Pride and pur­pose

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - BUSINESS - BY PAULA BURKES Busi­ness Writer pburkes@ok­la­homan.com

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.

[PHOTO BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

Bad­gett Corp.’s ex­ec­u­tive team in­cludes Gary and Char­lotte Bad­gett, Julie Bad­gett Sinn and her hus­band Tim Sinn, CEO, in Chickasha.

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