Exigo Corporation is an aerospace defense consulting firm offering enterprise and solution architecture, systems engineering, and project management. They primarily work with the United States Space Force assisting them with systems engineering for satellite command and control and just recently, launch. Exigo was established in 2016 and is based in Colorado Springs.
Exigo officially became an employee-owned business in 2021 through an employee stock ownership plan. Earlier this year, they completed their distribution paperwork and excitedly notified their employees of their specific shares.
“It was quite a bit of work to get there, but definitely worth it,” said Principal Systems Engineer, Tad McClurg.
The owners of Exigo were not new to the idea of ESOPs. From previous experience working with this employee-owned structure, there was already buy-in among the owners themselves. They believed in giving back to employees, understood the existing tax benefits, and ultimately decided that an 100% ESOP was a great fit.
“Joining a small company as an employee involves some risk, so they wanted to help pay back the employees that were initially here,” said McClurg. “And then, to reward and keep the culture moving for new employees coming on board.”
Keeping their culture was a big piece in pursuing an ESOP. Among many benefits, employee owners experience better work environments, personal investment in the future of the business, and higher quality of life. However, changes, even positive ones, can be confusing at first. To help instill an ownership mindset among employees, Exigo launched their ESOP communications committee, hosted quarterly meetings, and made sure the process was open, honest, and that employees understood that the ESOP was an added reward that would not change their other benefits.
Though Exigo is excited to now be hitting important ESOP milestones, Tad shared that if the business could do it again, they would have waited.
“If we knew there were going to be changes in some of the grant programs, we would have waited another year,” said Tad. “Having the state’s support is very helpful. And for companies that are even smaller than us, it may be an enabler for them to go through the process.”
Conversion expenses can be daunting for some small businesses. To help save money, the Colorado Employee Ownership Office launched the Employee Ownership Grant, which reimburses up to $3,000 of conversion costs, and the Employee Ownership Tax Credit, covering up to 50% of conversion costs on a business’ Colorado income taxes, up to $25,000 and $100,000.
Watch the video interview to learn more about Exigo’s journey to an ESOP. If your business is considering employee ownership, visit our webpage for information on programs, funding opportunities, and more.