West Coast tree company transitions to employee ownership

Logo: Arborwell
Logo: Arborwell

Arborwell transitioned to employee ownership by becoming a 100 percent Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Trust, on Jan. 1. The Hayward, Calif.-based tree care company’s 200 employees became beneficial owners through the ESOP.

Peter Sortwell, founder of Arborwell, views this as a natural step consistent with the firms’ recognition of employee contributions to the success of the company and his desire to share the rewards of that success.

“I acquired a very small residential operation in 2001, and in the years since our employees have been instrumental in driving not only tremendous growth but exceptional professionalism,” says Peter Sortwell, founder of Arborwell. “From a handful of residential accounts, Arborwell now serves many of the most recognizable commercial and multifamily property management companies throughout California and Washington state.”

Sortwell says an ESOP was the best choice for ownership transition that allowed employees to retain their current roles and responsibilities.

Andy LaVelle, President of Arborwell, believes the ESOP puts Arborwell in the best position to continue the company’s long-term commitment to its clients.

“Data consistently shows that ESOPs outperform their non-employee owned peers and that company growth accelerates,” says LaVelle. “The ESOP structure also encourages strong employee retention, which in turn improves our customer service – ultimately benefiting our clients.”

Marisa Palmieri

Marisa Palmieri

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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