Employment and Jobs

Employee Ownership, Strategic Sectors and Supply Chain Resilience

May 2, 2024  • Economic Opportunities Program


Employee ownership has long-standing bipartisan appeal. Over the last few years, we have seen that industrial policy, the idea that the government should invest in and support industries critical to the nation’s security and competitiveness, is also appealing to both parties. This conversation will examine how these ideas converge and the benefits and value of having businesses be employee-owned that are important to our national interest and the health of our supply chains. During this panel, we’ll hear from business leaders of employee-owned companies in manufacturing and other critical sectors talk about their work and how employee ownership strengthens it.

  • Mowa Haile, CEO, Apex Underground; President, Sky Blue Builders
  • Mariann Fuller, CFO, Columbia Chemical
  • Joey Nestegard, CFO, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
  • Rick Plympton, CEO, Optimax Systems, Inc.
  • Adria Scharf, Associate Director, Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing (moderator)

This video comes from the second Employee Ownership Ideas Forum, hosted by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing. Our 2024 Forum, “Employee Ownership on the Ground,” brought innovative employee share ownership initiatives and speakers from around the country to Washington DC to highlight how this bipartisan approach to improving jobs, wealth creation, and business performance is helping create more equitable economies in states, cities, and rural communities.

For clips and highlights from the Forum, subscribe to the Economic Opportunities Program on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@aspeneop/

And tune in to our podcast to listen to full discussions on the go: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/aspeneop

For more from the Forum — including videos, photos, audio, transcripts, and additional resources — visit: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/events/employee-ownership-ideas-forum-2024/