L-R: Michael Keeling, President ESOP Association; Jim Hirsch, President, Air Tractor; John Miller, Air Tractor ESOP Communication Committee Historian; Larry Wooldridge, Air Tractor Communication Committee member; Bill Burns, Communication Committee Chair; Kelly McCorkle, past Communication Committee Chair; (not shown) Julianne Marney, Air Tractor Communication Committee Vice Chairman


OLNEY, TX—Air Tractor was the recipient of two awards for Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Communications Excellence during last week’s ESOP Association Southwest Chapter Spring Conference. During the 20th Annual Awards Luncheon, Air Tractor received an award for the ESOP video they produced, as well as an award for their various ESOP Special Events. The Communication Excellence Awards recognize members who show a commitment to communications that promote the benefits of ESOP.

An employee stock ownership plan is a tax-deferred retirement plan, similar to a 401(k) plan, except that it is funded solely by the company, not the employees.

Air Tractor’s ESOP video was produced as an internal communications message, and is a motivational collection of testimonials by employee owners, discussing ESOP and how it is an integral part of Air Tractor’s culture and identity.

Air Tractor’s Special Events entry was comprised of a variety of activities, including: a chili cook off, a breakfast where they discussed “how to calculate your shares,” a “Guess the share price!” contest, a BBQ cook off, an annual statement reveal, an ice cream social, and an ESOPtober fish fry with multiple games and fun competitions. The company also opened its doors to other ESOP and non-ESOP companies during their Open House and Southwest Chapter events.

These award-winning entries have been entered in the national ESOP competition. National winners will be announced at the ESOP Association’s 41st Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony, May 24th-25th in Washington D.C.

Air Tractor established its employee stock ownership plan on July 1, 2008. Leland Snow, founder of Air Tractor, his wife Nancy and daughters Kristin and Kara instituted the Air Tractor ESOP to assure the success of the company and to reward employees for their service to the company. Mr. Snow felt that Air Tractor employees helped make the company a success, and the benefit ownership would drive them to continue to build the business that he loved. Today Air Tractor, Inc. is 100 percent employee owned.

About Air Tractor
At its Olney Texas manufacturing facilities, Air Tractor produces a line of aircraft that includes 400, 500, 600 and 800-gallon capacity planes powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engines. The airplanes are used for agricultural aerial application, fire fighting, narcotic crop eradication, fuel hauling, fighting locust plagues, and cleaning oil spills in coastal waters. From North, South and Central America, to Australia, Indonesia and China to Spain, Italy, Croatia and Africa, Air Tractor aircraft can be found working in more than 30 countries around the world and are supported by a global network of Air Tractor dealers. More information can be found at airtractor.com.

About the ESOP Association
Founded in 1978, the ESOP Association seeks to enhance federal laws governing employee stock ownership plans, provide members with expert information, and to fund research via its affiliate Employee Ownership Foundation.

The ESOP Association is America’s largest employer-sponsored advocacy and education association focused on employee stock ownership plans. It is a national nonprofit organization with 18 local chapters. Its members include ESOP companies, companies considering an ESOP, and service providers that assist in setting up and maintaining ESOPs. More information can be found at esopassociation.org.