Early this year, SJE celebrated the accomplishment of an ambitious goal: to reach a $100 share price by 2020. Reaching the goal, set in 2013, meant growing the company by at least 8% each year.
“In my first year at SJE, I had asked dozens of employees where they thought the stock price could get to in 5 years,” says President and CEO Dave Thomas said. “Most responses were $40-$45 per share. I think one person said $50. So to throw out $100 was a big leap to make.”
Thomas, then new to his role, presented his “Vision 2020” goal to initially skeptical employees. Yet, as each year passed, the company met projected goals. As sales records shattered, and then shattered again months later, opinions turned. There were some bumps in the path, such as several rounds of tariffs, but SJE still maintained its growth.
“I knew when I started at SJE we had a lot of potential,” Thomas said. “$100 per share was almost 3 times the highest the stock price had ever been, but when I did the analysis on what growth we would need in terms of sales and profit, it became clear to me that we had a shot at it.”
In late 2019, it was time to calculate the annual share price to see if the goal had been made. After some number crunching, it was official: SJE had met its goal and then some, with a stock price of $102.25.
For employee-owned SJE, this achievement is particularly momentous. All profits generated by the company are divided among employees and put into a special retirement plan. The new $102.25 share price directly benefits SJE employee owners and their families.
“The impact on the Detroit Lakes community has been and will continue to be tremendous,” Thomas adds. “In the last 5 years, the collective wealth increase in our Detroit Lakes location alone is over $50 million. It is likely that the vast majority of this wealth will be spent in and around our community. The impact on the local economy, charitable giving and educational funding will span generations.”
SJE markets three brands — CSI Controls, PRIMEX and SJE Rhombus — that deliver pump controls for a wide range of residential, commercial, municipal and industrial applications. The company, based in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, does business globally from multiple locations across the United States and Asia. SJE is employee-owned and privately held. To learn more, visit www.sjeinc.com.