternoon when Governor Kim Reynolds and her seventy legislators joined us once more at our CI RIGIDBOX™ facility. After words from Governor Reynolds and our CEO Rob Mauritz, the Governor signed Iowa’s most significant tax reform bill into law.

President & CEO, Rob Mauritz speaks about employee-ownership while Governor Reynolds signs the bill into law.

As a gift to the Governor and legislators, we offered some examples from our newest sustainable luxury CI RIGIDBOX™ packaging line.

Our employee-owners, Client Success Manager Jackie Schmieding and Senior Project Manager Kevin Glass were proud to answer all of the legislator’s questions about both the Flat Fold CI RIGIDBOX (i.e. yes, it’s really all one piece of board; yes, they ship and store flat; yes, you can have the honey) and our limited edition Iowa Box commemorating the occasion (i.e. yes, the box is made using PCW board; yes, the lid is actually wrapped in paper, Neenah Corvon® Rock to be specific).

The CI Flat Fold RIGIDBOX and the Iowa Governor’s box are just two examples of a broad number of packaging styles we can create.

The ESOP conference in March

Being an advocate for sustainable packaging solutions, employee-ownership, and our local economy is what Corporate Image was built on, after all!

In fact, at a conference hosted by the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the ESOP Association in March, we were delighted beyond belief to see our efforts recognized.

Every year, the ESOP Association gives out an ESOP Company of the Year award and Best Employee-Owner of the Year award. However, it’s not every year they give this one out—the Rising Star award! Our parent company LBS was awarded Rising Star of the year for our efforts in promoting employee-ownership, encouraging an ownership culture amongst our employees, and our involvement in our local ESOP association chapter. You can find more about our time at the ESOP conference on our social media!

For our contributions, our parent company LBS was awarded Rising Star of the year!

LBS’ 2022 Rising Star Award.

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