Owners of Trust Automation Inc., a San Luis Obispo specialty manufacturing company, have been named the 2013 Central California Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Ty and Trudie Safreno were Cal Poly students and friends when they started working together in 1990. Ty’s engineering skills and Trudie’s business management created a company specializing in consulting for motion and machine control. The two were later married.
Today, the company has 65 employees at a 49,500-square-foot facility on Suburban Road, and exports products around the world.
Its electronics move the conveyors in X-ray machines at airports; power electric bikes and scooters; and help the oil industry to pump gas, among many other applications in the semiconductor, defense, medical, green technology and industrial automation industries.
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Trust Automation was nominated for the award by the Economic Vitality Corporation of San Luis Obispo and competed with businesses in 15 Central California counties. The company was evaluated for staying power, growth, innovativeness, response to adversity and community contributions, according to a recent news release.
Ty Safreno declined to disclose annual sales or profits, but told The Tribune that the company is profitable, and the last six years combined have seen 125 percent revenue growth. This year, he expects revenue to grow 35 percent.
Like many businesses, he said, Trust Automation could only grow with SBA guarantees on bank financing.
“I’ll give you a hint — it’s a big number,” he said, declining to disclose the amount of loans. During hard times, he said, those loans allowed the company to keep its employees. And in good times, they allowed Trust Automation to grow.
The company hired 14 of its 65 employees last year, and plans to hire at least six more this year.
“We are always growing what we do. We sell everywhere in the world. ... Survivability is how you view your market and what you do, and a little bit of luck,” Safreno said.
An SBA award reception will be held at 3 p.m. June 17 at Trust Automation’s headquarters.