De Pere’s Tech4 celebrates 25 years in business
By Janelle Fisher
DE PERE – Inspired to create a company they wanted to work for, Tech4 president and co-founder Michael Fronsee said he and four of his co-workers did what creative engineers do – “we rolled up our sleeves and designed our own.”
“On July 8, 1997, after unexpectedly leaving a company that no longer fit our dreams, four engineering professionals and a marketing guy sat around a circle on five-gallon pails to discuss what kind of automation company we would like to work for,” Fronsee said. “After much discussion, it became clear that the organization we would want to work for didn’t exist.”
Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Tech4, a design and engineer control systems company, is taking the time to look back at what brought them this far.
And so it began
After seeing a gap in the industry, Fronsee said the group got to work creating Tech4 right away.
“On that evening, we became the founding members of Tech4… not named for the 4 engineering founders by the way, but rather as an abbreviated form of ‘Technology for Automation’, courtesy of our marketing guy,” he said.
Fronsee said Tech4 was founded with both the clients and the employees in mind.
“When we started Tech4, we wanted to be a different kind of company – not just for our clients, but for our employees,” he said. “We wanted to create a company that both our customers and our staff could trust and believe in.”
Since starting, Tech4 has provided services to hundreds of companies using a people-first mindset that Fronsee said is the key to the success of each project.
“We have helped nearly 400 companies improve their manufacturing businesses by providing state-of-the-art automation and power system solutions employing a people first mindset,” he said.
Fronsee said Tech4’s entrepreneurial attitude helps create a work ethic and customer focus that virtually guarantees project success.
“Because the team approaches every project as if it were their own,” he said.
Fronsee said giving back to its employees and the community has been a priority for Tech4 since the beginning.
“In our very first year we sponsored a YMCA benefit (Chili Cookoff), and we continue to look for ways to help share our skills with the community around us,” he said.
Fronsee said it’s not just a company initiative, with many Tech4 employees involved in the community outside of work as well.
“Tech4 employees have been scout leaders, Destination Imagination leaders, VEX robotics judges, college advisory team participants and technical speakers for automation and power system conferences for professional associations like IEEE (the world’s largest technical professional organization),” he said.
Fronsee said Tech4 does what it can to make sure employees have those opportunities to give back and follow their own passions.
“We offer employees tuition reimbursement so they can continue their learning, and flex time programs which allows them to give back to organizations they have a passion for,” he said. “We have staff that are basketball coaches, baseball coaches, a founder of a youth rugby association in the valley and church elders. (It is) all in an effort to give back to the communities we live in, and maintain a positive work-life balance.”
Fronsee said the staff at Tech4 like to have fun as a group, too.
“We have had all sorts of unique holiday parties and team building events,” he said. “From casino night to laser tag to curling or renting out a car museum, we love to have a good time. If it’s a warm sunny day, you may find us having an impromptu cook-out in the parking lot.”
Since its inception a quarter-century ago, Fronsee said Tech4 has seen significant growth.
“The company has grown from a staff of five to nearly 30 and added a second building,” he said. “We have expanded our salesforce to include a network of nationwide representatives. We have grown from specializing in only automation technology to also include power systems and robotics.”
As a result, Fronsee said the company’s focus has also expanded.
“Tech4’s market has grown immensely – from being primarily an industrial drives systems house for small OEM’s, to creating large complex machine control systems for applications including complete paper machines and large rotating equipment in the oil and gas market,” he said. “We provide customers with solutions for data acquisition and analytics, complete industrial power systems, sophisticated robotics solutions and electrical safety training.”
Fronsee said Tech4 developed an arc flash mitigation solution, in cooperation with a Finnish partner, which helps clients reduce risk of injury and equipment damage.
“We lead the country in the implementation of that technology,” he said.
Through the company’s growth, Fronsee said the focus of Tech4 has remained unchanged.
“We have stayed focused on the goal of creating solutions based on electrical engineering excellence, and we will maintain that focus as we continue to serve industrial manufacturers,” he said. “We like to say that if something in your manufacturing facility has a wire attached to it, we can help. We also continue to work to attract talented young engineers to our team to help shape the future of automation and power engineering.”
To celebrate 25 years in business, Tech4 plans on hosting an open house event on July 14.