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Anderson sells to employees through ESOP

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Employees of Anderson Engineering now own their own piece of the company.

James S. Anderson, chairman of the board of Anderson Engineering, is retiring and selling the majority interest in the company to its employees through an employee stock ownership plan, said Steve Brady, president of Anderson Engineering.

June 19 the employees of the company became the majority owners of Anderson Engineering. Brady and Bruce Rhodes, who is executive vice president, are also stockholders in the company, Brady said.

Once the shares have all been purchased, they will be distributed to all eligible employees, Brady said.

Currently, 30 of the 43 employees who work for Anderson are eligible for the program.

Anderson Engineering's main office is in Springfield, but it also has offices in Fort Leonard Wood and Joplin.

The company is a civil engineering, materials-testing, drilling and surveying firm. Eight of its employees are in the Joplin office, six are in Fort Leonard Wood and 29 are in Springfield, Brady said.

The company has been in existence in Springfield since 1954.

Anderson will resign as chairman of the board once the stock purchase by employees is complete, and employees will be represented on the board of directors, Brady said.

Brady said that, other than the changes to the board, there should be no immediate operational changes. The officers, in addition to Brady and Rhodes, are Michael D. Gray, vice president, and Larry E. Davis, vice president. The officers will remain, Brady said.

Anderson Engineering's involvement in the development of a site continues throughout the construction process, Brady said.

Materials testing is a major portion of the company's business and involves testing materials at the construction site.

"We test soil, making sure it is compacted properly, and we test concrete, to ensure it has the specified properties," Brady said.

The company's drilling services allow it to perform soil explorations for site development and foundation-design recommendations.

Another major portion of the company's work is surveying. Anderson Engineering has ongoing survey work

with City Utilities and the city of Springfield.

Though the four service areas the company provides are not unique, it is unique that the four are combined in one company, Brady said.

"I don't know of any other firm in the area that performs all four of these services," Brady said.

The company has had its office in Joplin since 1982 and opened the Fort Leonard Wood office about a year ago, Brady said.

Anderson Engineering has worked on some large construction projects in Springfield, including its two Wal-Mart supercenters and the recently completed Price Cutter store at Grand and Kansas Expressway, Brady said.

The ESOP was the best way to allow Anderson Engineering's employees to share ownership in the company, Brady said.

"This is a long-term investment for them. They're invested in the company, and we hope that gives them a great sense of pride. They're very excited about this new period in the company's life," Brady said.

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