Dubuque, IA—IIW, a professional architecture, engineering, and land surveying firm, became 100% employee-owned, effective November 1, 2019.
In the late 1990s, IIW enacted an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). At the time, IIW’s co-founder and major shareholder Carl Schoenhard, Jr. retired. IIW’s other co-founder, Dennis Waugh, led the decision to give employees the opportunity to own stock in the company. Since that time, IIW has been majority owned by its employees, with a minority of the company owned by shareholders outside of the ESOP.
The minority shareholders recently took a bold step by agreeing to relinquish their non-ESOP ownership to “spread the wealth” and transition IIW into a 100% employee-owned company.
“Becoming 100% employee-owned was a natural next step with our current company culture. We intend to further develop the employee-owner culture and mindset that has helped set us apart thus far,” said Lauren Ray, PE, SE, Vice President and Structural Engineer at IIW. “This is an exciting time in the history of our company. We expect this event to act as a spring board toward our vision of being the ‘go to’ firm for clients and employees.”
An ESOP is a qualified retirement plan offered in addition to IIW’s 401(k). It gives employees ownership in the company without any personal monetary investment. All of IIW’s employees will benefit from the continued success of the company.
“This is a watershed moment in our history. It sets IIW apart and furthers our ability to have an impact on our community,” said Mike Jansen, PE, SE, IIW President and CEO. “Employee engagement is essential to continue delivering sustainable growth for our employee-owners and their families.”