Since 1929, Tennessee Associated Electric (TAE) has contributed innovative ideas and solutions to numerous electrical and construction projects. Originally operating under the name of Tennessee Armature & Electric Company and Tennessee Armature & Motor Works Inc., the company was founded with the mission of providing quality construction and electrical services to its community. Though it’s had several owners and changes in leadership throughout its long history, TAE has experienced exceptional growth in both size and reputation.
Tennessee Armature & Electric Company
The Tennessee Armature & Electric Company was first established in 1916 by Walter I. Self, the sole owner of the repair and rewind shop. Their first location was on the second floor of R. T. Clapp Batter Company’s building on State Street which has 600 sq. ft. of floor space.
His first employees were Obed Ford, J.H. Nelson, Ira H. Washam, Frank Byrley, and T.F. Mallicote. Shortly after World War I, business had grown to an extent that they needed more floor space, and they moved to 211 West Cumberland Avenue in 1920. The building was 20 x 60 and had two floors. The business had a gradual increase each year and they became the leading motor repair shop in East Tennessee.
In the summer of 1926, Mr. Self became ill and was advised by his doctor to give up the business and go to Arizona. He put the business up for sale, and it was then that Gardner Hoffmann, who was with Otis Elevator Company, bought him out and incorporated.
Shortly after Mr. Hoffmann purchased the company, he saw the need for further expansion, and in 1927 went into the electrical construction field and motor winding business. The first major construction job was the electrification of D. M. Rose Lumber Company who installed a 500 KW turbine generator and motorized all of its wood-working machinery.
In 1929 the company had outgrown the building on West Cumberland Avenue, and they moved into a new building at 416 West Jackson Avenue. They remained there for eleven years and, in 1940 purchased and remodeled their second Jackson Avenue office location – 312 W. Jackson Avenue. In 1936, the company added the Electrical Merchandising Department, creating a need for extra floor space.
The growth of the company has been rather rapid since 1926, when there were ten employees with an annual volume of business of approximately $40,000. Today, with employees in excess of 135, the volume has climbed to over two and one-half million.
Mr. Hoffman stated that in the 40 years he has been connected with the concern that he deems the success of the company on good employee relations, the finest quality of workmanship, prompt and efficient service to all customers, both large and small, and a modern cost and accounting system.
Present Day TAE
First joining the company in 1995, Jennifer Baxter worked for TAE as a student answering telephones and after graduation, earned the role of accountant and division controller. Now serving as president of TAE, Baxter partnered with Richard Hall and Ron Collins in 2012 to purchase Tennessee Associated Electric from a venture capital group that had previously acquired the company from its long-time owner, forming the women-owned business it is today.
After being owned by individuals out-of-town for more than 25 years, this transition of ownership led TAE into a revolutionary period of growth. In 2013, Baxter and her partners added an electrical apparatus repair division to the company, further differentiating themselves from their competitors and further diversifying their customer base.
To maintain its growth and expansion of services, TAE purchased and renovated four buildings, totaling 40,000 square feet for a new motor shop, warehouse, and offices.
However, throughout the leadership changes and office relocations, TAE’s mission has remained the same – customer satisfaction through high value and profitable electrical products and services generated in a positive employee environment. In fact, within the last ten decades, TAE has served as the electrical contractor on many noteworthy projects including KUB Power Operations Center, Kuwahee Wastewater Treatment Plant, Knoxville Sunsphere, TVA Towers, Thompson Boling Arena, Tennova North, and many industrial plants
throughout East Tennessee.
Written 50 years ago (1966), Mr. Hoffman set the tone for the future of Tennessee Associated Electric as his mission to serve the community still rings true in our business today.
Interested in joining the TAE Team?
We are always looking for experienced and motivated individuals with a passion for delivering superior customer service. Contact us today to learn more about job opportunities within our Motor, Electrical, or Construction Division.