KANSAS CITY, MO. — The HNTB Companies once again has been ranked among the largest majority employee-owned companies in the United States. The annual ranking is compiled by the National Center for Employee Ownership, a national nonprofit information and membership organization designed to promote employee leadership.

HNTB’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan was established in 2000 and has increased in value every year since its inception. The plan has an approximately 80-percent participation rate among the firm’s 3,800 employees. The total value of employee accounts has grown from $13 million in the first year to $574.9 million at the end of 2010. The average HNTB participating employee has an account balance of $156,000. This is a 40.4-percent increase from 2001 when the average account balance was $8,796.

HNTB’s program, as a whole, has a compound annual growth rate of 45.7 percent.

“Research indicates that employee-owned companies outperform others, even during a recession. When employees have an ownership stake they are more engaged and productive,” said Ken Graham, CEO of HNTB Infrastructure. “As a firm, HNTB has been performing at the highest level and we are winning some of the largest and most exciting infrastructure projects in the nation. I believe that success is a direct result of our fully engaged and motivated workforce.”

Rankings are based on the number of employees. To be included on the list, companies must have a majority of their shares owned by an employee stock ownership plan or similar program.