We’ve got your back: Team Quality Services

Return to main page

Chris-Straw

With only 10 employees at its headquarters office in Auburn, Ind., Team Quality Services (TQS) appears deceptively small. “In fact, the local community sometimes sees us as a mom-and-pop operation, but we’re far from it,” says founder Chris Straw

Indeed, TQS has another 140 employees located throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, and it generates more than $8 million in annual revenue. The company’s external market model has played a major role in its success — and enables it to import more capital back into its community.

TQS provides a slew of quality-related services that includes field representation, inspection, energy, engineering and safety. It even has an accredited metrology lab with high-tech equipment that can measure components within millions of an inch and find imperfections undetectable to the human eye.

“We’ve helped change how the industry handles quality issues,” Straw says, explaining that manufacturers used to rely on in-house staff. This meant technicians traveled from plant to plant and often spent hours on planes to reach a facility with a quality issue. Yet with its extensive network of specialists, TQS can get on the scene faster, tackle bigger problems and offer a broader array of expertise.

“Suppose an automobile manufacturer ordered taillights that turn out to be scratched or have some other defect,” Straw says. “Because our employees are local, we can have personnel at a manufacturer’s facility within hours or even minutes to inspect materials and resolve problems.”

In addition to its agility, TQS distinguishes itself with a ‘can-do’ culture. “Employees take deep pride in what we do, and we’ve been able to say ‘yes’ to customer requests that seemed impossible and pull together to make them happen,” says Straw.

Although automotive customers generate the lion’s share of revenue, TQS has expanded into other industries in recent years, including medical devices, aerospace and energy. Today it’s increasing its global footprint, pursuing markets in Europe. “As a startup, you have to be very focused,” Straw observes. “As a second-stage company, you have more freedom and resources to try new things.”

Take the company’s foray into the energy market in 2007. At that time, an Indian company had purchased a pipe mill in the town where TQS’ Canadian office was located, and the new owner moved production overseas, which left a number of people unemployed. “My manager asked if we could do something to re-employ these skilled workers,” Straw explains. As a result, TQS launched an energy division that inspects products and materials that go into natural gas pipelines for various North American energy companies — a business that now generates 15 percent of its annual revenue.

“Granted, it’s been great to create a significant new revenue stream and bring greater diversification to the company,” observes Straw. “But far more satisfying was being able to create more than a dozen jobs to replace ones that disappeared in the town.”

Related Articles

Fueling growth through proprietary products

Committed culture: Moore Communications Group

No Risky Business: PlusOne Solutions

Making a difference in home care: Care N Assist

MacGyver of metalworking: Agritek Inc.



Second-Stage Rockstars

Because second-stage entrepreneurs are so focused on their businesses, their contributions often go unnoticed by the media, policymakers, economic developers and community stakeholders. With that in mind, celebrating growth entrepreneurs and communicating their value is part of the foundation’s entrepreneurship mission, which it carries out in a variety of ways.

Among these is Second-Stage Rockstars, a series of online articles that examines the ongoing impact of second-stage companies. These stories chronicle not only second-stagers’ economic growth, but also how they may be transforming their industry, creating empowering workplaces or excelling as corporate citizens. Below are some recent Rockstars; others can be found in our archives.