Davey Tree Stands Tall with Employee Ownership  - CLEO Skip to main content


Over 25 years, The Davey Tree Expert Company’s employee owners built a good small company into one of the premier companies in its industry, with an entrepreneurial zest for new products and acquisitions. The company’s development would have pleased its inventive founder and provably surprised the family members who sold it to hesitant employees in 1979.

‘The lifeblood of Davey are the field managers and employees, and broad employee ownership is the glue that binds us together.’ explained CEO Doug Cowan. ‘Each of our field managers is a true entrepreneur who sells the work, hires the people, and makes sure the job gets done. The majority of our 113 original stock investors back in 1979 were the District Managers.’

Headquartered in Kent, Davey is the largest 100% employee owned firm in Ohio and the 16th largest in the U.S. Since the ESOP was established, the number of employee-shareholders has increased six to seven fold from 438 in 1979 to over 3,000 today. Revenues have grown from $60 million to $346 million, per share price has grown from $.047 to $15.70 and shareholders’ equity has grown from $9 million to $62 million.

‘We like the idea of broad employee ownership.’ said Cowan, ‘It fits our entrepreneurial culture and fosters a common interest across our locations in the U.S. and Canada.’