Van Meter Industrial
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2009 revenue: $165 million
CEO: Barry Boyer
Distributes electrical, lighting, and automation products.
Five years ago, Van Meter became 100 percent employee owned. After a new hire puts in six months, the company throws an "I'm In" meeting, celebrating his or her official initiation into the employee stock ownership program, or ESOP. Every staff member is expected to regularly offer ideas on improving efficiency, putting a dollar amount on how much the ideas will save the company—and hence increase the value of everyone's shares.