Green Bay, Wis. (January 13, 2015) – Vehicle Security Innovators (VSI), the global leader in locking security products designed to protect the freight and cargo industry, announced today that the company has transferred 100% ownership of the company and its subsidiaries to its employees. The subsidiaries include VSI Lock & Key Solutions, Pop & Lock, Freight Defense, Simply Keys and Handi-Man Marine. The sale became effective on December 18, 2014.
VSI’s ownership transfer was conducted through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP. An ESOP is a qualified retirement plan that buys, holds and sells company stock for the benefit of the employees, providing them with an ownership stake in the company. The company’s current management team will remain in place and no changes to the organizational structure related to this sale are anticipated. As VSI’s strong growth continues, the company is actively hiring qualified talent for its world-class team.
VSI’s President, Bob Arnold, said the sale is intended to reward employees for their role in the company’s success and to enhance its long-term performance. “The success of the VSI Companies has been built with the hearts, heads and hands of our employees. It is only right that they should share in this success. They’ll serve as a catalyst for continued improvements and a driving force, focused on exceeding customer expectations every day,” Arnold said.
According to The Employee Ownership Foundation’s 23rd Annual ESOP Economic Performance Survey, the majority of ESOP companies showed increases in productivity, revenue, stock value and profitability, all of which benefit employees.
ESOP Partners, an ESOP consulting and administration firm in Appleton, Wis., assisted with the sale and will continue to work with the company as an ESOP consultant and third party administrator.
About Vehicle Security Innovators (VSI)
VSI has been an industry leader in lock and key services for more than 50 years. Founded in 1948 offering lock and key services in the locksmith industry, VSI began production for automotive and truck locks in 1989 and in 2004 became the primary supplier of vehicle locks to the North American Heavy Truck market.
Today VSI’s Lock & Key Solutions division designs, produces and sells locks and truck security products to all major domestic truck manufacturers and their international affiliates for production and aftermarket. VSI also supports truck fleets and manufacturers of construction equipment, tool boxes, handles, and latches. In 2011, VSI acquired Pop & Lock LLC, the global leader of manual and powered tailgate locks designed for pick-up trucks. In 2012, VSI acquired Simply Keys, a leader in key replacement services. In 2013, VSI acquired Freight Defense, a leading supplier of heavy-duty truck and trailer security products. In 2014, VSI acquired Handyman Marine LLC, a leading supplier of stainless steel fasteners and accessories to the marine industry.
VSI recently was highlighted by the Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest growing private companies in America.
According to The ESOP Association, there are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., covering approximately 10.3 million employees – roughly 10% of the private sector workforce. Research suggests that ESOP companies grow faster than their non-ESOP counterparts, and that their employees have more sustainable employment, increased job satisfaction, and greater organizational commitment.