Certified Employee-Owned is delighted to spotlight our new member, The Davey Tree Expert Company, which provides diversified tree services, grounds maintenance and environmental services. Headquartered in Kent, Ohio, Davey is the largest employee-owned company in the state and one of the largest in North America.
Founded in 1880 as a family-owned company, Davey’s story of employee acquisition began in the late 1970s when the Davey family decided to sell the company. Almost immediately, an employee-ownership exploratory committee was formed. In 1979, 114 employees made a financial commitment to directly purchase stock. The company redeemed thousands of shares of stock but reserved some to be sold to the newly created Davey Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which attracted the participation of more than 400 employees.
Since 1979, Davey has grown considerably, becoming a billion dollar company in 2018 with more than 10,500 employees contributing throughout North America. While celebrating 40 years of employee ownership last year, Davey cracked the nation’s top 10 of the National Center for Employee Ownership's Employee Ownership 100.
Today, Davey proudly recognizes employee ownership as what makes them stand out. As Pat Covey, the company’s chairman, president and CEO attributed, “Employee ownership has allowed [Davey] to create a culture that has withstood a lot of economic and business challenges over time.” Davey’s success with its conversion to employee ownership offers a model for other companies interested in building resilience and longevity.