History of FST becoming an ESOP.
FST Logistics was founded in 1991 by Art DeCrane with the vision to become a single-source logistics partner for high-growth food and grocery brands. With only 11 employees, DeCrane quickly grew the brand through warehouse acquisitions and customer partnerships.
When DeCrane decided to retire he wanted to ensure that the people who help the company succeed were taken care of. That is why in 2014 the decision was made to sell the company into an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). This ensured that the employees were protected and the culture of FST was maintained.
Today, employee-owners are led by a hands-on management team and Board of Directors. The team at FST is committed to helping customers perform at their best with advanced supply chain technologies and unmatched temperature-controlled logistics expertise.
What is an ESOP?
An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is an employee benefit plan in which employees are given ownership of the company they work for. In an ESOP a trust is created that purchases company shares on behalf of the employees. These shares are then allocated to employees based on specific criteria. ESOPs provide an incentive for their employees to engage more within the company, align their interests with the company’s success, and provide them with opportunities for wealth accumulation and retirement benefits.
According to an “Employee Ownership By the Numbers” written by NCEO in February 2023, there are “approximately 6,467 ESOPs in the United States, holding total assets of over $1.6 trillion. The number of unique companies with an ESOP is approximately 6,232 (a company may sponsor multiple plans)”. With such a small number you might ask yourself why aren’t there more? And the simple answer is that there is a lack of awareness and knowledge of what it takes to be a successful ESOP.
What being an ESOP means to FST.
Every employee-owner has a stake in our customers supply chain performance. From our drivers on the road to teams in the office – we’re entirely devoted to their success. Employee ownership makes us different and empowers us to provide the friendliest and most conscientious customer service.
“The best part about being a leader of an ESOP is that the all-powerful concept of ‘ownership of outputs’ isn’t a concept at all, it’s a fact”, said Zak Hancock, Chief Operating Officer at FST, “The teams at FST fully embrace that they are not just employees of a company, but owners”.
As a company, we view our customers as partners that work in collaboration with us to drive value in each company. “They entrust us to deliver a world-class service that allows them grow and expand” says Hancock, “and our goal is to produce the results that allow them to do so”. FST takes pride in the fact that we hold ourselves to a higher standard than our customers do, because as owners of the company we understand that the KPI or SLA should not be the goal, but the minimum acceptable result. “We know that our ESOP will not grow in size and value if our customers do not experience the same, so it is a top priority of all of us at FST to do so.” – Hancock.