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Construction Genius

Sep 28, 2021

What does it take to execute an ESOP successfully? 


To get a clear perspective about this topic, I talk with Herb Sargent, the President and CEO of an ESOP, Sargent Corporation, a construction company based in Maine. This podcast addresses some of the following essential points:


  • the importance of distinguishing your runway for ownership transition and management or leadership transition to execute an ESOP successfully;
  • the importance of identifying the why and why Herb’s “why” is unique;
  • how you go about the process of exploring an Aesop and why understanding the mechanics of an ESOP is essential;
  • identifying a mentor in your particular construction vertical so that you can look at the pros and cons of an ESOP structure

I believe this episode will significantly benefit those interested in the mechanics in the implementation of an ESOP in their construction companies. Tune in to this today!  


Discussion Points:

0:00 Introduction 

3:55 Herb Sargent’s background and how he got into ESOP 

6:09 Options when you decide to get out of construction 

6:51 Herb’s emotional response to the sale of H.E. Sargent 

8:17 How the sale of H.E. Sargent influenced Herb’s future decisions 

9:18 Herb’s experience starting his own company 

10:14 Why Herb bought back H.E. Sargent 

12:49 The motivation behind purchasing H.E. Sargent 

14:29 The decision to do ESOP 

16:10 Separating the ownership transition from the management transition 

17:16 Ensuring smooth turnover  

18:15 Where Herb found models and mentors for the ESOP transition 

19:36 How employees can start buying into the ESOP 

23:09 ESOPs struggle when owners just want to make money 

25:36 How seasonality of the business affect people’s ability to build value in the ESOP

28:51 Starting an internal podcast 

30:45 Communicating the ESOP life to employees 

31:30 Initial steps to take if you’re considering ESOP 

35:37 Working hard to build credibility with your crew 

35:52 Herb’s journey in finding the next CEO of his company 

37:59 BONUS: Herb’s restaurant recommendation in Stillwater, Maine 


About the Guest: 

Herb Sargent is the President and CEO of Sargent Corporation. It is an employee-owned earthwork construction company that traces its beginning to 1926 in Alton, Maine. They have nearly 400 employees working in seven states, specializing in commercial, industrial, and institutional site preparation, landfill construction, utility projects, airports, athletic facilities, and wind power access. 




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