Pride and purpose
Badgett Corp. CEO Tim
Sinn couldn’t be prouder of the global impact of his company, which was started in 1922 by his father-in-law’s grandfather.
CHICKASHA — Pretty much anything that flies — excluding drones but including rovers on the moon — has hydraulic or fuel line parts made at a manufacturing plant just south of town on Highway 81/S 4 Street.
Badgett Corp. annually ships millions of pieces of aluminum, stainless steel and titanium to leading suppliers for Boeing, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and more. Some NASCAR vehicles boast the pieces.
Badgett CEO Tim Sinn couldn’t be prouder of the global impact of his company, which was started in 1922 by his father-inlaw’s grandfather.
Initially, Badgett manufactured a patented steam lubricator for the oil field industry. During World War II, Badgett Corp. was involved in war production. Afterward, it became a jobs shop; in 1948, invested in screw machines; and during the ‘60s, supplied parts for the space program.
Sinn — a former pharmaceutical executive — joined the firm seven years ago and is leading the way toward diversification of its revenue portfolio, which is currently 70 percent aerospace and 30 percent industrial. The company employs some 75 workers and operates two shifts.
From Badgett’s 35,000-square-foot facility, Sinn, 45, sat down with The Oklahoman on Monday to talk about his life and career. The following is an edited transcript:
Q: Tell us about your childhood.
A: As a young boy, I lived in west Edmond. My parents owned a real estate franchise. But in the 1980s oil bust, they lost their business and also our home in Deer Creek. My sister, who’s five years older, was away at OSU. I was 12 and moved around with my mom to rental homes in three different school systems. Looking back, that was the beginning of my entrepreneurial spirit. I started mowing lawns and painting curbs, realizing that I had to earn my own way. Both of my parents remarried and went on to rebuild their lives; my dad as a successful health insurance agent for Blue Cross Blue Shield, and my mom as a doctor’s office manager. She eventually bought a home near Putnam City North High School, where I sang in the high school choir and won the lead in “Bye Bye Birdie.” I sang at the Baptist church we attended and, with a high school rock band, for free pizza at pizza joints. Q: And college?
A: I went to John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, on a music scholarship, with the initial intention of going into music education. But halfway through my freshman year, I realized music — from music theory and sectionals to practices on Sunday — wasn’t as fun as high school. Over spring break, I lost $6,000 in potential lawn-mowing jobs back home because I was obligated to go on a choir tour or lose my scholarship. My sophomore year, I surrendered the scholarship and chose an arbitrary major that allowed me to graduate in four years. I expected I’d work in sales, but there were no sales or entrepreneurship majors in those days.
Q: Did you pursue a sales career after college graduation as you planned?
A: Yes, but it took a while. I started as a customer service rep for Lowrance Electronics in Tulsa, which manufactures fish depth finders. After two years, I put in for an internal sales job that I — being likable and a hard worker — assumed I’d get, but didn’t. Thankfully, a superior was astute enough to tell me that I needed to work on my delivery and salesmanship skills. To educate myself, I bought a book on how to interview well, which helped me land an outside sales job with The Oklahoman. After two to three years, a headhunter recruited me away to Chicago-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. where I worked the next decade. My initial job, managing seven different drug portfolios for diabetes and neurosciences, came with a $60,000 raise and company car.
Q: How did you meet your wife?
A: We met on the day Princess Diana died. My sister’s then-husband was principal of a school in El Reno where Julie taught science, and mentioned a cute teacher he thought I should meet. I was kind of seeing another girl so she, my roommate and I met her on a group date, where Julie and I had an immediate connection. Afterward, I told my roommate, “Dude, if it’s OK with you, I got it from here.” Julie and I were engaged six months later.
Q: Why did you decide to join Badgett Corp.?
A: I loved my pharmaceutical job and had a lot of financial success; not to mention glamorous sales awards trips to Vegas, Hawaii and elsewhere. But in the back of my mind, I always wanted to own my own business. In corporate America, no matter how high you climb, you’re still just a soldier taking orders. I was ready for the challenge to contribute to the direction of a company. Plus, there were a lot of stresses on my family, with me being away some 150 nights a year for five years as district sales manager, and home only on weekends as national training manager. Julie and I figured that if we were going to join the family business, it would have to be then —
in 2010 — when our kids were young enough to move again.
Q: Of what company contributions are you proudest?
A: As a balance to the technical strengths of my father-in-law, Gary Badgett, a 1969 OSU engineering graduate, I bring a lot of sales and marketing experience to the company. In many discussions, sleepless nights and stress before I joined, we
made the decision to buy out former shareholders and make Badgett 100-percent employeeowned by instituting an employee stock ownership plan. I’ve also worked to diversify our client base to include not only aerospace clients, but also industrial clients including Oklahoma City-based Kimray Inc., which manufactures oil field control equipment.
Badgett Corp.’s executive team includes Gary and Charlotte Badgett, Julie Badgett Sinn and her husband Tim Sinn, CEO, in Chickasha.