SEP Recipient of 2013 NCEO Innovations Award

News Release — May 8, 2013

On Thursday, April 25, the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) and the Beyster Institute at UCSD’s Rady School of Management announced the winners of the 2013 Excellence in Ownership Awards.

The Excellence in Ownership Award Program consists of three awards: the Working Better Award, recognizing companies that develop high-engagement, employee-owned workplaces; the Innovations Award, which recognizes the innovative practices that result from having an engaged workforce of employee-owners; and the Employee Ownership Champion Award, honoring individuals who make an exceptional contribution to the field of employee ownership.

Crop Quest, Inc. Winner of the Working Better Award

As part of the Working Better Award application, the NCEO administers an ownership culture survey sent out to all employees of the company. Winners are chosen based on the survey results, as well responses to a company-level description of policies. Crop Quest received exceptionally high scores in every category and has demonstrated a deep commitment to creating a culture where employees think and act like owners. The company has generous benefits, open communication, and extensive employee education programs around the ESOP. Tracy Smith accepted the award on behalf of Crop Quest, saying, “With this award, it feels like our hard work is paying off, to integrate employee-ownership into all aspects of our business.”

Crop Quest was formed in February of 1992 in Dodge City, Kansas, by Rollie Stukenholtz and Ron O’Hanlon. The company offers crop production and agricultural production management recommendations to producers in ten states across the High Plains. Crop Quest is 100% owned by its 94 employees.

Software Engineering Professionals (SEP) Winner of the Innovations Award

Software Engineering Professionals (SEP) is being recognized for offering an in-company version of the Kauffman Foundation’s Startup Weekend. Occurring twice a year, SEP Startup Weekend allows participants to use SEP’s offices and technology to work on unique and imaginative product ideas.

Participants pitch ideas on Friday, spend the weekend in groups developing the ideas, and present them to their colleagues on Sunday evening. Traci Dosset, COO of SEP, stated, “We are so honored to be the recipient of the 2013 NCEO Innovation Award. As a software development firm we thrive on innovation and the wonderful thing about this award is that it’s the direct product of the ‘out of the box’ thinking of our engineers. This is true employee engagement at its finest.”

SEP is a software and technology development company, providing complete project life-cycle support for industrial strength challenges. Started in 1988 by software engineers who wanted to create a more desirable work environment, SEP is now 100% employee-owned by its 95+ engineers.

James Mauch, CEO of Tenmast Software Winner of the Employee Ownership Champion Award

Since April of 2012, James Mauch has been working with the NCEO on a project to create more state-level programs that educate various stakeholders about the potential benefits of employee ownership for local businesses and communities. He has propelled the NCEO’s efforts forward by pioneering a replicable model for the program that has already proven successful. He worked tirelessly with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, which is now offering presentations on employee ownership at fifteen regional seminars in Kentucky.
Tenmast Software provides enterprise-based software systems and services to the affordable housing industry. James has led Tenmast for the last 14 years as an open-book management company and last year sold 30% of his equity to the employees through an ESOP.