Linda Grow was very fortunate to be involved with the distribution of welding, safety; maintenance, repair & operations (MRO) and tools for much of her life, and this experience led her to see a gap in the industry that could be filled. To find success in the tools distribution industry, explains Linda, a business owner must understand the demand placed on facility maintenance and construction projects, especially those issued by the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and Dept. of Defense (DOD). She felt the industry needed the fresh perspective of a Women/Minority/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (WBE/MBE/DBE). As a result, in 2004, Linda began JETA Corporation, a Wisconsin-based, Native American/Woman-owned company that supplies tools to the energy, construction and industrial markets.
As President /CEO of JETA, Linda maintains the vision of her company on a daily basis, while developing the future path for the organization. She remains a member of the JETA team, not only overseeing business relationships, but also monitoring the sales, operations and finance arms of her business.
JETA’s growth has been exponential; during its first year, Linda developed its vendor base to align with top brands. The projects Linda supplies tools for require rapid response to meet critical outage deadlines nationwide. JETA now has grown to have more than 1,000 manufacturers and wholesalers in its database, supplying tools to companies representing the MRO, safety, tools, material handling, facility maintenance and electrical industries.
JETA is a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), certified by the Women’s Business Development Center – the largest certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). “WBENC Certification is extremely important,” Linda says. JETA grew rapidly from a regional to nationwide company, and WBE certification made it possible to secure opportunities with her clients, who require the certification to meet their supplier diversity goals. To continue JETA’s growth and development, Linda also attends meetings at her local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which is designed to assist in government contracting. “The PTAC provides a great platform to introduce JETA Corporation to other WBE/MBE/DBE organizations to share successes and concerns,” she says.
Growing quickly can be a double-edged sword, but Linda was ready to face that challenge head-on. “We must continually balance organizational growth with strong business alliances with financial institutions, CPA firms, legal counsel and manufacturing partners,” explains Linda. With tremendous growth over a s
Linda suggests that every WBE should identify her niche (core competency) and zero in on the business segment that aligns with her strengths. She encourages every business owner to develop a solid business plan that provides flexibility to meet ever changing market demands and stay alert. However, Linda’s most important advice is in regards to developing a business from within. “Look for staff that shares your values and ethics. Encourage two-way mentoring; this will hone skill levels across your organization while creating a team atmosphere that can conquer the many day-to-day obstacles your business may face. “hort period of time, it was imperative that Linda communicated current and future business opportunities to her business partners so that they could understand how to help support JETA’s growth.