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PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Harrell Remodeling, Inc., a leading design and build remodeling firm headquartered in Palo Alto, CA has earned the accreditation of being named a "certified employee-owned" business by San Francisco-based Certified EO, announced Ciro Giammona, CEO of Harrell Remodeling.
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"Harrell Remodeling is a 100 percent employee-owned firm. To be recognized as a successful and dedicated employee-owned business is a very important distinction not only for our 36 employee-owners, but also for our many Bay Area remodeling clients who value working with Harrell Remodeling and appreciate our focus on creating a sustainable business model where everyone in the company is an owner. Becoming certified by Certified EO is a huge recognition of our commitment to that principle," said Giammona.

Harrell Remodeling created its Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) in 2001 as a method to allow their staff to garner ownership shares through company contributions, with no out-of-pocket expense to the employees. In addition, many business experts believe the ESOP is one of the best strategies to extend the legacy of a firm by broadening the ownership structure.

"When ESOPs started, they were designed for manufacturing firms, but as our economy transitions into a service-based economy, ESOPs fit really well within industries like remodeling," says John Menke, President and CEO of San Francisco based Menke Group, one of the oldest ESOP advisory firms in the nation. "At a time when so much of our nation's wealth is concentrated among so few, the ESOP is one of the best ways to reverse this trend," adds Menke who co-authored the original ESOP legislation.

According to Giammona, the Certified EO designation is also relevant to the firm's Bay Area clients who recognize the significance of being employee-owned, and value detailed craftsmanship that is performed by skilled professionals who also are the face of ownership.

"There is also something else that happens internally with an employee-owned company. There is a dedication to success, and as a result each member of our team works with a higher ideal," said Giammona.

To become certified by Certified EO, employee-owned companies must first complete a detailed questionnaire that covers all aspects of the firm's ownership structure. After that a series of interviews take place, followed by a thorough audit of the company's legal paperwork and trust documents.

Obviously, becoming a certified employee-owned company is no small task, but the accomplishment is quickly becoming a mark of distinction throughout the United States.

"It is a rigorous process. We really get into the guts of the process because that's where we see the value of our certification," said Certified EO's Co-Founder Thomas Dudley. "When you see a 'USDA Organic' sticker, that means that a qualified third-party went to the farm and spent the time to thoroughly look at their organic protocols and how they were implementing them. That's what we are doing for the ownership of companies."

According to Dudley, a Ph.D. student in Organizational Behavior from Stanford University, his company performed studies that demonstrate there was a 35 percent more likelihood of consumers patronizing an employee-owned firm than that of a sole proprietor or publicly owned company.