Sage opens IT repurposing facility

What’s old is new again in the computer repurposing business.

Sage Sustainable Electronics, a service for businesses to safely discard IT equipment, opened last week in a 30,000-square-foot facility on Spice Island Drive in Sparks.

The business is a second go-round for partners Robert Houghton, CEO, and Jill Vaské, president, who sold their former and similar Sparks-based business, Redemtech, to Arrow Electronics in 2012.

“We started Redemtech in 1998 and the business is dramatically different now with cell phones and tablets, so we wanted to literally reinvent the business,” said Houghton.

“Our mission is to reuse a significantly higher percentage of the electronics.”

Most of Sage’s competitors recycle about half of the equipment received, said Houghton, while Sage is shooting to refurbish and repurpose up to 80 percent to reduce recycling.

Houghton said Sage provides two services. One he calls risk management: taking in a customer’s electronics products, eradicating data on it and providing an audit for asset management purposes.

That, he says, is a billable service, which is one reason Houghton wanted to locate again in Sparks. Nevada has no sales tax on services while several surrounding states, including California and Arizona, do, he said.

The second line of business is revitalizing that recovered equipment and reselling it, mostly to small- and medium-sized business and non-profit organizations.

“Refurbished equipment can be extremely economical,” said Houghton. “You can pinch pennies and still have plenty of technology firepower.”

Houghton said the company’s northern Nevada location will service customers throughout the west.

When fully staffed, Sage’s Sparks location should employ about 60 people, Houghton said. Currently, about a dozen people are operating the facility.

“Our doors opened officially and we’re able to receive and process business for our clients,” said Houghton.

The company plans to open another location in Baltimore, Md., in the second half of the year.


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