Indiana Automotive Equipment (IAE), a full-line sales and service company for the light and heavy-duty automotive industry, announced it has fully transitioned leadership from Shane and Amber Tatom to Christopher Susott, a corporate finance executive who will lead strategic and day-to-day operations. Shane and Amber Tatom purchased the Hancock County company from Robert and Mary Chastain. Under their nine-year leadership, IAE grew exponentially, increasing from an initial staff of two to 20 employees.
Christopher Susott purchased the company from the Tatoms in September 2020. A plan was established for Susott to spend approximately one year observing, learning and implementing new strategies while Shane Tatom served as general manager. Feeling that a successful foundation for transition has been established, Amber Tatom retired last month, and Shane Tatom will retire in September. IAE currently employs 24 people. “We are proud of the business we built together, particularly the deep friendships we developed with our customers. Our customers became our friends, and knew they could count on us for more than business-related issues,” said Shane Tatom. “By retiring now, we are leaving our company in good hands, allowing us to move on to the many things we enjoy, like spending time with our family and traveling.”
“We are fortunate we found a partner in Chris,” Tatom continued, “who shares our vision and our commitment to customer service.”
Christopher Susott comes to IAE after spending 20 years in corporate and investment banking. He began exploring possibilities to acquire companies that could become platforms for building a diversified middle-market enterprise in the equipment distribution industry. “I have always dreamed of acquiring and growing a business, and while I looked at many possibilities over the years, none felt like Indiana Automotive Equipment,” said Christopher Susott, president, Indiana Automotive Equipment. “I knew from my first meetings with Shane and Amber that they had established a foundation that was unique. I’m resolved to honor that legacy while bringing my own passion, expertise and growth strategies to bear.”
Already, Susott has implemented strategies designed to maximize IAE’s niche within the heavy-duty market while also maintaining and growing the core light-duty dealership business in which IAE excels. These strategies include aggressively procuring and stocking inventory as part of an effort to meet customer demand in the current climate of supply chain delays. “I want to be ready to service all of our clients when they need it. They count on us to help them make their financial and operational goals, and we want to be able to respond,” Susott said. “We realize that we are an important part of our customer’s operations. They can’t take care of their customers and operations if we don’t take care of them.”
Susott sees this commitment to customers as an extension of the Tatoms’ unrelenting focus on customer service and satisfaction. “We are absolutely focused on the core values that have been developed over the past nine years – quality, integrity, customer service and partnerships,” Susott continued. “I’m looking forward to building on this solid foundation, serving our customers, and growing a team of exceptional professionals.”