After owning and running DACO Precision Tool for more than 30 years, co-founders Randy Weber and Lloyd Kanzenback decided the best way to move forward was to give the company to the employees. As of July 2017, the company has been 100 percent employee-owned, giving the 50 employees benefits that are no longer commonly received. The ownership comes in the form of an employee stock ownership plan.
An ESOP can work like a trust fund in which it contributes new shares of its own stock or cash to buy existing shares. At DACO, any full-time employee is granted shares General Manager Austin Weber said the only way to get shares in the company is to be a full-time employee.Co-founder and President Randy Weber said, “It’s something we can offer compared to other companies.”
DACO designs and builds different types of tooling, and does production stampings and machining. More specifically, their services include plastic injection tooling, the creation of brackets and washers, CNC vertical milling and much more. The decision to move the company in this direction came after Kanzenback and Randy Weber nearly sold DACO to a third party. There were concerns that family ownership could become difficult as more family members of each owner joined the company.
Neither owner wanted to be in a position where they might not be able to come back, Randy said. And though the employees now own the company, have advanced benefits and have more reason to buy into the company, the structure of DACO remains the same. The company had already taken steps toward creating an open and transparent culture with the company and employees put first. Austin said, “They (Randy and Kanzenback) have always reinvested in the company.”
Prior to employee ownership, DACO sought to have employees think like owners for the past six years and had a profit-sharing program. Austin said this leads to employees avoiding mistakes, working together and taking care of customers.
Both Webers found this culture has grown since the company became employee owned. And since the change, revenue is up more than 35 percent, eight employees were brought on and the company brought in at least four new significant clients. “It’s money and opportunity in everyone’s pocket at the end of the day,” Austin said. DACO was founded in 1984 and got its start in Barton. The company moved to West Bend in 1988 and, after many years and several additions, made the move to Kewaskum in 2006.