Ripley Tate was born, and spent his early youth, in Wichita Falls, TX. He attended junior high and high school in Waxahachie, TX and his first year of college in Tempe, AZ. In 1990, Mr. Tate returned to Wichita Falls where he went on to graduate from Midwestern State University (MSU Texas) with a Bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and International Trade with Minors in English, Economics, and Business Administration. While at MSU, Mr. Tate was a walk-on varsity tennis player and received many scholarships and accolades for his academic accomplishments and campus involvement. While in college, Mr. Tate worked as a horse trainer and farrier (rare skills learned from his parents), a waiter in private dinner clubs, and even a janitor.
Shortly after graduating MSU, Ripley was offered a temporary, commission only sales position with a company called Mil-Tel Communications where he was charged with heading up the sales efforts of what was then a start-up d.b.a. called Web Fire Internet Services. Oddly enough, it was the lack of interest in the Internet from the market that helped Mr. Tate realize the opportunity at hand. In fact, it was a bank vice-present that stated, “Our Board has discussed this thing called the Internet and they feel it’s kind of a fad, or game, the kids play at home, and it really won’t impact to our financial institution.” After that brief meeting, Ripley rushed back to the Mil-tel office and told his boss that he would forego graduate school if he could “get in on the ground floor.” Ripley eagerly accepted a permanent position with a salary, an expense account, and the autonomy to “go make it happen.” Those words from the bank VP turned what was supposed to be a 5-month stint before heading off to graduate school into an exciting career in the ever-changing world of technology.
Obviously, the fad took hold of our World and Web Fire realized amazing growth and expansion throughout the mid- and late 90’s as Internet usage exploded. During that growth phase, Ripley and Mil-tel listened to other market demands and started strategizing to expand the company with services that complimented the dial-up ISP. Soon, Mil-tel had completed several acquisitions including a local computer repair company, three competing ISPs, and a local telephone service company. With this tremendous growth, in 1999, Web Fire Internet Services d.b.a. became Web Fire Communications, Inc. and open a facilities-based CLEC (phone company) in its newly renovated office and data center where its headquarters remain today.
In 2007, Mr. Tate was promoted from Sales Manager to General Manager and in 2008 was successful in purchasing one-third of both corporations. In 2009, Ripley formed an LLC with a competing computer repair and video surveillance company called Secure One Technologies. That partnership purchased the assets of Mil-tel and Web Fire (including the building and data center) and ultimately merged with Web Fire Communications, Inc. Today, Mr. Tate is an equal partner with Mr. Tony Landours.
Also in 2009, Ripley received the Small Businessperson of the Year award by the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and subsequently won the Regional Small Businessperson of the year award in 2010 presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 2020, Mr. Tate was nominated to participate in the Forbes Non-profit council where he wrote and contributed to many published articles concerning non-profits. In 2023, Ripley wrote and published The Heist which is a book that advises on email security and co-authored the book The 2024 IT Buyer’s Guide. Mr. Tate has been nominated to participate with the Forbes Business Development Council in 2024.
Ripley believes in giving back to the community that has been so gracious to him, his family, and Web Fire. Mr. Tate makes time to serve on several Boards and organizations. He held multiple positions on the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and Industry board including Board Chairman. Mr. Tate currently serves on the Texoma Community Credit Union Board and has been Chairman since 2016. He spent 8 years on Wichita Falls’ Planning and Zoning Commission where he held multiple roles, including chairman. Some of his other board/community involvement includes the Center for Non-Profit Management, Resource Wichita Falls, Leadership Wichita Falls, City Board of Construction and Appeals, the Regional Airport Strategic Planning Committee and other city committees.
An advocate and student of Zig Ziglar’s philosophies, Mr. Tate truly wants to assist others to be the best they can be and help accomplish their goals. Also, a student of Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s Extreme Ownership, Ripley strives to continue to hone his leadership skills and promote leadership development within everyone.
In addition to holding a Private Security License from The State of Texas, Mr. Tate has several industry certifications including:
- Cloud PBX
- SIP SSCA and SSVVP
- Cisco CCSE
- ESI and other manufacturers
Responsibilities: Making sure we stay up on the latest technologies/trends
Background/Education: Attended Midwestern State University ‘90-‘92 with a Business Major. Began his career in technology around 1997 with local computer company. He acquired the following industry certifications:
- MCSE (Windows 2000)
- MCP + Internet
- Comp TIA A+/Security
- HP Certifications
- Sonicwall CSP
At the end of 2004/05 he started his own company with a partner called, Secure One Technology. In 2009/10, they purchased Web Fire Communications Inc. with Ripley Tate.
More about Tony: His father was stationed here at Sheppard Air Force Base in 1974. So, Wichita Falls, TX has been his home most of his life. He is married to Karla Miller Landours and they have two beautiful children, Lily and Luke. He is motivated by family, friends and community. He has also been actively serving as a YMCA board member since 2011.
In his spare time: Hanging out with family & friends, playing golf with his son and/or watching his incredibly talented artist daughter prepare her next master piece. Coach Club volleyball to ages 13, 14 & 15 year old’s.
What he love about Web Fire: “Our awesome employees make the difference. Loyalty in this industry is hard to maintain but WE pride ourselves in making sure we meet or exceed the needs of our customers.”