SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A medical device manufacturer based in Santa Maria is being sold. The founder of Hardy Diagnostics announced the sale today. The new owners? Employees who already work there.
"Every day is a beautiful day in Santa Maria, and I love coming into work everyday," said Robin Guice as she came into work today.
Guice has been a working as a sales representative at Hardy Diagnostics for just under a year. While it may take most people years to work their way to the top, Robin is one of 230 employees at Hardy Diagnostics who just became owners of the company.
"It feels so great to be not just part of a great organization but also to be an owner of it," says Guice.
President and founder Jay Hardy says he's been thinking about this for a long time. Instead of selling to an outside company and not knowing what would happen to the business he started, he says he would much rather keep Hardy Diagnostics in the family.
"I believe we can carry on the company culture and the traditions that we've already started and we've already worked hard for," said Hardy.
Hardy started the company with a close friend in 1980. It's grown to a company that manufactures 3,200 medical devices for use in 8,000 laboratories across the nation. The employee ownership means many benefits for workers. Chief among those benefits is the ability to become shareholders in the company at no cost.
"It's kind of like preparing a banquet," said Hardy. "This is a way where the employees can work hard and then they can actually share in the fruit of their success."
Robin says the change is giving her and coworkers a little pep in their step at the office.
"Employees are more vested into the company and so I think the sense of caring and the sense of duty is something we all share as well as just reaping the benefits. It's wonderful," said Guice.
Hardy says that he will retain his job as president and CEO for now.