Employee Ownership Foundation

Charting Your Own Future

"We understand that a well managed employee-owned company is not a destination, it is a journey..."

- J. Michael Keeling, President of The ESOP Association



Steve SheppardThe Foundation underwrites presentations to business owners who are prime candidates for establishing an ESOP as an exit strategy.  If you are interested in having the acclaimed orator and business leader Stephen C. Sheppard speak to your business group, please contact Gwenn Rosenthal at 202-293-2971. 

Stephen C Sheppard:  Steve Sheppard is the retired Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Foldcraft Co., a Kenyon, Minnesota manufacturer of seating, tables and related millwork found in restaurants, hotels and other hospitality settings. The Company also operates four subsidiary companies in California and elsewhere in Minnesota.

Sheppard graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and attended William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. He served in the Human Resources field for nearly 20 years, 16 of them with Foldcraft. His Human Resources service included establishment of programs that were innovative for their time, including an Employee Assistance Service in 1975, a Company Wellness Program in 1982, a voluntary drug-screening program in 1986, a nationally-recognized risk-rating program for health insurance premiums in 1989 and Cross- Boundaries, an educational travel program which sent employees to Third World countries for cultural awareness-raising.

Steve became the Company’s Chief Executive Officer in 1990, and served on the Foldcraft Co. Board of Directors as its Chairman for 16 years. During his leadership term, Foldcraft became 100% employee-owned and adopted a corporate culture oriented strongly toward employee involvement, open-book management and stewardship through servant leadership. The Foldcraft Foundation, a charitable foundation funded solely through the corporation, was created in 1998. The Company was an early participant in The Minnesota Keystone Program as a result of its practice of annually contributing 10% of pre-tax profits to charitable causes.

In 1993, the Company was recognized for having the Outstanding Employee-Owner in the nation, in 1996 and 1998 was recognized as the Outstanding Employee-Owned Company in Minnesota, and in 1998 was chosen as the Outstanding Employee-Owned Company in America. Foldcraft earned the national Corporate Conscience Award for Charitable Giving by The Council on Economic Priorities in 1993.

Foldcraft and its many innovative practices have been spotlighted on National Public Radio, in Tom Peters’ On Achieving Excellence, at professional conferences around the country, in management books and articles and in numerous local and national media features.

Steve has been a frequent speaker to companies and professional associations on the subjects of Foldcraft’s innovative programs and management approaches, employee-ownership, corporate culture, and leading organizations that are based upon positive values. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Winds of Peace Foundation, which supports Indigenous peoples, womens’ organizations and rural poor located primarily within Nicaragua.


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