Business Legacy

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Let’s Talk about Golder’s Distinct Ownership Model and History!

Golder Associates is a global, wholly employee-owned organisation, with over 50 years of success.

The Golder Foundation seeks to provide a forum where other organisations who are exploring employee ownership as a business model can access insight and knowledge gleaned from this journey.

The Start and Evolution of Golder’s Ownership Model

In the field of consulting engineering, Golder was one of the first to stress not only direct ownership but also development of broad ownership within the firm.

In 1960, there was a sole owner, Hugh Golder. He soon shared ownership of the company with his senior colleagues so that, by 1965, there were five Principals. As founders, they wanted a company primarily made up of owners, believing that owners would have a stronger commitment to building a successful company. They encouraged shared ownership and growth.

Principals and Associates first benefited from this concept but, over time, the company saw the logic of distributed ownership applied to all employees. The founders sensed that ownership would lead to all of Golder’s employees being fully committed to technical and client service excellence. Victor Milligan always encouraged Golder employees to “be on a constant search for excellence.”

This ideal inspires employees to this day.

Over 50 Years of Success Tell the Story Best

Golder’s success is built on a commitment to technical and client service excellence; diversity of services, industries, and geographic locations that have helped to withstand economic downtowns; and a distinct ownership model that has led to a culture based on collegiality, respect, and trust.

The journey has not always been easy, and as with any organisation there have been successes and failures, all of which have left valuable lessons that are considered in how decisions are made in the organisation even today.

Here are some different articles and perspectives on what has made the company successful over the years:

The Way Golder Works

Employee ownership and the community of Principals and Associates serve as two differentiators of the company, and both continue to strongly influence Golder’s business model.

Today the company has broad ownership, with more than 50 percent of employees owning shares. Principals and Associates own about 75 percent of the company, but with no one owning more than 0.5% percent of the shares.

Principals and Associates operate throughout the world and are guided by a common philosophy and shared values. They serve as stewards and ambassadors of Golder’s culture.
To ensure continuity and successive leadership, shareholders are required to sell back their shares over a period of several years before they retire so that future leaders as well as employees are able to build their ownership participation.

We Love to Tell Golder’s Story!

The Golder Foundation seeks to be a vehicle to share Golder’s history, ownership model and culture.

Golder employees are pleased to discuss Golder’s ownership structure with clients, sub-consultants, sub-contractors, and other business partners through:

  • Reaching out to other employee-owned companies and sub-consultants, and working with them in strengthening and promoting employee ownership associations
  • Helping to develop employee ownership associations in emerging areas of the world
  • Speaking at conferences and seminars to explore employee ownership issues
  • Encouraging university academic staff and students to study Golder as a successful example of how an employee-owned firm can develop over time



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