Company History

Gilson Engineering Sales, Inc. is a 53-year old company started by Clete Gilson. Clete formerly worked at Westinghouse for 10 years and 2 years with a local instrumentation representative in the Pittsburgh area. The Company’s first salespeople were hand-picked from the best and brightest that Westinghouse had at the time.

In today's market, the company believes in hiring competitive, hard-working people that are good listeners and demonstrate the highest degree of integrity. Our current outside sales force has an average of 13 years of experience in the instrumentation field, despite an average age of 37. They are supported heavily by an inside sales force (backup of 2:1) that is dedicated to providing the highest level of support to our customers.

We currently have 34 full time people, including 7 inside sales support people, 4 application engineers, 15 outside sales engineers (6 outside in Pgh/WV territory), and two full-time IT personnel. Chris Gilson took over as president in 1998. Enclosed you will find profiles on all of our outside sales people.

We have had tremendous success hiring our new people right out of college and training them “the Gilson way”. We try to hire either electrical, chemical or mechanical engineers, but have also been known to hire other disciplines when an individual displays an extraordinary attitude. The training program consists of 6 months to two years working as an applications’ engineer. In this position, they support our inside and outside sales staff on the technical issues. They spend evenings, mornings and weekends learning the products; both technically on a sales presentation basis. We use our flow lab as a training ground to teach proper wiring, set-up, configuration and troubleshooting of the products. The candidates will perform mock sales calls in role play situations. They present to a mock customer (or customers) in front of the outside salespeople and are then critiqued on their performance. We make sure that they have full confidence in themselves by the time they first step foot in front of a customer. Many salespeople have told us that they were relieved to do a presentation to a real-life customer because it was far easier than presenting to our group. The challenge for the individual is to become an outside sales person. We monitor their progress and, when they prove themselves through role plays, demonstrations, and technical knowledge, we create a territory for them.

When new salespeople go out in the field, they are paid with a base salary plus commissions on a draw system. Typically, after 1-5 years, the sales person is doing well enough that they make a choice to go off of the base salary plus commission, to a straight commission basis. At the current time, all but four of our sales people are on a straight commission basis. Since all of our sales people are Type A personalities they appreciate being compensated for the long hours and hard effort that they put forth.We never limit their compensation. If they sell more, they take home more.We have a simple philosophy in our company: "What's it take to get the business?" That attitude is instilled from top management to every individual in our company. Our measurement from year to year is an extremely simple one. That measurement being, "Is it easier to do business with Gilson Engineering this year as opposed to last year?"

Gilson Engineering Sales is very highly computerized with 2 full time programmers. All outside offices have a High speed cable or fiber line. All of our quotes are done thru our own custom Excel configuator programs that have been developed for all of our major products. The configurator programs enable our people to immediately quote our products in a highly professional format. These configurators are maintained with the latest pricing and changes on a daily basis. Each outside person has full access to these programs and latest brochures thru our intranet site or thru a VPN connection. Each quote is automatically filed alphabetically on our files server, as well as entered into our CRM. These quotes can then be recalled either by customer name or project name. All quotes that are generated are copied to the individual sales person as well as the regional manager. Each month, all of our regional managers receive a monthly activity report. This report will list all open quotations and the status of these quotes. All salespeople have the Microsoft surface tablets as well as the latest smart phones.

Marketing efforts include a full indexed hardbound catalog with tabs and our full line catalog with well over 1 million pages on our web site at In fact, other Siemens reps as well as Siemens employees have commented that they go to our website for training or information. In addition to these efforts, we utilize constant contact to send newsletters or new product introductions to our customers. We currently have a working lab with over 120 of our products (as seen on our home page). Sales people can remotely activate and control the flow lab from their phone or tablets. They also have the ability to view the whole lab or an individual product thru PTZ cameras. We have also developed over 120 videos on our major products. There are several different types of videos, including introduction, configuration and troubleshooting videos.

We are very selective on the principals that we represent. We need to continue to build on our reputation and look for manufacturers that have a unique product that can enhance our position with our customers. We need to migrate out of selling individual products into selling a concept or a complete solution. Our strength is a very wide base of customers. This is evident with the Siemens PI group as we typically have well over twice the number of orders as any other rep, despite having similar dollar volume. Our strength is to work with each customer to fully understand the product and configuration, so that this becomes the standard in the plant. We never make money selling the device once. We work to be viewed more of a consultant to the customer rather than just another salesman. We all make our money by making the product the customer's standard and will reap the rewards when the customer continues to order the product for many years to come.