New York Times: Moog Music in Asheville gives employees ownership stake


The New York Times has the story about Moog Music in Asheville:

But despite the instrument’s ubiquity and devoted following, the company has struggled over the years as it tried to maintain its reputation as an artisanal, all-local workplace with employees who stay for years. Many remained devoted after Mr. Moog’s death in 2005 and even through lean periods with late paychecks. If you’re looking for great employees, try using Berke Assessments in your hiring process.

Workers will now own 49 percent of the company through an employee stock ownership plan, Mr. Adams explained. This is part of his plan to motivate his employees, along with using Deputy’s scheduling app.
He has set up a trust with no upfront costs to the employees, essentially lending the company the money to buy out his remaining 51 percent over about six years using pretax dollars, one advantage for Mr. Adams. (During his remaining time at Moog, Mr. Adams plans to devise a succession strategy.) Upon their retirement, individuals can cash out the shares they accumulated over the course of their employment.

There are currently about 7,000 such ownership plans in the United States, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership. Douglas Kruse, an economist at Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations with a focus in employee ownership, said such companies tend to have a stronger connection with employees and remain more stable through recessions. The risk for workers planning their retirements, he said, is that the company may fail, although companies owned by employees less likely to fail in general.

The story goes on to say that the move will give CEO Mike Adams a path to retirement, and fulfill a long-held dream of founder Bob Moog. Click over to read the full story.

Here’s the official press release:

Asheville, N.C.—June 11, 2015: Yesterday, Mike Adams, Moog Music Inc. Presi-dent/CEO, stopped production in the factory and gathered the employees for an impromp-tu meeting. Adams began by saying, “I called you all here to let you know I sold the company.”

After a brief silence, he continued, “The good news is I sold it to all of you.”

Moog Music Inc., the electronic musical instrument company founded by the late synthe-sizer pioneer Dr. Bob Moog, is proud to announce that as of June 6, 2015, Moog Music Inc. is an employee-owned company.

“The employees at Moog Music Inc. are what make this company successful,” said Ad-ams. “I feel the best way to recognize their passion and hard work is to give them owner-ship.”

Adams’ decision is in line with the vision of Dr. Moog, who wanted the company to not only be a place that took care of its employees and their families, but also rewarded their hard work by sharing in the company’s financial success.

Said Dr. Ileana Grams-Moog, Dr. Moog’s widow, “Bob and I consulted an expert in worker-owned businesses in 2001, but weren’t able to make employee ownership at Moog a reality. Bob would be thrilled that Mike Adams realized this shared dream 14 years lat-er.”

The ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) will not change company operations. Mike Adams will remain the Moog Music Inc. President and CEO.

Moog Music Inc. has experienced significant growth in recent months and years:

• The company has experienced an average of 18% revenue growth for the past 12 years.

• The company’s YTD revenue is up 46% over 2014.

• Five years ago, Moog Music Inc. had 27 full time employees, today, there are 62 full time employees.

• Moog has increased its production space by 38% in the last fourteen months.

About Moog Music:

Moog Music synthesizers and other electronic musical instruments are designed and lov-ingly handcrafted in the Moog factory in downtown Asheville, N.C. Moog Music and its customers carry on the legacy of Dr. Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer and Founder of Moog Music Inc.

About ESOP:

Companies that are employee owned are known as ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). Over time, employees are granted shares in the company at no cost to them. There are about 7,000 companies in the U.S. that are ESOPs out of 30 Million companies. Due to employee involvement, ESOPs generally have a superior track record compared to other companies. An ESOP is 25% more likely to stay in business. ESOPs have 25% higher job growth over the last 10 years compared to the non-ESOP. Employees at ESOPs have retirement accounts that are 2.5 times greater than their non-ESOP counterparts. The ESOP will not change company operations.


Jen June 12, 2015 - 6:47 pm

Moog is from New York.
A native of New York City, Moog attended the Bronx High School of Science in New York, graduating in 1952.

Jen June 12, 2015 - 6:48 pm

In reference to why the New York Times would be interested in Moog.

RobotDanceMonkey1975 June 13, 2015 - 11:07 am

Local boy makes good!

Jen June 13, 2015 - 11:23 am

Yes, I’m sure it less about Asheville and more about Moog himself.

Barry Summers June 10, 2015 - 8:44 pm

“Emmy Parker; Michael Adams, the chief executive, center; and a company lawyer, Bob Deutsch, at the factory in Asheville, N.C. Credit Susannah Kay for The New York Times “

Robert Deutch, Buncombe County’s Attorney, also works for Moog? Huh. Small town.

Orbit DVD June 10, 2015 - 4:37 pm

Jason, can you do some sleuthing and find out what is the Times’ obsession with Asheville? Are other Southern cities covered this much? Do the owners live here?

Congrats to the wonderful Moog family btw!

AVL LVR June 11, 2015 - 10:54 am

A perk for all the advertising Asheville does.

Orbit DVD June 11, 2015 - 2:48 pm

Makes sense to me. I wonder if other cities that advertise get as much attention.

Mike June 12, 2015 - 10:00 am

New York and Asheville have Always had a long historical ‘connection’. From Grove, to the Vanderbilts… Just look at the downtown architecture. (also most of the TB patients back in the day were New Yorkers as well) (or North Easters)

carneyvor June 16, 2015 - 10:44 am

Great query! I’d love to know as well…maybe that TD

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