New owner takes over at automotive business in Maxwell

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Staff Reports

MAXWELL — Indiana Automotive Equipment, a 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 company from Robert and Mary Chastain. Under their nine-year leadership, IAE increased from an initial staff of two to 20 employees.

Located at 212 N. Main St. in Maxwell, IAE sells and services automotive in-ground and above ground lifts, mobile column lifts, exhaust removal systems, air compressors and refrigerant dryers, waste oil heaters, wheel service and alignment equipment, detail equipment, and also an array of small hydraulic equipment for the service of vehicles.

Susott purchased the company from the Tatoms in September 2020. A plan was established for Susott to spend about 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,” Shane Tatom said. “Our customers became our friends, and knew they could count on us for more than business-related issues. 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, who shares our vision and our commitment to customer service.”

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,” Susott said. “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 company’s light-duty dealership. 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.