On April 26, 2012, Torch Technologies became the newest recipient of the 2012 “Innovations in Employee Ownership” award.
The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) and the Beyster Institute at the University of California San Diego’s Rady School of Management selected the winners of the award. This award recognizes the innovative practices resulting from an engaged workforce of employee-owners, as well as recognizing ideas tying stock to improved company culture or performance.
The 2012 Innovations Award recipients include Enironmental Science Associates (ESA), n-Link Corporation, Torch Technologies, Inc. and Vigilient. Drawn from the largest pool of candidates in the history of the award, NCEO chose the 2012 award winners based on innovations in employee engagement, corporate giving and wellness.
Torch provides a broad range of aerospace and engineering services, including planning, execution, performance analysis, design and reporting. Founded in 2002 in Huntsville, Ala., Torch became 100-percent employee-owned in 2011 and now has 275 employee-owners. The company has received numerous awards for its business performance, its positive workplace environment and its ethical business practices.
Torch received the Innovation Award for its employee-created, employee-run, 501(c)3 charitable giving foundation, “Torch Helps,” which has 100-percent financial efficiency. Clay Hagan, a senior director at Torch, accepted the award on behalf of the company. Hagan formed part of the team that developed the idea for Torch Helps.
Before Torch Helps was founded, the company raised money for ad hoc charity events, with waning success. William Roark, the company’s CEO, challenged employee-owners to find a solution. Two employee-owners independently presented management with solutions and were tasked with combining their ideas into a proposal and budget. The result was Torch Helps.
In its first six months of operation, Torch Helps was able to donate 10 times more than the company had in the previous three years combined. In each subsequent year, the organization set new records for giving.