Motorola Solutions Canada has long served as a lifeline to the country’s first responder and public safety networks. But in recent years, president George Krausz has steered the business on a path of continued growth and change, building up its capabilities in a range of newer services.
“We’re a very different company from where we were four or five years ago,” says Krausz, a University of Waterloo alum who joined Motorola in 2004. “We have evolved from a consumer-centric conglomerate primarily focused on cell phones, smartphones, and carrier infrastructure, to what we call a mission-critical communications and intelligence company.”
In 2018, Motorola Solutions Inc. grew its revenue by 15 percent compared to the year prior, according to financial figures from the Chicago-based company. While the business doesn’t break out numbers separately for its Canada operations, there are plenty of other signs of recent growth in the Canadian market. Those include adding hundreds of new employees and landing a historically large contract—along with partner company, Bell Mobility—to develop a new “mission-critical” communication network for the province of Ontario.
“One of the reasons I think Motorola Solutions has been so successful is that we really have innovated obsessively over the years, learning from how our customers operate,” Krausz says.
At the core of Motorola Solutions’ business is land mobile radio (LMR) services for public safety and government agencies including police, fire departments, military organizations, and emergency management teams. Its core business has expanded more recently to include three other major pillars, Krausz says: a suite of software solutions, video security and analytics, and managed services, which keeps customer networks operating around the clock.
By the Numbers: 2015 vs. 2018
$5.7 billion in sales
3% sales growth compared to 2014
$1 billion in operating cash flow
$7.3 billion in sales
15% sales growth compared to 2017
$1.575 billion in adjusted operating cash flow
Note: These numbers are for Motorola Solutions Inc. as a whole, not Motorola Solutions Canada.
The massive shift that comes with developing and honing those newer lines of business means it has been critical for executive leadership to communicate company strategy effectively to all team members. Employees need to understand not just how their individual roles are affected by such evolution, Krausz says, but also the opportunities that are available to them because of that growth.
“It has been a huge transformation and change,” he says. He uses the company’s sales staff as one example. Years ago, Motorola’s salespeople were more focused on land mobile radio products. Now, those positions have evolved into roles Krausz describes as public safety business experts, with more of a focus on the workflow of public safety organizations.
In addition to work Motorola Solutions will do for the province of Ontario, the company won a contract with another partner to provide next generation 911 call routing to public safety answering points (PSAP’s) in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.
In Canada, Motorola Solutions’ presence has grown from about 180 employees in 2015 to approximately 900 employees now, Krausz says. (Globally, Motorola has more than 17,000 employees, according to its website.) Bringing on all that new talent and appropriately integrating employees into Motorola has been crucial to the way the business looks today, Krausz says. One of the things he always looks for in team members is a true drive to help others through the work.
“Motorola has done well because it’s committed to excellence;it’s committed to exceeding our customers’ expectations. And you have to kind of have that passion in your gut, that attitude that you really want to help your customers,” he says. “You can teach people the hard skills, but the passion to want to work with public safety, the passion and attitude to continue to grow and learn and that desire to love what you do . . . that’s kind of what we look for.”
And for Krausz, it’s not just business growth that makes him proud to work at the company. More significant are the ways Motorola Solutions’ services impact the lives of people who rely on them in times of distress. Krausz pointed to what happened when Hurricane Dorian hit the Atlantic Provinces in September 2019. Motorola’s communication system for safety and emergency workers continued to operate through the storm, Krausz says.
“They have to have communications to make sure things are being recovered,” he says. “That’s one of the reasons why we need these mission-critical networks.”
There are plenty of examples of Motorola Solutions providing a crucial lifeline amid natural disasters. During extreme flooding in Alberta several years ago, Krausz got a call from a city mayor asking for help with implementing emergency communications equipment, because the city’s communication center was expected to flood. Krausz and his team made sure that within days, the city’s first responders were equipped with the radios and other emergency equipment they needed to help keep the town safe.
“It’s stuff like that, that you feel pretty proud of,” Krausz says. “The reason Motorola can do that is because we are a public safety company, and because we have these protocols that can cut through all the lines and say, ‘This is at the front of the line, we’vegotta get it done.’”
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