Dennis Frampton spent nearly 50 years working at Meadville’s C&J Industries, a custom plastic-injection molder and medical device contract manufacturer, founded in 1962.

When retirement beckoned for the company’s president and chief executive in 2016, he and his family members serving on C&J’s board of directors opted against selling the plant to an out-of-town company or private investment firm. Selling to an outside interest, they determined, would not have guaranteed the future of the company and its 315 full-time jobs remaining a vital economic cog in Meadville.

Instead, they elected to sell all of their family-owned company stock to C&J Industries and its employees, making the business a 100 percent employee stock ownership plan. “I knew I needed to retire sometime, but when I met with our accountants, we sat down and discussed some options, and they said one option was to turn it into a 100 percent ESOP,” Frampton said. “It took me about 30 seconds to say yes. I said I would like to sell it to the employees because it would stay in Meadville for a long time and I wouldn’t have to worry about it being sold off.” Frampton, 68, who lives in Meadville, started working at the company as an apprentice tool-and-die maker when he was 18.

C&J Industries was a small tool-and-die shop known as Meadville Precision Tool when it was founded in 1962 by Harold Corner and Dick Johnston (their last initials became the company name in 1982.) All of Frampton’s family-owned stock was purchased by the company on Sept. 30, when the company transitioned to its 100 percent vested employee ownership status

Read more: Employees now own Meadville plastics company