ShopBot Tools transitions to employee-ownership trust
July 21, 2021 | 2:00 pm CDT

DURHAM, N.C. – CNC machinery specialist ShopBot Tools announced it has recently restructured as an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). Founder and Board Chair Ted Hall said the move was designed to position the company for long-term success by empowering employees while providing liquidity for shareholders.

ShopBot is the 14th company in the U.S. to establish an EOT. “The EOT is a vehicle to keep ShopBot thriving, innovating, and active in the community while rewarding the people who have built it over the years including recognizing shareholders' investment," Hall said.

ShopBot EOT
Founder Ted Hall and CEO Jeanne Taylor finalize the EOT with a handshake.

Hall founded ShopBot 25 years ago. A professor of neuroscience at Duke University, Hall built plywood boats in his spare time, but became frustrated by the amount of time it took to cut the panels with hand power tools. Even a used CNC router was very expensive, so Hall designed his own affordable CNC tool and began spending more time designing tools than building boats.

The company he founded has grown to 35 employees. ShopBot has manufactured more than 10,000 CNC tools used by small and medium manufacturers worldwide.

Wanting the company to thrive for the long term, Hall said he began exploring employee ownership options before ultimately deciding on an EOT with help of consultant Anne-Claire Broughton, Principal of Broughton Consulting and founder of the North Carolina Employee Ownership Center (NCEOC), and Chris Michael of EOT Advisors, who has been instrumental in bringing EOTs to the U.S. Attorney Bill Kaluza of Fahrenheit Advisors also played a key role in structuring the transaction.
“EOTs are a great option for companies that are too small for an ESOP. They are a flexible and dynamic way to engage and reward employees,” Broughton said. “We are thrilled that ShopBot has become this first EOT in North Carolina, and hope that other companies will consider this model as their founders look to exit.”

The EOT helps position ShopBot for long-term growth and success, affirmed Jeanne Taylor, ShopBot CEO, and will build on the company’s efforts to create an engaged employee culture. “We’ve had strong growth coming out of the pandemic, and we have a fantastic team of employees making it happen,” said Taylor. “The EOT will only make our culture stronger.” 

Founded in 1996, ShopBot's mission is to make the empowering technology of digital fabrication widely accessible and usable. ShopBot tools are designed and built in Durham, North Carolina.

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