Press Releases

2021 Employee Owner of the Year Announced

Jessica ESOP

Washington, DC, June 21, 2021 - Jessica Molnar, Intern Architect at Wiley|Wilson, based in Lynchburg, VA has been named The ESOP Association’s 2021 Employee Owner of the Year. This award recognizes a non-management employee owner who provides a positive influence in the company and participates in the company’s employee ownership activities and the activities of The ESOP Association (TEA). It is one of the highest honors that TEA bestows.

Wiley|Wilson is a full-service architecture and engineering firm, specializing in creating innovative and functional design solutions for government, institutional, and private-sector clients around the world.  Wiley|Wilson is also a 100-percent employee-owned company with 180+ employees at offices in Alexandria, Lynchburg, and Richmond, VA; Raleigh, NC; and Atlanta, GA.  The firm has an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and, like many companies with ESOPs, has created a committee to help educate employee owners on the benefits and responsibilities of being employee owners of the business.

At her new hire orientation, Jessica listened to the segment on the ESOP Communications Committee and immediately requested to join. Jessica embraced the challenge of an all-virtual environment and developed new and creative ways to celebrate employee ownership. Jessica is now the Vice Chair of the ESOP Communications Committee at Wiley|Wilson.  Jessica also actively participates as a mentor for the Higher Achievement Task Force, a group that works with staff from the Alexandria (VA) center to provide online tutoring and mentoring to small groups of students in fifth through eighth grades.

James Bonham, President and CEO of The ESOP Association, said “Jessica is truly deserving of this special award.   She exemplifies both positive involvement in her employee-owned company and gives back to those in need.  It’s this type of engagement and commitment that we feel employee ownership promotes, and so it is a real pleasure to recognize her efforts with this special honor.”


About the Award
The Employee Owner of the Year Award recognizes a non-management employee owner who provides a positive influence in the company, and who participates in the company’s employee ownership activities and in the activities of The ESOP Association. It is the highest honor bestowed to an employee owner in our community.  In 2021, five nominated employee owners were finalists, with nominations reviewed by the Executive Committee of TEA’s State and Regional Chapter Council and the prior year’s Employee of the Year winner.  The award was announced at TEA’s National Conference, held in Washington, DC from June 21-23.


About The ESOP Association
The ESOP Association is the largest organization in the world supporting employee-owned companies, the more than 10 million U.S. employees who participate in an ESOP, and the professionals who provide services to them. Headquartered at the International Employee Ownership Center in Washington, DC and operating as a 501(c)6 organization with the affiliated Employee Ownership Foundation, The ESOP Association conducts and funds academic research, provides more than 160 annual conferences and events attended by nearly 15,000 individuals, and advocates on behalf of employee owners and their businesses to federal and state lawmakers. You can learn more at


About Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
ESOPs are a retirement plan that provides employees with a chance to share in the profits they help create. Unlike 401(k)s, ESOPs typically have no out-of pocket-expense for employees. ESOP companies often excel at creating engaging workplace cultures and are far less likely to lay off their employees, according to national research. These plans can provide tax benefits for the business and the owners who sell their shares to an ESOP. 


For more information on ESOPs, TEA or the award, please contact Paul Pflieger at The ESOP Association at 202-494-2220 or