All-Star Case Studies

Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game™ All-Stars

2017 Case Study - Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinkler

Company Background

In 1978, Wayne H. Gey started Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, a subcontractor in Florida’s construction market that designs and installs fire sprinklers. The business has six locations and also includes inspection, service, underground, site, and alarm divisions.

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Goodall Homes

Company Background

Goodall Homes, a residential home-building company based outside Nashville, Tennessee, wanted to run a leaner and more agile company. They also wanted to find a way to teach their team the discipline to look ahead and take advantage of downturns in the housing market.

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Induction Heat Treating Corp.

Company Background

Induction Heat Treating Corp. hardens steel products through the induction heating process for customers in the automotive, construction, agricultural, and military sectors. The company was searching for a solution to help improve profits. Dave Haimbaugh’s father started the business back in 1946. Three of his other sons and Dave, who is now 60, have played a role in its operations ever since. Dave Haimbaugh now owns the company outright after his brothers, both older, retired about a decade ago. The family legacy promises to continue as Haimbaugh says he has two of his nephews now working in the business.

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Wall-tech

Company Background

Wall-tech has been providing exterior painting, interior painting, metal stud framing, drywall, taping, finishing, EIFS, stucco, plaster, sandblasting, firestopping and fireproofing services since 1984. After CEO Pete Braun led a buyout of his company from its other shareholders in 2013, he saw the opportunity to create a more employee-focused culture for his business. 

Pete Braun originally started working at Wall-tech 20 years ago as a project manager. More recently, as a reward for his hard work, he was given the opportunity to become one of the shareholders in the business along with the charge to help grow the business, which had revenues of about $4 million at the time. “People thought I was crazy,” says Braun.

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West Paw Design

Company Background

West Paw Design is a world-class manufacturer of high-quality pet toys, beds, and apparel based in Bozeman, Montana. Founded in 1996, 100% of West Paw Design's products are manufactured in the U.S. using nontoxic, organic, or recyclable materials and are sold largely through independent retailers.

Business Challenges

Manufacturing in the U.S. creates lots of challenges for West Paw, especially when it comes to battling the lower prices offered by its competitors who typically make or source their product from overseas. While the business had been largely successful over the long run, it began to lose money in 2012 – a crisis that triggered the firm’s founder, Spencer Williams, to turn to the GGOB for answers.

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NewStream Enterprises

Company Background

NewStream Enterprises, an SRC company that has been playing the Game since its birth in 1990, provides comprehensive supply chain management services to manufacturing companies large and small. Its 60 employee-owners label, pack, store, control, and ship customers’ products all over the world. Today, NewStream (Springfield, MO) generates annual revenue of $37 million.

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2019 Case Study - Enercon Services, Inc.

Company Background

Founded in 1983 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Enercon Services, Inc. (ENERCON) has grown to be one of the largest firms providing environmental and engineering services in the nation. A 100% employee-owned company, ENERCON earned more than $220 million in revenue for 2012. The company has four divisions – Environmental Services, Power Generation, New Plant Services, and Federal Services – and operates out of 25 offices nationwide, plus international offices in Belgium and Abu Dhabi. Clients include: federal, state and local governments, most major electric utilities, chemical and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, oil and natural gas companies, and many Fortune 500 companies.

Business Challenges

ENERCON is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2013 – and almost 20 years since it officially opened its books as part of a Great Game of Business initiative in the early 90’s. As the business has contin-ued to thrive during that time, it has grown rapidly – especially in terms of its payroll, which expand-ed from about 193 people in 1992 to more than 1,200 full and part-time associates today. The chal-lenge, the firm realized, was that there were only a handful of people who remembered why the company had opened its books in the first place and why it was so important to reconnect with those roots. “We wanted to refresh the mindset of what it means to think and act like an owner of this company,” says ENERCON president John Richardson.

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Pizza Gallery & Grill

Company Background

It was back in 1989 that Chris Conneen, then 21 years old, started his business, Pizza Gallery & Grill (PGG) in Melbourne Beach, Fl., after he had what he calls, “an entrepreneurial seizure.” But it wasn't for another 20 years until Conneen, whose 260-seat restaurant combines gourmet food with eye-pleasing art, learned about the GGOB from fellow culinary entrepreneur Nick Sarillo, owner of Nick’s Pizza & Pub in Illinois. “Learning about and studying the GGOB in 2009, the worst economic year in our lifetime, helped us get focused on the fundamentals of business – particularly how to generate cash,” says Conneen.

Business Challenges

As he and his team began to play the Game, Conneen, like many business owners struggling through the recession, faced the challenge of paying off his long-term debts despite seeing fewer customers walk through his establishment’s doors. Other challenges facing the business included sky-high overhead fueled by a $19,000 monthly rent payment and the notion of teaching financial liter-acy to a staff of 70 who have an average age of 21. “We have always been great about giving our customers great products, service and atmosphere,” says Conneen. “We just haven’t made a lot of money doing it.”

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National Center for Employee Ownership

Company Background

Founded by Corey Rosen back in 1981, The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) is a private, nonprofit membership and research organization that serves as the leading source of accurate, unbiased information and research on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), equity compensation plans such as stock options, and ownership culture. Rosen says he started playing the GGOB back in 1984 after reading about it in an issue of Inc. magazine. “I knew right away that the GGOB was a perfect fit for the way we wanted to operate,” says Rosen, who was succeeded as the director of the NCEO by Loren Rodgers in April 2011.

Business Challenges

Rosen started the NCEO with the idea that there was a need for an organization that could create an awareness and understanding of how companies could benefit through employee ownership. Initially, his goal was to use grants to fund the growth of his new organization. But, after multiple rejections, Rosen decided that the NCEO would become self-sustaining by selling the information he was compiling through books and conferences – which created unique challenges for his not-for-profit organization. “Unlike a for-profit business, we didn’t want to set a market-clearing price as we wanted to keep prices low to make the information as accessible as possible,” says Rosen.

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Integrity Technology Solutions

Company Background

The truth is that Integrity founder Harlan Geiser first read the book, “The Great Game of Business” back in 1999, after which he picked a few concepts to implement like sharing revenues and handing out year-end bonuses. But after few successful years, those practices fell by the wayside. When the recession hit and the company lost money for the first time in its history during the first quarter of 2009, Geiser was ready for a change. After meeting with GGOB practitioner Jack O’Riley, Geiser decided it was time to revisit GGOB once again.

Business Challenges

The truth is that Integrity founder Harlan Geiser had first come across the GGOB back in 1999, from which he cherry-picked a few concepts like sharing revenues and handing out year-end bonuses. But after a few years, as the company continued to blossom, even those practices fell by the wayside. Then the recession hit and the company lost money for the first time in its history in the first quarter of 2009. That‟s when, thanks to a chance meeting GGOB practitioner named Jack O‟Riley, Geiser decided to revisit the GGOB once again.

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