FreeWave’s Data Radios Bring Employee Bonuses

Posted on March 12, 2009  Comments (2)

It is easy with the existing economic news to think things are bleak everywhere. But even within the current climate companies find success. Founded in 1993, FreeWave Technologies is a world leader in the innovative design and manufacture of ISM Band radios and wireless data solutions. Their data-transmitting radios span the globe from the Middle East to Mount Everest; from the Amazon Rainforest to Antarctica to New York. They are used by defense contractors, oil and gas companies, city and county municipalities and industrial manufacturers.

photo of Hedy LamarrHedy Lamarr from the trailer for the film Boom Town, 1940

FreeWave’s data radios are based on Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum Technology. Spread Spectrum was originally created for the U.S. Navy during World War II to prevent the Germans from “jamming” American radio transmissions for radio-guided torpedoes. The technology was invented by Hedy Lamar, a famous movie star of the 1940’s. The original radios contained a roll of paper slotted like a player piano to cause channel switching. Hedy’s close friend, Inventor/Musician George Antheil, designed the first successful synchronization device that brought Hedy’s idea to fruition. In 1941, Hedy and George were granted a U.S. patent for the first “Secret Communications System.” The original system used merely 88 frequencies. Today, the switching is controlled in embedded firmware code that enables a radio to change frequencies hundreds of times per second and use more than 100 channels.

Engineering these radios is something the company takes quite seriously. And hiring the best talent is part of this philosophy. Every single employee considers it his/her job to ensure that customers receive top-notch service seven days a week. This extends all the way through the organization up to senior management. FreeWave is so dedicated to making its customers front and center that it provides 24-hour technical support – even rotating senior management to be on call at nights and on the weekends.

The privately held company is based in Boulder, Colorado, the company offers network design, pre-installation engineering services and manufactures its own radios (manufacturing them in Boulder).

FreeWave’s increase in revenues of 112 percent from 2003 to 2007. The company has paid this bonus every six months since the first one was paid in July 1995. Over the past year, FreeWave has invested in expanding its facility to accommodate more staff; growing its manufacturing space and capabilities; dedicating more resources and technology to its product development; increasing its customer and partner training; and, investing in marketing and sales.

Boulder company shares $9 million with employees

The Boulder-based company says it has had profits every month since it hired its first employee in 1995. There have been no layoffs. Employees get company-funded retirement plans and bonuses based on profits and growth.

And there’s more: As part of a $113 million private-equity investment deal in 2007, FreeWave is sharing $9 million of investors’ money with its fewer than 100 employees as a reward for the company’s success. Shares are divvied up based on individual performance.

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2 Responses to “FreeWave’s Data Radios Bring Employee Bonuses”

  1. Johanne
    March 13th, 2009 @ 5:32 am

    “But even within the current climate companies find success.”

    Well said. For those with foresight and a keen sense of what people currently need, success can be found.

  2. Rich Hoeg
    March 13th, 2009 @ 5:47 am

    John: This was a real cool post … both from the history of the radio with Hedy Lamar through the company’s current operations. I even spent some time out on FreeWare’s web site.

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