From Bob’s Desk: Explaining Elm’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan

By Bob Bacon

“I’m all for progress; it’s change I don’t like.” — Mark Twain

Pat Reinhardt, the lead outside director of Elm, gave me a book a few years ago as I began shifting some of my stock to leaders. It was the, “Companies We Keep,” and it reviews some companies that have become owned by coworkers in various forms. But what stuck with me was how these companies benefitted their employees, clients and communities. I have always felt that Elm Electrical, Inc. is a company that should be kept! Not kept by me, but kept going and growing in some evolving ownership form. Our company is special and does much for many.

Keeping Elm going and growing into the future is a challenging project. The last part of the Elm 3.0 plan was how can I retire, sell my ownership stake and ensure the company has the financial strength to keep investing in the company as I have? Our financial strength is a big part of who we are, how we keep our commitments, and how we fund our evolution. For me, it was a must-have part of the planning.

After much analysis and consideration, we have determined that an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is the perfect form of ownership for Elm 3.0. What happens in an ESOP is the company gives part of its earnings to a trust that buys company stock from the current shareholders. Since ESOP’s have tax benefits, there is money to buy the stock and invest in the company. Turns out there are several companies you may know that are ESOPs, like Notch Mechanical, Kelly-Fradet Lumber, Consigli Construction and Cianbro, to name a few.

Over the next few weeks as the transition goes on, we will finalize more details and highlights of the benefits to you. Right now, regulatory requirements are being wrapped up and all the needed steps are underway. I will keep you updated as things move ahead, but rest assured Elm will be as secure as ever in the years ahead.

Once completed, Elm will continue to run as it has. I will still be the president and there will still be a board of directors looking after me. As far as day-to-day operations, nothing will change. What will change is most of us and our coworkers will now be part of an ESOP. Your pay won’t be affected, but you will have an additional benefit. Think of it as a savings plan — every year your plan will accumulate stock and as Elm grows and prospers the value will hopefully increase as your holdings grow.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin


If you’re looking for more details on what an ESOP is and how it works, this may be helpful:

Highwire Recognizes Elm as one of its Safest Contractors & Vendors

Burlington, MA— Highwire, the Contractor Success platform for builders and owners of capital projects, has announced the recipients of its prestigious safety awards. Elm Electrical, Inc has received the Gold Safety Award. This award is presented to companies who score between 85-94 on the Safety Assessment administered by Highwire.

“Management systems are critical to any company’s ability to deliver successful outcomes and, most importantly, to keep their employees safe. Elm Electrical, Inc has done a remarkable job implementing a strong safety management system resulting in exceptional safety performance and results,” says David Tibbetts, CSP, Highwire’s Chief Safety Officer.

Highwire’s Safety Assessment reviews a company’s historic and current safety performance. The program provides a thorough, objective, and consistent evaluation of company performance so clients and contractors can identify, monitor, and mitigate risks more effectively. The results provide a strong indicator of how a contractor values safety and serve as a reliable predictor of future performance.

Understanding Elm’s self-funded health insurance; work anniversaries and more

Self-Funded Health Insurance

What does it mean?

Only 57% of respondents in a recent survey knew that Elm is self-funded for health insurance.

Being self-funded means we’re able to tailor our healthcare plan to meet our employees’ needs. This gives us better financial control, data transparency and flexibility in our plan design. Instead of paying high-fixed premiums to insurance providers for services we may never use—and facing big increases every renewal time—Elm is able to provide a more tailored and data-informed plan to our employees.

This is how we’re able to offer you comprehensive healthcare coverage at an affordable rate. It’s also why we encourage you to make your preventive healthcare appointments; visit your primary care instead of an urgent clinic or ER, when appropriate; and shop the price of big-money procedures such as MRIs and CAT scans.

Saving money by accessing the same technology at a lower cost or having blood work done to determine you’re pre-diabetic and then treating with diet before needing costly prescriptions and treatments helps save money and helps to keep our rates down.

For more tips on choosing the correct level of care, click HERE.


Collecting for the Soldiers Home

This month the EGB donation box is going to the Holyoke Soldiers Home. If you feel called upon to give, please visit the wishlist HERE. We will be collecting throughout the month of May & bringing donations over by the first week of June. Thank you, in advance, for your generosity!


Highwire Recognizes Elm as one of its Safest Contractors & Vendors



Burlington, MA— Highwire, the Contractor Success platform for builders and owners of capital projects, has announced the recipients of its prestigious safety awards. Elm Electrical, Inc has received the Gold Safety Award. This award is presented to companies who score between 85-94 on the Safety Assessment administered by Highwire.

“Management systems are critical to any company’s ability to deliver successful outcomes and, most importantly, to keep their employees safe. Elm Electrical, Inc has done a remarkable job implementing a strong safety management system resulting in exceptional safety performance and results,” says David Tibbetts, CSP, Highwire’s Chief Safety Officer.

Highwire’s Safety Assessment reviews a company’s historic and current safety performance. The program provides a thorough, objective, and consistent evaluation of company performance so clients and contractors can identify, monitor, and mitigate risks more effectively. The results provide a strong indicator of how a contractor values safety and serve as a reliable predictor of future performance.


Work anniversaries

Congratulations to the following Elm employees who celebrated a work anniversary in April:


Please help us give a warm welcome to new Elm hire, Kiana Patterson. Kiana will be working under Chris Jarrett with sales-preventative maintenance.


Project Manager Opening

We’re hiring for a Project Manager in our Construction division. Are you interested in project management?

Our PMs supervise the field construction of projects and complete work on schedule, within budget and to the quality of workmanship specified. They manage the complete process of electrical construction including: budget evaluation, RFIs, RFQs, project creation, change orders, monthly invoice prep, submittals, project close-out, customer relations and onsite management.

PMs oversee and ensure overall quality, performance, profitability, scheduling and safety of projects. They prepare drawings, schedules and designs; are responsible for material planning and ordering; and manage outside vendors and subcontractors.

To learn more about the responsibilities or and qualifications for this position, please click HERE.


The 5 A’s of Stress Relief

Everyone encounters some level of stress regularly. Practicing healthy strategies to manage and minimize the effects of stress can help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

Utilize the “5 A’s”:

  1. Avoid: Some types of stress are unavoidable. Stress caused by delaying or carelessness is avoidable. Address an issue or a task as soon as it’s raised. Prioritizing important tasks avoids unnecessary stress.
  2. Alter: Stress may be caused by situations that you usually address as your daily routine. Example: you work on various tasks in a workday, but an unexpected problem such as needed materials not being delivered to a job site can spike your stress levels. Instead of stressing out, seek variables to alter the situation—can another task be worked on instead, does a nearby supply house have the materials?
  3. Adapt: Recognize things happen, plans change, emergencies occur. Take a breath, keep calm, & deal with it. If a stressor can’t be avoided or changed, adjust as best as you can & continue regardless of the circumstances.
  4. Accept: Be ready to accept that you may experience stress from any source or situation. Instead of opposing or being affected by an unchangeable situation, accept it & take steps to overcome it.
  5. Active: A brain, like a muscle, needs to be exercised to function optimally. Being active enhances your memory, mood, & sleep & reduces tension & worry. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain.

For more stress-relieving tips, log into your free Perspectives account.

Elm’s Team No Sparks leads the way in fundraising efforts at Runway 5K

If you look closely and REALLY zoom in, you’ll see Rose Daley and Beth Renaudette repping for Team No Sparks! Copyright 2024 Kimberly Park

The second annual Runway 5K for the Treehouse Foundation soared to new heights this year, with great running and walking weather AND NO RAIN!!! We extend our heartfelt thanks to all No Sparks donors and participants who made this event an astounding success. 

This year, the Northampton Airport runway was brimming with energy as 300 dedicated runners and walkers showed up for the opportunity to run on that runway and raise money to support foster care innovation. Over $100,000 was raised, a testament to the incredible generosity and commitment of our supporters. Among the standout efforts, Elm’s Team No Sparks blazed a trail, securing the title for raising the most funds, a whopping $8,850! Your passion and dedication exemplify the spirit of camaraderie that defines the Runway 5K.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to next year’s Runway 5K!

Here are more photos from the event:

Copyright 2024 Kimberly Park
Copyright 2024 Kimberly Park
Copyright 2024 Kimberly Park

Elm Gives Back

Elm employees came together to lend a helping hand at the Westfield Soup Kitchen last Friday. Partnering with WTA Culinary, they served up a delectable breakfast-for-dinner feast that left taste buds tingling with delight. From the egg casserole and French toast, bacon, sausage and home fries crafted by WTA Culinary to the fresh fruit and pastries generously provided by Elm employees, the meal was infused with care and compassion.

We served a nourishing meal to 70 individuals, spreading warmth and sustenance to those in need. Thank you to Britt, Steve, Tina-Marie, Todd, Deana, Cheryl, Rose and Holly for their donations of fruit and goodies and to the serving team of Deana, Cheryl, Tina-Marie, Holly and Beth! It was a fun, easy, fulfilling couple of hours.

If you’d be interested in helping out another time, please reach out to HLurgio@Elmelec.com.

Piper Electric: Work at stone plants, quarries and asphalt plants starts up

By Tom Tamalavitch

Here’s a drone photo of the new Piper Electric building with red brick. The old building is in the back left of the photo, right behind the Piper vehicles.

It’s the time of year at Piper Electric where work starts up at stone plants, quarries and asphalt plants.

Piper services around a dozen facilities, which has kept us busy. Our service has remained busy as well. We recently completed a project in Littleton, MA at Patriot Beverages. The crew worked early and long hours to dismantle conveying control and motor wiring so that a labeler could be replaced.

Once the labeler was replaced, they proceeded to rewire the conveyors and motors, then re-feed the new equipment. A great job done by Jeff Caron, Andy Welch, Doug Martin, Jeff Schrecke, Bobby Lovell and Tyler Camelo. 


We have now been our new building for over a year (photo above). It’s a large improvement compared to our old shop, which will be turned into additional warehousing. There is plenty of room for our continued growth.  


EMPLOYEE UPDATE

Isaiah Goguen, who was in a bad motorcycle accident, will finally be returning to work in a week or so.

Self-investing and understanding the work you’re doing is key to your evolution at Elm

By Tim Rzeszutek

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast,” is a Navy Seal mantra that I believe I have written about in the past. This is how they are trained to think, especially in life-threatening situations. It also relates really well for us in the construction and electrical industries.

Pete Wozniak (Elm’s Electrical PE) has a mantra of his own that he has instilled in a few of us working with him on power engineering and design build projects and that is, “Ignorance is one thing, but negligence will get you put in jail.”

That doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as the Navy Seal’s mantra, but I can tell you that it has definitely stuck with me from the first time I heard it.

Pete’s mantra is very much aligned with Elm’s core value of Integrity, which to me means doing what’s right. As soon-to-be partners in an ESOP, I think it’s important that we all understand taking the long view and doing what is right is much better for all of us rather than taking shortcuts to get something completed. Also, its OK to not know something, but we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to complete our installation not only to the NEC, building code, UL 508 requirements, etc. which are bare minimum, but also understanding the manufacturers installation instructions.

I was told by one of my first journeymen at Elm that we work on a lot of different types of installations and we have a lot to get done. I can’t spend all day answering your questions, but I will give you a few minutes if you’re self-investing and learning about what we are doing. Those 15 minutes at night reading about hazardous locations, working clearances, motors, etc. was my evolution. As a company, if we want to continue to grow and all be profitable shareholders, we need to not only continue to learn but all of us need to continue to pass down what we have learned to the next generation of Elm.

On a recent project with a lot of outdoor cable tray, I noticed the engineer placed cable tray supports at 20’ intervals which, at first, did not seem to be correct. After doing a little bit of a deep dive into a manufacturers white paper regarding cable tray installation, I found that this was in fact OK and that there was a bunch I didn’t know about cable tray. I’ll save you from me writing about it in this month’s article, but you can spend 15 minutes self-investing and reading it yourself HERE. When you get finished, I can give you a few minutes to review if you have questions.

To summarize, take a minute to self-invest and understand the work you’re completing. Executing the work with a plan and knowing how will make it go safe and smooth. We can all sleep well a night knowing we operate with integrity and that our jobs are installed with pride. Take a minute to teach what you have learned to the next generation. Bob has always told me, “if we operate to our core values, the profits will follow.”

I look forward to operating with all of us as partners!

EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Justin Rayworth

In this month’s employee spotlight, we caught up with Justin Rayworth, a journeyman at Piper Electrical.

Q: What brought you to Piper/how did you get your start here?

A: When I graduated from Monty Tech I had a friend working for Piper who recommended me to the company and when I looked into it, it was a great fit.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your role at Piper?

A: I am a journeyman electrician that mainly works in quarries and stone plants for the company. I run equipment such as a Digger Derek (see photo below), set utility poles and assist with medium voltage work. 

Q: What are some of the things you enjoy most about working at Piper?

A: I enjoy running equipment, working outside and I get to see a lot of things most people never will with the jobs that we go to.

Q: What has been one of your most rewarding experiences at Piper?

A: Being able to work with the old timers, hear their stories and learn from their experience.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

A: Outside of work, I enjoy traveling north with my four-wheelers to ride with friends and riding my motorcycle.

Reporting work incidents and making sure safety is always No. 1 priority

Incident Reporting

The company has been involved in a few incidents in the beginning months of 2024. The Safety Department and Upper Management would like to thank our employees for following the reporting process in a timely manner, and remind ALL employees if they are involved in an incident, accident or near miss, you must report them to your supervisor and the Accident Reporting Coordinator (ARC – Seanna Arana @ 413-579-2051) as soon as possible. The health and safety of our fellow employees is always priority 1. Once the employee is in a safe location and emergency services have been notified (if applicable), contact your supervisor and ARC to complete an incident report.

If you see an unsafe condition or situation, exercise your Stop Work Authority.

SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!

May is Fall Prevention in the Workplace Month!

Be on the lookout for the Safety Department in the month of May, bringing you a food-filled Fall Protection Stand Down.

Get ready for the Runway 5K!

By Holly Lurgio

Runway 5K set for April 28

As a reminder to everyone, Northampton Airport will host the 2nd Annual Runway 5K on April 28!

Money raised from the 5K will serve children, young people and families whose lives have been impacted by foster care in the Greater Pioneer Valley. Not a runner or walker? Cleaning out your closet that day? That’s ok, see the flyer below for a SUPER easy way to donate to support Team No Sparks! Any size donation is appreciated!

Here are some photos from last year’s event. While we certainly hope this year’s weather is better, we still had a blast in the rain!


Incredible generosity at Elm’s inaugural CAN-Struction extravaganza!

A GIANT HIGH-FIVE to everyone who pitched in, got creative, teamed up, and lent a hand at Elm’s inaugural CAN-Struction extravaganza! Your awesomeness knows no bounds! Thanks to your incredible spirit, we’re sending over 1,000 nonperishable goodies off to food pantries in Westfield, Middletown, and Marlborough! 

Rebecca Hart from the Westfield Food Pantry popped by to express her gratitude and check out our can-tastic creations. She mentioned how crucial these donations are, especially during this time of the year when folks are still reeling from holiday expenses and trying to keep warm.

And let’s talk about the Elm crew— When they weren’t crafting sailboats and plugs out of cans or fashioning bunnies from crackers, they were busy putting together a whopping 65 Easter baskets chock-full of treats for our local military families. A round of applause to all for making such a meaningful impact in the lives of others!


Interested in volunteering a couple of hours at the Westfield Soup Kitchen? Here’s how…

On Friday, April 26, Elm will be serving dinner at the Westfield Soup Kitchen. We are still in the planning stages, but if you could spare a couple of hours that afternoon we would love to have you! Reach out to Holly if you’re interested! hlurgio@elmelec.com