The Gear Works Management Team is dedicated to helping customers through even the most complex custom built gears or gearbox repairs no matter what industry they are in. Meet the team that helps drive our company.
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington Roland worked during his school years at The Gear Works under the direction of his father, Ingwald Ramberg. By the time he graduated from the University of Washington in Business Administration, he could set up and operate every gear hobbing and shaping machine in the shop. After college, his career in the business took him through several administrative positions including estimating, planning, and sales. Upon the death of his father in 1982, Roland was appointed president and CEO of The Gear Works. He became Chairman in 2005.
As chairman and CEO, Roland is responsible for the direction and long term strategic planning of the company. He is also actively involved in a leadership role with the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA), and has served on its Board of Directors since 2006. From 1997 to 2002, Roland served as chairman of the Small Business Council and chairman of that organization’s awards sub-committee. Roland and his wife, Jean, have two grown children.
“I love them all. But I’m most proud of the Hoffler 2600. It’s the largest gear grinding machine we have and it took a gargantuan effort to negotiate the deal and get it in place. We had to reconfigure the shop for it, get special permits to build the foundation, and work with environmental engineers to overcome a flood plain issue. It took overcoming a lot of hurdles to get it in place and I spent months on it. Now it allows us to manufacture the finest accurate gears, both internal and external, up to 2.6 meters in diameter and weighing 20 tons.”
“The project that comes to mind is the custom gearboxes we designed, built and tested for the recently retrofitted Ballard and Fremont bridges in Seattle. The design specifications were technically challenging requiring many hours of engineering collaboration with the city.
Built around 1918, both of these bascule bridges serve as vital arteries for marine and auto traffic. They each accommodate around 50,000 cars a day and open for boat traffic around 5,000 times a year. Reliability and integrity of the new replacement gearboxes was paramount.
Our scope of work for each bridge included design, complete manufacture of four custom gearboxes with state-of-the-art gearing components, custom fitting of four large output pinions to the existing bridge rack, and factory testing to 200% load. Each gearbox weighs more than 11 tons. The project took about a year to complete and required the expert capability of a proficient, full service gear manufacturer. I am proud to report that our equipment has operated flawlessly since installation.”
Like his brother Roland, there isn’t a corner of the shop floor or an aspect of the business that Sterling doesn’t know, having literally grown up at The Gear Works. As a toddler he came to work with his father and company founder, Ingwald Ramberg, and played under his father’s desk. At age 15 he started working summers, sweeping and deburring, shoveling metal chips, working in shipping and receiving. Later, he worked in the gear shop, cutting and shaping and grinding gears. He also worked on CNC turning and milling machines and by 1989, was working for the company full time.
In the office, Sterling started in the planning and estimating department and moved to sales where he became sales manager. From there, he moved to vice president of sales and marketing before becoming president in 2008. Today, his decades of hands-on experience helps him oversee all aspects of the day-to-day operations at The Gear Works.
Sterling has a degree in economics from the University of Washington and is married with two young children.
“The Pfauter 1600 is significant because it marks a major turning point for The Gear Works. The purchase of this form gear grinding machine in 1996 was the day we placed a stake in the ground and committed to growing from a regional gear shop manufacturer to the international gear services provider that we are today. At the time it took a huge leap of faith because the machine was the biggest investment by far the company had ever made. Today, we have five form gear grinders and we are committed to a philosophy of continuous reinvestment in the company in order to always be at the forefront of gearing technology.”
“Norpac came to us with old gear units that were noisy and difficult to make. It needed a lot of imagination to know where to start and how to reengineer the gear train to make it simpler and higher in quality. In the end, we were able to use the same footprint and gear case but reengineer the gears. The gearbox had a double helical set of gears with a close gap in between the helices, which were difficult, risky, and expensive to make. We had the idea to widen the gap between the helices and use modern gear finishing methods to dramatically increase quality. This resulted in a power transmission gear train that was quieter, higher in quality, and less expensive to make.”
Andrea joined The Gear Works as the Chief Financial Officer in October 2014. At the time, she was an independent consultant to the company. She was also the lead audit manager of the company’s CPA firm and performed the company’s financial statement audit for many years.
Andrea is responsible for the day to day financial management of the company and for overseeing and directing the company’s financial goals, objectives and budgets. She supervises the financial department and is the chief financial spokesperson for the company. She also coordinates and maintains relations with the company’s bankers, independent auditors, tax accounts and other risk management advisors.
Andrea worked for a regional public accounting firm for 14 years where she provided financial and consulting services to businesses in the wide range of industries, including manufacturing, distribution and hospitality. Upon leaving public accounting she worked as the Controller/CFO for a national franchisor headquartered in the Puget Sound region. In 2010, she started her own independent accounting and consulting company.
Andrea is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and the Washington Society of CPA’s. She has a Bachelors degree in Accounting and a Bachelors degree in Marketing from Central Washington University.
Andrea enjoys hiking, cycling and travel.
I am fascinated by them all but I particularly like the Hoffler 1250 Gear Hobbing machine. The size and automated precision is amazing. I see this machine throughout the day and at times I will stop and watch the gear machinist program the Hoffler or simply watch the gears being cut.
Customers come to us because they know we will do whatever it takes to get the job done. I am constantly enamored by the versatility of work we produce and expertise and talent of our team. We go above and beyond and I enjoy hearing how satisfied our customers are, not only with the completed project, but also with the advise and knowledge we provide to the customer throughout the process.
Manfred is another member of The Gear Works management team who counts his tenure at the company in decades not years. With the company since 1973, Manfred began part time while in college finishing his associate degree in manufacturing. Prior to that he completed a machinist apprenticeship at the Lockheed shipyard in Seattle, an apprenticeship he began at a shipyard in Germany before he immigrated to the United States.
After college, Manfred joined The Gear Works full time working on machine design and then moving into operational management. During his three decades he also spent time as the company’s sale manager and vice president of sales. He joined the Advisory Board and became an officer of the company in 1995.
As vice president of operations Manfred’s responsibilities include everything and anything involving manufacturing as well as machine purchasing. He also has responsibility for The Gear Works high speed and military customers.
Manfred was born in Germany and raised in Germany and Taiwan and speaks fluent German and Chinese.
“It’s impossible to pick just one. I love them all, really. It’s because we have such a wide variety that we are able to respond to our customers’ needs; with so many specialized machines you can do something for any customer and do multiple operations at the same time. The machines give us flexibility and the ability to be highly responsive to any situation.”
“Two projects come to mind. The first one was the time a customer’s high speed pinion broke in service and it took us only nine days to manufacture a new one and it had 51 different operations on it including heat treating—nobody else in the world can do that.
The Sofia project is the second one that still amazes me. This was for NASA. They had a 747 SP and needed to open up the side of the body and let a 120 inch infrared telescope look out at 40,000 feet. After turning down the project many times they came back to us and said, “Would you please build it for us as no-one else can?” We finally said, “Yes,” because we love a challenge. And we did it. We made the upper rigid door rack in order for the door to open in flight at 40,000 feet. And the diameter of the rack is the same as the diameter of a 747 SP-close to 20 feet. It was a remarkable project.”
Starting at the bottom in 1984, Jerry spent 15 years working on the shop floor spending the majority of his time cutting and grinding gears. He was always interested in learning about new machines, particularly gear machines. During this time, he manufactured small gears, large 20 foot gears, internal gears, bevel gears, worm gears, and precision ground gears. Being one of the star performers, he received factory training when The Gear Works installed its first CNC gear hobbing machine and first CNC form gear grinding machine.
In 1999, Jerry was promoted to sales representative. With his extensive gear manufacturing knowledge and pleasant personality, it was a natural fit. His thirst for learning and a natural business mind allowed him to receive a quick promotion to sales manager in 2001. He became vice president, sales and marketing in 2008.
“It’s tough to pick just one, but for me the 350/500 MAAG Shaper stands out from my days on the shop floor, mostly because of its versatility. The mechanical genius that was used to make the machine so versatile is truly amazing. From internal gears, fine pitch gears, coarse pitch gears, segmented gears, and even gears requiring single point generation makes this machine is one of the best. It can make gears 20 feet in diameter or 10 inches in diameter and equal efficiency.”
“Many years ago, a wind farm approached us with a large number of turbines needing gearbox repair and the OEM was not interested in supporting them. There were many challenges along the way both technically and from a business point of a view. The technical changes we developed included a new lubrication system along with bearing arrangement changes. This resulted in doubling the life span of the gearboxes. On the business side, we wrote a parts procurement procedure for a large wind turbine operator, which allowed them to store inventory at our facility. Consequently, we are able to repair 50 gearboxes per year for them. This business relationship is one of the most successful ongoing projects at The Gear Works, now spanning over a decade.”
Looking for a career in gears? Check out what our employees think about working here and our apprenticeship programs.
The Gear Works is one of the largest and most diverse gear manufacturing companies in North America. We service a wide spectrum of industries, including power generation, mining, timber products, wind, construction, oil and gas, steel, marine, aerospace, and many more. Find out more about our capabilities or take a virtual of our facility.