Millionaire Grocery Clerks: The Amazing WinCo Foods Story

Contributed to Forbes by Mary Josephs

Mary JosephsMs. Josephs writes about entrepreneurs’ exit strategies, ESOPs and M&A. She is the Founder & CEO of Verit Advisors, a middle market investment banking firm. She has nearly three decades experience with Employee Stock Ownership Plans, and has advised, structured and closed more than 200 financings for companies representing more than $7 billion in senior credit and nearly $30 billion in enterprise value.

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In Corvallis, Oregon, a couple miles north of the Oregon State University campus, sits aWinCo Foods discount supermarket and, unless you’re in need of groceries, you might drive by without noticing it. I assure you, however, it’s an extraordinary building, a laboratory of capitalism worthy of pilgrimages by the world’s great business schools.

Inside the store labor 130 employees of WinCo – grocery clerks, shelf stockers, display builders, bakery workers – and their combined retirement savings roughly comes to an astounding $100 million. And that figure is growing rapidly, such that in a few years the average wealth of these employees could easily exceed $1 million. Quite a few individual workers already have account balances above that level.

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Why The Eurozone Needs A Treasury

joerg-bibow-120x120Dr. Jörg Bibow is Professor of Economics at Skidmore College and a Research Associate at the Levy Institute at Bard College. His research focuses on central banking and financial systems and the effects of monetary policy on economic performance, especially the monetary policies of the Bundesbank and the European Central Bank.

Slowly but surely a new consensus is emerging emphasizing the need for Europe’s currency union to organize public investment as a means to overcome its crisis, by now in its seventh year; the outlook being truly grim. Back in July President-elect of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker called for a €300bn public-private investment program. ECB president Mario Draghi lent his support to the idea in his Jackson Hole speech, finally acknowledging that the eurozone is suffering from deficient aggregate demand.

Former EU Commission President Mario Monti too has recently thrown in his voice, observing that public investment has been crushed by the Stability and Growth Pact and relentless austerity drive undertaken across the continent in its name. In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF highlights that at the current juncture public investment is as close to a free lunch as it ever gets: countries renege on their grandchildren’s possibilities by not going for it. For far too long the debate in Europe was exclusively focused on the liability side of the public ledger: debt. But it is the asset side, the public investment undertaken, or not, which is far more relevant in shaping our future.

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A Solution to Global Warming Problems


Dr. Nam P. Suh has served as the president of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) from July 2006 to March 2013. He has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1970.  At MIT, Dr. Suh held the positions of director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, head of the department of Mechanical Engineering, director of the MIT Manufacturing Institute, and director of the Park Center for Complex Systems. (See Author at end of article).

Electrification of Ground Transportations Systems (EGTS) based on On-Line Electric Vehicle (OLEV), and Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR) 

In the 21st century, we must solve global warming problems, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC). To achieve this goal, we must reduce the emission of CO2 by burning less fossil fuel. Since about a half of CO2 emission is from internal combustion (IC) engines, we should either replace IC engines with electric motors or double the efficiency of IC engines to bring the “well-to-wheel” efficiency of IC engines on par with electrical motors. We could also replace coal with natural gas in electric power plants or safe nuclear power plants. These actions will improve the quality of life and economic growth, because many countries are using too much of their resources to buy energy, especially petroleum, which lowers the quality of life and their economic development. The CO2 problem, if unchecked, will jeopardize the future of our younger generations due to global warming. We can solve both of thee problems, i.e., energy and the environment, by electrifying ground transportation systems. These goals can be achieved with On-Line Electric Vehicle (OLEV), which utilizes Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR).

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