Morrico Equipment shifts to employment-shared ownership structur - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Morrico Equipment shifts to employment-shared ownership structure

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 5:20 PM Updated:

Longtime equipment sales, rental and service company Morrico Equipment is now under new ownership. But not in the typical way, as company president Allan Morrison explains, saying, "The three founding partners decided to involve the employees in company ownership, to reward the employees, but also looking forward to the military buildup we need new employees, we need to attract new employees for Morrico Equipment and so we that that one of the biggest attractions would be an employee owned company, and that's what Morrico is now, an employee-owned company."

Morrison says it was a rather complicated process that required the help of experts, stating, "An ESOP, is an employee-shared ownership plan. And the employees receive shares of the company simply by working and time in the company. The longer they stay here, the bigger the share they receive when they retire. So very simply, that is an ESOP. The document is about two inches thick, and there are a lot of rules and regulations. We are the second ESOP on Guam that we know of, but we are the only ESOP employee-owned company involved in the equipment, sales and service and rental on Guam."

The announcement was made at a company function on April 1, and a consultant was brought in to help explain it to employees. Morrison says, "This process will take six months or longer possibly to fully absorb the implications of an ESOP for the individual employee, but when they work out what they gain benefit simply by doing their job, hopefully the characteristics of owning the company changes the employee attitude. Hey this is my company now, I'll pick that trash up, I'll do that. Can I help that customer. And they understand if they connect the dots."

Morrison hopes it will both inspire current employees, and attract new workers as they expand the business in step with the multi-billion dollar military buildup.  Establishing an ESOP is also a commitment to the company's future growth. "There's approximately 10,000 ESOP companies in the US, and about $1.3 trillion worth of investment is involved in those companies.  There's a process that you need to communicate to your employees, and that process never stops. It continues the whole life of a company as an ESOP and it's the biggest challenge of an ESOP, you now have to say right out, you're not an employee now, you're an owner. However, nothing really changes in the management of the company we're all still here, and we all still do our same jobs," he said.

A native of Australia, Morrison started the company some 28 years ago. "In those days, there was direct flights from Brisbane Australia overnight, and I sold a starter motor to a construction company at lunch at the Hilton hotel on the first day that I was here. I came over for property and realized I didn't have any money, and sold a starter motor by 12:00 that day. I flew it in the next day and Morrico was born. That's how it started," he remembered.

He and his wife started the company by working out of their Tumon apartment.  They were joined a short time later by his brother Ross, and in 2000, by another partner, Torgun Smith.  The company has grown to a staff of 55, and is the exclusive dealer for 23 different manufacturers.

He said, "Guam's a wonderful place to live. It's a tropical environment - we love the outdoors, we love the water, we love diving, surfing, we love rugby, everybody loves rugby, it's close to Japan, it's close to Hong Kong. It's a terrific community so. Everyone at Morrico has lived here, and we love Guam!"

This month, we catch up with a woman not only plays a valuable role in Guam's tourism industry, but doubles as a coach for the Special Olympics.

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