Gary Zurek, president, Tax Sheltered Compensation


The staff of employee-owned TSC, an Edina-based firm that administers retirement plans, deserves the credit as the company this year marks 50 years in business, says President Gary Zurek.

Zurek attributed TSC’s growth largely to the client services that employees provide, their expertise in handling complex benefit plans and use of technology to add capabilities and increase productivity.

“TSC’s success is a direct result of its employees,” Zurek said. “TSC has been lucky that we’ve hired these quality people.”

Employees own 95 percent of TSC’s shares and have received profit-sharing allocations and bonuses for most of the past two decades, Zurek said. “We’ve done some things that have given the employees more of a stake in the ­operation,” he said.

Zurek, who joined TSC in 1987, and executive vice president Mark Foster negotiated a leveraged employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) to acquire the company in 1998 from retiring founder Ted Giannobile, who started the company in 1966. Revenue has tripled to nearly $7 million since the acquisition.

TSC administers profit-sharing and pension plans, ­ 401(k)s and ESOPs. It is one of the largest independent third-party plan administrators in the Upper Midwest and one of few employee-owned companies in the country that offer retirement plan administration services.

TSC’s 401(k) Health Check helps employers identify possible plan improvements, Zurek said, while individual statements from TSC help employees track progress toward retirement goals.


Q: What’s become of the talk, coming out of the recession, of doing away with 401(k)s?

A: A lot of that has calmed down. Since the establishment of the law in 1984, you’re looking at over $3.5 trillion that has been accumulated in 401(k) plans. There’s no other opportunity out there for the average citizen to be able to put away those kinds of dollars over that period of time.

Q: How can having a retirement goal help employees ­participating in a 401(k) plan?

A: If you have something to shoot for, then you’ll know if you’re on track, can you make it? Do I have to put more money in? Do I have to look at maybe a little more risk in my portfolio to get some additional gains?

Q: Has being employee-owned helped TSC retain and recruit employees?

A: It’s helped a lot. In the last couple of years, we’ve had a number of people retiring. The majority we’ve hired are probably under 30. Millennials are very astute, so they have a pretty good grasp of where they want to go, and we’ve been lucky enough to bring on a number of them.