Looking back, dreaming forward: Owners’ Day 2023 celebrates 40 years of company milestones
In October, WithersRavenel’s 400+ employees gathered at North Carolina State University’s McKimmon Center to celebrate a very special Owners’ Day 2023. This year, the event celebrated our 40th anniversary in business. The day’s activities embraced the theme of “Back to the Future” in a nod to the film of the same name, which premiered the year of our founding.
Owners’ Day is an annual event hosted by WithersRavenel for its employees to strengthen the firm’s culture of employee ownership. The event combines informative presentations, friendly team-based competitions, and plenty of opportunities for staff from different departments, offices, and roles to connect in person.
Employees arrived from across the state and beyond, hailing from our eight North Carolina offices and remote locations throughout the Eastern Seaboard, Midwest, and Northwest. Both of the firm’s co-founders, Tony Withers and Sam Ravenel, as well as our three independent Board members, Frank Gozzo, Cal Hackeman, and Ken Ewan, attended the event.
To kick off Owners’ Day, President Jim Canfield unveiled a short film commemorating the 40th anniversary of WithersRavenel. It highlighted the firm’s humble beginnings, the path to becoming 100% employee-owned, and the vision and values that are propelling the company toward another four decades in business.
Frank Gozzo spoke briefly on behalf of the Board of Directors. He explained the role of the board in company governance and the rights and responsibilities of employee-owners as shareholders.
Jim went on to highlight four large-scale projects that bridge the company’s past, present, and future:
Downtown Cary Park
The Rogers Building, another downtown Cary project, received an honorable mention. Not only does it represent the collaboration of site designers and utility engineers, but it will also become our newest office location in the Triangle.
Jim emphasized that none of these transformative projects would have been possible without our people. He highlighted several company initiatives designed to equip employees for fulfilling careers, including WR University and CliftonStrengths.
The special guest speaker this year was Jamie Valvano, former leader at The V Foundation for Cancer Research and daughter of legendary North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano. A cancer survivor herself, Jamie shared how her father’s career and cancer diagnosis shaped her approach to perseverance and pursuing an extraordinary life.
Following Jamie’s keynote address, Jim concluded the morning presentations with a ten-year vision for WithersRavenel as a values-based, community solutions firm.
Then the ESOP Communication Committee, which was responsible for organizing the day’s activities, took the reins. After two highly successful Family Feud-style trivia games in 2020 and 2022, they switched gears in favor of Kahoot, a simple question-and-answer game that awards points based on how quickly each Core Value team locks in their answer. Topics included company history and stats and Back to the Future movie facts.
To mark the occasion of having the entire company in one place, we gathered on the McKimmon lawn for a group photo. Afterward, employees enjoyed a delicious catered lunch accompanied by our house band, the WR Revenuers. The WR Revenuers include Chris B. Johnson on rhythm guitar/lead vocals/lead guitar/backing vocals, Matt Grzebien on lead guitar/lead vocals/rhythm guitar, Matt Crawford on bass guitar, and Austin Pote on drums.
In the afternoon, the Core Value teams went head-to-head on a circuit of field day games. Wet weather kept the teams indoors, but a little rain could never dampen our spirit of competition. Contemporary favorites like cornhole, ladder golf, and giant Jenga took the stage alongside childhood staples like egg-and-spoon races and hula hoop passes.
Members of the Executive team had the honor of announcing the recipients of the 2023 Cornerstone Awards. The Cornerstone Awards are an extension of the firm’s Core Value Awards (CVAs), which recognize employee excellence through the demonstration of WithersRavenel’s Core Values throughout the year. CVAs are given out based on monthly peer nominations; CVA winners come from the pool of nominees for the Cornerstone Awards.
The day closed with a review of the ESOP valuation process and share price reveal, where the Executive team unveiled the value of our stock for the most recent plan year.
Owners’ Day 2023 cemented the annual tradition of celebrating our company achievements all together in one place and remains an example of one of the many rewards of being a 100% Employee-Owned company.
To provide the best experiences, we use technologies like cookies to store and/or access device information. Consenting to these technologies will allow us to process data such as browsing behavior or unique IDs on this site. Not consenting or withdrawing consent, may adversely affect certain features and functions.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.