NRS, the Idaho-based manufacturer of rugged paddling gear and high-performance inflatable watercraft, announced that, as of 2014, the company is 100-percent owned by its employees. The staff have assumed full ownership of the company after purchasing all outstanding stock from its independent shareholders. The move tops a bold year for NRS, during which the company expanded its operations in Canada, launched a revamped website, acquired the helmet manufacturer WRSI, and announced plans to open a European distribution center. Since its creation in 1972 by Bill Parks, a former business professor, NRS has consistently focused on trying to be an equitable and rewarding workplace, with a family-like atmosphere. The move toward an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), a rather uncommon business model, was said to be aimed at preserving this philosophy while allowing the company to be more competitive as the paddling industry continues to evolve.