AlaTrade is now owned by its employees

Alabama-based poultry further processing company AlaTrade is now owned by its employees.

Roy Graber Headshot
(AlaTrade | Facebook)
(AlaTrade | Facebook)

Alabama-based poultry further processing company AlaTrade is now owned by its employees.

The company was founded by Davis Lee 21 years ago. Lee had retired from a 40-year career in the poultry industry, but rather than staying retired, he started his own company. He found the opportunity to purchase a plant, and the company has since grown to have locations in Phenix City, Boaz and Albertville.

Today, the company, which has deboning operations and produces marinated and non-marinated products for the U.S. foodservice industry, processes more than 400 million pounds of chicken annually.

While Lee had been the owner of AlaTrade, he created an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) which involved the creation of a trust where employees’ accounts accumulate shares of the company at no cost to them. The development in which AlaTrade became 100% employee owned was announced on the AlaTrade Foods – Phenix City Facebook page on June 24.

“Davis built a family at AlaTrade,” Chief Financial Officer Andrea Elrod said in the announcement. “Now, he has created a home. The ESOP is meant to reward people who stay a long time with the company. The employee ownership is so exciting. My expectation is that all of our employees will have meaningful account balances for retirement in a 10- to 15-year time frame.”

According to the company, AlaTrade has long offered health, dental, vision and life insurance to its employees, as well as bonuses and other benefits. The ESOP – along with a new rewards program – further enhances the benefit package for current associates and offers those seeking employment options that can’t readily be found elsewhere.

AlaTrade, according to its website, works within the poultry industry to provide services for its customers that can be as simple as a fee for service or more complex to include co-packing of products for direct distribution. AlaTrade plants have approvals from many national account foodservice companies to produce products for their restaurants.

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