Fi-Tech founder & chair Bassett built distinguished global brand

Posted October 14, 2020


RICHMOND, Va. – C. L. (“Lee”) Bassett, founder & chairman of leading manufacturers’ representative and distribution firm, Fi-Tech, Inc., passed away peacefully on October 5, 2020.

The news was announced by his sons Jeffrey Bassett and Todd Bassett, who have operated the firm as managing directors since 2012. 


Lee Bassett was born in Prospect Park, Penn., in 1937 and later graduated from Duke University with a degree in mechanical engineering. After earning an MBA from the University of North Carolina, he began his career in manufacturing in Richmond, Va. In February 1972, with his wife Becky and three young children, Lee Bassett left a stable job and started Fi-Tech. 


He launched Fi-Tech as a manufacturers’ representative firm for the synthetic fibers industry and transformed it into a global business, serving as a connection to the most advanced suppliers in the polymer, synthetic fibers, nonwovens, textile, converting, perforating and tobacco industries.


Lee Bassett was revered for his commitment to building lasting relationships, a company attribute imbued by its founder. Personal attention and face-to-face contact was a hallmark of his approach to business, having steadily built Fi-Tech’s supplier and customer base over the years. In the 40 years prior to his retirement in 2012, Lee Bassett cultivated partnerships with nearly 50 principals across multiple countries. Fi-Tech also opened its office in San Luis Potosí, Mexico in 1995, and later purchased its principal, Arkote, Ltd. in Sheffield, England. Throughout his years, he travelled extensively worldwide for both business and pleasure. 


“Our father possessed the unique combination of an incredible intellect and attention to detail, as well as the important relational skills needed to be a successful businessman. He enjoyed and took great pride in building the long-term relationships based on mutual trust that are so important to our business,” said Jeffrey and Todd Bassett, managing directors, Fi-Tech.


Lee Bassett brought his three children into the company to add to Fi-Tech’s continued success. Jeffrey and Todd Bassett assumed leadership as managing directors in 2012, while his daughter, Julie Thompson, sits on the company’s Board of Directors. Lee Bassett continued to enjoy his global travels and interest in the company following his retirement.


Lee Bassett was awarded Duke University’s prestigious Pratt School of Engineering Distinguished Service Award and the Charles A. Dukes Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. He was an avid Duke basketball fan, holding season tickets for many years. He also had a strong interest in animal welfare, dedicating a tremendous amount of time and resources to the Richmond Animal League (“RAL”). He spearheaded numerous initiatives for the organization, including a program to reduce the cost of cat adoptions, as well as enhancements to the cat habitat within RAL’s shelter.


Beyond his significant, impactful career, Lee Bassett felt his greatest achievement was his children and the team of dedicated professionals who have, and will continue to, carry on his legacy of peerless quality and integrity. He is fondly remembered by his family, employees, customers and principals as a mentor, teacher and friend.


Read the full obituary here.


Source: Fi-Tech, Inc.

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