Gardner Denver, a Milwaukee-based industrial company, made a splash Friday on Wall Street and also in the homes of its more than 6,000 employees around the world who were surprised to learn they’re among the new owners of the company.
Shares of the newly minted stock worth a total of $100 million were granted to Gardner Denver employees as part of the company’s initial public offering. Shares started trading Friday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.
Workers at one of the company’s two facilities in Sheboygan, a factory that makes die cast aluminum and injection molded parts for medical equipment, gathered for what they thought would be a brief breakfast celebration to watch CEO Vicente Reynal and other executives ring the opening bell on Wall Street. That event hit closer to home as the workers learned about their windfalls.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Dennis Bossler, who works in die polishing at the Gardner Denver Thomas plant. “I’ve been working here 38 years and I never saw this coming.” Like a number of workers who watched the presentation, it took a bit for Bossler to process the news that he had just received a big bonus. “I’m trying to figure out what this all means,” he said.