ESOP Ensures Quality for Customers


October is Employee Ownership Month, and Stellar is proud to be an employee-owned company. Through Stellar’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), employees are invested in the company’s success. That, in turn, makes sure they’re also invested in the success of our customers.

“With the employee-ownership aspect of our company, we’re all in this together,” explains David Zrostlik, President. “Everyone has a stake, so we’re all working to make sure the highest-quality products go out the door.”

The Pride of Ownership

Unlike typical manufacturing companies where a job is just a job, working at Stellar is being part of a team that can see the benefits of supporting customers with top-quality products and service. “One of the things that sets us apart is that we’re all owners within the company,” notes Steve Schnieders, Chief Operating Officer. “We have a team atmosphere that has everyone working together to serve our customers, because we all know that’s how we’ll be successful.”

Because the only stockholders the company answers to are themselves, there’s no underlying drive to squeeze out an extra nickel by cutting corners or using lesser materials. “We’re able to see the big picture, the long haul,” says Tim Davison, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Because this is a long-term career and investment in the future for us, we can see the return of keeping customers for life. Our quality helps us have one of the highest customer retention rates around, and as employee-owners, we see the benefits of that. That’s why quality drives us and always will.”

That same commitment to quality goes beyond physical products to include customer service that gets you the answers you need to minimize disruptions and maximize uptime. “Being an ESOP company motivates all of us to be productive and help our customers be productive,” says Abby Juhl, Buyer in the purchasing department. Ashley Brones, a customer service representative, adds, “It’s teamwork, everyone going in the same direction to keep the quality high and give our best to our customers.”

Attracting Top Talent

Another way that Stellar’s ESOP supports quality is that it attracts dedicated, hardworking people. Stellar is a Des Moines Register Iowa Top Workplaces 2022 honoree and 2022 Mason City Globe Gazette Employer of Choice, and the ESOP is a big part of that. Top-quality people seeking fulfilling opportunities and a chance to contribute are happy to join the Stellar team and own their future.

As Davison sums it up,

You’re going to do a better job of making sure the equipment you’re making has the best quality built into it because you know it’s your company. If it’s great for the customer, then it’s great for us, too.”