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AMERICAN SYSTEMS’ Peter Smith Reflects on Three Decades at the Firm

AMERICAN SYSTEMS’ COO Peter Smith sat down with ExecutiveBiz to talk about his career – spent entirely at the same company:  “First of all, it’s great being part of AMERICAN SYSTEMS since 1980. It really is a fine company and whenever somebody says to me, “Peter, I can’t believe you’ve been at the same company for so long,” I’m careful to point out all of the opportunities AMERICAN SYSTEMS has afforded me along the way. But I’m also careful to point out that over the course of the past 35 years that AMERICAN SYSTEMS has been in business, it’s really been three different companies. In its first phase, it was very much a small, privately-held engineering company with two founders who guided all the decisions associated with the company. Following that, the founders did a great thing as they moved towards retirement; they sold the company to the employees, which was a tremendous opportunity. During our first ten years after the sale, we were a leveraged ESOP, meaning that the stock was held by the banks as collateral against the loan that we had to take out to buy the company, and as we paid down the loan, the stocks were released and we found ourselves in a third phase as a majority-owned ESOP company. While our principles have remained solid, if you will, throughout the entire existence of AMERICAN SYSTEMS, it really has evolved from a place of private ownership to employee ownership and this has been a very good thing for all concerned.”

Click here to read the whole interview.

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