past event
Employment and Jobs

The Impact of Employee Ownership in Rural Communities


Rural communities looking to improve economic opportunities and retain jobs and community wealth know employee ownership can help them achieve these objectives. In fact, some of the states, towns, and cities with the densest number of employee owned-companies are in primarily rural areas. These companies range from small worker cooperatives in agriculture and energy to medium and large companies in manufacturing and construction, among other sectors. During this panel conversation, we’ll hear from elected officials and employee-owned companies in rural areas about the important role of employee ownership in their communities and the lessons they have learned about bringing shared prosperity to rural areas.

Opening Remarks

Photo of Sen. Chris Van HollenSenator Van Hollen

US Senate, Maryland 

Elected to the United States Senate by the people of Maryland in November 2016, Chris Van Hollen is committed to fighting every day to ensure that our state and our country live up to their full promise of equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity. Sen. Van Hollen believes that every child deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams and benefit from a quality education and that anyone willing to work hard should be able to find a good job. That’s why his top priorities include creating more and better jobs, strengthening small businesses, and increasing educational and job training opportunities for individuals of all ages and in every community.

Sen. Van Hollen started his time in public service as a member of the Maryland State Legislature, where he became known as a tenacious advocate for everyday Marylanders and someone who was unafraid to take on powerful special interests on behalf of working people. In 2002, he was elected to represent Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. In the House of Representatives, he served as a member of the Democratic leadership and was elected by his colleagues to be the Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee and protect vital interests like Social Security and Medicare.

A tireless fighter for the people of Maryland, Sen. Van Hollen has also become known for working hard to find common sense solutions to difficult national issues. In January 2015, he released a comprehensive plan to address the problem of growing inequality in America and provide a blueprint for building an economy that works for everyone, a goal that he will continue to fight for in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Van Hollen is proud to have worked successfully with members of both parties to pass bipartisan legislation whenever possible on issues of common concern, including expanding medical research, protecting the Chesapeake Bay, fighting childhood cancer, and passing the ABLE Act to assist families with children with disabilities.

Sen. Van Hollen is a graduate of Swarthmore College, the John F. Kennedy School of Public Policy at Harvard University, and Georgetown University Law Center, where he attended night school. He and his wife, Katherine Wilkens, are the proud parents of three children, Anna, Nicholas, and Alexander.


Daniel Goldstein

Chief Executive Officer, Go ESOP LLC
Executive Fellow, Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing

At the end of 2023, Daniel Goldstein retired as CEO and President of Folience, a 100% ESOP-owned holding company. The company published the first edition of their newspaper on January 10, 1883, started a partial ESOP in 1986 and became 100% ESOP-owned in 2012. In late 2015, the ESOP sold its television station which strengthened the company’s balance sheet but removed its main revenue generator.

Daniel joined shortly thereafter to transform the company and diversify the revenue base through acquisitions, to grow beyond the historically singular focus on media. Folience was founded on January 1, 2017, and Daniel began building the portfolio. In 2017 he led the acquisition of Life Line Emergency Vehicles, an ambulance manufacturer in Sumner, Iowa. In 2018 Cimarron Trailers, a horse and livestock trailer manufacturer in Chickasha, Oklahoma was acquired. In 2022 the assets of another trailer company were acquired to open a second Cimarron Trailer production facility in Manhattan, Kansas. In 2020, the ESOP achieved its highest share value since inception of the ESOP in 1986, with subsequent year-on-year growth under Daniel’s leadership. Folience was awarded the 2022 national Employee-Owned Company of the Year award by The ESOP Association. He currently serves on the Boards of other ESOPs, all involved in different aspects of manufacturing. Daniel also serves on the Executive Board of The ESOP Association, the Executive Committee of the ESOP Association’s Public Policy Council, and as a Trustee serving on the Executive Committee of the Employee Ownership Foundation. Daniel’s prior 20 years of executive leadership includes owning his own businesses, acquisitions, joint ventures, managing financial investment portfolios, business and real estate management, and serving on Boards. 

Throughout his career, Daniel has guest lectured at universities across the US and Europe and has spoken at or chaired over100 professional conferences across five continents. Daniel is first generation American, has worked one third of his life outside of the US primarily based in Italy, and has traveled to over 60 countries. Daniel earned a B.A. from Colgate University, and an MBA and a Master’s in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Daniel and his wife Gail enjoy scuba diving, canoeing, motorcycling, and traveling together.

Photo of Molly HemstreetMolly Hemstreet

Founder and Co-Executive Director, The Industrial Commons,
Executive Fellow, Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing

Bio forthcoming


Jenny Levy

Executive Vice President, People, Community & Environment, Hypertherm

Jenny sponsors the human resources and corporate social responsibility functions and strategies at Hypertherm. This includes driving approaches for associate wellbeing and development, ownership culture, inclusion and diversity, as well as strategic workforce and talent management to meet current and future business objectives. Jenny also focuses on Hypertherm’s corporate shared value strategies through environmental stewardship, community citizenship and corporate philanthropy. She is the president of the Hypertherm HOPE Foundation.

Since joining Hypertherm in 2004, she has held various positions, including director of North America marketing and director of Environmental Stewardship, and joined the management team in 2015. Prior to Hypertherm, Jenny worked at McMaster-Carr Supply Company in operations and marketing. Jenny holds a bachelor of arts degree with honors from Wesleyan University and a master of business administration from the Tuck School of Business.

Jenny serves as vice chair of the board of WISE in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and chair of their governance committee; chair of the corporate council of vital communities in White River Junction, Vermont; and is a corporator of Mascoma Bank and of the Montshire Museum of Science. She most recently served on the boards of the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont, Vital Communities in White River Junction, Vermont, and GI Rising in Kigali, Rwanda. She enjoys community service by delivering Meals on Wheels, building projects for COVER Home Repair, supporting Toys for Tots, and stocking shelves at The Haven food pantry.

Michael Williams

CFO, Black & Veatch


Black & Veatch’s chief financial officer, Michael Williams, is a financial leader and certified public accountant with more than 17 years of experience. He has extensive expertise in all aspects of corporate financial operations and systems, as well as contract and change management, process improvement, project management, and professional development. Previously Black & Veatch’s senior vice president of finance and treasurer, Williams has served in several financial leadership positions since joining the company in 2011, including at the corporate level and as director of finance for the company’s former telecommunications business. A model of the employee-owner mindset, Williams was an instrumental leader during Black & Veatch’s company-wide transformation, which aligned the organization to meet the global megatrends reshaping the world of critical human infrastructure and the rapidly expanding need for innovative solutions.


Jeff Guo

Co-host and Reporter for Planet Money, NPR

Jeff Guo (he/him) is a co-host and reporter for “Planet Money,” NPR’s award-winning podcast that finds creative, entertaining ways to make sense of the complicated forces that move our economy. He joined the team in 2022. Previously, Guo covered economics and policy for The Washington Post, where his work frequently blended reporting and data analysis. Ask him about tontines or the curse of the potato or why Christmas is probably not an “orgy of wealth destruction.”

His one rule is to always get the name of the cat. And really, he doesn’t mind if you listen to him at double speed. Guo also served as NPR’s first Ishiyama Transparency in Government legal fellow. As a lawyer, he helped reporters draft Freedom of Information Act requests and sue the government over unanswered requests. Guo holds bachelor’s degrees in math and economics from MIT, a juris doctor from Yale Law School — and, occasionally, his two cats. He’s from Maryland.

Event information
Tue Apr 9, 2024