Founded in 1984, Astro Machine Works has served the needs of local and national companies looking for custom machinery and precision parts.

We have accomplished this goal through our vision, which means carefully selecting our partners and implementing a meticulous, all-encompassing approach that creates exceptional value. Our commitment netted us an excellent reputation, which we have continued to cultivate throughout the years.

We make every decision by contemplating how it will advance our progress, which is why we decided to adopt an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 2018. This new approach will grant the most integral part of our operation, our dedicated team members, full transparency into the company’s operations and create a culture of shared success.

What Is an ESOP?

An ESOP grants a variety of advantages for all of those involved. They started gaining traction in the late 1970s, and now it is estimated that more than 6,600 different plans covering 14 million people exist across the United States. Companies with ESOPs in Pennsylvania and beyond consistently make up more than half of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” list.

So what exactly is an ESOP? It is a qualified retirement plan that is meant to generate significant long-term benefits and enables team members to own part of the company they work for. Individual team members accumulate shares in their retirement accounts over time and they cash in those shares when they retire or leave. They are often implemented as a succession-planning tool that also rewards employees for the hard work they have invested in the company.

We have consistently demonstrated throughout our existence that we take great pride in our team members by offering them access to top-tier training and facilities. It has worked to great effect, as our inaugural team members remain with us and our turnover is well below industry standards.

As President and CEO Eric Blow said, “This will have a very positive impact on the company and further strengthen the already outstanding loyalty and camaraderie among our team members. We have enjoyed very high employee engagement and low, single-digit turnover, but complete employee ownership will raise the bar once again and only strengthen their commitment and appreciation for our growing customer base.”

Long-Term Benefits

With America’s renewed focus on promoting and supporting local businesses, ESOPs take a big step in helping with that process. When owners decide to put their shares into an ESOP, they are helping to create a work environment that promotes longevity and growth. Companies that are sold to competitors often part ways with employees to restructure the organization, which cannot happen when you transfer power to the workforce.

Since an ESOP transfers stock directly into team member’s accounts through a contribution by the company, the team members receive this benefit without any cost. By consistently reinforcing these benefits and building an ownership culture, studies have shown that Pennsylvania ESOP companies grow 6% to 11% percent faster than their competitors.

What started out as a small machine builder out of Ephrata, Pennsylvania over 30 years ago, has grown into an industry leader. This new chapter will continue that upward trend while maintaining the values that built our success.