Harken, Inc was started in 1968 by founders Peter and Olaf Harken and has been among the leaders in producing and developing sailboat hardware and accessories. Today, the company has two production facilities and distributes its products to 48 countries.
This week, company founder Peter Harken announced the company would be sold to its employees via an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
“We started this company to build the best sailing products we could at a fair price. We've had good success doing it, and that makes us proud,” Peter Harken said in a statement.
“What we might not have anticipated was how much the culture of this place means to its success,” Harken continued. “[We] tried to build a place where people could take chances and not be afraid to fail. More and more it's our people who have made this place the leader it is.
Today, we're acknowledging an ownership change. It's time for those who have worked with us to own Harken.”
Harken acknowledged the ESOP C-suite team and other employees, including CEO Bill Goggins, COO Matt Malec and CFO John Jensen, the Harken executive committee and those who work in Harken’s factories in in Pewaukee, Wis. and Limido Comasco, Italy.
“These people we hired and developed have had their hands on the wheel for a while now, and I look forward to seeing them make their marks. I've always said the company is its people, and it's all 400 worldwide that make this place great.”
“Olaf would be very happy today. I wish he was here to see this. But as I told you the day he passed away: no screwing around, he'll be watching. So will I. It's your watch now. Let's roll!”
Olaf Harken passed away last year.
The new owners were thrilled with the news, filled with gratitude and ready to take on the challenge of keeping Harken competitive for years to come.
“We have been preparing for a day like this for our whole careers…Today we raise our glasses to Peter Harken, Olaf Harken's family, Rose Sorensen, and Art Mitchel. This company will always owe so much to them as our founders. It will always be Peter & Olaf Harken's company, but starting today, it is in our care and custody,” said Goggins.
“Over the last several years, we've prepared the company financially for a transaction that would shift its ownership,” said Jensen, “I'm even happier we found a way to assure that as we grow this company it will continue to live its values.”
“Today, Harken bought Harken,” said Malec.