NEW YORK, NY— Twenty-two years ago, Michael Montenes set out to start his own small business with the primary goal of ensuring that his customers were satisfied. He knew that in order to do so, he would have to put together and train an all-star team who understood the power of personal customer service and could deliver results.
Montenes founded M.S. Hi-Tech, a New York-based electronic component distributor located in Hauppauge, New York that specializes in procurement and inventory management solutions for customers in the global electronic supply chain. Montenes credits his father with teaching him the importance of quality control and attention to detail for any product, and he demonstrates this lesson by pushing his company to exceed expectations in its mission and operations.
That doesn’t mean the process was always easy.
When Montenes opened his business at 2 p.m. on November 20, 1990, he was 29 years old, “with a credit card, telephone and a prayer.” While the business was getting off the ground, he put in the long hours needed to achieve customer satisfaction. During a tough patch, he also worked nights at a local gas station to help make ends meet. Reinvesting profit into the business and maintaining a culture where a real person is always there to answer the phone has been the key to his company’s development.
“It takes a family to build a successful company,” said SBA Long Island Branch Manager Walter Oden. “And Michael has created a great family within M.S. Hi-Tech who work very hard and are very passionate in their mission.” From his puppy, Kiwi, who stayed faithful during the early days when LIPA cut off Montenes’ home’s power, to a staff of 10 professionals who regularly stayed late to help customers get what they need, the MS Hi-Tech team understands the meaning of commitment.
In developing his management strategy, Montenes, knew that the work of his people have a direct effect on the company goals of their clients. The MS Hi-Tech team is distinguished by a strong culture, seeing themselves as an extension of their customers’ buying groups. In an industry where buyers are pressured with deadlines for their own customers, and distributors have to efficiently manage multiple orders and requests, Montenes has ensured efficiency by cross-training his team and maintaining that they have a high-level of technical expertise.
“We look to hire, train and develop individuals who are passionate about helping other people,” Montenes said. “We have an excellent infrastructure, and a great group of people who truly care and take the success of our clients very personal, and that’s how we’ll continue to grow.”
In September of 2007, Michael worked with TD Bank to obtain a loan under the SBA’s 504 CDC Loan program. M.S. Hi-Tech received an $870,000 loan to assist in the purchase of the building in which they’ve operated for the past two decades.
“It’s been a sincere honor to recognize the great work and the great team at M.S. Hi-Tech,” said Acting District Director Adalberto Quijada. “As the opportunities in the sub-contracting market continue to grow, Michael’s team sets a great example for success for the small business community.”
M.S. Hi-Tech is also the SBA New York District winner for Sub-Contractor of the Year 2013, as well as the winner for SBA Region II Atlantic. Michael and his team were nominated by Brookhaven Science Associates/Brookhaven National Laboratory.
“M.S. Hi-Tech has provided a wide range of products and services to us on such programs as the Large Hadron Collider, Atlas Detector, National Synchrotron Light Source, and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider,” said Small Business Liaison Officer Jill Clough-Johnston. “We nominated M.S. Hi-Tech for this award because they have always provided us with competitive prices, on-time delivery, and a customer service team that is excellent in respect to technical expertise and courtesy.”
Michael and his team continue to work hard at building a strong business, by maintaining a family culture and high standards of practice, and by also honoring those who have helped along the way. Although they are no longer with us, Michael and his team know that both Kiwi and Mr. Montenes, Sr. would be proud.