Why Your Employees Should Own Your Business -- American Sustainable Business Council

On the last day of 2012 South Mountain Company (SMC) celebrated the end of its twenty fifth year as a worker cooperative. It was an extraordinary year – rich, demanding, uplifting, and profitable.

In 1987 I re-structured the company from a sole proprietorship to an employee owned cooperative corporation. It was a dramatic hinge point in the history of the company. Ownership became available to all employees, enabling people to own and guide their workplace. The responsibility, the power, and the profits all belong to the group of owners. There are no outside investors and no non-employee owners.

We have been profitable every year since our re-structuring. As we near our 40th anniversary, SMC is a thriving integrated architecture, engineering, building and renewable energy company. As the founders and early employee owners have begun to retire, we are transitioning to the second generation and planning for the next 40 years.

Employee ownership has played a big role in the modest successes we have accumulated over time. Owning our work, and finding meaning there, is as essential to a good life as it is to own our homes. Employee ownership has also proven to be an essential ingredient in building stronger communities and local economies.

To read the article in its entitreity, we encourage you to visit American Sustainable Business Council’s website at