"We don't have any more family coming along to take over the business," explained Caldwell. "So we needed a succession plan of some kind."
They have been working on this plan for about a year, he said. Other succession options could have been selling to another big company or to an investment group.
"This way, the business gets to stay local," Caldwell explained. "People who have worked here a long time and helped make it a success get to share in that success."
The plan has several objectives, he wrote in a press release.
"First, to provide ownership in the company to those that helped build the company; second, to provide a significant retirement benefit and a reason to want to make the company even more successful in the coming years; third, to provide a tool to motivate, retain and attract employees; and finally, to create a market for the stock held by the original owners without a sale to outside interests."
The plan should result in increased employee incentives and provide them with long-term retirement benefits, he added.
"We also hope the ESOP will encourage employees to create opportunities for the company, including, but not limited to, ways to improve quality and productivity," Caldwell said. "We recognized the best place to put the future of the company is in the hands of the employees that have made us successful."
Locally, Wilson, Toellner and Associates, certified public accountants and business consultants, assisted with formation of the ESOP.
"With the increasing number of central Missouri businesses selling to or merging with companies out of the area, it is refreshing to see a local business remain local," said Ron Toellner, CPA, in the press release. "It is a blessing to the community of Marshall."
Steve York, of Stern Brothers, who provided ESOP consulting services and participated in the company-wide meeting on Jan. 18, said approximately 20,000 companies have adopted ESOPs since 1974.
Eighty percent of ESOP-owned businesses have less than 150 employees, according to the press release.
The ESOP will not change the company's current management, customer services, operations or business strategy, Caldwell said. He and his mother, Jeanne Young, who serves as vice-president, will continue to work at the local company.
Young and her late husband, Will Young, began the company in 1959, originally selling grain storage and handling equipment manufactured by other companies.
The company, located on Business Highway 65 south, has grown steadily through the years. Today, they sell a full line of grain storage and handling equipment, including grain bins, aeration floors, grain dryers, unloading augers and bucket elevators.
The company also stocks and sells a full line of related parts and equipment. Grain storage and handling equipment is sold throughout Missouri and surrounding states.
With the addition of laser cutters, the company also fabricates steel components used in the production of pollution control equipment and asphalt plant equipment and then assembles the completed products as a subcontractor for the primary manufacturer. Pollution control equipment is shipped worldwide, according to a press release from the company.
Caldwell, a graduate of the University of Houston, has been president of the company since 1998.
He started working at the company when he was 13, putting rubber washers in bin bolts at night so they would be ready for construction crews the next day. He worked with construction crews and driving company trucks while in high school and college. After college graduation he worked in Texas before returning to W.B. Young in 1975.