Easling selling business to employees
December 18, 2019
By Daniel Fortune
Easling Construction founder and chief executive officer Marty Easling had a surprise for his employees at the company’s annual holiday party Saturday.
According to a press release from the Leland homebuilder, Marty Easling took the occasion to announce he is selling the company to his employees through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
“You are my family. I sold my company to you,” Marty Easling said to a crowd of the business’ nearly 100 employees, who responded with a roar of applause, hugs and tears of joy.
The transaction is being managed by Lazear Capital Partners (LCP), an investment banking firm that specializes in ESOP transactions. The firm was hired to ensure the sale met Marty Easling’s personal goals for the future of the organization.
LCP investment banker Jeremy Garrett said he has attended a lot of ESOP announcements but none like Easling Construction’s Saturday.
“This was the most magical one yet,” Garrett added. “You can tell people genuinely trust Marty and he is deeply admired by his employees and the community.”
Marty Easling said the ESOP sale both made financial sense and allowed himself to continue providing ongoing opportunities for his loyal team of employees.
“Over the past 44 years, we’ve enjoyed tremendous success, and the employees drove those results,” Marty Easling added.
He said the company’s maintenance division has grown by 800% since the 2008 economic recession, adding its shoreline-protection business has quadrupled in the past two years due to the high water levels of the region’s lakes.
Under its new ownership, Marty Easling said Easling Construction will continue providing the same exceptional level of quality work, adding he isn’t going anywhere — at least anytime soon.
“I love Leelanau County and want the best for my team, my clients and the economic health of the region that has been my home my entire life,” he added.
In comments to the Leelanau Enterprise Tuesday, Marty Easling said he plans to stay involved with the company for several more years to keep it on track during the transition.
“We have ongoing projects,” Marty Easling said, adding the ESOP sale allows the company to keep its business plan, as opposed to a new owner coming in and making changes. “It made sense. We have a lot of work at present and lined up at the future.”
Marty Easling said he’s at the age where he wants to start backing away, adding the ESOP plan allows himself to begin that process.
“It gives me a path that I can move toward retirement,” he added.
To read the original version of this story in the Leelanau Enterprise, please click here
Lazear Capital is a national leader in financial advisory, corporate finance, transaction opinions, and valuation services to mid-market companies. Lazear's approach centers on a strong local presence, community-based expertise, and relationships coupled with national resources and best practices.
If you are in Michigan and considering a sale or other ownership transition, allow us the opportunity to review your situation and provide thoughts on how to maximize value, all at no cost should you decide not to retain our services. Please contact Jeremy Garrett at email@example.com or 248.282.5587 if you would like to learn more about our services.