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Happy October!

The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, and pumpkins are popping up on front doorsteps. But For Nussbaum, October is extra special because it’s National ESOP Month! And that means four weeks of celebrating our Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

Special? Celebrate? What’s the big deal about a business structure with a catchy acronym?

Glad you asked.

ESOP for Beginners

In an ESOP, each employee receives company shares that are invested in their ESOP account. The shares represent ownership, and the account functions similarly to a 401k. Once per year, an independent firm performs a valuation to set the new share price; as company performance improves, so do the share price and our account values.

The Ownership Culture

Is that it? Everyone gets more money, and October is a party to revel in it?

Not quite.

To be sure, October is an exciting month for Nussbaum. Between the Fishing Derby, homemade breakfast (Eggs, Sausage, OJ, Pancakes), and departments clashing in ESOP Jeopardy, it’s a celebratory atmosphere.

But the celebration is just an outward wrapping to remind us of what has already happened and will continue happening throughout the year.

At its heart, employee ownership is not about stock prices, benefit plans, or a month of themed events. Those may be the reward, but the essence is found in people who genuinely care about their work and show it in every interaction. People who constantly ask, “How well are we serving our customers?” “Are the best ideas winning here?” or “How are we communicating these details across our teams?”

You see, an ownership culture operates on the premise that our success and that of our customers is only as strong as each individual contribution. It invites everyone – whatever their role – to own their piece of Nussbaum and maximize its potential for themselves and everyone in our sphere of influence. Therefore, we ask. We test. We challenge our own assumptions and processes.

Armed with this mindset, employees are inspired to crush expectations – not just meet them. The stakes are higher because we’re taking care of our company, our customers, and our equipment – not just “Nussbaum’s.” We’re excited to come to work and make a positive impact, because we believe that we can.

That’s the true spirit of ESOP Month, and we think it’s worth celebrating.