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St. John hands out $10 million in bonuses to employees

From left, Lacey Johansson, Michael Creath, guest of Ann Moyers, Ann Moyers and Teri Mallonee react to an announcement of $10 billion in bonuses. (St. John Properties)

From left, Lacey Johansson, Michael Creath, guest of Ann Moyers, Ann Moyers and Teri Mallonee react to an announcement of $10 million in bonuses. (St. John Properties)

When St. John Properties employees opened red envelopes Saturday at the company’s annual holiday party, they got not just season’s greetings but learned what share they received in a $10 million bonus.

St. John Properties met a long-standing goal of developing 20 million square feet of space this year and the bonus, an average of $50,000 per employee, was based on how long each employee had been with the firm.

“To celebrate the achievement of our goal, we wanted to reward our employees in a big way that would make a significant impact on their lives,” Edward St. John, the company’s chairman and founder, said in a statement. “I am thankful for every one of our employees for their hard work and dedication. I couldn’t think of a better way to show it.”

St. John and St. John Properties president Lawrence Maykrantz began planning for the 20 million square-feet milestone, set in 2005, and what they could do to celebrate two years ago.

A couple of months ago, plans went “full speed ahead,” Maykrantz said Monday.

The firm built buzz for the annual holiday party for weeks. They offered cash prizes to employees who completed puzzles and flew employees in from the eight states where the firm operates.

Ed St. John addresses St. John Properties employees, who hold red envelopes detailing the amounts of their bonuses. St. John Properties will pay a $10 million bonus to all 198 of its employees, based solely on years of service, in celebration of achieving its goal of developing 20 million square feet of office, flex/R&D, retail, and warehouse space in eight states. The average bonus is about $50,000, according to the company. (Submitted photo)

Ed St. John addresses St. John Properties employees, who hold red envelopes detailing the amounts of their bonuses. St. John Properties will pay a $10 million bonus to all 198 of its employees, based solely on years of service, in celebration of achieving its development goals. The average bonus is about $50,000, according to the company. (Submitted photo)

They also let everyone at the company know there would be a big surprise at the party.

“It was really an exciting buildup,” Maykrantz said. “The chatter in the office was running rampant.”

Speculation about the surprise focused on potential guests — Cal Ripken, Jr., Ray Lewis and Hootie and the Blowfish were popular guesses — or the future of the company, including guesses that it could go public.

Nothing could have topped the reaction that the bonuses received, Maykrantz said.

“I saw people screaming, crying, laughing, hugging each other, he said. “And then they all proceeded to come up to the front podium where Edward St. John and I were and formed lines and hugged us, kissed us, shook our hands. The emotions in that room were unbelievable.”

Bonus amounts were based on service to the company, ranging from $270,000 for the longest-tenured employee with 45 years to $100 for the employee who started Monday.

The reaction was a reminder to Maykrantz that employees should be valued.

“I think the one thing that anyone can take from this is to understand that your employees are the foundation and the reason your company is who it is,” he said. “We wanted to thank our employees in a big way, and I think we accomplished that.”


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