TEA, EOF to Open New International Center for Employee Ownership: This new, state-of-the-art facility will open in December and dramatically expand advocacy, education, and conferencing capacity in service of the employee ownership mission.

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Chapter Awards

See Our Chapter’s Award Winning Employees and ESOP Companies!

The following employee owners and ESOP companies have been honored by our chapter for their excellence and dedication to the values of employee ownership and their commitment to our community. Please join us in celebrating these terrific individuals and organizations!

Nominations for the 2020 Illinois Chapter ESOP Company of the Year and Employee Owner of the Year awards are now being accepted. Download your nomination forms today to get started.

Want some help? Check out these helpful tips before putting your nomination together.

For more information, see the text below the list of award winners, or click the names of the winners below to see their applications.


2019 Illinois Chapter Award Winner


Michelle Riedel

Employee Owner of the Year


Michelle Riedel

Scot Forge


2018 Illinois Chapter Award Winners

Employee Owner of the Year


Meghan Brinker


Awarded to an individual in the Illinois Chapter who excels at demonstrating and educating employee ownership values.


ESOP Company of the Year



Awarded to the most exemplary ESOP company in the Illinois Chapter for the year.


Why You Should Enter

Submiting an application for the ESOP Company of the Year and Employee Owner of the Year pay off! Chapter winners:

Are automatically enrolled in the national ESOP Association competition.

Earn recognition at Illinois Chapter events and on our website.

Win a plaque to display at your company.


Criteria for ESOP Company of the Year:

Winning companies demonstrate a commitment to employee ownership through:

  • Involvement with the ESOP Association and its programs.
  • Communicating with employees.
  • Commitment to The ESOP Association's vision, which endorses employee participation, wealth creation, and individual dignity and worth.

The company should be financially solvent and have more than one or two years of ESOP sponsorship. It is not necessary that the company have a particular style of management, but employee owners should feel a sense of ownership and/or that the ESOP is important to the company and the employee owners.


Criteria for Employee Owner of the Year:

The Employee Owner of the Year should be below the level of senior management. Despite the lack of a firm rule stating the employee owner has to be an hourly or non-management employee, these two terms can be general guides for the selection process.

The individual should be active in the employee ownership activities of the company and/or The ESOP Association, where appropriate. Examples include:

  • Serving on the company ESOP committee or on an employee advisory committee.
  • Contributing to a company publication.
  • Helping with Employee Ownership Month (EOM) observances.
  • Helping fellow employees gain a better understanding of the ESOP.
  • Attending chapter meetings and/or helping with chapter meetings or activities.
  • Writing a letter to an elected official in support of ESOPs.
  • Attending Association meetings, such as the Employee Owner Retreat or other national conferences.

The criteria revolve around the person’s overall contribution as a good citizen in the company where he or she works.