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Korellis Roofing, one of the largest roofing contractors in Northwest Indiana, has gone from being a family affair to employee-owned.

The Korellis family has owned the Hammond-based company since 1960, but decided to sell the roofing contractor to about 30 employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan known as a ESOP. It was part of a succession plan that was plotted out during the past year.

"We are excited to share the success of Korellis Roofing and to reward our employees for helping us get into the forefront of the roofing industry," President and CEO Pete Korellis said. "Korellis Roofing is now owned by its employees. It will be difficult to ever sell to an 'outsider.'"

About 120 workers in field crews already are excluded because they already have pensions negotiated by their unions.

A growing number of Northwest Indiana employers have become employee-owned, including Urschel Laboratories Inc. in Chesterton; Von Tobel Corp., in Schererville and Valparaiso; Belstra Milling, in DeMotte; and Central States Manufacturing Inc., in Michigan City. Family-owned businesses often pursue ESOPs when there is no family successor to take over the business.

Korellis Roofing is now 100 percent employee-owned with no changes in management or the senior leadership. Pete Korellis intends to stay on as president and CEO for at least three more years, but no more than five years.

"Korellis Roofing's culture is much like a family – a high-performance family," Korellis said. "I think my father, George Korellis, would be very proud that the foundation he built is now affording this great career opportunity for many deserving employees."

The company built an onsite training center and storage buildings last year. It also is in the process of renovating 15,000 square feet of newly acquired office space.