As president and CEO of T.E.M. Group, Inc., Tom Masterson has over 30 years of experience in all phases of the electrical industry. T.E.M. is an electric contracting company providing service in engineering, supply and electrical service maintenance of industrial, commercial and institutional facilities. Tom started T.E.M. in 1999 and worked out of his living room with operating capital from his personal savings. The company won its first major contract with UPS in Louisville for $300,000. Opportunities and revenue began to climb, and in two years, four employees grew to 30.
As the business grew, Tom took advantage of a number of U.S. Small Business Administration programs, including 8(a) and HUBZone certifications, and counseling from the Small Business Development Center, and he secured an SBA guaranteed loan. While SBA does not make direct loans to small businesses, the agency does offer a number of financial assistance programs for small businesses that have been specifically designed to meet key financing needs, including debt financing, surety bonds, and equity financing. SBA also works to ensure that federal government contracting opportunities are available to small businesses. The HUBZone and 8(a) certification programs are part of this effort.
T.E.M. was the first 8(a) certified and HUBZone certified business to serve as a subcontractor for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky. The company quickly earned the respect of the project construction management team by being capable and responsive. Tom and his company exceeded the expectations on the job site and set the standard for future opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses.
Tom took advantage of the management counseling offered by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center network and eventually became a guest speaker for some of their programs. The Kentucky SBDC program is partially funded by a cooperative with SBA. The SBDCs are focused on providing long-term counseling to clients to help them grow successful businesses.
Tom was named the SBA 2009 Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year. While addressing state Small Business Person of the Year award winners during Small Business Week, President Obama mentioned Tom by name in his speech. TEM has 50 employees now and recently moved to a larger location in Louisville. The company also has an office in Lexington, KY and is a graduate of the 8(a) program.