Miamisburg tech firm to post double-digit growth -- Dayton Business Journal

O’Neil & Associates says its transition to employee ownership will help it grow.

The Miamisburg-based company announced Friday that it had transitioned to an employee stock ownership plan, effectively making it owned entirely by its 300 employees. It’s a sign of stability for O’Neil, said Bob Heilman, its president and CEO.

O’Neil works in technical documentation and technology for defense and commercial markets. It was founded in 1947 under sole ownership and began planning in 2004 to transfer to 45 percent employee ownership. In 2014, its leaders made the decision to make it completely employee owned.

“I’ve had cash offers for the business that far exceeded the ESOP — even some with employment guarantees — but I didn’t want to take apart something I spent a lifetime building,” Heilman said. “This is a way for this company to stay private and transition leadership gradually, which often takes a long time and financing.”

It’s the second major Dayton employer to switch to an ESOP this year, following Eaton-based Henny Penny Corp. O’Neil has 200 local employees and 2013 revenue of $27 million.

The company is shooting for 5 percent to 10 percent growth this year and hopes to hire another 10 to 15, especially as it pursues a goal of expanding from traditional defense spheres into aerospace and commercial industrial customers outside of the government.

First Banker’s Trust Services Inc. serves as trustee for the ESOP while contributed cash as well as a loan from PNC Bank to finance the buyout of ownership stock. The debt will be retired over a 20 year period. As an S Corporation, the ESOP doesn’t pay income tax.

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