Warehouse1 recently named Dennis Delantonas as the first recipient of the company’s annual Employee Owner of the Year award during an October employee owner gathering. The gathering and launch of an employee recognition program were part of the year-long celebration of 30 years in business.
Delantonas began working at Warehouse1 in 1996 as an intern while enrolled at the University of Kansas. Following graduation, he joined Warehouse1 full-time as a systems administrator and was promoted to several positions in his tenure including system admin, MIS manager, accounting manager, controller, assistant warehouse manager, and operations manager in 2011.
Employee owners of Warehouse1 nominated and voted on fellow co-workers to determine the recipient of the inaugural award. The majority voted for Delatonas, citing his hard work, willingness to train others, and knowledge about the products and systems as reason for his recognition.
“Dennis has the most hats on his head at one time and wears them graciously,” said Melissa Kean, inventory control analyst. “He is always willing to help everyone to make sure they are given the knowledge to succeed.”
In addition to the Employee Owner of the Year award, the company launched other awards to recognize those who exemplify Warehouse1’s values:
- Performance Award – Leonardo Colunga, order fulfillment
- Respect Award – Myra Struchtemeyer, accounts specialist
- Innovation Award – Tommy George, sales associate
- Dedication Award – Judi Petersen, inventory & production control coordinator
- Excellence Award – Dennis Delantonas, operations manager
- Tom Doty Spotlight Award – Daren Froeschle, marketing manager
“I am so proud of our employee owners. They all work so hard and they have made our company into one of Kansas City’s strongest employee-owned small businesses,” said Mary Lou Jacoby, CEO of Warehouse1. “Our employees are our biggest asset. In addition to the employee ownership stock program we launched a few years ago, we wanted to do something extra to honor those who’ve gone above and beyond as we celebrate 30 years in business.”
Jacoby opened Warehouse1 in 1988 and in 2016, she rolled out an employee-owner stock program (ESOP), uniquely offering employees 100 percent ownership at the onset. As a succession plan, it was Jacoby’s priority to “share the wealth” with employees who played a big role in the company’s success.
Warehouse1 is one of several small businesses now offering an employee-owned stock program. According to the latest 2015 data, the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) says there are over 6,669 ESOPs in the U.S., with the midwest being home to the greatest number of ESOP companies.
Throughout “Employee Ownership Month” in October, the company held presentations on ESOP terms and topics such as eligibility, vesting, valuation, and distribution. Warehouse1 also hosted speakers from other ESOP related-companies in Kansas City: Jerry Lau and Joe Hadel of Community Bank of Pleasant Hill, Shannon Wiederholt of Eagle Communications, and Randi Borth of AVI Systems.
“I have always enjoyed working at Warehouse1 and now as part-owner, I take even more pride in our work,” said Delantonas. “I’ve helped us grow the past 30 years into who we are today, and I’m excited to help lead us into the next 30 years.”
For more information about Warehouse1, visit WH1.com
Warehouse1 is an international provider of new and used warehouse and storage equipment and offers layout design, installation, and project management services for distributors, manufacturers, and retailers. Over the 30 years since Mary Lou Jacoby founded the company in 1988, Warehouse1 has grown into a resource for companies across industries ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies to government agencies. In 2016, Jacoby led the company into an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), making it one of the key small businesses in Kansas City offering employee ownership. To learn more, visit WH1.com.
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