Employee Ownership

About Employee Ownership

Once Again Nut Butter is 100% employee-owned. We are a company with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP); however, we govern ourselves as a worker-owned cooperative. The biggest difference between a worker co-op and an ESOP is in the valuation of company stock. In our employee-owned company, all the employees are owners.

Democratically Managed

The employee-owners meet on a regular basis. All employee-owners have a vote on how the company is managed, and we govern ourselves. Each person gets one vote. Our company meetings are held to address the following: company policies, operational issues, and financial strategies. Committees are also formed to help resolve issues, which are subject to a final company vote (1 person = 1 vote). We have at least 3 employee-owners sitting on our Board of Directors.

Fair Compensation

The income that is generated in our business is distributed fairly. For example, a 4:1 compensation ratio of highest to lowest paid employees. Profit-sharing bonuses are distributed equally to all owners.


We are not hierarchical in our structure. The supply chain is flatter, and streamlined in the way that commodities are grown, purchased, and distributed. Products are produced with a higher level of integrity because the employees share ownership and they take pride in what they are producing.

Fair Trade

Our employee-owned company cares a great deal that our growers make a fair wage, so we engage in fair trade practices. We start co-ops in developing countries, helping to address issues of economic crisis and poverty. We also engage in domestic fair trade practices supporting small and rural farms, making sure that beekeepers receive a fair price for crops.

About Our ESOP

An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is an employee benefit plan that makes company owners of company employees. At Once Again, the workers-owners own 100% of the company. The shares of our company stock and other plan assets allocated to our accounts must vest before we are entitled to receive them. “Vesting” is a process whereby we become entitled to an increasing percentage of our accounts over time. We receive the vested portion of our accounts at termination, disability, death, or retirement. These distributions are made in a lump sum or in installments over a period of years. If we become disabled or die, our beneficiaries receive the vested portion of our ESOP accounts right away.

Mission/Vision Statements

• Our Vision: We will become a financially robust, emotionally fulfilling employee-owned company by 2019.
• Our Mission: We, the employee-owners of OANB, produce superior products for our customers. We are committed to sustainability and we spread integrity.
• Our Winning Proposition: We spread integrity.

External Members:

Martin Swauger – Training Director for Upstate Engineers. Martin is from Arkport, New York. He comes to Once Again with experience in Management, Safety, Human Resources, and Hazmat certification.

Deborah Olson – ESOP Attorney, Michigan, with over 30 years’ experience creating and advising employee-owned companies. She is the Executive Director of the Center for Community-Based Enterprise, Inc., which links entrepreneurs with underutilized resources.

James (Jim) Stenger – Certified Public Accountant. Jim graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He received his CPA license while working at Coopers & Lybrand, no PwC. He joined Lewis Tree Service in 2010 as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining Lewis, Jim held many successful positions: as CFO for Brinkman International Group, Inc., Vice President of Finance and CFO for Diamond Packaging, Inc., and Vice President and Treasurer for The Alling & Cory Company. In addition to the Lewis Board, Jim is a trustee on several IBEW Local Funds. He is a member of the ESOP Association and sits on the ESCA Leadership and Development Council as Vice Chairman. Jim has been a board director of the Rochester Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI) since 200f and is past president of the Chapter. He is active in the national FEI and has served on several Boards. Other current associations include AICPA, NYSSCPA, ISA and UAA. He served in the United States Navy and enjoys tennis and traveling.

Internal Board Members:

Scott Owens – employee-owner.

Roy Graham – employee-owner.

Brandon Underwood – employee-owner.


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