Spokane Journal of Business

Tate Technology founder company's reins to son

Former president plans to transition to part time

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Former Tate Technology Inc. President Lee Tate has transitioned ownership of the company to his son Scott Tate, as of last month, after selling the company's assets to him, the elder Tate says.

While Scott Tate focuses on growing the company located at 3102 E. Trent, Lee Tate expects to work part time with the company, and part time with Debonding Systems Inc., a newer company he helped found five years ago that makes plastic pipe repair tools.

Scott Tate has been with the electronic and circuit board assembler for six years, most recently as the vice president of sales and marketing. He anticipates the company will continue to grow over the next several years under his leadership, both in sales and in employment.

To accomplish that, he says he plans to focus on honing the company's sales strategy, and intends to hire at least one more salesperson to accommodate his move to president.

Tate Technology assembles products for Inland Northwest companies such as Telect Inc., Wagstaff Inc., and Itron Inc., among others.

"As the markets change and the products get more complex, we want to change with them," Scott Tate says.

Tate Technology employs 43 workers full time and six temporary workers. Scott Tate expects once the sales department is solidified, the company will hire more employees for its production floor.

Lee Tate says the ownership transition was 10 years in the making, and that he planned to pass the business off to one of his two children, each of whom has an engineering background. During that decade, Scott Tate slowly purchased the assets of the business from his father.

Lee Tate founded the company here in 1992. He says that since Scott joined the company, it has doubled its employment and revenue. Of passing ownership to his son, he says, "It creates continuity for all our employees that depend on me for their livelihood."

Tate says sales at the company have been slow through the first half of 2013, but he anticipates the company will finish with revenue of close to $5 million, on par with last year. To accomplish that, he expects the company will see a 10 percent increase in revenue during the second half of the year compared with the same period last year, due in part to more business it hopes to generate as a result of two new certifications it has received.

Scott Tate says the company's most recent certification, issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May, is a quality control standards known as FDA 510k certification. That standard enables the company to expand into the health care industry and assemble medical-grade products, he says.

It also received a certification in January from the Geneva, Switzerland-based International Organization for Standardization known as ISO 9001:9008 certification. That quality control standard enables Tate Technology to assemble products for the aviation and military industries, Tate says.

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