KENT, Ohio – The Davey Tree Expert Company is the 15th largest employee-owned company in the U.S., according to data from the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO).

The NCEO’s 2015 Employee Ownership 100 list includes the nation’s largest companies that are at least 50 percent owned by an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) or other broad-based employee ownership plan.

Davey, which employs over 8,000 people, has been employee-owned since 1979 when employees successfully bought the company from the family of its founder, John Davey. The recent list also names Davey as the largest employee-owned company in Ohio.

“Our employees have always strived to go above and beyond for the Davey Company, and that’s why we have not only survived but thrived over the years,” said Karl Warnke, Davey’s chairman, president and CEO. “For 36 years, Davey has enjoyed the kind of stable progression that an employee-owned company provides.”

The 2015 list shows Davey’s growth, as the company ranked No. 17 on the 2014 list of largest 100 percent employee-owned firms when it employed more than 7,800.

The companies on the list employ approximately 668,000 people worldwide. An estimated 14.9 million people currently participate in more than 9,000 ESOPs with plan assets over $1.1 trillion in the U.S., according to the NCEO.