O2O Ep. 29: The EO State Centers













Host Jesse Tyler is joined by Steve Storkan of EOX, Matt Cropp of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center, and Michael Palmieri of the Ohio Employee Ownership Center for a wide-ranging conversation about the work of state centers around the US. Each describes what their organization does, and what drives them personally to work to grow employee ownerships.


They discuss what each organization has in common: outreach, education, and advocacy, and they all discuss what sets the groups apart. They discuss what it will take to grow employee ownership, and why it's so important to their societal views that EO thrives.


The goal of this podcast is to have owner-to-owner discussions about a wide range of ownership experiences and culture topics, and to bring more insight into the individual ownership experience.


The Owner to Owner Podcast is produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network.






About Steve Storkan

Steve Storkan has been involved with employee stock ownership plans for over 25 years, most recently as the Director of ESOP Administration for Alerus Retirement and Benefits where he worked closely with businesses in the creation of an ESOP and the technical administration and compliance required in subsequent years. Steve spent 11 years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota-Dakotas Chapter of the ESOP Association where also served as Chapter President and VP of Government Relations. Steve holds a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation from the University of Minnesota State Mankato.



About EOX

We are a community of business people who have seen the transformative power of employee ownership - for businesses, communities and individuals - first hand. The members of our board jointly have over 160 years of business experience, including over 100 years leading employee-owned firms. Those companies have a combined total of nearly 1,200 employee-owners with holdings over $100 million.


Donate to EOX here.



About Matt Cropp

Matt has been with the organization since 2014, where he has developed deep expertise in employee ownership models. In addition to his leadership role, he is responsible for managing social media, event planning and promotion, coordinating with a national network of employee ownership practitioners and a variety of other activities advancing the VEOC's mission. Matt received his MA in History from UVM in 2011, where he studied economic history and the origins of cooperative finance, and he's involved on a volunteer basis with a number of co-op projects both locally and nationally. He lives in the New North End of Burlington with his partner and a pair of very friendly rabbits.


About VEOC

The Vermont Employee Ownership Center is a statewide non-profit whose mission is to promote and foster employee ownership in order to broaden capital ownership, deepen employee participation, retain jobs, increase living standards for working families, and stabilize communities.


We provide information and resources to owners interested in selling their business to their employees, employee groups interested in purchasing a business, and entrepreneurs who wish to start up a company with broadly shared ownership.


We are funded through government and foundation grants, and contributions from individuals and businesses. The VEOC is a tax-exempt non-profit educational organization. We are always grateful for contributions and in-kind donations.


Donate to VEOC here.



About Michael Palmieri

After relocating from New Jersey to Ohio, Michael started working at the OEOC in 2019. Currently, he is a PhD candidate at Kent State's Political Science Department where he studies American Politics and Public Policy and is currently working on his dissertation tentatively titled, "The Politics of Employee Ownership: Organizational & Individual level dynamics".


At the OEOC he helps conduct research that overlaps with his graduate work which focuses on the ways employee-ownership can be used as a local economic development strategy to create individual and community wealth and lessen economic and political inequality. Lately this includes producing estimates of the economic impact of baby-boomer retirements on local communities, as well as the role networks of nonprofits play in helping develop employee-owned businesses. His most recent work can be found in the 2019 Owners At Work Newsletter, FiftybyFifty, and the IEDC Economic Development Journal.

Michael also helps manage and develop the OEOC's year-round education and training programs and oversees the technical operations of the center including the website. In addition he produces and edits OEOC's new podcast Owners at Work, which he co-hosts with Chris Cooper and manages student interns at the center.




About OEOC

The Ohio Employee Ownership Center, a non-profit outreach center of Kent State University, supports the development of business across Ohio and around the world by its efforts that are proven to save jobs, create wealth, and grow the economy. The OEOC’s work rests on a simple philosophy: broader ownership of productive assets is a good thing for employees, communities, and our country.


The OEOC provides technical assistance, training, & outreach to the business community in 4 major areas:

  1. To business owners looking to exit their business;

  2. To owners interested in selling their business to their employees;

  3. To employee groups, local governments, and community groups seeking to avoid business shutdowns and job loss in their communities;

  4. To existing employee-owned companies, designed to help them be better employee-owned companies.

An Overview of the OEOC and its programs can be found here


Donate to OEOC here.





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This podcast is produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network.