GRAND RAPIDS — One of the largest staffing and HR consulting firms in the region has been sold to employees through an employee stock ownership plan.
Axios Inc. announced the ESOP transaction earlier today, though it actually became effective over the summer. The move to an ESOP will make about 70 to 80 corporate employees the 100-percent owners of the 25-year old firm, which began as a supplier of temporary staffing to area manufacturers and service companies. An ESOP Is a defined benefit contribution plan similar to a 401-k, except that employees do not make contributions. Shares are given to an employee and held in trust until he or she leaves the company.
Running Axios as an employee-owned company is "a very good cultural fit,” said Dan Barcheski, founder and CEO of Axios. "We've always operated as an open-book company with shared financials and strategic decisions. Everything we do is open and transparent, so it makes sense for us to (transition ownership) of the company this way."
Barcheski will stay on as CEO of Axios, as will the rest of the executive team including President Kellie Haines and Ann Hayes, vice president of operations for the company.
Founded in 1988 as Staffing Inc., the firm has expanded beyond its roots as a supplier of temporary workers to companies and venues such as Van Andel Arena and Fifth Third Ballpark. In 1999, it re-branded itself with the Axios moniker to better reflect its expanded capabilities as a supplier of human resources services, including payroll and benefits administration, corporate recruitment, employee screening and other HR management services. Today, it operates Staffing Inc., Office Staffing and Axios HRS as divisions of the company.Axios co-employed nearly 2,500 full-time and 4,000 part-time people, making it one of the largest privately held employers in the West Michigan region. The company, which reported sales of $110 million in 2011, does business in 14 states, with the majority of its revenue generated in Michigan.