Employee Ownership Trust

BTI Restructures as Employee Ownership Trust

(Santa Fe, NM) Leading technical products distributor Bicycle Technologies International, better known as BTI, has recently restructured as an Employee Ownership Trust (or “EOT”). BTI is only the thirteenth company in the US to establish an EOT. The majority of BTI’s employees are now members of the trust.

Also known as a perpetual trust, the EOT’s purpose is to improve the livelihoods of current and future employee-members and ensure that BTI continues on for future generations of employees. Employee-members also have greater access to company information and share a voice in BTI’s strategic decision making.

BTI was founded in Ashland, OR in 1993 by Andrew Wright and Preston Martin. Martin acquired his partner’s shares when Wright passed in 2015. At the end of 2020, Martin sold to the Employee Ownership Trust. Martin will continue in his leadership role as the President of BTI for the foreseeable future.

“The EOT honors and rewards the contributions of those employees who have stuck with BTI through the highs and lows,” said Martin. “There has been a noticeable culture shift in recent months, with employee-members taking greater interest in our customers and suppliers, our systems, and the bottom line.”

Often confused with the more common ESOP, the EOT is not a retirement program, but rather a system for employee profit sharing. Profit sharing payments count as compensation and are therefore tax-deductible to the business. According to Martin, the EOT does not share the same tax benefits as the ESOP, however setup costs and annual administration fees are a fraction of the ESOP and the EOT is not subject to ERISA requirements. Attorney Chris Michael of EOT Advisors (eotadvisors.com) helped Martin setup the trust.

Martin said the move was inspired by employee responses to an internal survey last summer regarding diversity and inclusion. A common theme emerged as employee comments focused on how to develop their careers or earn greater compensation. According to BTI’s Marketing Director Bill Lane, “Since the profit sharing can scale with the company’s growth, there’s an incentive to make improvements to efficiency wherever possible, while inspiring larger questions about where growth can lead us as a team.”

Martin added “Like many in the bicycle business, BTI had a remarkable year in 2020. With revenues up nearly 80%, the employee-members have a strong incentive to repeat that success.”

About BTI Based in Santa Fe, NM and Reno-Sparks, NV, BTI has been a distributor of bicycle parts, tools and accessories since 1993. BTI offers over 20,000 items and 300+ brands, and performs shock repair and wheelbuilding services. Visit www.bti-usa.com or call them at (800) 558-8324.