October is a special time of year for Korellis, as it marks National Employee Ownership Month. An ESOP, or Employee Stock Ownership Plan, is a system where a company’s employees own the business and receive extensive retirement benefits. Korellis, 100% employee-owned through an ESOP, uses the occasion to celebrate the cultural, financial, and productive benefits the structure has brought the team since it was enacted in 2018 as part of a succession plan from the company’s original family ownership.
“When Pete Korellis was weighing his options, he knew he didn’t want to sell to an outsider or liquidate the company and close,” said Office and HR Manager Kali Werkowski. “The ESOP affords us the opportunity to build on the foundation created by our founders, George and Harriet Korellis, while allowing us to invest in ways to continue developing and growing the business. Korellis is very focused on advancement – both at an organizational level and for individual employees.”
Day-to-day maintenance and coordination for the ESOP is handled by its Communications Committee who play a big role in shaping Korellis’ office culture. Among their day-to-day tasks, they also organize things such as donation drives and volunteer days.
“For me, this has always been the mentality at Korellis,” said Tony Sagrati, Commercial Estimator and ESOP Communications Committee Member. “One of the best parts of working here is that everyone is always willing to help out if needed. There are a lot of close personal relationships here – people care about each other.”
The stock ownership and resulting monetary benefits often take the headlines when ESOPs are discussed at other businesses, but for many at Korellis, it is secondary to the cultural benefits.
“It comes back to us being a team,” said Haley Sparling, Controller and Committee Member. “We see the financial benefits now because we work together and will continue to in the future.”
The ESOP also sees returns in Korellis’ production and quality of work, partially due to the levels of motivation and dedication an ownership stake inspires.
“When you feel like you’re a part of something, you care,” said Brian Sheeman, Mechanic and Committee Member. “You take it personally when things are going good or bad. You have employee dedication; we retain employees and those employees help new employees gain the knowledge needed to succeed.”
Werkowski noted that the ESOP’s benefits directly relate to their interview process and the quality of their hires.
“There are so many opportunities here, from administrators to accounting, to estimating and project managing,” she said. “You can do those jobs for any company, but what makes them unique to Korellis is that our employees don’t just work here – they own a piece of it. When we are vetting candidates, we get to explain the potential for substantial wealth accumulation throughout their careers here. It can be a game-changer when we have people looking for their next move and how it aligns with their goals.”
All of these benefits ultimately lead to even better service for Korellis’ customers, noted ESOP Communications Committee Chair and Korellis Safety Coordinator Meredith Moran-Pruim.
“Anyone who comes to Korellis and walks in our halls can see that we are always working together,” she said. “They’re hearing people collaborate with one another to get the job done, and done right. Bouncing ideas off one another so we complete things in the most efficient way possible, not only for ourselves, but for our customer.”
To learn more about Korellis, visit korellis.com