It was a time of celebration yesterday as hundreds of Friesens Corporation employee-owners packed the front lawn at head office, located on Printers Way in Altona. Not only were they treated to a catered pulled pork and brisket BBQ lunch, but they picked up their second employee-owner distribution cheque of the year.
"Today we are celebrating something that is very unique to companies in Canada and something that's very unique to employees across Canada, " said CEO, Chad Friesen, during a few remarks to the crowd. "Very few employees celebrate in the success of the business like we do, and that's something that we should be very very proud of and we should embrace."
In total, $2,100,000 was distributed at Wednesday's lunch. So far in 2023, Friesens has issued $4,350,000 in cheques to its employee-owners. Friesen added, over the last 12 months, the company has distributed, on average, over $10,000 to the average Friesens employee-owner.
"That is nearly twenty per cent of base wages for an average employee," said Friesen. "So that's an incredible financial benefit. Hopefully, everybody's going to set aside money for retirement, some people are buying cars, some people are doing home renovations, some people are sending their kids to school with that money. This is not the type of money that you're going to necessarily retire and live the life of a millionaire afterwards, but you're going to get to do things that you wouldn't necessarily get to do otherwise, and so I think there's a lot to be celebrated."
While employee-ownership is certainly about the financial benefits, Friesen added, it's also about celebration and being together and knowing that you're a part of something larger than yourself.
Wednesday's lunch also highlighted the record-breaking year that was 2022 at Friesens.
"We blew almost all records out of the books," noted Friesen. "We had record sales, record profits, record payments to employee-owners and record numbers of units produced. So, it was an absolute crazy year and we've got a lot to celebrate."
Former President and CEO, and Chairman of the Board, David Friesen, also offered up a few comments at Wednesday's lunch.
"I want to tell you how happy I am to be out here. This is a great day for all of you, a great day for the company, a great day for Altona!" he said.
"To come back and see how well this company is doing, I know, would be something my father and his brothers, who set up the original employee-ownership plan, would be very proud of what has happened," added Friesen. "I want to congratulate Chad and the management team and, of course, all of you that have made it happen."