“You want everyone to experience what it means to be an owner of their life and an owner of their company. What it means to be an owner in their community. What it means to make a difference. To engage. To learn. To grow.”
When Craig Danley and Richard Vance started their utilities and construction company, Delta Pipeline, they knew they wanted to run a business that provided more than just a paycheck for their employees.
From the beginning, Craig and Richard adopted an employee-first attitude. They provided profit sharing and leadership opportunities for employees, even creating a training program called Delta Pipeline University that mentors up-and-coming hires. And, every quarter, the pair hosted a recognition dinner to celebrate their employees’ successes.
So, after more than 25 years in business, EO seemed like the natural next step for their business. By 2017, Delta Pipeline became 100% employee-owned.
For Craig, transitioning to EO was a way to promote collaboration and learning at all levels of the company. “I can’t do what the pipelayer can do, and the pipelayer can’t do what the CEO can do. We need each other.”
Since becoming employee-owned, Craig believes that Delta Pipeline has gained important advantages over other businesses that are not employee-owned.
“There are various tax advantages for employee ownership that can give you a competitive edge,” said Craig. “In our situation, we pay state tax, but no federal tax. That’s definitely a competitive edge for whatever industry you’re in.”
Another benefit of the transition is Delta Pipeline’s ability to build their culture from the ground up, hiring team members—future owners—who see Delta Pipeline as a career and a lifestyle to invest in, rather than merely a job or retirement plan.
“We believe this culture produces good outcomes for the city, the county and the state. It’s very intentional, and it’s a part of our soul. It’s part of our conversations. It’s in every decision we make. It’s not about me, it’s about we. I think that’s what really sets us apart.”