Manufacturer’s sales up ten-fold over two years |

Manufacturer’s sales up ten-fold over two years

John Seelmeyer

Heaven only knows what Electronic

Evolution Technologies will do once it gets

a sales force.

Even without a sales staff, the young

Reno contract manufacturer’s sales grew

from $1.8 million during its first 10 months

in business to $8.5 million last year and will

approach $20 million this year.

As its 140 employees work a three-shift,

seven-day-a-week schedule at EET’s South

Meadows quarters, construction crews are

adding 26,500 square feet to a building that

isn’t yet two years old.

And EET is just getting around to

adding a sales staff.


Sonny Newman, the company’s soft-spoken,

no-nonsense founder and president,

credited much of the company’s success to

its customers.

EET provides custom manufacturing of

circuit boards and related assemblies for

companies such as International Game

Technology, Gametech,North American

Imaging and others throughout Nevada and

northern California.

Newman says they’re drawn to ETT by

its ability to provide the full package

quality manufacturing, competitive pricing,

on-time delivery, exceptional service.

But not every would-be customer meets

Newman’s exacting standards.

“I don’t do business with people who

aren’t in it as a partnership for the longterm,”

he said last week. “Quality isn’t free.”

That was a tough lesson Newman learned

after he bought the company it was a small

outfit struggling to survive in Sparks and

began weeding out customers whose contracts

were unprofitable for EET.

Most of those customers left in the first

few months after Newman took over in 2000.

Even as EET’s original staff was replacing

much of the customer base,Newman

was starting work on the company’s shiny

new facility on Double R Boulevard. While

construction crews were on the job, he

bought another lot next door, figuring it

would be a good investment even if EET

never needed it. It needs it.

The expansion, which will bring the

company to a total of 63,000 square feet,

will allow EET to nearly double its production


Newman figures he’ll need the space

because he expects EET’s sales to double by

the end of 2003.

Those aren’t just sales just for the sake of

sales, either.

Despite heavy investment in highly automated

and robotic manufacturing machinery,

Newman said EET is profitable. The

only debt surrounding the operation is the

mortgage on its building.

In part, that reflects the 39-year-old

Newman’s success with an earlier company

Meridian Electronics. That company, a

broker of electronic parts, grew at astronomical

pace during technology’s go-go era of

the late 1990s.

“I knew that couldn’t last forever,” said

Newman, and it didn’t.With the collapse

of the technology industry, Meridian

wasted away.

Newman, however, didn’t waste away as

he reinvested profits from Meridian into the

contract manufacturing industry he knew

from earlier experience.

As they pushed EET into fast growth,

Newman and his core managers emphasized

quality the company earned the ISO

9001 total quality designation in its first year

at the same time that they sought continuous


“Every day, you learn something new,”

Newman said. “We make mistakes. You

have to learn from your mistakes.”

That depends on a staff willing to

acknowledge mistakes and learn from

them, and Newman praised EET’s

employees as “people I can trust, people

who care about their work.”

He notes, too, the company’s core

management group has shown great

flexibility in changing assignments and

taking on new responsibilities as EET

grew rapidly.

Now that the company is adding a

sales force one internal salesperson,

two sales representatives in California

EET will be further pressing the competitive

advantages it gains as a Nevadabased


Those advantages, Newman said,

include Nevada’s tax structure no

inventory tax, no state income tax as

well as competitive wage rates.

Still, EET’s president said the company

knows all the advantages in the world

mean nothing unless the company provides

products that its customers want.

“What we’re doing is not rocket science,”

he said. “We’re selling quality.”