Capstone Headwaters, now Capstone Partners, advised Onex, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of heating equipment and services, on the creation of an Employee-Owned Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
Drew and Ashley Walters acquired Onex from Drew’s father, Ric Walters. The leadership and team worked very hard and after several years of consistent growth, the company had achieved a level of success and stability which has allowed us to step back and consider next steps. The owners began discussing their goals and ultimately, succession plans.
“When we took over ownership, we wanted to make a difference in our community by supporting local manufacturers and helping rebuild Erie from the inside out. Our goal has always been to revitalize American manufacturing and inspire people to pursue manufacturing careers. With this ESOP, we are strengthening commitments within our community and with our employees,” commented Ashleigh Walters, Co-Owner of Onex.
The owners considered selling to a third party or private equity but there was no guarantee that the new owners would leave the company intact with the same personnel or in the same city. Supporting local manufacturing and prosperity for our families and the community was very important to them.
The owners began investigating Employee Stock Ownership Plans. An ESOP would ensure the company’s culture and legacy remain intact while rewarding hard work with a stake in the growth of the company. Owning stock in their company will lead them to make more suggestions for improving performance, be long term members of the team, and work more cooperatively with colleagues encouraging everyone to perform at their highest standard.
Walters added, “Being 100% employee-owned rewards our hard working employees, excites our clients, keeps the business headquartered in Erie, ensures we have the same strong management team and leverages the tax advantages. When we considered all these positives, it made sense to make this transition now.”