John Logue, Director, Ohio Employee Ownership Center
"Leadership, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. In truth, what I do simply is to help others to achieve things that they otherwise would not."
Logue serves as a catalyst for democratic management by building collaborative relationships among diverse groups, from rank-and-file employees to business owners to local economic development officials. He helps unions, trade associations, and citizen groups find common ground. “Employee ownership is one of those rare catalyzing ideas that really pulls the community together,” says Logue. As for his personal style, he explains, “I am cautious about my ‘leadership.’ I am definitely not what the journalists call ‘charismatic.’ I’m balding with big ears; the requisite puff hair-do is missing. Leadership, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.” He adds, “In truth, what I do simply is to help others to achieve things that they otherwise would not.”
When a company considers shutting down an Ohio facility, for example, OEOC shows its owners and workers how employee ownership can save their livelihoods; the group also helps secure funding for purchase. Then, after plants make the transition to employee ownership, OEOC provides ongoing support to worker-owners through education, connections to consultants, and help organizing democratic structures for decision-making and communication.
In all, OEOC provides 4,000 hours of leadership training per year. Since 1987, the group has helped 438 Ohio companies and plants, employing more than 83,000 people, explore the possibility of employee ownership. Of these, 64 have implemented partial or complete employee ownership plans.
Logue’s direct inspiration for starting the Ohio Employee Ownership Center in 1987 came from his involvement in the Ecumenical Coalition, a labor-community-church group that earned its reputation for helping to stop the Youngstown, Ohio, steel shutdowns of the late 1970s and early 1980s. While teaching at Kent State University, Logue researched methods for achieving successful employee ownership. His subsequent essay, “Toward a Model State Program to Encourage Employee Ownership,” in 1986 became the Center’s road map.
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