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Q4: Kenton Fiske, chairman and president, SenDEC Corp.

Rochester Business Journal
November 5, 2010

Q: SenDEC this week was ranked No. 1 on the Rochester Top 100 list of fastest-growing private companies. How have you been able to achieve strong growth in a difficult economy?

A: Several factors have contributed to this, including we are fortunate to have long-term relationships with industry-leading customers that have been extremely successful in their own right and we have grown with them as their strategic supplier. Second, we have increased our marketing and sales focus to be more proactive in seeking out new strategic customers that are a good fit for SenDEC's services and products versus relying solely on word-of-mouth referrals. Third, we have continued to invest in our people, technology, solution set and strategic partners in a never-ending desire to add value to our customers. Fourth, we have phenomenal employees who are committed to quality and understand that customer service is a philosophy versus a department at SenDEC.

Q: What impact did the global recession have on your firm?

A: This year was the worst of times and in some ways the best of times for us as (we) entered the perfect storm of the recession and its easing. During the height of the recession, our customers not only had order slowdowns/push-outs with us but also depleted their finished goods/safety stock inventory levels. This had a ripple effect through the supply chain all the way to the component manufacturers who furloughed workers and/or closed production plants in some cases due to the overcapacity situation they had. Coming out of the recession of 2009, virtually all of our existing customers pulled their orders in, and we tried to accommodate their requests as best we could. As the recession eased, our new orders soared in addition to existing order pull-ins to satisfy our customers' demands and replenish their safety stock levels. This placed SenDEC (and many contract electronic manufacturers) and electronic component distributors in the middle of a perfect storm of this increased demand and a limited component supply to meet it.

The result was increased lead times for raw material to meet the increased demand and added pressure on high-mix EMS companies to keep their customers running. SenDEC's philosophy has always been to maintain excess capacity, and this was the first time in our history we had demand that exceeded it. We have hired 50 employees and added several new lines since December 2009. Regardless, we were in a crunch for a few months and did cause some customers pain with delivery. As raw material has begun to flow better and our additional capacity is now online, our situation has greatly improved.

Q: What industries or markets are you targeting for expansion?

A: We are continuing to diversify within the military-defense and industrial markets where we have a strong presence and are looking to expand our presence in the rapidly growing markets of medical and energy as well as the re-emergence of the telecom sector.

Q: Looking ahead three to five years, what is the biggest challenge SenDEC faces?

A: I believe our market potential is virtually limitless with opportunity. Our biggest internal challenge has and will likely continue to be managing the growing pains that are inevitable. As for external challenges, our state poses a big one with the highest taxes in the nation and annual double-digit increases in medical premiums. I heard a lot of politicians in both parties talking about this. Let's see if those who have now been elected will act on behalf of us taxpayers.

11/5/10 (c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail


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