Nate Bondelid Named Idaho’s Small Business Person of the Year
The Tek-Hut co-founder was honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration on May 2.
Top Takeaways from the Report
As an Eagle Scout, Bondelid learned the importance of hard work, self-discipline, and staying focused on his goals. These lessons helped him when he graduated from high school and immediately founded Tek-Hut in 2001 with his best friend, Dallas Gray.
Growing up in Kimberly, Idaho, Bondelid recognized an opportunity to create value for Idaho school districts. He believed technology would play an important role in helping prepare students for the workforce and founded Tek-Hut to provide services that are affordable, scalable and accessible. The company consolidates and manages applications, devices and services that students need and helps link districts with high-performance infrastructures.
From its humble Idaho roots, Tek-Hut now works with more than 72 school districts across Idaho and more than 250 districts across the United States.
Approach to Business
Since its inception, Tek-Hut has been active in the community to promote education. Tek-Hut supports youth groups in about 30 schools, which has been an ongoing commitment for many years. Additionally, Bondelid has served in an advisory capacity for school boards.
Tek-Hut also prides itself on exceptional customer service. Each client has a dedicated relationship manager, who is available 24/7 to help resolve concerns. With their deep product knowledge, Tek-Hut’s managers help clients identify and implement programs that best fit their needs.
“Tek-Hut took us from a low capacity mixed media solution to a high-speed, wireless network in less than two months, on a budget and ahead of schedule,” said Emmett School District’s Director of Technology Ken Loftus. “We also get the best customer service you could ask for with fast, thorough and friendly technicians. Choosing Tek-Hut is one of the best business decisions I have ever made.”
Preparing for Expansion
In preparation for expansion, Tek-Hut developed strong relationships with its financial institutions. As the top SBA 7(a) lender in Idaho, Zions Bank was well positioned to help Tek-Hut. The company used a Zions Bank SBA loan to open a $100,000 revolving line of credit in 2014.
This loan supported Tek-Hut’s growth and was used to install an advanced fiber optic network in Burley, Idaho.
Turning Point for Tek-Hut
As Tek-Hut continued to grow, the company expanded its workforce and continued to build strong relationships with its vendors and the community. This allowed Tek-Hut to capitalize on a critical opportunity that was a turning point for the company.
For several years, Idaho provided its own Internet network to school districts through the Education Networks of America. When this dissolved in early 2015, Tek-Hut was poised to act. In the first year, they locked down contracts with 20 Idaho school districts, then steadily added more than 10 districts each year. The company now works with more than 72 school districts across Idaho and this number grows annually.
Tek-Hut is now the largest educational Internet service provider in Idaho and provides more than 25 Gbps to more than 100,000 students daily. Over the next 12 months, Tek-Hut will be installing more than 100 miles of fiber to underserved areas.
Expanding to Utah
Tek-Hut’s growth helped the company nearly quadruple their annual sales in only three years. This revenue is supporting Tek-Hut’s growth outside Idaho and the company recently hired a Utah business development specialist.
Bondelid will join other award honorees in Washington, D.C., on May 5. During the ceremonies, the U.S. Small Business Administration will announce the 2019 National Small Business Person of the Year from the 53 winners from across the U.S. and territories.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for SBA financing options, we encourage you to learn more about Zions Bank SBA loans or to contact one of our Zions Bank Business Banking relationship managers today.
Malcolm Hong is the Public Relations officer for Zions Bank in Idaho.