[fusion_text]Since the mid-1940’s. Carrie & Gable has helped keep traffic moving in the state of Michigan. As the distributor of a variety of traffic control and highway safety products, the company’s success can be traced back to the guiding principals of its two founders, Oliver Carrier and Joseph Gable.
Born in Washburn, Wisconsin and raised in Canada, Oliver Carrier came to Detroit with his wife, Ethel, in 1921. After many years with the Henry L. Walker Electrical Supply Company, Oliver began his association with the Eagle Supply Company in 1940. Oliver agreed to represent the company in the state of Michigan. However, his work came to a temporary halt in 1942 when many men were torn from their families during World War II. Luckily, Oliver’s assignment was in Chicago where he served as an expediter for the U.S. Navy. It was after he came home and resumed work, that he met Joseph Gable . A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Joseph hit it off with Oliver and they became good friends. It was soon after, in 1945, that the two men decided to go into business together. They opened an office in downtown Detroit’s Murphy Building and incorporated under the name Carrier & Gable. Oliver’s son, Gerald fondly remembers his father and Joseph sharing a telephone mounted on a swivel. They would swing it back and forth between their desks. The two shared the same commitment to high quality products and superior customer service, and were eager to compete in the growing industry of traffic control and capacitor sales.
Just a few years later, in 1948, the men hired their first employee, Ida Mucciante. Ida would become the company’s most devoted employee, retiring nearly 50 years later.
“Even back then there was a lot of competition, but Oliver and Joseph had the latest technology of the time and the best engineering minds,” Ida says as she remembers the early days of the company. “Both of them were such astute businessman. They were also very thoughtful with people and could relate well to anybody- whether it was a plant worker or a CEO.” Ida remembers that it was the ethics of the two founders that helped create a name for the company. “They were people of integrity.”
During the ’50’s and ’60’s, there were many new trends in the traffic control industry. Those changes, in combination with Oliver and Joseph’s determination spurred the company to offer more products and expand its client base.
Ida, who retired in October 1996, was Joe and Oliver’s first and only assistant, wearing many hats. She was the glue and continuity that kept the internal operations together spanning three generations. With her professional approach to business administration, she was also very personable to customers and suppliers. Ida stays very active and is currently doing volunteer work for nonprofit business organizations that help start-ups. As the unofficial company historian, Ida says the business has been run like a Fortune 500 company when it meant getting things done. However, when it came to treating people right, Ida says Carrier & Gable has always been more like a small hometown business.
In 1964 Gerald joined the company after being the General Manager at Ray Whitefield Ford. On April 15, 1972 both Oliver Carrier and Joseph Gable retired from the company that they had so successfully operated for 27 years. Gerald was then elected president. Four years later both Oliver Carrier and Joseph Gable passed away.
As Gerald grew the business, Dave Bacon was brought on from Eagle Signal Company to assist with traffic controller sales in January 1968. He then hired his brother Paul Carrier in 1970 to promote highway safety products such as crash cushions. A few years later, Bill Murphy joined the firm from Eagle Signal in 1979 and is currently the General Sales Manager. Dave and Paul have since retired. “We are very proud of the all of our employees, many having been here over twenty years. These people are the reason for our continued success, they care about our customers,” says Gerald.
Gerald’s son joined the family business as a part-time employee in 1977. Dan was only sixteen years old, but wanted to be part of the company that his father and grandfather had created. He joined the firm full-time in 1982.
Gerald “Jerry” Carrier was largely responsible for taking Carrier & Gable to the next level of growth, moving the company from Southfield, Michigan then to Farmington Hills where the company now occupies 30,000 square feet. When Jerry started with Carrie & Gable the space was 200 square feet.
In the late 80’s, the company expanded its coverage area to include Indiana. With the advent of new product lines and an increased demand, the business grew even more in the early 90’s. As the electronics field became increasingly complicated, Carrier & Gable hired technicians, support staff and salespeople. Later, in 1996, Dan was named as president of Carrier & Gable. His father, Gerald, became chairman of the board of directors.
Jerry’s business philosophies have echoed throughout the company; our customers are friends; support customers with the level of service they deserve and the business will follow. Jerry is considered one of the true patriarchs of our industry nationwide. “We are fortunate to work with the best manufactures in the industry; some of these relationships span thirty to sixty years,” says Jerry. “My father taught me so much about the importance of customer relationships and the importance of not letting them down,” adds Dan. “Problems will arise; handling problems expeditiously and with integrity will prove to our customers that we’re in this business for the long haul.” “Dad’s a very charismatic person; this is a large part of our success with customers and employees alike. He has always treated everyone respectfully and does everything possible to create a fun atmosphere where ever he is. Gerald is still active in the business as the Chief Executive Officer.
Products sold and serviced through Carrier & Gable include transportation control systems such as traffic signals and poles and emergency priority systems which offers a green light to fire response vehicles so there is no need to run a red light. Vehicle detection cameras mounted at intersections inform the traffic control box of vehicle presence. Anti-icing systems detects the potential of ice build on bridges and road way curves, the system automatically sprays nontoxic chemical on the road preventing ice formation. Crash cushions protect errant vehicles from impact of cement barrier walls and bridge piers.
2005 is Carrier & Gable’s sixtieth anniversary and it’s amazing to them to look back on how traffic control technology has changed. Some of the original traffic controllers are on display at their office. A traffic control system once took up a room by itself; today you can control traffic citywide from a desktop PC. Today Carrier & Gable represents over fifty manufacturers and inventories thousands of products, carrying over $3 million in stock.[/fusion_text]