At just 8 years old, J. Michael Keeling was known to hand out brochures at street corners to advocate for political campaigns. Interested in government and politics from a formative age, he pursued the disciplines in college, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1969 and Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 1971. Commencing his career as a research director for the Texas Legislature Interim Committee on Ad Valorem, he subsequently served as a research director of the gubernatorial campaign for Frances T. Farenthold the following year. From 1972 to 1973, he acted as the legislative director of the Office of Congressman J.J. Pickle in the 10th District of Texas, having thereafter served the congressman as a chief staff officer from 1973 to 1981. From 1981 to 1988, Mr. Keeling was the principal of David P. Stang, PC, in Washington, DC, as well as counsel for Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger from 1988 to 1991.
Employed with the Employee Stock Ownership Plan Association since 1984, Mr. Keeling started out his appointment as general counselor, holding the position for seven years. Since 1991, he has been the president of the organization, which was founded in 1978 and advocates on behalf of all companies that have employee stock ownership plans. He will soon retire from his role in the organization in 2019. As president, he visited 580 employee-owned companies and has averaged approximately 200 speaking engagements across the United States since the turn of the century.
Alongside his primary endeavors, Mr. Keeling has also been the president of the ESOP Association’s affiliated 501(c)(3) educational and research foundation called the Employee Ownership Foundation. Since assuming his role, the association has experienced significant growth in both membership and revenues, thus becoming the largest organization in American history dedicated to ensuring employee-owned companies are effective in operating their employee stock ownership plans.
Married with two children and one grandchild, Mr. Keeling enjoys studying Civil War history in his spare time. He is a native of Kilgore, TX, and currently resides in Washington, DC, with his family.
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