At the beginning of July, Connect Yorkshire member Airmaster based at Swallownest, South Yorkshire transitioned to be owned by the employees, establishing an Employee Ownership Trust.
Founder, Richard Pogson and Director, Tony England were looking to realise some of their investment. The directors spent a considerable amount of time evaluating how best to ensure their successful firm continues to thrive and expand, when the time comes for them to exit the Company, and the decision to transform the business was taken. The solution was to create an Employee Ownership Trust. This is where the directors sell a majority share of the business and employees take a controlling interest.
Lisa Pogson, Managing Director said “Airmaster is a family-feel business with a close-knit team, the ethos of Employee Ownership was already there. We are delighted to become an Employee Ownership Trust and reward the staff for their commitment to the company. We have seen the success of other employee-owned businesses locally; established ones such as Gripple, who I visited as part of a Connect Yorkshire springboard session and Karen Mosley and HLM Architects, who transitioned 6 months before Airmaster. We spoke to a number of others that had been through the process, as well as the South Yorkshire Ownership Hub (part of the South Yorkshire LEP) and The Employee Ownership Association, throughout the process, to get the best outcome for our team.”
Gareth Campbell, Contracts Director said, “We are going through a phase of growth with lots of exciting opportunities; this gives us a great foundation to continue to grow the business whilst giving something back to the team that make that possible.”
The Board consists of Chairman, Tony England; Managing Director, Lisa Pogson; Contracts Director, Gareth Campbell; supported by a great Senior Management team such as Senior Contracts Manager Ross Blackwood and Finance Manager Andy Benson, looking to grow and evolve, with the rest of the staff, growing the business that has gone from strength to strength for almost 30 years!
Richard and Tony said “We were made aware of the different types of EOT schemes, some of which include a financial commitment from the staff. However, it was important, to us that our employees would benefit from the scheme without incurring any financial burden.”
The Board of Trustees has an independent Chair, corporate finance specialist Margaret Ferris, Founder and former Director, Richard Pogson joins the Board of Trustees alongside Design Engineer, James Dawson who represents the employees on the Board.
Steve Vickers of Hart Shaw accountants and Matt Ainsworth of Knights Solicitors advised the Directors on the deal.
Margaret Ferris, Chair of Trustees said “I’m delighted to be involved with Airmaster, a company I have known for a number of years. The Employee Ownership Trust feels to be a really positive step for the culture of the business and into the next exciting of the company’s development. I look forward to going on this journey with them.”
South Yorkshire LEP are the first to become an Ownership Hub regional partner, encouraging and supporting employee and worker ownership in the region. They are working with Co-operatives UK and the Employee Ownership Association to raise awareness, develop training, deliver advice and expertise to create resilient and inclusive businesses that give employees a stake and a say.