What does it mean to be employee owned? Just what it says … that our employees are the owners of GISinc and have a stake in the company they work for. This ownership ensures that everyone who contributes to the success of the company shares in the rewards. Only about 1 out of 200 businesses in America can say they are employee-owned … and even less can say they are winning awards for their employee ownership awesomeness.

In the late 1990’s GISinc started to recognize and embrace the power of employee ownership, and in July of 2010 it established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Like many newly formed ESOP companies, GISinc formed a Communications Committee to help establish a pervasive culture of employee ownership. Fortunately, GISinc already had a strong and vibrant culture that employees and clients loved. As a company, GISinc believes that employee ownership fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, which will keep us agile, relevant and provide growth for us as owners and individuals.

In 2015, GISinc won the ESOP Company of the Year award with the ESOP Association’s New South Chapter and every year since, GISinc has won an Employee Ownership related award:


The ESOP Association AACE ​ 
Series of Special Events –
 Winner ​
Intranet – Runner Up​


The ESOP Association AACE​
Intranet -Winner
One Special Event - Winner


The ESOP Association AACE​
Series of Special Events – Winner ​
Printed Materials – Bright Idea​
Employee Ownership Marketing – Bright Idea​



2019 has been the biggest year yet winning 3 awards:

The ESOP Association, New South Chapter​
Employee Owner of the Year (Nick Hall)​

Nick Hall was nominated by his fellow employee owners as GISinc’s Employee Owner of the Year. He was selected for his commitment to the growth of GISinc and his demonstrated leadership. He wrangles his people. He wrangles his clients. And he does it well. Nick is a leading role-model and naturally contributes positively to our Employee Ownership culture.

The tradition at GISinc since we started the Employee Owner of the Year (EOY) program has been to also submit the EOY for the same named award within the ESOP Association. This year, the New South Chapter honored Nick Hall as the Employee Owner of the Year for the Chapter. Check out the announcement on the Chapter Website:

View Announcement


National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO)​
Innovations in Employee Ownership Award – Winner ​

GISinc’s ESOP Communications Committee impressed the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) with their innovative approach to communicating the mechanics and important aspects of both the ESOP and ownership culture through creative videos. 

esop 3-1
Pictured on above: GISinc accepts the Innovations in Employee Ownership
Award at the NCEO's recent conference. 

Check out the announcement on the NCEO site:

View Announcement

The videos are hosted on Microsoft Stream and available to employee owners through Office 365. The Stream Channel is loving called “The Owner’s Lounge”

Employees created a fun and engaging structure for people to quickly learn about various aspects of the ESOP from month to month. The efforts of the committee eventually encouraged employees to send in various other ideas and themes for future fun, educational, and communicative videos.

Check out some of the videos on youtube: 

GISinc Youtube

The ESOP Association AACE
Intranet – Winner ​
Series of Special Events – Runner Up

The Annual Awards for Communication Excellence (AACE) competition identifies companies that excel at communicating with employee owners and the larger community about ESOPs. This year GISinc was the “clear winner” in the Intranet category and came Runner up in the Series of Special Events category.

GISinc Intranet is very comprehensive and makes great use of mixed media. It features a wealth of educational videos (including those that won us the NCEO Innovations in Employee Ownership award), a library of ESOP-related documents, a certification program (for employee owners to show off their ESOP knowledge), answers to Frequently Asked Questions, Monthly Information Meetings, information on the Employee Owner of the Year, and more.

The Series of Special Events GISinc chose to highlight was their ESOP Olympics which took place during Employee Ownership Month. Events were inspired by the ESOP, but this year a theme was chosen; the theme was TV and Game Shows. Each event and challenge awarded points for either participation or being a top performer. Awarding scaled points based on the event or challenge, employee owners kept track and tabs on one another via the leaderboard on the ESOP Olympics SharePoint page. By posting updates and announcements on the SharePoint page, the entire company stayed up to date throughout the event-filled month.

ESOP lets make a deal

Events included a Spirit Week, Yammer Challenges with memes and animated GIFs, an ESOP Geek Out Q&A Session, ESOP Brown Bags, ESOPtoberfest, Minute to Win It, ESOP Squares, and Owner’s Meeting Bingo. The Closing Ceremony was a take on Let’s Make a Deal. The top three of the leaderboards were given opportunity to take a known prize or choose from a selection of curtains trying to avoid the zonk, of course! By making the last event of the ESOP Olympics another challenge, employee owners were more intrigued to attend to see what the top three winners would win.

lets make a deal 2

The grand prize was a handmade GISinc lap quilt,
made with scrap materials and love.


If you are interested in joining our team of award winning employee owners, check out our careers page. 

GISinc Careers