Our February member of the month is Bill Batson, of Batson Enterprises. Here’s what Bill had to say about the evolution of the brand:
Tell us about Batson Enterprises:
We are a U.S. family-owned and -operated company based in sunny Sequim, Washington. We started in this great industry back in 1980, my father the late “Bob Batson” started building rods in the family living room in Maui, Hawaii. He then opened up his custom rod-building shop “Phantom Rods” where he crafted some of the finest custom rods anyone had ever seen in Hawaii.
He was featured on TV with Mike Sakamoto “Fishing tales” five times for his craft and his fishing skills. He is also featured in the book Fishing Hawaii Style for his rod-building techniques. My father was considered the number-one go-to guy in the industry for many years. He worked and built another company in the industry for 10 years and brought them to the top of the industry.
We have been under this format under the family name Batson Enterprises since January 2000; we carry our labeled items under Rianshadow blanks, ALPS and Forecast Rod components and the popular NFC blanks by Gary Loomis .
We employ 21 in house professional who in my opinion are the best in our industry, and we are the “Nuts and Bolts” supplier of the fishing rod building industry, supplying everything from the rod blank to all the components to build a finished fishing rod.
Our 12,000 square-foot facility is dedicated to the craft/art/industry of rod building. We have well over 8,000 different parts to choose from in stock, including over 750 models of blanks, over 500 models under the Rainshadow Label and 250 models of the North Fork Composite label by Gary Loomis. We also do hundreds of “Private Label” blanks and components for almost every manufacturer in the USA.
Our dedicated Design Team works in solid works to design both custom blanks and components, and we have a dedicated team of project coordinators to track projects and communicate with our 400 wholesale customers worldwide.
We are a TEAM and in my opinion the finest at what we do in our industry.
Our main focus is to serve the industry and feed families. My father told me over 20 years ago that we will never get rich in this industry but we will enjoy what we do and feed families. I said sign me up.
I have been the team Captain (CEO) for the past 14 years since my father’s passing. The biggest compliment I have ever received was from an old timer in the industry, Ralph O’Quinn. He said the industry would bet that I would run the family business out of business within one year. And he wanted to shake my hand 10 years later.
I take a great responsibility and honor to be the Captain (CEO) of this team. We believe God is the owner of this company and it is our responsibility to be good stewards of what he has given us.
I am from the old school and enjoy doing business that way. I still do most of the traveling for the team. I go out every year to see clients personally. This is a very personal industry, I have friends/clients/partners that depend on me and my team to feed their families, I take this very serious.
This is a great industry/craft/art and I will do whatever I can to keep it alive. I am an American and I live the American dream…
What has AFFTA membership done for you?
Being part of AFFTA since I have been in this industry (over 20+ years) gives me and my team/family a place where we can be Americans in an industry that we love. It gives us a format to be part of a team the AFFTA team that cares about the resources and the fishing lifestyle.
I appreciate the opportunities they have given us and the future that is brighter in our industry because of the format they lay down for us.
Where can you be found when you’re not in the office?
When I am not in the office I am out and about on research and development trips fishing; I enjoy building new rod prototypes to take on these R&D trips. I am also a husband and proud father of three amazing children and two grandchildren.