Established in 1960, BENCO STEEL, Inc. is an independent, woman owned, regional steel service center serving industries in the North Carolina and South Carolina area.
We offer many metal processing and fabrication options to our customers, including saw
The largest Durma press brake in North Carolina, the Turkish-made piece of equipment is well worth its price tag, said Jay Tate, BENCO Steel Inc.'s executive vice president.
"Our intention is to be a one-stop shop for all our customers, including one-man welding shops, residential home builders, commercial builders and manufacturers of steel-based products," Tate said.
Tate estimates the total investment in new equipment at $1.5 million.
It's part of a five-year plan initiated in 2000 to modernize the company's plant, sales, purchasing and billing/accounting operations.
Tate said all goals outlined in the five-year plan - including meeting ISO 9001-2000 certification - were accomplished early.
"Customers can now receive price quotes through the company's revamped Web site, and will eventually be able to buy products and services online as part of our evolution to electronic commerce," Tate said.
He said the company viewed the economic downturn of 2001-03 as an opportunity to modernize in anticipation of better times to come.
"And it's paying off," he said.
Jay Tate became Benco's first executive vice president in February and, in October, her new husband.A Hickory native and retired Army officer, Tate was working as a management analyst for the Defense Department in Washington when he ran into her at his uncle's funeral in May 2000.She hired him to study Benco, then made him her second-in-command.
Tate comes off as a management wonk.
He loves to talk about organizational charts, strategic plans and mission statements.
Leaning forward, he gestures energetically to punctuate his points or scurries to another room to retrieve a chart to bolster one.
"It puts us one step closer to our goal of being a one-stop shop for our customers," said Jay Tate, executive vice president of Benco, North Carolina's only steel service center west of Charlotte.
Tate said that while many companies have retrenched during the last 18 months, Benco has looked at the economic downturn as an opportunity to ascertain its customers' needs, and to prepare for better times that are sure to come.
"During this downturn, we've had to make a major effort to really listen to our customers, to look at their needs and at the services we offer and could offer," Tate said.
Jay Tate, formly with Benco Steel, discusses his role in spearheading the first 9-11 memorial in the nation.
Credit: ROBERT C. REED/RECORD
Jay Tate served in the U.S. Army for 20 years and retired on April 1, 1988, with the rank of Major.He became a civilian consultant after leaving the military.He was a combat aviator during the Vietnam War and twice returned from missions at the controls of a plane too damaged to fly again.
Having worked in Washington, DC for a number of years, Tate still knew a lot of people there.
He'd last been in DC on Jan. 31, 2001.
On the morning of 9/11, Tate was working at Benco Steel when a salesman came into his office and told him that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.
They turned on the news.
At first, they thought it was an accident.
They thought the plane had flown off course.
"While we were watching that, another airplane flew into the other building and that's when we knew something terrible was happening to our country," Tate said.
"They were 100 yards to the right of the impact - his office was completely devastated," Tate said.
"His coworkers had collapsed and people had to crawl through the rubble in the dark to get out of this thing."
It took awhile, but Tate was able to get a call through to his friend and confirm that he was unhurt.
"It's quite interesting that we have not had another attack on our soil since then and that's because of our vigilance," Tate said.
Tate worked for Benco for eight years before joining Broome Associated Insurance.
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Hickory Daily Record | They said it: The year in quotes
April 4-Continuing the community-wide Vietnam War memorial theme, Jay Tate, General Manager of Benco Steel and veteran assault helicopter pilot in the Vietnam campaign, related his wartime experiences and reviewed author Tim O'Brien's book The Things They Carried.
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