Gross Automation

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:39 pm

LOCATION: 1725 S. Johnson Road, New Berlin; 1320 Poplar Dr., Waukesha; 3828 Creekside Lane, Holmen

WEB SITES:,, www.ferrazshawmutsales. com,,


PRODUCTS OR SERVICES OFFERED: Gross Automation is a growing regional distributor of electrical and electro-mechanical automation control hardware and software used by manufacturing facilities to save energy, increase production and decrease manufacturing costs. We also have the expertise to customize and assist in the integration of these product lines with our customers. A new and growing part of the business is the direct importation of some of these products into the U.S. and Canadian marketplaces from a number of European countries.

LEADERSHIP TEAM: Robert Gross, president; Greg Grant, vice president; Paul Gallagher, director of human resources and finance; David Jenson, senior engineer and manager; Dirk Hagedorn, inside sales and customer service manager

TARGET CLIENTELE: Our customer-base is extremely diverse. We work with many small, medium and large manufacturing facilities—customers who use our products in their manufacturing processes—as well as with the many levels of original equipment manufacturers and integrators that are needed to make a manufacturing facility efficient and profitable. Additionally, we have recently been working with educational institutions and with the public infrastructure to solve some of their problems with large-scale research projects in their transportation systems and subsystems.

Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Council of Small Business Executives Roundtable Group 13, LaCrosse Area Chamber of Commerce, Sales and Marketing Executives of Greater Milwaukee board member, Kiwanis Club of Wauwatosa.

WHAT HAS FUELED YOUR COMPANY’S GROWTH? First, we have a good core group of employees. They are our face to the customer. Whether in inside sales, outside sales, engineering or shipping, without them and the dedication that they have shown, day-in and day-out, we wouldn’t exist. Second, we have aligned ourselves with suppliers second to none in the industry. Some of the more special of them are mentioned later, however, every one of them has played a major role in our growth and acceptance in our marketplace. Third, our customers have given us the opportunity to prove ourselves. Anytime you try something new or different, you are taking a chance. As technology moves forward, it might then seem that everything is a chance. Our strong, local customer base has invested their trust in our organization and our abilities to take the risk out of taking that chance. Finally, we have made a huge investment in technology and we use that technology to develop and build domestic and international relationships, enhance our communications and follow-through, drive our sales efforts and streamline our business systems in order to remain competitive.

DO YOU PLAN ANY CHANGES IN YOUR COMPANY IN THE UPCOMING MONTHS? Yes, we plan on growing our local area of primary responsibility through the recent opening of our LaCrosse sales office and stocking facility. This will provide distribution and sales support to Western Wisconsin. We also are growing our network of independent national representatives and distributors for our imported products. As always, we will be out there looking for the new product, the new opportunity and the new organization that might set the pace for the next 10 plus years. And when we find it, just watch us continue to grow.

WHO ARE THE BUSINESS PEOPLE, LOCALLY OR NATIONALLY, WHOM YOU ADMIRE? AND WHAT TRAITS DO THOSE PEOPLE EXHIBIT THAT MAKE YOU ADMIRE THEM? An old boss of ours once said that while we serve the customer, we serve at the discretion of our suppliers. While all of our local, national and international suppliers stand out from the crowd, some do need special mentioning:

• Both Dennis Hegg and Jim Wescott from ABB Low Voltage along with Carl Larsson from ABB Automation are part of this platinum group of our suppliers. When it came time to take a chance on a new and upcoming business, they were at the front of the line, pushing, encouraging and nurturing our organization forward. As a result of our combined efforts, we received an award earlier this year for being the top ABB Automation distributor in the nation.

• Fred Rampone of Ferraz Shawmut has truly gone above and beyond the call of duty in backing our organization. Kurt Krutsch of Woodhead has helped us see and identify new opportunities for major growth. Along with their local representative, Lenny Johnson of Bunell, all of them have gone that extra mile, putting in long hours of training and support with our team.

• Steve Mercer of Mercer Sales has brought us many new lines, new ideas and new ways to improve our position in the marketplace.

• We would be remiss if we didn’t make a special mention of both Kenneth Isacsson and Calle DeBruin in Sweden and Trond Grendar in Norway, all from Westermo, for not only their backing, but their trust as we work through the many challenges of doing business internationally.

• These platinum suppliers, along with all the rest of our supplier teams and their special “can-do” attitudes, have helped stimulate and fuel our growth. They helped us to dream.

WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR THE BUSINESS CONDITIONS OF YOUR INDUSTRY OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS? We feel that this is the time for growth. If we as a region are going to remain competitive with the likes of China and India, now is thetime to invest in our manufacturing and its infrastructure. We live for this. Earlier this month, the 2007 Manufacturer’s Register was released and it showed that Wisconsin has 12,789 manufacturing companies. What an opportunity for a company like ours to do some good and create a positive impact in the industrial marketplace.

Congratulations from these strategic partners:

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