GLMV becomes employee-owned

The plan gives workers a stake in the company’s success.

09/15/2012 8:04 AM

09/15/2012 8:05 AM

GLMV Architecture’s stockholders have sold their shares to the GLMV Employee Stock Ownership Plan, shifting ownership from 17 stockholders to nearly 120 employees, the company announced Friday.

The privately owned GLMV was formed in 2010 by the merger of Gossen Livingston Associates and McCluggage Van Sickle & Perry.

Its headquarters are in Wichita, but it also operates offices in Dodge City, Houston and Kansas City, Mo.

“We’d been looking at different options for ownership transition and restructuring the organization,” said GLMV Chairman Bill Livingston. “We felt that the ESOP is the most viable option for making those changes.”

The change will be a key factor for the long-term success of the company, Livingston said, and historically, ESOP companies outperform non-ESOP companies.

In an ESOP, all employees have a stake in the company’s success. The plan is established as a retirement supplement. When an employee leaves, they will receive an allocation of the value of their stock. If the company does well, the ESOP will increase. But if the company does not do well, the ESOP can decrease.

There is also a vesting period of six years for employees to get 100 percent of their share, Livingston said, and the accounts are highly regulated. Initially nothing will change as far as management and job descriptions.

So far, the response from employees has been positive, Livingston said.

“This just gives us more flexibility and accountability for folks so that they realize the little things they do – because they are participating and get a report of their annual allocation of that ownership value of it – affect the bottom line of the company.”

Employee-owned firms are a growing trend, Livingston said, and 15 of the 100 largest employee-owned companies in the country are architectural engineering firms.

“It allows for the continuation of companies that want to leave a legacy and success in the future and for the future principals and participants,” Livingston said.

Gossen Livingston Associates was created in 1972 and McCluggage Van Sickle & Perry’s history dates back to 1919. It is the longest continuously operated architectural firm in Wichita.

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