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Morton Buildings, the fabrication and construction firm known for its metal-walled buildings named after the central Illinois home of its headquarters, plans an aggressive expansion in rural America following its transition to full employee ownership this week.

The roughly 1,700 employees at Morton Buildings officially became owners of the company Wednesday through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trust that preserves the company's business model and management structure.

"This ESOP transaction will have an overwhelmingly positive effect on the company by further strengthening the historical bond among our very capable and committed employees," said John Russell, president and CEO of Morton Buildings. "Full ownership will not only increase retirement security for our employee owners, but will also reinforce their commitment to our loyal customer base. Employee ownership stimulates enthusiasm and changes lives."

Brian Haraf, marketing manager at Morton Buildings, said the ESOP transaction also will allow the company to pursue additional opportunities for growth in the largely rural areas across the country where it now operates.

The company has 103 construction centers and eight manufacturing facilities in 43 states. There are more than 250 current job openings at those locations.

"We plan to grow aggressively," Haraf said. "We're looking to stay in rural America because we see so much potential there."


As seen in the Peoria Journal Star.