Located in the Pacific Northwest, n-Link Corporation is based out of the picturesque city of Bend, Ore. The company began its operations in 1995 as a women-owned, small business entity with the vision to create a 95 percent employee-owned company, where its employee owners provide value to their customers, employees and stakeholders.
n-Link Founder Sandra Green explained that in the early days she wasn’t exactly certain what employee ownership entailed but knew intrinsically that it was a good thing for the company and the employees. Green felt that if the company could engage its employees that serve their customers to think like owners, then the company can grow and the employee’s share value can grow. ‘We didn’t have a clue what an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) was and how we would award stock,’ said Green.
In her pursuit of setting up an ESOP in 1999, Green said it was equally important to her that the company be founded on a solid ethical base. ‘I wanted to ensure we had impeccable core values. This is the employees’ company and I’m interested in their vision and values.’
There were, however, some roadblocks encountered in the beginning.