Employee Owned

What does it mean to be employee owned? Austin Palmer founded Palmer Group in 1998, establishing a culture of trust, love, fun and passion, inspiring people to embrace this vision. When the decision was made in 2016 to become an employee-owned company, this opportunity combined the legacy of an ownership mentality with an ESOP structure. ESOP stands for Employee Stock Ownership Plan. When a business becomes an ESOP, employees have a personal stake in the business because they can now gain shares in that company. This can give employee owners a sense of empowerment and a shared vision of success.


As an employee-owned company, we have the ability to make lives better. We can provide a more promising financial retirement plan based on the success of our company. In doing so, we build an environment where our employee owners can collaborate, think strategically, and work toward a common goal. We do this by educating our people about the inner-workings of our ESOP plan through monthly company meetings, team-building activities, blogs, lunch-and-learns and regional conferences.

What is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan?

     By Brian Berry

If you type in “ESOP” on the internet, you will quickly find many ESOP plans.  This makes the implications of this benefit a little different from company to company. To provide clarity, we’ve created a simple comparison of a traditional 401k plan to a 401k plan with ESOP benefits.

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Advantages of Working for an ESOP

     By Sarah Assman

The first time I heard the news Palmer Group was going to become an ESOP company, I was unsure what to make of this change. I’ve since learned behind all of the financial intricacies, being part of an ESOP company is an invaluable asset and one that directly impacts and benefits me, my coworkers, and my company.

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A Snapshot of Palmer Group’s ESOP Benefit

     By Brian Berry

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) come in a variety of programs. The language and lingo for these programs can be a little complex. Instead of trying to explain and give examples of them all (which might make this topic even more overwhelming), we thought we would share a simple timeline of our own plan.

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Building a Culture of Employee Ownership

     By Jordan Dougherty

For Palmer Group, our journey of developing a positive company culture started with a vision. Austin Palmer believed in building a company with a purpose to make lives better. He did this by establishing the values of trust, love, fun, and passion. These values have laid the foundation for our leadership to foster a culture where all employees feel valued.

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What We Appreciate About Being Employee Owners

     By Kara Calease

The foundation and culture laid out for Palmer Group 21 years ago by our founder, Austin Palmer, has flourished. As an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company, our staff is now up to 70+ employees, and we are growing in our understanding of being employee-owned. We have a passion and love for our company.

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It is important to educate our people throughout our journey, but it’s equally important to have fun along the way. We work hard and we play hard. We have a culture that supports and celebrates each other, and we recognize the impact of combining personal and company successes. Success doesn’t have to be defined by a role; we provide our employee owners the opportunity to fulfill their passion and show gratitude by serving on various committees and teams. We observe each other’s strengths through monthly MVP votes based on living out our values and principles and share “making lives better” moments. Most importantly, you can find us making time for each other during team outings, service events in the community, team-building activities, our annual golf outing, team dinners, and nearly anything involving competition.


As we venture down this path of employee ownership, we see the impact of continuous education. After attending an ESOP conference in 2018, our leaders decided to establish a Communications Team. Their mission is to maintain a bridge with all employee owners by educating, celebrating and embracing a culture of employee ownership.

Brian Berry

Human Resources Manager

deidra dirth

Deidra Meyer


Jordan Dougherty


Joye Moore

Senior Recruiter

Kara Calease

Division Manager

Katie Klohs

Assistant to the President

Megan Culver

Senior Account Executive

Megan Kohler

Senior Account Executive

Sarah Assman

Senior Recruiter