Idaho’s Small Business Person of the Year
Nate Bondelid, president and co-founder of Tek-Hut, was recently honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration as Idaho’s Small Business Person of the Year.
As an Eagle Scout, Bondelid learned the importance of hard work, self-discipline and staying focused on his goals. These lessons helped when he and his best friend, Dallas Gray, founded Tek-Hut in 2001 shortly after graduating from high school.
A native of Kimberly, Idaho, Bondelid recognized an opportunity to create value for Idaho school districts. He believed technology would play an important role in preparing students for the workforce. He founded Tek-Hut to consolidate and manage applications, devices and services that students need and to link school districts with high-performance infrastructures.
Approach to Business
Tek-Hut managers pride themselves on exceptional customer service. Each client has a dedicated relationship manager available 24/7 to 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,” says 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.”
As the business grew, Bondelid developed strong relationships with 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
Because of Tek-Hut’s strong relationships with its vendors and the community, it was poised to capitalize on a critical opportunity that proved to be a turning point. 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 stepped in.
In the first year, it locked down contracts with 20 Idaho school districts, then steadily added more than 10 districts each subsequent year. The company now works with more than 72 school districts across Idaho and more than 250 districts across the United States.
Tek-Hut is now the largest educational internet service provider in Idaho serving more than 100,000 students daily. During the next 12 months, Tek-Hut will install more than 100 miles of fiber to underserved areas.
Expanding to Utah
Tek-Hut’s growth helped the company nearly quadruple its annual sales in only three years. This revenue is supporting its expansion into Utah.
“Given the success we’ve had in Idaho, we know we can provide value to the Beehive State,” Bondelid says. “Tek-Hut is looking forward to serving new markets.”