Titan 100 Logo
Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
Robert Gross Gross Automation Llc

Robert J. Gross


Gross Automation, LLC

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Founded: 1990

Industry: Automation and Controls - Distribution and Manufacturing

Robert J. Gross’ business — R.J. Gross and Associates Inc. — was incorporated in 1990 and started in a Milwaukee business incubator. The business was provided a coach, who took Gross out to lunch to find out more about what Gross was doing and why.

About 30 minutes in, the coach stopped Gross and told him the plan for his business would never work and he needed to ditch it and go find a job.

“That is some of the best advice I ever got because it caused me to double down on building my own organization, if for no other reason than to prove him wrong,” Gross said.

Gross used the equity on a life insurance policy as down payment on a facility to house the business in Milwaukee. Shortly after, the company moved to New Berlin before moving to its current home in Brookfield in 2008.

“Here we have remodeled a couple of times and have found a home in our roughly 38,000-square-foot facility,” Gross said. Today, the company — now called Gross Automation — is an electrical and automation controls distributor with the expertise to build, program and apply those technologies to its customers for use in their machines and facilities.

“Today, we are 24 employees strong, backed up by the 53 lives that represent their spouses and children,” Gross said. “When asked what keeps me up at night, it is the fact that all those 53 lives are sitting at the table and the decisions we make affect them as well as our employees and my family.”

The company has a 10-year vision, specifying how it will attack the challenge of Amazon and technology. It will add growth in a new manufacturing business to bring the company into the renewable energy market. The company recently released its first product under its own name, a combiner box for solar farms, with plans to take the product international.

Gross is active in the community. In addition to his role as a Boy Scout leader, he is a board member and past president of the Lions Club of Wauwatosa. He is also a current board member, past president and incoming president of the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club.

The MMAC/COSBE program along with the BizTimes recognized Gross Automation for their Fastest Growing Business award and their Focus on the Future award. The Waukesha County Business Alliance named the company a Top 10 Business award recipient. In September 2019, Gross traveled with the governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, to Tokyo on a business development trip with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Presented by:

Wipfli Logo Reverse Transparent Text
Associated Bank Edited

Did you know?

Bob is and has always been afraid of heights. So, to combat this fear, Bob decided to become a pilot. He took lessons at Timmerman Airport, passed his written exam, and became a private pilot. Then, 10 years later, he became an instrument-rated pilot. Currently, he is part owner of N137MA, a Cessna 172R that is hangered at KMWC (Timmerman) outside of Milwaukee and loves flying. Bob still is afraid of heights!


Select your market(s)*