CHASSE Building Team, an award-winning local general contractor with offices in Tempe and Tucson that oversees more than $425 million in construction projects across Arizona annually, announced last week that it has become a 100% employee-owned firm by launching an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The surprise announcement was made to employees during a companywide meeting at Sloan Park in Mesa on Dec. 2nd and was met with great enthusiasm.
“To preserve CHASSE’s culture, which since day one we shaped around the purpose of ‘building to make a difference…for our teammates, our clients and the local communities we serve,’ and our mission to be ‘built different, on purpose,’ when we made the decision, we also decided to call it our Teammate Stock Ownership Plan, or TSOP,” says founder and president Barry Chasse. “We want our employees to act and think like owners, and directly benefit from CHASSE’s continued success as participants in the TSOP.”
According to Chasse, who is both humbled and honored that he and his founding team have the opportunity to make such a monumental shift in the business.
“I founded CHASSE in 2007, just months before the greatest recession in my lifetime gripped the entire nation, particularly those of us in real estate and construction,” says Chasse. “Through relationships, diligence and talent, we persisted. To be where we are today, however, is something even I didn’t expect.”
Over the past 14 years, CHASSE has grown from a handful of team members to more than 200, and today oversees more than $425 million in client engagements – all in Arizona – each year. Hyper-client focused, their work includes both new construction and renovations in a variety of markets, including K-12 education, higher education, multi-family, municipal, commercial, healthcare, and nonprofit.
“I always wanted to put the best long-term ownership structure in place that sets CHASSE up with the best possible runway for the future. Team is in our name for a reason,” says Chasse, adding that when researching the option to move to the model, he found that according to Social Security, seven out of 10 U.S. employees say they would prefer to work for an employee-owned company and that according to Rutgers University that companies with this model tend to grow faster than comparable conventional models.
The move to TSOP does not change the management structure of the privately owned firm. Chasse, a life member of the Arizona Builder’s Alliance as well as a Most Admired Leaders honoree and proud Sun Devil 100 recipient, is enthusiastic about continuing to lead the now teammate-owned enterprise. The plan, which allows employees to earn stock in the firm, is designed as a long-term retirement benefit for all employees as owners. Under the plan, all eligible employees will earn a yearly allocation of stock and their value will increase as the value of the firm increases along with all other benefits already in place at the multi-year Most Admired Company winner, Phoenix Best Places to Work honoree and 2020 Tempe Business of the Year.
CHASSE is currently hiring at all levels. In addition to being TSOP, the firm invests significantly in its teammates by providing continuing education, competitive compensation and benefits, career advancement, volunteerism and board participation opportunities and flexible schedules to allow for work-life balance.