Happy Arbor Day from T&H Employee-Owners!

April 28 is Arbor Day and National Planting Day in the United States, and two of our ESOP Committees — the Wellness and Green Committees — joined forces to host a planting event for our employee-owners. Studies have shown that plants are proven to enhance the workplace by reducing stress, increasing productivity, reducing sickness and absence, creating a better environment in which to work, improving air quality, reducing noise, and increasing creativity.

Employee-owners from the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine offices participated in the event, which happened to be a gorgeous, sunny day throughout New England. Everyone enjoyed the activity, had a lot of laughs, and brought their plants back to their workspaces to brighten things up. In the spirit of cooperation and teamwork, several of our employee-owners planted for those who were out of the office and unable to attend. Overall, the event was a fun way to enjoy some sunshine and good company, and to improve our workspace and environment.

Happy Arbor Day!

The CT office had plenty of laughs while planting

Nan Nanadoum from our CT office
MA office employee-owners pose with their masterpieces
The Marlborough, MA office did their planting outside
The Massachusetts crew got to work
Collin Stuart from our Maine office
Maine’s finished plants!
Paul Cote from our Maine office

Tata & Howard Celebrates 25 Years in Business

TH 25-22017 marks Tata & Howard’s 25th anniversary year, and in celebration, we are planning a year-worth of activities and special events. Tata & Howard’s doors were officially opened on October 19, 1992 by Don Tata and Paul Howard, who remain active in the firm as Chief Executive Officer and Senior Vice President, respectively, today. Initially a two-person startup, the firm has grown to over 65 employees with nine offices in seven states. And while our services and experience have expanded exponentially since 1992, we remain a niche water firm with deep, targeted expertise in the water environment.

Throughout our 25 years in business, quite a bit has changed, including regulatory requirements, supply and demand, treatment technologies, climate change, and the face of our nation’s workforce. At a company level, we have moved our corporate headquarters, expanded nationally, rolled out a new logo, converted to a 100% ESOP, hired nationally recognized subject matter experts, appointed several vice presidents and two co-presidents, and weathered the effects of the retiring generation of Baby Boomers. However, one thing has not changed since our inception: our core values. Efficient solutions, integrity, client satisfaction, teamwork, and positive attitude have formed our cornerstone for the past 25 years, and will continue to steer the company, our people, and our decisions as we continue to grow with and into the future.

teamwork-esopAs part of our year-long celebration, we will be implementing several initiatives that focus on our core values and our ESOP culture. We have planned monthly activities including numerous philanthropic initiatives, client-centric special events, the planting of a time capsule, the implementation of an annual scholarship, and assorted team-focused activities. All of our planned events will be based on at least one of our core values and will celebrate the positive team environment that exemplifies Tata & Howard.

We look forward to celebrating our silver anniversary with all of our clients, colleagues, family, and friends. Keep your eyes on your inbox for special invitations and news announcements – and if you haven’t joined our email list, you may click below to sign up. Our goal is to make our 25th anniversary year an event to remember, and one that celebrates not only our company, clients, and employee-owners, but also the core values that lay the foundation on which the firm was founded — and on which the firm continues to thrive, both now and in the future.

Celebrating the Holidays Through Giving

The Holiday season means many different things for people. Whether it’s getting everyone the perfect gift, spending time with family, or preparing favorite foods for friends, the holidays are a time of giving. Our family here at Tata & Howard takes holiday giving to heart. We understand how important philanthropy is to both our local and global community. For this special time of year, we are looking at some of the most charitable and full-hearted organizations we’ve had the honor to support.

DARE Family Services

T&H’s holiday DARE Giving Tree

Since 1964, DARE Family Services has been committed to improving the lives of children who have been abused or neglected. By providing a family-based setting, they give children the opportunity to recover and live healthy, happy lives. Every holiday season, DARE Family Services reaches out to communities for gift donations to help kids experience a memorable holiday – in many cases, for the first time in their lives. At Tata & Howard, our employee-owners take DARE’s mission to heart and bring gifts to put under our DARE Giving Tree for children in need. Fortunately, we are one of many organizations and individuals who support DARE and their determination to better the lives of disadvantaged and neglected children. They help thousands of kids every year and we thank them for their generosity.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

T&H’s Heidi White raised over $3,000 for DFCI this fall through their “Run Any Race” program.”

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, along with the Jimmy Fund, is home to groundbreaking cancer discoveries. They are one of the greatest examples of a philanthropic organization working for a worthy cause – curing cancer. There are seemingly endless ways Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund raise money and resources to give hope to families affected by cancer, especially during the holidays. Tata & Howard is a proud supporter of Dana-Farber and donated $5,300 towards cancer research this past November, and donated another $1,500 this week in lieu of sending printed holiday cards to clients and friends. Some of our employee-owners are doing their own part to help them out as well. Our Marketing Communications Manager Heidi White participated in their “Run Any Race” program and raised over $3,000 by running Ragnar’s Reach the Beach in New Hampshire this past September. Also, T&H Engineer Molly Coughlin is currently training for the 2017 Boston Marathon to raise money for Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. Her personal goal is to raise $15,850 and we are all cheering her on. Go Molly!

Water For Peoplepict_grid7

Over 1.8 billion people globally lack access to safe drinking water, and Water For People is looking to change that by committing to provide long-lasting water and sanitation infrastructure for communities in need. They operate in nine countries and have helped over four million people live better lives by providing access to clean water. To make this happen, Water For People works with communities, governments, and business owners to ensure reliable, safe water for future generations. In support of their passion for clean water, many employee-owners at Tata & Howard contribute to Water For People through automatic bi-weekly payroll deductions, which Tata & Howard matches dollar for dollar. In this way, we are able to do our part to realize Water For People’s mission of clean water for everyone, forever.

The Navajo Water Project

This man keeps his water in barrels by his outhouse. Water and sanitation always go hand in hand. About 40% of Navajo don’t have a sink or a toilet at home. Courtesy of navajowaterproject.org.

Speaking of clean water for everyone, the Navajo Water Project is an amazing organization that seeks to solve a little-known water problem. Of the nearly 200,000 Navajo population right here in America, 40% do not have running water – which has created a cycle of poverty that limits health, education, and economic security. As a subsidiary of DIGDEEP and primarily funded through private donors, the Navajo Water Project works with communities in Navajo Nation to install systems that bring running water and electricity into homes. The water is delivered via truck and safely stored in large cisterns, from which it is pumped into a sink and shower inside the home. The organization also installs solar energy systems to power the pumps and lights inside. With their determination and adequate funding, The Navajo Water Project expects to install home water systems in every Navajo home in need by 2018. Since we learned of the plight of the Navajo people in 2015, Tata & Howard has actively supported the Navajo Water Project. In 2017, which is our 25th anniversary year, we are organizing a national virtual 5K to raise money for this incredible organization. Participants will receive a beautiful medal and 100% of the cost of registration will go directly to the Navajo Water Project. Stay tuned for details of this exciting event!

The holiday season is the perfect time to give to others and to help the community, both locally and globally. Even the smallest gesture of generosity helps others in significant ways. And the best gift a person can receive is hope — and that is exactly what DARE Family Services, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Navajo Water Project, and Water for People are all about. We here at Tata & Howard encourage everyone to give to someone in need and celebrate generosity this holiday season. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

T&H Celebrates the Holidays!

T&H’s annual holiday celebration was held on Tuesday, December 20, and it was a big success with food, gifts, and some fun competition. We were excited to have several fellow employee-owners from our satellite offices join us for the holiday fun.

T&H employee-owners enjoying a catered Italian luncheon as they celebrate the holidays

Drawing numbers out of a hat, employee-owners crossed their fingers for our gift giveaway. There were several awesome gifts ranging from gift cards to Bose speakers. Congratulations to our grand prize winner, T&H Project Environmental Scientist James DeAngelis who won an Apple watch!

T&H Project Environmental Scientist James DeAngelis showing off his new Apple watch.

Employee-owners also participated in a friendly dessert competition. Project Manager Amanda Cavaliere won best homemade dessert with for her amazing custard trifle. For best store bought dessert category, IT Manager James Field stole the show with a delicious tiramisu. The best presentation category went to Engineer Keighty Tallman, who impressed everyone with her creative gingerbread teddy bears.
Like every year, this year’s holiday celebration was a great time with a lot of laughs. From our family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Game Night at Tata & Howard

Tata & Howard is a 100% Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company, and we firmly believe that teams who play together work better together. Teamwork is also one of our core values. Therefore, we participate in frequent team building events, sponsored by our ESOP Committee.

The night started with some Wii games

On Thursday, December 15, team members participate in a game night that also featured fellow ESOP Harpoon Brewery’s beer. The Marlborough, Massachusetts corporate office enjoyed several rounds of Wii bowling and tennis, the iPhone game Heads Up!, and some assorted board games. The surprise of the night was Vice President Steve Landry soundly winning at Wii bowling! Everyone agreed that he must have played this before…

Steve Landry’s first attempt landed him a strike

The Waterbury, Connecticut office played the western card game, Bang! Engineer Max Gilliam started as Sherriff but had to leave early and transferred duties to Engineer Will Grant. Will took a barrage of bullets early and limped through the rest of the game on life support.  The conclusion came when Deputy and CAD Technician Steve Catuccio mistakenly took Will out, handing the game to Outlaws Tom Hoctor, Engineer, and Steve Rupar, Vice President.  Resident Observer Jack Keefe participated as a Deputy, and Project Manager Dave Lombardo rounded the game out as a Renegade.

The Waterbury, CT office played the western card game, Bang!

The temps were down in the single digits, but the Portland, ME office stayed nice and warm as they settled in for a few rounds of Wii racing.


The Portland, Maine office settled in for some Wii racing
The Portland, Maine office enjoyed some Wii racing

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and are looking forward to future ESOP game nights!

Tata & Howard Donates Over $5,000 to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Company matches employee-owners’ gifts to support cancer research

Tata & Howard employee-owners helped support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Tata & Howard employee-owners helped support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Tata & Howard recently donated $5,300 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, MA. Employee-owners donated $2,650 and the company provided a 100% match.

“As an employee-owned company, we have a targeted focus on philanthropy,” stated Jenna W. Rzasa, P.E., Vice President of Tata & Howard. “All employee-owners are encouraged to support, both monetarily and through volunteerism, the organizations that resonate most with us. Not surprisingly, employee-owners overwhelmingly choose to support DFCI, as cancer has had an impact on the lives of nearly every single person at the firm.”

Enhancing the company’s support of DFCI, Tata & Howard Engineer Molly Coughlin is running the 2017 Boston Marathon in an effort to raise funds for Dana-Farber. Her personal goal is $15,850.

“Dana-Farber is recognized as a world-class leader in cancer research and treatment, and we are lucky enough to have this incredible organization right in our backyard,” stated Coughlin. “On a personal level, Dana-Farber has saved the lives of two very important people in my life. I feel as though running the marathon to raise funds to support the Institute is the very least I can do.”

To support DFCI and the life-saving research and treatment options they provide, please visit www.danafarbergiving.org.

About the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is world-renowned for its leadership in adult and pediatric cancer treatment and research. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it is one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of NCI and National Institutes of Health grant funding. For more information, go to www.dana-farber.org.

Employee Appreciation Day 2016

Friday, March 4, is Employee Appreciation Day 2016, a special day of employee recognition originally created in 1995 by Bob Nelson, owner of publishing company Workman Publishing, and one of the founding Board members of Recognition Professionals International. His goal in the creation of Employee Appreciation Day was for all employers from all industries to have one day in which to truly focus on employee recognition, and to have the positivity of the day serve as a catalyst for year-round employee recognition.

Employee-owners enjoy a surprise outdoor coffee break on an unseasonably warm spring day

Because modern working life can be so stressful and hectic, it is very easy for employers, CEOs, and managers to get caught up in the everyday work schedule and forget to show employee appreciation. Unfortunately, failing to recognize the value and contribution of employees is typically to the detriment of a company, both in terms of morale as well as productivity. Showing employees how much they are appreciated is not only decent and right, but is also one of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to foster loyalty and to keep employees motivated, productive, attentive, and most of all — happy. And this has never been truer than it is in today’s workplace culture, where millennials, who are most motivated by frequent, positive reinforcement, make up about 40% of the workforce.

T&H provides employee-owners with adjustable or standing workstations upon request
T&H provides employee-owners with adjustable or standing workstations upon request

As a company, Tata & Howard holds its staff in the highest esteem. Our incredible talent base is appreciated and it is understood that our people have been the driving force behind our record growth and continued success. Because Tata & Howard employees are so valued, the company converted to a 100% Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in October of 2014, giving all eligible employees ownership in the company. The company celebrated one year as an ESOP this past October, and employee-owners have been exceptionally supportive of the plan.

Assistant Project Engineer Marie Rivers and her Service-Dog-In-Training June in the Marlborough, MA office
Assistant Project Engineer Marie Rivers and her Service-Dog-In-Training June in the Marlborough, MA office

But it doesn’t stop there. Throughout the year, Tata & Howard plans fun events, outings, and activities in an effort to show employee-owners their value. In addition to the fully catered summer outing each summer at Kimball Farm in Westford, Massachusetts, we have enjoyed surprise mid-day work parties, catered luncheons, bowling and beer, and participation in fun days such as Flip Flop Day and National Cookie Day. Also, Flexible Fridays in the summer were so overwhelmingly popular that the company decided to implement the perk year-round. Employee-owners who participate in charitable activities are always supported, both by fellow staff members as well as the T&H Philanthropy Committee, and accomplishments, both professional and personal, are announced in a weekly newsletter. On a daily basis, staff enjoy gourmet coffee and espresso drinks, a positive team atmosphere that fosters creativity and innovation, a supportive and healthy work-life balance, and an open-door philosophy where respect is paramount.

Employee-owners often participate in social media activities, fun days, and team building events
Employee-owners frequently participate in social media activities, fun days, and team building events

So while Tata & Howard’s employee-owners are all looking forward to Employee Appreciation Day and the fun it entails, the culture at Tata & Howard fosters employee appreciation each and every day. What are some ways in which your company participates in Employee Appreciation Day? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below – and perhaps even incorporate some of the best ideas into future Employee Appreciation Days here at Tata & Howard!

Happy Employee Appreciation Day!

Tata & Howard marks one-year anniversary of ESOP formation

Tata & Howard marks one-year anniversary of ESOP formation

With October being Employee Ownership Month as well as the one-year anniversary, Tata & Howard employee-owners participate in a month-long celebration

T&H employee-owners received their first share certificates on October 19, 2015
T&H employee-owners received their first share certificates on October 19, 2015

October 28, 2015Tata & Howard is celebrating their one-year anniversary since forming an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) this month. In addition, the niche water engineering firm celebrated their 23rd company anniversary this October, which is also Employee Ownership Month.

“We have a strong belief that being an ESOP creates a sense of pride in ownership,” said Don Tata, P.E., President of Tata & Howard. “The benefits associated with employee-ownership impel all of us to deliver the absolute best client service combined with the highest quality technical expertise to every single project. Every eligible employee has a tangible stake in the company and can now share in the satisfaction and reward of ownership.”

Employee-owners have been celebrating the anniversaries as well as Employee Ownership Month with a full month of festivities including both educational and fun activities, and all beneficial owners received their first stock certificates. The month-long celebration will culminate this week with the awarding of prizes, the unveiling of the company’s official ESOP slogan, and an evening bowling event that will include Harpoon Brewery’s EHOP beer. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Harpoon Brewery also became an ESOP in 2014, and they celebrated Employee Ownership Month along with fellow ESOP brewer Deschutes Brewery of Oregon by brewing the limited edition amber ale using employee-grown hops, or EHOPs.

An ESOP is a program that provides a company’s workforce with an ownership interest at no up-front cost to employees. ESOPs are implemented for different purposes, often as a way to provide for the future transfer of ownership of a successful, private company from owners to employees. Because all eligible employees are owners, they have increased rights and responsibilities, such as the opportunity to provide strategic input, the right to be informed about the financial health of the company, and the responsibility to provide the highest quality work.

Although now an ESOP, Tata & Howard upholds the same core values of teamwork, efficient solutions, client satisfaction, integrity, and positive attitude that form its cornerstone, and employee-owners still enjoy the freedom to focus on other values such as philanthropy, wellness, and environmentalism. As an example, the company issued a challenge to collect 350 pounds of food for the Greater Boston Food Bank in the month of October, and employee-owners have already surpassed that number.

“We firmly believe that our positive, team-oriented culture has been strengthened by the implementation of the ESOP,” added Karen Gracey, P.E., Vice President. “A company made up entirely of owners who care deeply about their work is a powerful force in the marketplace, and one of which I am proud to be a part.”

About Tata & Howard’s ESOP

According to the National ESOP Association, there are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., of which only 4,000 are 100% owned by the ESOP. Tata & Howard employees own 100% of the company through their ESOP, making the company part of an elite minority of 100% employee-owned companies. All Tata & Howard employees, regardless of level, are eligible to participate in the ESOP as long as they are 21 years of age, have completed one year of service, and work at least 1,000 hours annually. For more information on the ESOP Association or Employee Ownership Month, visit www.esopassociation.org.

October is ESOP Month, and T&H has reason to celebrate

The ESOP Association and its member companies have been celebrating Employee Ownership Month every October for over 20 years. The month-long observance aims to celebrate the myriad benefits of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) through employee education and team-building events. Tata & Howard celebrated for the first time this year, as October 2015 marks the one-year anniversary of the company becoming a 100% employee-owned company. Throughout the month, T&H employee-owners have been participating in contests, calls to action, and special events in order to celebrate not only ESOP Month, but also the first anniversary.

What is an ESOP?

An ESOP is a program that provides a company’s workforce with an ownership interest, most frequently at no up-front cost to employees. ESOPs are implemented for different purposes, often as a way to provide for the future transfer of ownership of a successful, closely-held private company from owners to employees.

In the United States, ESOPs are a defined contribution plan, which is a form of retirement plan. ESOPs are regulated by Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal law that establishes minimum standards for retirement plans in private industry and extensive rules on federal income tax effects of employee benefit plans. ERISA was enacted in 1972 to protect the interests of employee investment plan participants.
What Is an ESOP
Infographic by National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) from What Is an ESOP?

ESOP Statistics

According to the ESOP Association, ESOPs provide many benefits to employees, some of which are highlighted below:

  • esop_association_logoThere are approximately 10,000 ESOPs in place in the U.S., covering 10.3 million employees (10% of the private sector workforce).
  • About 330 ESOPs (3%) are in publicly traded companies.
  • An estimated 7,000 of the 10,000 companies have ESOPs that are large enough to be a major factor in the corporation’s strategy and culture.
  • Approximately 5,000 ESOP companies are majority-owned by the ESOP.
  • Approximately 4,000 are 100% owned by the ESOP.
  • At least 75.4% of ESOP companies are or were leveraged, meaning they used borrowed funds to acquire the employer securities held by the ESOP trustee.
  • Of the 10,000 employee-owned companies nationwide, fewer than 2% were financially distressed when they established their ESOP.
  • Approximately 99% of ESOP Association members are private, closely-held companies.
  • ESOPs exist primarily in small businesses – 68% of Association members have less than 250 employees.
  • While ESOPs are prevalent in a broad range of industries, approximately 23.4% of Association members are in manufacturing, followed closely by construction (15.3%) and engineering (10.9%).
  • Approximately 65% of ESOP Association members report that their ESOPs have been in place for 10 years or more.
  • 4% of Association members have companies that are more than 50% owned by the ESOP.
  • 6% of Association members offer a supplemental benefit plan in addition to the ESOP including, 401(k) plans, pension plans, and profit sharing plans.
  • Research indicates that ESOP implementation results in more information sharing, increased communications, and involvement in decision making for employee owners.
  • 3% of ESOP Association members report that motivation and productivity increased as a result of the ESOP.
  • Savings from the low layoff rate of ESOP participants was $1.9 billion in 2014, showing that ESOP companies are an investment worth noting.
  • GSS figures released in June 2015 found that 1.3% of employees with employee stock ownership, which includes the ESOP model and other forms of employee ownership, said that they were laid off in the last year compared to a 9.5% rate for employees without employee stock ownership.
T&H employee-owners participated in a bubblegum chewing contest
T&H employee-owners participated in a bubblegum chewing contest

Contrary to some rumors, ESOPs are not typically formed in an attempt to save a struggling company. In fact, the vast majority of ESOPs are formed by highly successful companies. The ESOP only helps to increase company success as it provides incentive for employees to ensure that the company remains prosperous. Employee-owners of ESOPs typically know more operative and financial information about their company than do employees of traditionally held private corporations, and are often more motivated and productive. After all, the more successful the company, the more financial reward to employee-owners.

Tata & Howard’s ESOP Celebration

This month, employee-owners at Tata & Howard have been immersed in ESOP fun and education. To date, employee-owners have participated in a “Guess the Share Price” contest, a “Guess the Labor Revenues per Employee” contest, a bubblegum chewing contest, a hike, and an ESOP Slogan contest. In addition, employee-owners have been treated to chocolate coin bags, Starbucks coffee breaks, and ice cream socials, and have participated in charitable activities such as a month-long food drive and a special donation to Water For People.

T&H employee-owners received their first share certificates on October 19, 2015
T&H employee-owners received their first share certificates on October 19, 2015

Celebrating the 23rd anniversary of Tata & Howard on October 19, 2015, Tata & Howard employee-owners received their first ESOP share certificates, and proved that they are ready for 23 more. Results from an anonymous survey show that Tata & Howard employee-owners overwhelmingly support the formation of the ESOP, and they have also embraced and conquered fun and educational challenges. The shift to an ESOP has been a positive change for Tata & Howard, and we look forward to many more celebratory Octobers. Happy ESOP Month!