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PTL employees become owners; Waller sells 100 percent of stock through ESOP

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Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 7:00 am

Paschall Truck Lines Inc. President and CEO Randall A. Waller announced Tuesday night that he is selling 100 percent of his stock in the company to the company’s employees.

Waller made his announcement in front of employees and officials with the Murray-based company at a packed Curris Center Ballroom on the Murray State University campus.

“This has solved several problems,” Waller said, noting that the move helps satisfy an “exit plan” for the leadership portion of his time with the company he purchased from L.W. Paschall nearly 40 years ago. Paschall’s wife, Mary Frank, was in attendance, along with his daughter, Janice Nix, who both reside in Murray.

“In talking with other companies, one of the main things they wanted to do was do away with the corporate headquarters in Murray, Kentucky,” Waller said. “That was not an option.

“I’m an employee now. I’ve got a long-term contract with the idea being to build growth and build equity for the employees in this room and their families.”

Waller’s stock sale is made possible through what is known as an Employment Stock Ownership Plan, a method several companies have undertaken the past several years. Sandra Robbins, an accounts receivable collector at PTL, said employee ownership was the last thing she was expecting to hear transpire when she went to the Curris Center Tuesday.

“We heard that something was going to happen on Thursday but nobody knew what it was. Really, a lot of us thought it might have to do with ‘Undercover Boss,’” Robbins said, referring to the popular CBS reality show show in which the head of a company disguises himself as an employee and sees the everyday operations of that company from the employees’ perspective.

“I was expecting nothing like this! I’m ecstatic. I’m so excited because this creates so many opportunities.”

Alex Moss, an ESOP communication consultant from Philadelphia, Pa., told the crowd that this maneuver puts them in position to at least have a better opportunity at achieving a worthwhile retirement fund.

“You’re going to have to work for it, though,” Moss advised, noting that there are a lot of rules involved to the process. “That process takes about an hour-and-a-half, though, to go through. I’m not going to give that to you tonight. We’ve got a lot of advisors involved and you will get to know them over time. This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon.

“With this, though, we don’t have a better way to keep companies in our communities than this. All I have to say to tell you about how different this is are two words that you know well here ... ‘Fisher Price.’”

Moss was referring to the Fisher Price (later Mattel) plant that was in Murray for several years before closing in the 1990s. Under ESOP, the chances increase to keep a company in its present location.

“The people who can have the most effect with this is you, as employees,” said attorney Steve Smith of Indianapolis, Ind., who handles numerous ESOP cases. “It takes a special man, though, to want the employees to own it. The majority of owners want to sell their companies and that leads to lots of uncertainty and problems.”

PTL currently has 1,384 employees between its facilities in Murray, Franklin, Tenn., West Memphis, Ark., Indianapolis, El Paso, Texas, Brownsville, Texas and Laredo, Texas. Waller said in his first year since purchasing the company from L.W. Paschall, the company amassed about $1 million. He said Tuesday that the company had generated $221 million.

In addition, Tuesday’s event was aired on a company-wide webcast from the Curris Center.

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