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December 9, 2014

Watertown Business Incubation Success Story: Idle Free Systems

Guest post written by Kim John Erdmann, Executive Director, Watertown Economic Development Organization

Entrepreneurs and innovators are important to the Wisconsin economy, and in Watertown, they are vital to the manufacturing industry. Take Idle Free Systems as a case in point.

Idle Free Systems is a current tenant of the WEDO Business Incubator in Watertown. Robert Jordan, founder and Chief Technology Officer of Idle Free Systems, knows first-hand how startup companies can benefit from the services and advantages offered by business incubation.

Before founding Idle Free Systems, Robert Jordan had a 20-year career as a truck driver. But Jordan wasn't only driving a truck. He was inventing. It began with the questions: Why do we need a 600 hp motor to control the environment when the truck is not running down the road? Why can't we substitute a smaller motor?

Those questions led to Jordan inventing a system for truck engine idle elimination. Idle Free manufactures auxiliary power units for diesel trucks, which allows drivers to eliminate idling when loading, unloading and sleeping in their trucks. This not only cuts down on carbon monoxide and greenhouse gas emissions, but saves fuel as well.

What began as a one-employee venture is now a growing company that employs 25 people. In July of this year, Idle Free was acquired by Phillips & Temro Industries of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Phillips and Temro Industries is a leading global supplier of engineered thermal solutions, systems and controls, with facilities in North America, Europe and Asia. With this acquisition, Idle Free is poised for aggressive growth and continued innovation.