GATR Technologies, a telecommunications company that earned 259th spot on the 2009 Inc. 5000, specializes in the design, integration, and implementation of large-scale, high-performance, portable telecommunications systems. Inflatable antennas, like the one pictured here, are the types of deployable structures that GATR is most well known for.
When a series of earthquakes began to ravish Haiti on January 12, GATR Technologies CEO Paul Gierow wanted to help out, and he did more than simply write a check on the company's behalf.
Though Gierow was unsure at first whether he could spare the manpower to help set up his company's inflatable satellite dishes, just two days after the first devastating quake struck, on January 14, GATR deployment expert David Hoffman was on his way to Haiti at the CEO's request. Hoffman brought two dishes with him - which cost about $100,000 each - to help aid workers, U.S. troops and doctors to coordinate their efforts via phone and high-speed Web connections. GATR's light-weight antennas can fit into as little as two boxes, and can be checked on an airplane or sent via FedEx to anywhere in the world.
GATR not only donated the use of several of their systems, but also supplied support personnel and satellite bandwidth time. Additionally, other governmental agencies supplied their own GATR systems to support the rescue and recovery efforts.
Here, a GATR technician begins the process of setting up an inflatable antenna in a field near Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
On how a GATR antenna deploys, Gierow says, "The thing inflates like a big beach ball. I still get a lot of snickers when people first see it."
GATR deployment expert David Hoffman stands next to a fully inflated antenna on the roof of the World Concern office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 18.
"Most of our customers are members of military and intelligence agencies that require communications access from remote areas around the world," Gierow says. "We're looking to expand into the private sector by working with, say, insurance companies that want to set up remote access at disaster sites."
While Gierow says that sending GATR's systems to help humanitarian organizations in relief efforts is a side of his business that will never be a money-maker, he admits that he doesn't necessarily want it to become one. "But," he says, "every time a disaster hits, we can show how quickly we can respond and how much data we can push."
Here, Hoffman stands with a fully deployed GATR antenna at Bogus Basin ski resort in Boise, Idaho. GATR antennae are operable in extreme conditions, from intense heat and humidity, to freezing temperatures with high winds.