Karmak becomes ESOP with founders' retirement

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Updated May 26, 2022

Karmak, the second largest dealer management solution (DMS) in the country, has become 100 percent employee owned.

The news was announced this week as founder Richard and Linda Schien formally retired from the business, selling their shares into an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

Karmak was founded by the Schiens in a closet in the Schien Body and Equipment building in 1981. Today, the company serves more than 600 customers with 2,000-plus locations, and has more than 250 employees.

“Keeping the business in Carlinville and providing stable, technical employment for local people has always been a top priority for our family,” says Richard Schien. “We’re really proud to provide our community with the opportunity for growth, and this will continue even in my retirement.”

An ESOP was first put into place at Karmak in 2003 when the Schien's began to plan for their retirement and the company’s long-term future. Employee ownership, in the form of an ESOP, is a model embraced by companies all over the world and in numerous industries and provides an employee benefit plan that provides workers ownership interest in the company. This interest takes the form of shares of stock.

[RELATED: Karmak CEO Jim Allen's unique approach to customer service and engagement]

Karmak's ESOP has now purchased the company, and under CEO Jim Allen, Karmak is 100 percent employee owned.

“There is no better owner to entrust the company to than the employees that helped build it,” says Richard Schien. “I know we’re leaving the business in the hands of dedicated, motivated leaders who will help forge new ground and usher in the next exciting era of Karmak.”

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