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HomeNewsEntertainment Partners 30th Anniversary: All in the Family

Entertainment Partners 30th Anniversary: All in the Family

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Accounting may be numbers driven work, but it’s still work done by people who feel as well as think—something that Entertainment Partners has never forgotten.From its earliest days, the company has always treated its employees as family, creating an environment that has turned more than a few short-timers into lifelong employees.That was a tone set by the founders, especially Bob Draney, who brought integrity to both the accounting work and the way the company treated its employees and clients.”For me the best part of it has been the family atmosphere that’s always been there,” says Linda Howard, a veteran of nearly 23 years at the company and now its VP of payroll operations. “The previous owner, Bob, was like a father to me. He was here everyday working 20 hours a day, which we all did.”Draney and co-founder Jack Peterson retired in 2003, deciding that rather than selling the company to a third party, they would give the entire company to the employees through an employee stock-ownership plan. “They went to great pains and probably a lot more trouble than just selling the company to set up this employee stock ownership plan,” says account manager Charlie Ezelle, who’s been with the company for 29 of its 30 years. “We now all have interest in the company and in the company doing well and I’m real grateful about that.”The company was always a family-friendly place to work, but the conversion to employee ownership formalized the cultural values of the company and further invested employees in its success.”The concept is if you’re emotionally, physically and financially vested in the company, if you have a good situation or a bad situation, you have an opportunity to make it better rather than worrying about why the situation occurred,” says CEO and president Mark Goldstein. “That should translate into people adapting to change quicker or adapting to issues quicker.”The company has managed to maintain its family feel, even as it has continued to grow and expand. With more than 400 employees now on staff, it can be difficult to maintain that feeling and even more difficult to convince new hires that it’s not too good to be true.To counter that, the company makes an extra effort to be supportive of its employees through everything from benefits to special holiday gatherings and having at least once a month a celebratory event of some kind.The company also has served as a training ground or launching point for many production accountants, who leave EP to try their hands at other things. What’s always interesting is that so many decide to come back to working for EP.Entertainment Partners also has the distinction of having never laid off workers in its three decades in business. “When difficult financial decision need to be made, the average business mentality is to make cuts in the workforce,” say Ron Cogan, VP marketing. “That’s the last thing we would do here and I think people are so extremely aware of and grateful to that fact that we put our money where our mouth is as viewing our employees as our key asset.””I think the combination of all these things creates an environment where people really care about where they’re at and they care about doing good for the client,” Goldstein says.

Written by Tom McLean

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