Workers assemble electronic devices at EmbedTek on
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
HARTLAND - No one would mistake Waukesha
County for southern California because of both the
drastic weather differences and the number of technology
companies, but EmbedTek is finding many positives about
growing in Waukesha County, including the loyalty of its
workers and its access to larger metropolitan areas.
CEO and owner Dan Aicher said there are some
disadvantages to operating a technology company in Wisconsin,
such as the cost of living and the taxes, but the employees have
strong skill sets, are loyal and don’t hop from job to job as
often as they do in bigger tech hubs like California or Houston,
EmbedTek has also developed a strong working
relationship with area schools, including Marquette University,
Milwaukee Area Technical College and Milwaukee School of
Engineering, by offering an internship program. In addition,
EmbedTek has offered opportunities to technology-savvy high
school students, including a senior from Arrowhead.
By forming this structure, Aicher said, EmbedTeck
has a five-year pipeline for talent. Also, he said the company
has attracted talented employees as well by their existing
workers referring other qualified people.
Moving on up
Started in 2002 by Kent Tabor, who remains an
owner and chief technology officer, EmbedTek has grown
significantly during the past 12 years.
EmbedTek designs and manufactures embedded
computers and integrated display solutions for original
equipment manufacturers. Its products are found in devices
ranging from fitness equipment and medical devices to
surveillance systems and training simulators.
EmbedTek CED Dan Aicher discusses his company's
ability to assemble touch screen devices in a clean room.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
According to the company, it works with
OEMs that use computers, displays and other electronics,
but do not typically design and integrate their
The company currently occupies a
20,000-square-feet space in an industrial office building in
Hartland. As the company grew, it gobbled up neighboring units
to create one larger space, although Aicher pointed out that
means there are walls in odd places and the company has to store
supplies off site.
By the end of August, EmbedTek will move into a
100,000-square-foot building it is constructing on Highway JJ,
east of Pewaukee Road. Initially, the company will occupy 50,000
square feet, but Aicher anticipates EmbedTek will occupy the
remainder in the next two to three years.
In the new building, Aicher said, there will be
more creature comforts, such as a kitchen and cafeteria with
booths where people can work together. He said employees tend to
stand and discuss issues. By having a large kitchen area, people
can relax for lunch or meet to work on a project.
“We find the informal meeting to be much more the
way people work,” he said.
EmbedTek will be moving from Hartland to this new
facility being constructed on Highway JJ/Bluemound Road in
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
There of the four members of the ownership team,
Aicher, Tom Fotsch, chief operating officer, and Ted Platz, vice
president of sales, worked together for many years at another
successful Waukesha County business, Dedicated Computing. They
helped it to grow from $1 million to $120 million in revenue and
from 15 employees to more than 200 across eight years, Aicher
In addition to founding EmbedTek, Tabor started
Granite Microsystems in 1985.
Together, the management team has formed a clear
vision on how it wants ElmbedTek to be run and to grow, Aicher
said. Having that united vision creates a “tough advantage for
people to beat,” Aicher said, referring to other companies in
the area tapping into the same market.
Aicher said he considers 2010 to be a “restart”
year for EmbedTek because that’s when the four men became equal
owners of the company. Since then both the number of personnel
and amount of revenue for the company have grown significantly.
According to data provided by Aicher, in 2010,
EmbedTek’s revenue was $920,000 and grew to $13,089,000 in 2013
and $23,400,000 in 2014. Revenue increased by 350 percent from
2010 to 2011; 185 percent from 2011 to 2012; 35 percent from
2012 to 2013; and 78 percent from 2013 to 2014.
At the same time, the personnel employed by
EmbedTek went from 16 in 2010 to 75 in 2014 and about 80
employees currently. That amounts to a personnel growth rate of
125 percent from 2010 to 2011; 30 percent from 2011 to 2012; 91
percent from 2012 to 2013; and 34 percent from 2013 to 2014.
Aicher said he anticipates creating about 100 new positions in
the next four to five years.
Much of EmbedTek’s growth has not come from their
clients growing, Aicher said, but by attracting more clients.
“How you treat people, how you treat customers is
a huge advantage,” Aicher said.
Going forward, EmbedTek will look to expand its
types of capabilities and may begin to assemble entire products
EmbedTek does have an inventive side that has
developed a pharmaceutical automation program, along with other
Today, EmbedTek will be recognized at a luncheon
by the Waukesha County Business Alliance as one of the top 10
Businesses of the Year.
honored for PC used in military training systems
HARTLAND —The Wisconsin Society of Professional Engineers
recently recognized EmbedTek with a Governor’s New Product Award
for the Sabot 0525, an embedded PC which is used in military
EmbedTek Founder and Chief Technology Officer Kent Tabor
received the award from Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch at the WSPE
Banquet in Green Bay on May 27. EmbedTek was cited for
innovative use of engineering principles, improved function and
savings, according to the announcement.
The Sabot 0525 records and plays back five channels of video and
audio for after-action review. It was developed for the military
simulation market and supports real-time monitoring of multiple,
simultaneous audio and high-definition video streams via a
The WSPE is Wisconsin’s organization for professional engineers
in several categories, including electrical engineers,
mechanical engineers and civil engineers.