SeaDek Becomes An Employee Owned Company

Rockledge, FL, August 9, 2015  SeaDek Marine Products, an industry leader in innovative marine non-skid products, has announced that they have become an Employee Owned Company.

With the help of The Menke Group, the principal owners of SeaDek; Kurt Wilson, Jim Wilson, Jason Gardner and Chuck Yates, have extended ownership to over seventy full-time staff members through the implementation of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

In addition to helping create financial security for employees, the plan is designed to encourage and reward increased employee productivity and efficiency. According to The Menke Group, a 5% or 10% increase in individual employee productivity can result in increasing company profitability by 50% or more. The ESOP creates a direct link between employee productivity and employee benefits.

“In the earliest days of SeaDek it was an entrepreneurial spirit that drove us to change the way boaters connect with their boats,” said Kurt Wilson, company president. “We’ve worked hard to foster that same spirit in our employees so they’re committed to the ongoing problem-solving process that is at the core of any growing business. We let them be creative in their work and then take responsibility for it. It’s worked well for us and our people take great pride in what they do. Now, we’re taking idea of employee entrepreneurship to its full expression. We’re giving everyone in the company an ownership stake in SeaDek. It’s a very exciting time for us.”

About SeaDek
SeaDek Marine Products is the leading manufacturer of a range of EVA non-skid products for marine and water-sports use.  SeaDek is a viable alternative to carpet and molded-in nonskid products. The company’s line of products are targeted to OEM boat builders, resellers and end-users, including well-known boat manufacturers such as Sea Ray Boats, Nautique Boats, Monterey Boats, Yamaha Boats and others. The company saw early success manufacturing cutting-edge surf products and nonskid traction pads, including X-Trak® Surf Traction and K-Grip®, a line of pads designed for world champion surfer Kelly Slater. The company later expanded its product offerings to the marine industry thanks to their innovations in marine-grade EVA decking materials. 

In 2014, SeaDek moved from its original 17,000 square foot building into their current 72,000 square foot facility. An economic recovery in the marine industry has helped them create steady growth, bringing jobs and opportunities to the communities along Florida’s Space Coast.

 

About ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plan):
“ESOP” is an acronym that stands for Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Technically, the Plan is operated or administered pursuant to a tax-exempt Trust, referred to as ESOT, Employee Stock Ownership Trust. Accordingly, the Plan is alternatively referred to as the ESOP or the ESOT.

The purpose of an ESOP is to enable employees to acquire beneficial ownership in their Company without having to invest their own money.

The Plan is also a tax-exempt entity for Federal and state corporate income tax purposes. This enables the Company to make cash and/or Company stock contributions to the Trust, which are used to acquire stock of the Company on behalf of its employees. The advantage of the ESOP is that employees are able to acquire this stock without paying a current income tax on the stock. Again, this results from the fact that the contribution is made entirely by the Company and is not taxed to employees personally as it is allocated. The advantage to the Company is that the ESOP makes pre-tax dollars available to finance Company growth and/or to create ownership liquidity at the time of retirement. Because employees are not taxed currently on the stock which is acquired for their benefit, they are able to acquire up to twice the amount of stock which they could acquire if a Trust arrangement were not used. That is, if shares of stock were issued to an employee by the Company, that employee would be taxed currently on the value of those shares. Also, if an employee buys stock directly from the Company or other shareholders, that employee is using “after-tax” funds rather than pre-tax dollars. The use of a Trust eliminates this tax problem since the Trust is not taxable and frees employees from income tax liability until the shares are distributed. 

The Oakland, California-based think tank National Center for Employee Ownership estimates that there are approximately 11,300 employee stock ownership plans for over 13 million employees in the United States. Notable U.S. employee-owned corporations include the 150,000 employee supermarket chain Publix Supermarkets, Hy-Vee, McCarthy Building Company, environmental consulting firm Citadel Environmental Services, Inc., the craft brewery New Belgium Brewery, and photography studio company Lifetouch. Today, most private U.S. companies that are operating as ESOPs are structured as S corporation ESOPs (S ESOPs).

 

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