An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is an employee-owner scheme that provides a company’s workforce with an ownership interest in the company. In an ESOP, companies provide their employees with stock ownership, often at no cost to the employees. Shares are given to employees and may be held in an ESOP trust until the employee retires or leaves the company. The shares are then sold.
If North American Roofing isn’t a name you’re familiar with,
The Home Depot might ring a bell.
Chances are that if you had a house re-roofed by Home Depot between 1998 and 2003, Brian Verble and North American (NA) Roofing were deeply involved. Verble is President and Chief Executive Officer of the nation’s 4th largest commercial roofing company, located near the Farmer’s Market in West Asheville. Their forté is large, flat roofs on commercial buildings but that didn’t stop them from virtually single-handedly getting The Home Depot into the residential roofing business. Recently, NA Roofing’s ownership, the Verble family, decided to create an Employee Stock Ownership Program. The success they have achieved makes a good story. And as with most family businesses it all starts with another good story.
Brian Verble, teller of this story, is the third generation to work at NA Roofing. The firm was founded by his grandfather, Carl, in 1979 in Anna, Illinois. Anna is near Jonesboro and the two shared a high school. Anna was the more famous of the two towns because it was the home of the Illinois State Mental Institution. Jonesboro was merely the county seat and site of the third Lincoln-Douglas debate in 1858.
Anna was so small in the 1930’s that the major summer employment was picking peaches. That didn’t pay very well, so Carl went off to Southeastern Missouri State College (now University) in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. After World War II he got a job with RCA in Indianapolis, and not too long thereafter he got into home building.
All along the route, Carl apparently was a people person. People naturally liked the peach-picking farm boy and gravitated to him. “He had a knack for working with people. He loved meeting with them and talking to them. But my grandmother actually was even more outgoing,” Brian Verble says. “She also was very entrepreneurial. That wasn’t common in her day and probably wasn’t well received. But in the 1950’s and ‘60’s my grandparents built a lot of houses. They did custom homes and spec homes. They would bring higher income people in to see the amenities they’d build into a small house and then they’d build them a bigger one with even more amenities. They grew the business one house at a time.
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