We are a Delaware Professional Engineering Corporation – Can We Sponsor an ESOP?

Q. Our company is a Delaware professional engineering corporation, and the state has strict rules about who can be an owner in a professional corporation. Can we sponsor an ESOP?

A. It appears that one can practice engineering through a regular corporation, as well as an engineering corporation, as the applicable licensing stature simply requires that there by a licensed engineer designated as the responsible engineer. According to Delaware code, the roster of entities with a Certificate of Authorization includes several non-Delaware corporations with ESOPs. If, however, a firm is organized as a professional corporation in Delaware, it would have to convert to a regular corporation to adopt an ESOP.

Q&A excerpt from NCEO’s May-June 2013 Employee Ownership Report, answered by SES CEO Jim Steiker.