The ArrowBrooke Blog

A Look Inside Horizon Homes: What it Means to be Employee-Owned

February 22, 2017
A Look Inside Horizon Homes: What it Means to be Employee-Owned

By Horizon Homes

Horizon Homes is part of the award-winning Highland Homes, a Plano-based homebuilder that has been in operation since 1985. In the last few years, Highland became an employee-owned business. Many Arrowbrooke customers have wondered what exactly it means to be employee-owned.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at Highland, and how an employee-owned company actually works.

Highland’s History

Highland Homes was founded in 1985 by Rod Sanders and Jean Ann Brock, a brother-and-sister team who saw a need for a homebuilder with a commitment to both quality and customer satisfaction. Even in the midst of one of the toughest real estate markets in history, Rod and Jean Ann were able to sell 13 homes in their first month of operation.

The company grew gradually over the years, until it was building more than 2,800 homes annually in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. Today, Highland is the largest privately-owned builder in Texas, with a staff of more than 600.

Over the years, Rod and Jean Ann had begun to consider the next stage of Highland. Would they sell the company they spent 30 years building? Would they accept any of the offers they received from investors and other homebuilders? In the end, they decided the best course of action was to put the company in the hands of the people who had helped make it a success—the employees.

A New Approach

In 2016, Rod and Jean Ann adopted an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, for the company they had founded. An ESOP is a qualified retirement plan that enables employees to purchase shares of the company from the owner.

Rod and Jean Ann felt that selling Highland to the employees through an ESOP was the best way to honor their contribution, while also maintaining the unique culture of the company. With an ESOP, employees enjoy a retirement plan is that is fully funded by the company, giving them a financial stake in its overall success.

Now that the ESOP has been established, Highland Homes is 100-percent employee owned. Team members feel more engaged than ever before with the success of the company. And the close-knit, supportive culture of Highland is as strong as it has ever been.

To learn more about Highland Homes, visit

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