We had the good fortune of connecting with Rayford Tate and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rayford, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
To be very honest its getting back to basics: providing Customer Service, providing Quality Food. I pride in making sure the Customer has the best experience be it with the quality of the food or the service provided. It is important that I maintain these attributes as the company is named after my Mother whom taught me the skills in the kitchen and I could never disgrace her name by providing lackluster service or quality.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am currently an Outside Plant Manager in the Civil Engineering Group for AT&T going on 22 years of service. I watched how we went from SBC to acquiring AT&T to ensuring we had a global footprint in the Telecommunications market. As previously with every job I have worked for, I took mental notes on how we operated: growth, acquisitions, marketing etc. I will be retiring sometime soon and thought it was time to sharpen my tools that I’ve had stored in my toolbox. I am the owner of a VelmaRuth Catering Company. We are a small operation that specializes in Meal Preps and small Event Catering. We provide a personal experience to your events. Whether that is personalizing your meal plan or working hands on for your Catered event.

Even as a child I’ve always had an Entrepreneurial Spirit, from working at the fruit stands on the side of the road, to working in summer programs in the city. The work ethic was displayed daily by my mother. To watch her get up and go to multiple jobs formulated the drive to want someday, to have my own business. I started working and learning, watching how businesses operated, watching the ebbs and flows. All the while noting what I liked and didn’t like. I knew I wanted to go to college, therefore I joined the Army Reserves at 17 as means to pay for school. It was the structure and discipline of Basic Training that I added to my toolbox of life. I didn’t finish college after starting and basically started working again for Pace Foods Inc. Had the opportunity to meet Kitt Goldsbury, the owner at the time and watched how he ran the business. He was very hands on, knew his employees by name without having to read it off their uniforms, he was accessible and all-around Great Person. I saw how the employees were endeared to him; didn’t have a problem working over or extra. Those qualities and attributes I added to my toolbox. I eventually got back in college because I wanted to complete what I started.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Living here in Houston area since 95, I have found there are a lot places that go unseen. We would definitely start at the local restaurants: The Breakfast Klub for breakfast of course, The Galleria to walk off that Chicken & Waffles and perhaps take in a few stores. Lunch ewe have to hit one of the Cajun Inspired Locales, maybe BB’s for some Crawfish or Pappadeaux for one of the local favs: Three Wheel Motion. We would do a tour of the Murals downtown, hit up few of local watering holes: Alabama Ice House, The Bull Pen out in Sugarland, The Truck Yard to name a few. At some point I’d take them to Galveston, and we’d do a bike tour of Third Ward. More than likely they would enjoy Cigars as I do, so we make few stops to the likes of Legacy Cigar Lounge in Stafford, Emits Cigars in Sugarland and The Spot as well.

As, I said there ae some many places to visit, it would really depend the energy they’d have, as I could keep them going the whole time they were here.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The Company’s name speaks for itself. There wouldn’t be a VelmaRuth Catering without my mother, my inspiration, my guiding light: Velma Ruth Tate. She is who I learned how to cook from.

Instagram: vruthcatering

Facebook: Velma Ruth Catering

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