Employees Become Owners of Local Manufacturer

Project Overview

When Paper Machinery Corporation sought to implement an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, it knew there was a great opportunity to celebrate and empower employees – and that a strategic communications rollout strategy would set the tone.

The Challenge

Headquartered in Milwaukee, Paper Machinery Corporation (PMC) is the world’s leading producer of cup and container forming machinery. When longtime owner Donald Baumgartner started planning his ownership and leadership transition, he decided he wanted his employees to be the next owners of the company. PMC engaged Mueller Communications to handle the announcement. The company sought to highlight its commitment to the local community, and its local employees, through the implementation of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that would make the company 100 percent employee-owned.

The Solution

Mueller Communications developed and implemented a comprehensive communications strategy designed to foster confidence among employees and customers by providing proactive, open and honest communications throughout the transition.

Mueller Communications ensured PMC employees, their families, and current and prospective clients were informed and engaged throughout the transition. Thanks to a carefully crafted outreach timeline, employees and, shortly thereafter, customers, were the first to learn about the transition. The public facing effort launched with an employee celebration where the current owner surprised employees with the announcement of the transition to employee ownership. The company was lauded for the way it handled the transition.

Mueller also coordinated a significant media outreach campaign to celebrate PMC’s history in and continued commitment to Milwaukee and position the company as a successful and innovative Wisconsin business.

The Results

As a result of Mueller’s outreach, PMC’s story was told in every major Milwaukee area publication, as well as in numerous broadcast outlets. Front page Milwaukee Journal Sentinel coverage helped the story reach the national level, with additional national coverage in USA Today and throughout the Gannett USA network. The publicity also led to numerous recognition and award opportunities for the company.