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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
Learning to live as a mother and a businesswoman
Employee-Owned Good Works
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About this blog
By Latanyua Taylor Robinson
Latanyua Taylor Robinson describes herself as a minister for manufacturing. In 2010, she started Latrobe LLC, a manufacturing and engineering services company. Latrobe’s mission: to create jobs in industrial manufacturing, specifically in low to ...
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Purposed Work
Latanyua Taylor Robinson describes herself as a minister for manufacturing. In 2010, she started Latrobe LLC, a manufacturing and engineering services company. Latrobe’s mission: to create jobs in industrial manufacturing, specifically in low to moderate income communities. Latanyua’s educational credentials include a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. She developed a passion for manufacturing while in college. Throughout her career, Latanyua has held a variety of increasing responsibilities in operations, engineering, quality and marketing management. These assignments created opportunities to travel domestically and around the world, including various countries throughout Europe, China, India, Israel and Mexico. At such companies as Cargill, Sony and Kennametal, Latanyua met the challenges that come with being the “first” and the “only” as an opportunity to demonstrate that with proper training, women can succeed in jobs and industries traditionally reserved for men. Latrobe began as a contract manufacturing company. Today the portfolio has expanded to include process engineering, strategic marketing and construction tools and services. In May 2011, Latanyua was selected and honored as a Finalist at the Greater Washington D.C.’s Annual Women in Technology Leadership Awards in the category of Entrepreneur. In September 2011, she opened a second office in Port Arthur, Texas, to support job creation in manufacturing in southeast Texas and along the Sabine River into Louisiana. Additionally in October 2011 and 2012, Latanyua was a featured panel speaker at the Women in Manufacturing Symposiums held in Cleveland, Ohio and Milwaukee, Wisc. In April 2013, Latanyua will become an inducted member of the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineers. Her next goal is to launch a non-profit organization focused toward getting more girls and women involved in manufacturing and technology. Girls Engaged in Manufacturing Studies (GEMS) mission and goals are to increase the numbers of females entering high tech, engineering and STEM related professions that are critical to our nation’s future growth and competitive edge in the global marketplace. Latanyua is married to James Robinson and they have a son named Quincy. The family currently resides in the Beaumont, Texas metro area. In her spare time, Latanyua shares her thoughts on economic diversity and the importance of manufacturing in sustaining the middle class economy in a blog titled, Purposed Work.
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Well done, my good and faithful servant. <>
You have been faithful in handling this small amount, <>
so now I will give you many more responsibilities <>
(Matthew 25:23)<>


I get to tour some fascinating manufacturing operations in my travel. Last week, the intended purpose was to conduct voice of the customer and market research for a specific industrial sector. When the visits were over, I realized that I was blessed to experience a rare phenomenon in my career: I interviewed employees from two companies that were both American-Owned and 100% Employee-Owned.
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The premise behind employee-owned businesses is that these companies tend to perform well financially as well as stand out as an employer-of-choice in their respective communities. According to The ESOP Association, ESOPs (employee stock option programs) exists primarily exist in small businesses. Because I come from a large, corporate background, I was surprised to learn that manufacturing firms represented 22%, construction 13%, and engineering 9% of the industry participants (http://www.esopassociation.org/explore/employee-ownership-news/resources-for-reporters). <>

I walked away for the interviews feeling the employees’ pride in their work, not simply because of their jobs, but because of ownership awareness of processes, costs, customers, and market conditions. There was a sense of commitment to the entrepreneur who originally had the vision for the business (ironically, both companies were started about forty years ago) that has transcended over time to employee-driven innovation of premium, high value products and services for their customers and markets. Another big takeaway for me was a genuine concern for safety (for employees and consumers/users of their products) and on the impact to the environment. This did not feel like a company sustainability message, but a true desire to do no harm. This pride manifested, as indicated above, in that both of these companies are predicting profitability and continued growth in spite of the uncertainty of the current economy. To learn more about the benefits of employee-owned business for growth and job creation, read http://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/?p=6816).<>


<> As a newly formed small business, I had not considered employee-ownership as a segment of the business model. However, this is a noble way to reward the people for their efforts in these good works. We used to sing the more you give, the more He gives to you, just keep on giving, because it’s really true! What a wonderful example of sowing into the lives and families of those who support the vision…who by becoming stakeholders may take on more responsibilities for accomplishing these greater works.<>
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Are you a small business owner who participates some form of employee-ownership or profit-sharing? If so, will you share your experiences of the impact to your business, the community, or your customers? Feel free to comment, or, send me an email at latanyua.robinson@gmail.com. If you like this post and want to catch up on some of my previous discussions, please visit the full Purposed Work blog at http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/.<>

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