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Sellersville Senior Residences Celebrates Groundbreaking

Harkins Members standing side by side at the Sellersville Groundbreaking with shovels in hand.

Sellersville, PA

On Tuesday, June 22nd, Harkins celebrated the groundbreaking of Sellersville Senior Residences in Sellersville, PA. Constructed for Grace Inspired Ministries and in partnership with Leon N Weiner & Associates, Architectural Alliance, and Gilmore & Associates, Sellersville will be a new affordable community in Bucks County.

Made up of 50 senior apartment units, the 67,000 sf building will be a slab-on-grade three-story structure with a mix of stone veneer and vinyl siding residing on a 4.6-acre property. Residents will enjoy common area features, such as a two-story community room, laundry room, covered porches, and multiple lounge areas throughout the building. The Residences will be built to the highest energy efficiency standards, utilizing the Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready program.

Grace Inspired Ministries (GIM) was formed in 2017 through the affiliation of the Lutheran Community at Telford and The Community at Rockhill. GIM is a non-profit, faith-based entity dedicated to serving older adults. Sellersville Senior Apartments aligns with GIM’s vision to lead by identifying and meeting community needs with innovation and accountability.

Groundbreaking Photos

Celebrating 20 Years: ESOP Anniversary

Harkins crew gathered around smiling.

For over 55 years, Harkins has been providing exceptional preconstruction services combined with proactive on-site construction management. Our history and strong culture are rooted in our founder Thomas P. Harkins and his successor Blase Cooke. For the first 35 years, Harkins was run with sole ownership that transferred from Tom to Blase. In 2001, Blase established
the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), a new structure that would provide Harkins employees with an opportunity for a secure retirement benefit.

This type of succession plan is one that Blase believed all employees would benefit from. One of his greatest concerns was the many people that put in ‘sweat equity’, especially field personnel, who were not financially positioned to provide for their families through retirement. Our 401K plan was not something everyone fully participated in and social security would not suffice. When he was introduced to the ESOP, Blase was confident that this type of ownership would benefit all employees, as well as the future of the company.

We embarked on a year-long process of establishing the ESOP in 2001 with numerous consultants, documentation, and meetings. Former President Dick Lombardo, President & CEO Gary Garofalo, and I were the initial trustees involved in the collaboration of our bank relationships and bonding company to make Blase’s initial dream of the ESOP a reality for Harkins.

Former Retirement Benefits Administrator Gladys Hyman was an original committee member and a huge asset to organizing and keeping all of the documentation up to date. Gladys served the ESOP until her retirement in January 2020.

Unfortunately, 2001 was not the best year to introduce a major
ownership change with events such as the September 11th attacks, the dot-com bubble, and the Enron scandal. Nevertheless, Harkins officially became an ESOP that year. Blase provided a personal loan, along with our bank (SunTrust) that enabled employees to obtain 61% ownership in the company as the loans were paid off. Later that year, Blase learned he had cancer, but the ESOP process was well underway, with loans officially paid off by April 2005. The ESOP grew into a substantial benefit for all employees thanks to Blase’s selflessness for the greater good of our company.

Blase passed in October of 2007 knowing he had provided a meaningful gift and secured retirement to his employees. After his passing, upper management secured the remaining outstanding shares from Blase’s estate with Harkins and senior management personally purchasing that stock. The remaining 39% of the stock was sold to the ESOP in 2013, which allowed Harkins to become 100% employee-owned. Harkins still benefits from tax advantages and the ESOP has become a significant morale booster that keeps employees involved in the success of the company, along with being a recruiting tool for potential candidates.

Quote ESOP anniversary

Over the last 20 years, we have grown our company, share price, and dividends. Our employee accounts have also grown in addition to being a considerable part of our employees’ retirement benefits. Today, our ESOP is still run by an internal committee that has term limits, made up of current members: HR Specialist Megha Patel, Project Executive Casey Hughes, and Project Manager Greg Ferenschak. We have outside counsel, financial advisors, valuation companies, and auditors involved as well. Current Trustees are Controller Jim Beck, Senior Vice President & General Counsel Jim Thompson, and myself.

The Harkins ESOP was initiated by a remarkable man and continues to support a continuously growing company that owes its success to its exceptional employees.

ESOP anniversary timeline

Harkins Celebrates Habitat House Dedication

Habitat house dedication group photo
Baltimore, MD

On Friday, June 11th, Harkins celebrated the house dedication of 504 McCabe Avenue in Baltimore, MD, completed in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake.

This single-family home is made up of four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Built using Habitat Chesapeake’s 20’x30′ townhome footprint, the home was constructed more efficiently with less waste, offsetting lumber shortages and rising material costs faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new footprint will be used on approximately 27 homes in East Baltimore’s Orchard Ridge community, with each home designed using the same model but with unique attributes.​​​​​​​

Despite delays due to COVID-19, Harkins and our trade partners completed the project ahead of schedule. The project represents Habitat Chesapeake’s dedication to the neighborhood, which began in 2012 with their commitment to renovating 21 homes by 2020. With the completion of 504 McCabe, Habitat Chesapeake will now exceed its goal and have made future plans to build in the Greater Govans community, featured as one of Baltimore City’s “Neighborhoods on the Rise” by Live Baltimore.

Habitat homeowner quote

Harkins sponsored a home in the same neighborhood for our 50th-anniversary celebration in 2015. We are proud to have partnered with Habitat Chesapeake on yet another home in conjunction with their mission to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

Special thank you to recently retired Bid Manager / Small Business Liaison Walt Whitlow for leading the team of trade partners, who also donated their time and materials to the project. 

House Dedication photos.