Shawver family transfers Shawver Well ownership to ESOP

Previous owner to remain as board president

The founding family of one of Iowa's largest and oldest water well companies has transferred ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

Shawver Well of Fredericksburg is 75 years old, and employs 35 owner-stockholders at three different locations.

Company President Gary Shawver and his family transferred their stock ownership to the newly formed Shawver Well Employee Stock Ownership Plan, the company announced Monday.

The state of Iowa recently approved incentives to help companies considering conversion to ESOP ownership so that local ownership prevails when founding owners of a company are ready to transfer ownership.

Shawver Well General Manager and board Vice President Brad Kerr said Shawver Well did not use the incentives, although he agrees they are a good idea for the state.

"Gary Shawver has been running the company for 36 years," Kerr said. "We looked into it a year ago, and thought it would be a good way for Gary to sell the company and stay involved, and give something back to the employees who have contributed so much to the company's success."

Shawver will remain as president of the company's board, and lead the company's strategic growth plan.

"I know the Shawver ESOP is the best solution to leave our family legacy in locally owned, competent hands, and to build upon our growth and financial success for another 75 years and beyond," Shawver said.

The company drills and maintains wells within about 200 miles of Fredericksburg. It has locations in Fredericksburg, Waukon and Dyersville.

Shawver praised employees, noting that "they've worked right alongside my dad and me for the last 75 years to build this company into the success it is today."

Kerr will implement the company's strategic plan and oversee daily operations.

The company's services include installation of geothermal wells for efficient heating and cooling, and large wells for municipalities and commercial use.

The ESOP at Shawver Well was designed to work as a retirement supplement.

After a vested employee leaves the company, they receive an allocation of the value of their stock. The company plans to continue offering employees a 401(k) retirement plan in conjunction with the ESOP.Kerr said ESOPs give employees a stake in the success of the company and are performing financially better than the average 401(k) retirement plan. They are regulated by the federal government for employee protection.

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