When Jim Wheeler was down-sized from the home building industry a decade ago, he decided to put his degree in computer science to use and turn his attention to the water. Originally designed for the military, GPS tracking solutions were widely used at the time for a variety of civilian concerns, but few companies were addressing the needs of the marine market. With his dad, Capt. Jim Wheeler, the younger Jim founded ArgoTrak, a GPS solutions company that used technology developed by another Naples-based company to provide a way for owners to track marine vehicles, an important safeguard for many who enjoy the boating life on the Gulfshore.
They found their first customer in Naples’ own Park Shore Marina and quickly discovered that the marine market was well worth investing in. As an active charter captain, Capt. Jim, who passed away in February 2016, was the main sales interface to ArgoTrak’s marine customers, and developed many of the specialty sensors and solutions that the company’s clients came to trust. In addition, through a partnership with California-based GPS hardware manufacturer CalAmp, ArgoTrak opened a hardware distribution business that sells to companies across the world.
In an effort to broaden its customer base as it grew, ArgoTrak expanded into the fleet and personal tracking space, working with a diverse list of customers to deliver customized solutions for their particular needs. “Having a technical team that has both engineering and computer science expertise has allowed ArgoTrak to design custom solutions for customers of every size,” says ArgoTrak Vice President Christine Wheeler.
From preventing the theft of personal vehicles to increasing the productivity and efficiency of large fleets, ArgoTrak offers a range of GPS- enabled services that include connected cameras and remote equipment monitoring. For marine customers, for instance, ArgoTrak developed a live radar overlay on its tracking page showing boat owners where their vessels are in comparison to storms in real time. The ArgoTrak team also created a customized driver identification solution for some of their larger municipal customers, and designed a temperature component in addition to tracking for a nonprofit that needed to monitor the transportation of organ transplants.
“We never take a customer for granted,” Wheeler says. By offering a no-contract solution, when most of their competitors require two- to four-year contracts, ArgoTrak earns its customers’ business and trust anew every month, he says.
And people are noticing. In October 2017, ArgoTrak was number 1,168 on Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., with a three-year growth of 357 percent (with 33 percent in fiscal year 2016). The business saw $3.2 million in revenue in 2017 and currently employs 10 full-time and five part-time employees, in addition to a dozen more employed by their white label dealers across the U.S.