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Despite serving as chief financial officer for more than two decades, Keith Bennett’s journey with Emery Sapp & Sons (ESS) began back in 1972, the company’s founding year. With a shovel in his hands, the high school student worked on one of the few concrete paving crews in the company. This experience, Keith said, truly set the foundation for his career. While attending the University of Missouri, he continued his relationship with ESS by spending his summer breaks completing fieldwork with his crew. Following graduation, Keith put his accounting degree to use in the private industry world for more than two decades before returning to ESS as a vital financial leader. 

When asked about Keith’s accounting skills, Glen Robertson, president and chairman of the board, shared, “The man could make numbers dance!”

Although Keith had a hand in countless operations as an executive board member and chief financial officer, perhaps his most influential endeavor involved the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Keith worked tirelessly with other founding members to establish Emery Sapp & Sons as a 100% employee-owned company. This ultimately transformed the shape and direction of the company, giving both current and future employee-owners the opportunity to grow their wealth. 

“I’m proud of the culture and foundation we’ve left for the next generation,” shared Keith.

After supporting ESS through the ESOP process, Keith generously shared his knowledge with others in the industry. Advising nearly a dozen companies each year, he navigated countless construction professionals toward employee-ownership. 

“One of the determining factors of an ESOP’s success is the strength of the company’s leadership team,” Keith said. “We created an ESOP run truly for the benefit of employee-owners.” 

As retirement draws near, Keith looks forward to spending more time with family, reading new books, playing a few rounds of golf, and traveling with his wife. When asked about his many accomplishments over the years, Keith shared, “We got the ESOP set up the right way. I’m proud of the wealth and opportunities it’s created for our employee-owners.” 

Dan Hoover, chief financial officer, shared, “Keith has played a significant role in developing the employee-ownership culture of our ESOP. That legacy is one to be proud of and one we will continue to uphold as our company grows.” 


Before his departure, we sat down with Keith to learn more about his journey with ESS:

Q: After 22 years of service, what are you most proud of?

A: I’m proud of the ESOP we established and the wealth it has created for our employee-owners. I’m proud of the employees I’ve watched blossom in their careers and expand their horizons. I’m proud of the culture we created from the field up to the executive team. I’m proud of the foundation we’ve left for the next generation.

Q: How have you seen ESS evolve over the years?

A: I’ve seen ESS make acquisitions and take on new projects as we’ve grown over the years. As I drive around Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, and even Arizona, I now get to say, ‘We built that. We built that. And that one.’ The coolest thing about ESS is getting to see your work and the things you’ve created.

Q: What advice would you offer to someone entering the industry right now?

A: It’s a dynamic industry. There are many ways you can evolve your career and learn about different aspects of construction. We, as a company, should be ready to assist and support you as you grow your career. Find the right place and dig in.

Published onPublicado en December 13, 2023
Company Compañía | People Personas


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