CEO Corner: Engineering a Culture of Entrepreneurism & Innovation
Walt Vernon, PE, LEED AP, EDAC, FASHE
Principal, Chief Executive Officer
“CEO Corner” is a new blog series, intended to provide more insight into who we are and why. We want to recruit and partner with like-minded people who are trying new things for the purpose of discovering something better, and ultimately, making the world a better place.
When I think about the culture of this organization, there are several things that I’m trying to create here. Mazzetti, is an employee-owned benefit corporation, which is near and dear to my heart. A number of years ago, we made certain fundamental decisions about how we would structure the ownership of this company. Rather than having a few people who owned the bulk of the company, we distribute ownership widely throughout the organization, in at least two fundamental ways.
First, we have an employee stock ownership program. Every year we take a portion of the profits of the company, and we use it to buy shares that are placed into a trust for the benefit of the employees. It’s a retirement program. So as the company grows and does well, and the employees are with us for longer and longer periods of time, their stake in the company grows. And so by the time they retire, they have a nice nest egg that they haven’t had to do anything other than be a part of the organization. And secondly, we’ve made stock ownership available to everybody in the company. I think that really changes how people feel about the organization because they aren’t just employees anymore. All of a sudden, they are owners–they do have a piece of the pie. And I think that creates a sense of ownership and a sense of pride and a sense of caring that’s very different.
I think a third key element… And this one is a little harder in some ways to foster, and it takes more investment, but I’m trying all the time. And that has to do with “innovation or entrepreneurial-ness”, and it really comes from my own experience…