An Employee-Owned Company Exists In Our Backyard

Read the story below or click here to see it in full as it was published in the AroundKent Magazine.

Published: May 6, 2013


An employee-owned company exists right here in Kent, Ohio. In fact, it's the fourth-largest 100 percent employee-owned company in North America, according to The National Center for Employee Ownership.

The rankings are based on total number of employees, and The Davey Tree Expert Company's 7,400 employees throughout North America placed it high on the list. The Employee Ownership 100 list can be found at NCEO's website at

"Employee ownership at Davey has been an essential piece of our company's success," Karl Warnke, Davey's chariman, president and CEO, said.


How Davey Tree Became Employee-Owned

In November 1977, the Davey family announced its intention to sell Davey Tree. While the Davey family agreed that the employees would be the preferred buyers, it doubted that the employees could obtain sufficient funds to finance the purchase and to provide additional capital needed to operate the business.

In 1979, after arduous negotiations and employees' determination, a total of 113 employees purchased Davey and more than 400 participated in the ESOP. Employee-owners have since seen a significant return on investment.

"Employee ownership at Davey has been a tradition for the past 30 years," Warnke said. "Even more importantly, our commitment to employee ownership serves as a catalyst for Davey's future endeavors and growth."

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