Tate grew up in the farming town of Marvell and credits his success to the values instilled in him by his two loving parents, who provided him with what he describes as a “Leave it to Beaver” experience, with his mother encouraging his education and his father advocating hard work. “What they didn’t preach was prejudice toward anyone,” Tate says. Soon after enrolling in Philander Smith College in Little Rock in 1964, Tate participated in peaceful sit-in demonstrations that integrated the cafeteria at the Capitol.
After graduating college, Tate worked for the consulting firm General Behavioral Systems and the City of Little Rock, then the State of Arkansas Personnel Department and the Arkansas Legislative Council before being recruited by the University of Arkansas Little Rock to develop their personnel department for non-academic employees. In 1977, Governor David Pryor hired Tate to head the State Office of Personnel Management, and then in 1980, he was hired by Arkla Gas as personnel director for the Arkansas Division, before being promoted to vice president for consumer relations and community affairs for a multi-state region.
At Arkla, Tate’s work ethic was clear, wearing the company’s uniform instead of a suit-and-tie and working side-by-side with employees instead of issuing directives from his office so he could learn from them and provide exactly what they needed to make the company succeed.
And succeed it did, as Tate climbed the corporate ladder, reaching vice president of marketing in 1989 and vice president of distribution for the Arkansas Division in 1991, where he oversaw 36 district offices and 1100 employees across the state. Tate moved to ALLTEL in 1998, ultimately managing both the wireless and local telephone operations; after the 2009 Verizon purchase, Tate assumed responsibility for government relations in Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.
Tate founded his management consulting firm, Tate & Associates, in 2011, which includes management (The Domino Effect) and sports (HT & Associates) consulting firms, and he partners in auto dealerships in Hope, with Mack McLarty, and Little Rock, with Frank Fletcher.
Over the years, Tate has served on and led many boards and commissions, including the Arkansas State Police Commission; the Arkansas Real Estate Commission; the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce; the Philander Smith College Board of Trustees; the American Gas Association; the Pulaski County Facilities Board; Southern Bancorp Bank Governing Board; the Arkansas Urban League Board; the Greater Little Rock Chapter of 100 Black Men; the Quapaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America; the board of Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield; and the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board for the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.
Tate served in the U.S. Army for two years, with one year of service in Vietnam, served on the Arkansas National Guard for 28 years, and retired as a full colonel.
Tate is highly recognized for his professional accomplishments and community service. Philander Smith College named their gym in his honor, awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, honored him with their Legacy Award, and named him a Distinguished Alumnus. He also received the Silver Beaver Award from the Quapaw Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and Arkla Gas established the Sherman Tate Scholarship at Philander Smith College.
Tate is married to Marylene Williams Tate and has one daughter, Amber Nicole. Today, as president and chief executive officer of Tate and Associates Management as well as his service on professional and nonprofit boards, he continues to bring the same intensity to his work and community service that has become his hallmark. Because of his intensity and giving 100 percent of himself every day, Tate says he has never had a job he didn’t like.
For more about Mr. Tate’s exceptional career and accomplishments, we recommend reading Todd Traub’s article in Little Rock Soiree, Respected Exec Sherman Tate Makes a Difference In and Out of the Office.