“They take pride in the company and in the work they do. I’ve seen employee-owners grow to a level that they might not have otherwise reached, had they not had the opportunity to be an owner.”
For over a decade, Marty Ruddy served as sole owner of Terra Firma, a Minnesota building and remodeling business that he started with a friend. To Marty, there was no greater joy than creating something with his own hands. That joy drove Terra Firma’s success, powering the business’s growth and driving client interest.
By 2010, Marty still loved to build, but had grown overwhelmed by the burdens of running a business on his own. He wanted more time to spend with his wife and kids without sacrificing the employees or principles that made his business special.
After reading about employee ownership (EO), the way forward seemed clear: it was time to transition Terra Firma to EO.
Marty worked with one of his employees to gather all the information they needed to pursue a successful transition. They approached the rest of the team with the idea and they agreed—as long as Marty stayed on as president.
Employee ownership has improved Marty’s business in more ways than one. In the eight years since, Terra Firma has doubled its annual revenue. And his workers are more invested than ever.
“They take pride in the company and in the work they do,” said Marty. “I’ve seen employee-owners grow to a level that they might not have otherwise reached, had they not had the opportunity to be an owner.”
Staying on as president through the transition has also allowed Marty to witness the growth in the people he works with every day.
“To see those students and apprentices grow into these fabulous carpenters and project managers is very rewarding,” said Marty. “There’s a great sense of satisfaction.”