Spokane Journal of Business

Racom Corp. acquires Industrial Communications

Company plans to expand Spokane Valley campus

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Racom Corp., an Iowa-based company that sells wireless voice and data communications equipment to public safety agencies and businesses, has acquired Spokane Valley-based Industrial Communications Sales & Service Co.

Mike Miller, Racom CEO, says the company will construct larger quarters on the Industrial Communications’ 1-acre Spokane Valley site and also hopes to expand its workforce here.

Racom has started design work and some infrastructure work for a new, 13,000-square-foot building at 16610 E. Sprague, where Industrial Communications’ campus currently includes two buildings totaling 6,000 square feet.

He says Pro Builders General Contractors LLC, of Spokane, is the contractor for the project, and South Henry Studios LLC, of Greenacres, is designing it.

Miller says the new building will be mostly installation work space, with some additional office and administration areas.

“There’s enough space at the site to add the new building, and we’ll decide what to do with the older buildings later,” he says. 

He says construction will begin soon and be completed within eight months.

Scott Grimmett, Industrial Communications’ former owner and president, says the company had about 24 employees prior to its acquisition, most of whom have decided to stay on with Racom.

“We do have some employees who are retiring, but the majority will be staying on,” he says. “I’m an electrical engineer by trade, so I’ll also be staying with the company in an engineering and design role.”

Miller declines to disclose the terms of the transaction, but says Racom purchased 100 percent of the business’s assets as of Nov. 12.

Miller says Racom is a family-owned business, founded by his father, Gregg Miller, in 1972. Prior to the acquisition, Racom had about 99 employees and a service area that included Iowa and several surrounding states.

“This acquisition will be our farthest western expansion yet,” he says.

Miller describes Racom as providing similar services to Industrial Communications, mainly technology that supports communications systems for public safety agencies and businesses. 

“We like to say that we design, supply, and service all of the technology used in the second half of a 911 call,” he says. “These are things like phone systems, electronics, and recording technology used by dispatch centers and police.”

Miller says he and Grimmett first met in March of 2018 to discuss a possible merging of the two companies’ operations.

He says Racom began looking for a partner in the region after being chosen as a subcontractor for a large project with the Washington state Department of Transportation to install a statewide radio communication system.

“WSDOT bought a radio system from our manufacturing partner, the Harris Corp., and they awarded us the subcontract for the installation of that system, which includes installing a statewide radio network for snowplows and maintenance vehicles,” he says.

Miller says the Spokane office will be heavily involved in the company’s efforts to complete the $5 million, four-year subcontract.

Although Racom initially was seeking a partner in the region to help fulfill the contract, Miller says he was impressed with Grimmett’s expertise.

“This industry is made up of a lot of small businesses, but you don’t often find owners with Scott’s level of experience and technical knowledge,” he says. “That’s valuable knowledge to have, and really just made the decision to acquire Industrial easier.”

Grimmett says he, too, was looking for a partner.

“I could see that there were bigger systems rolling out, things that we couldn’t do on our own anymore,” he says. “We were looking for a company that could take the reins and capitalize on those opportunities.”

Miller says the company’s plans to expand the Spokane Valley location likely will bring more jobs to the area, although he declines to speculate on how many positions could be added.

“We’re excited about the growth potential for the company in the Pacific Northwest region,” he says. “Clearly, there are a lot of business opportunities for us here, and we’re looking forward to the future.”

Grimmet says Industrial Communications, founded in 1965, was a full-service two-way radio communications system installer specializing in products and services for public safety agencies, emergency vehicles, public utilities, educational institutions, hospitals, businesses, and government entities.

“I purchased Industrial from its original owner in 2008,” he says. “At that point it was a one-man operation, but with a lot of hard work we grew the company to include more customers and employees.”

LeAnn Bjerken
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Reporter LeAnn Bjerken covers health care at the Journal of Business. A Minnesota native and cat lover, she enjoys beachside vacations and writing poetry. LeAnn has worked for the Journal since 2015.

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