Spotlight: Gamber-Johnson devoted to 'supporting technology to help save the world'
The company's products are a crucial part of the mission-critical IT systems used by first responders and essential workers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Company name: Gamber-Johnson
Headquarters: Stevens Point, Wis.
Signature Product: Vehicle docking stations
1. Where did your company name originate from?
Gamber-Johnson was founded in 1954 by two brother-in-laws with last names of "Gamber" and "Johnson." At the beginning, their primary focus was manufacturing wooden cabinetry for audio equipment and speakers.
2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
Our company was started by listening to our customers' needs and ideas. Even though over the years we have reinvented ourselves several times, our customers have always remained at the center of everything we do.
Gamber-Johnson began in the mid-1970s after a chance visit from a local truck driver asking for assistance with mounting his CB radio. This encounter would lead to a complete transformation for the company. The creation of this original mount set the company on a trajectory that would place critical, lifesaving equipment and technology mounting products into the first response and rescue service vehicles that police, fire, EMS and utility workers count on the most.
Gamber-Johnson obtained a patent for the original "slide mount" radio product in 1978 and went on to position the business at the forefront of the industry by securing 25 additional patents to date. Through forward-thinking and innovation, Gamber-Johnson is now a multi-national business and the leading global manufacturer of mounting equipment for laptops, tablets, radios, surveillance cameras, point-of-use kiosks, printers and more.
Our products support heroes not only in police, fire and EMS, but also create vital efficiencies for the work of telecom, transportation/logistics, warehousing and other fleets.
3. What is your signature product and how does it work?
Vehicle docking stations are our signature product. Not long ago, public safety professionals used only land, mobile radios to get real-time information from dispatchers. This voice-only dispatching system had significant limitations, and as technology changed, so did the way police, fire and security personnel communicate to receive real-time information about a call.
Increasingly today, agencies are turning to devices that help them stay connected and situationally aware with nearly 90% reporting use of mobile field technology ranging from rugged laptops, tablets and handhelds, as well as consumer-grade devices. Technological developments, specifically smartphones and tablets, have made a profound impact on the way law enforcement, fire and emergency service and security workers manage data collection, keep records and access vital information.
The emergence of in-vehicle and mobile technology devices to obtain and share data out in the field, has required Gamber-Johnson to thoroughly understand the needs and risks associated with these areas of service. Constructed in partnership with major rugged computer manufacturers like Dell, Getac, Panasonic, Samsung and Zebra, Gamber-Johnson's docking stations incorporate discrete designs that include input/output features such as power, USB, Ethernet, antenna pass-through, HDMI and other functionalities that meet or exceed the level of durability as the devices they support.
4. Why do you believe your products are essential to the police community?
Our products are a crucial part of the mission-critical IT systems used by essential workers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Real time dispatch and situational information are available through the equipment which Gamber-Johnson supports. Failures of this equipment could literally be a matter of life and death.
5. What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?
Our biggest challenge is finding enough human capital to support our exponential growth. We are working feverishly to make Gamber-Johnson into a destination employer.
6. What makes your company unique?
Our unique value proposition is our 3R's: Ruggedness, reliability and responsiveness. Gamber is the only company in the industry that is rugged, reliable and responsive.
- Ruggedness: Not just for daily wear and tear, but for every situation – even a crash. Extensive amount of testing goes into designing our product.
- Reliability: A product that's just as reliable after a decade of use as it was the day you installed it. We have lean six sigma processes that is used to assemble and test product 97% of electronic product is never returned for repair. The number is north of 99.9% for mounting hardware. A product that's just as reliable after a decade of use as it was the day you installed it.
- Responsiveness: Two-thirds of orders are shipped within 72 hours. A company that not only gets the product to you quickly, but is truly responsive to your department's needs.
7. What do your customers like best about you and your products?
The reliability of our products not only save our customers the headaches of downtime, but also saves money in the long run. Our products are designed for ease of use and quality is never compromised. Our team is responsive to customer needs and demands allowing Gamber's customers to realize lower total cost of ownership when compared to competition.
8. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community?
Our cause is "Supporting technology to help save the world." Serving the heroes that selflessly serve for all of us.
9. Do you support any charitable organizations within public safety or the community?
Gamber-Johnson's associates understand that the company's success is directly tied to the well-being of the communities in which they operate and serve. While the company is situated in the heart of rural Wisconsin, its social responsibility and community outreach extend far beyond the town and beyond the State. As Gamber-Johnson has grown over the years, so has its ability to support the causes and organizations that are near and dear to the hearts of associates, their families, product resellers and end users. Community support and stewardship activities have presented many benefits including team building and talent attraction, higher employee morale and improved collaboration, relationship building and much more.
Expanding on its commitment to the partners and industries it serves, Gamber-Johnson employees are also encouraged to donate their time and talents to many area organizations and causes. Additionally, the company frequently donates and sponsors several events throughout the year. The beneficiaries of these contributions include a focus on those impacted by Gamber-Johnson's products, including causes that support first responders and their families. In the tragic event of a fallen police officer or firefighter nationwide, the company makes a contribution to the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) or the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
In 2020, Gamber-Johnson donated roughly $112,000 to local and national organizations.
10. Is there any fun fact or trivia that you'd like to share with our users about you or your company?
Gamber-Johnson has a great cause of "Supporting technology to help save the world." We shipped product from our factory in Wisconsin to 48 countries in 2020.
11. What's next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?
Gamber-Johnson continues to invest back into the business and employees. In June 2021, we will move into state-of-the-art "world headquarters," incorporating collaborative workspaces designed with social distancing considerations and will include amenities like a gymnasium with showers on-site for employees to use. In addition, on February 16, Gamber-Johnson acquired Premier Mounts, a leader in superior, professional audiovisual mounting solutions. We are adding more jobs to support the Stevens Point community.