In 1984, Lee was working in sales for a New York electronics distributor after attending Princeton University. His skill at sales fit right in there, but he soon realized he could make better use of his knowledge of the fledgling distribution industry. So he and his brother made a leap, quitting their jobs to start making calls out of Bob’s small Houston home. They connected with the biggest manufacturers in tech, buying and selling parts and building relationships that would last decades.
Smith is now a global family of 900, with more than 20 locations working closely together, even when separated by time zones and oceans. And Lee hasn’t stopped reaching out to new partners, markets, and locales; there are plans for further expansion into South America and the Middle East.
“Relationships are what make the difference in an industry like this one,” said Lee. “Everything is constantly changing – except for our business relationships and our integrity.”
“We have three constituencies in business: our customers, our vendors, and our employees,” Lee continued. “If we are keeping all of them happy with Smith, then we are probably going to do pretty well.”
Relationships are what make the difference in an industry like this one. Everything is constantly changing – except for our business relationships and our integrity.