Baumann Electronic Controls, LLC, producer of the US Shift product line, has roots extending back more than 25 years in the performance transmission marketplace.
Karl Baumann is the founder and owner of Baumann Electronic Controls (BEC). Karl is a life-long gear head whose interest in cars was stimulated at an early age by his dad, George, and his like-minded friends. His experience with performance transmission modifications started not long after he began driving. He also had a keen interest in electronics, starting from a very young age. He moved from Florida to South Carolina in 1989 to attend Clemson University, studying computer and electrical engineering, and eventually met his wife, Virginia, there. In 1997, he assumed the role of part-time business owner at BEC while working as a full-time engineer. In early 2009, Karl and Virginia decided that it was time for him to dedicate 100% of his efforts to BEC in order to develop the full potential of the company and its products. Since then, BEC has been expanding and refining their product line and business at a rapid pace.
Needing a more fuel-efficient hot rod for long road trips than his big-block powered '65 F100, Karl Baumann finishes his second hot rod, an '84 Ford Ranger equipped with a fuel-injected Mustang 5.0L V8 and a Ford AOD transmission. At that time, the AOD had little, if any, recognition among performance enthusiasts. Frustrated by the lack of available valve body kit options for the AOD transmission, Karl creates his own valve body calibration from scratch, subsequently writing a few magazine articles for Super Ford Magazine detailing the transmission build and the valve body modifications.
After receiving many inquiries about the valve body improvements via the magazine articles, Karl formulates his modifications into a kit and begins assembling them in his small college apartment.
Customers begin to recognize the performance potential of the AOD transmission and business picks up further. The business is officially established as Baumann Engineering and new items are added to the product line.
Baumann Engineering begins custom-building AOD transmissions for unique customer applications.
Combining his growing electronics expertise with his transmission experience, Karl creates Baumann Engineering's first electronic transmission control product, the "Pro-Shift" system. The primary purpose of the Pro-Shift is to provide more consistent full-throttle shift points for the AOD transmission, despite its underlying deficiencies.
Baumann Engineering builds the first "wide-ratio" AOD transmission using the brand-new Lincoln Mark VIII gear-train parts that had just become available as service parts through Ford.
Baumann Engineering creates a valve body recalibration kit for the Ford E4OD transmission to meet the growing needs of F150 Lightning and other Ford truck owners. The E4OD ReCal-Pro valve body kit includes even more options for shift firmness than the AOD kit.
Baumann Engineering creates a simple prototype EFI controller to be used in a sponsored race car for a few seasons of NMRA and Fun Ford racing. The controller shows promise, but is far from being production-ready. Due to heavy competition in the EFI system market and insufficient manpower and budget to develop an industry-leading EFI product, Baumann Engineering decides instead to continue to focus on their established performance transmission product line.
Baumann Engineering moves to a new, larger location in Pendleton, South Carolina.
At this time, the relatively-new Ford AOD-E and 4R70W transmissions are already showing great potential for performance use, far beyond that of the aging AOD transmission. No longer do Ford enthusiasts have to suffer with the deficiencies of the split-shaft AOD transmission, as compared to GM's superior 700R4/4L60 transmission (with its true lockup torque converter). The inclusion of the AODE and 4R70W in all 1994 RWD Ford platforms insures strong demand for a valve body recalibration kit. Baumann Engineering responds by offering its RK-AODE ReCal-Pro recalibration kit. The RK-AODE kit is the most sophisticated valve body kit that Baumann Engineering ever created and is still sold in nearly the same form today.
Realizing the nearly limitless potential of electronically-controlled transmissions, such as the 4R70W, 4L80E, 4L60E, and E4OD, Baumann Engineering begins designing a programmable electronic transmission controller. This new generation of transmissions will finally allow consistent, compromise-free performance and infinite tunability.
Baumann Engineering introduces their first programmable, standalone, electronic transmission controller. Dubbed the "Baumannator TCS", the unit originally supports only the AODE / 4R70W transmission, but is later expanded to support other transmissions. The Baumannator is an instant hit and becomes very popular.
At the end of the year, Greg Dantzler joins Baumann Engineering, managing sales and production. Karl Baumann stays involved with the business on a part-time basis.
Greg's diligent marketing efforts, his passion for performance, and a new web site continue to grow the business.
Baumann Engineering incorporates as a limited liability corporation under the name Baumann Electronic Controls, LLC. The new name reflects the shift in focus to electronic products for a new century and a new level of performance. Karl and Greg are partners in the newly-incorporated business.
Greg Dantzler leaves BEC to pursue a rewarding career in Missouri and is currently enjoying time with his wife and two sons.
Due to a change in focus from transmission building to electronic product development, Baumann Electronic Controls moves into a new, larger, owned structure in Pickens, SC.
Kevin Andrews joins the company as the new sales and tech support manager. Kevin's attention to detail and 22 years of automotive electronics troubleshooting experience make him an immediate success.
Totally new Microsoft Windows-based tuning software is released for all Baumann transmission controllers. This new tuning software platform represents the first in a series of advancements that are intended to establish Baumann Electronic Controls as the industry leader in electronic transmission controls.
Amid climbing sales at Baumann Electronic Controls, and with a desire to shift the company's product plans into high gear (pun intended), Karl Baumann returns to full-time business ownership at BEC, in order to fulfill his product development plans. During his 11 years of engineering experience in a large corporate environment, including nine at a leading automotive OEM supplier, he honed skills in advanced design, development, and manufacturing, as well as with automotive electronics, miniaturization, reliability, test, and C++ software development. He is eager to put his skills and experience to use in his own business.
Baumann Electronic Controls also designs specialized hardware and software for different automotive suppliers and OEMS from 2009 through 2012.
Baumann Electronic Controls develops their second-generation transmission controller hardware. The new controller features vastly-expanded capabilities and a much faster processor that is an ideal fit for controlling modern transmissions, all in a super-small package. The second-generation controller enclosure occupies less than one third of the cubic volume of the original "Baumannator TCS". The new system is well-received and has undergone several improvements since its mid-2010 introduction. The space-efficient, cool-running circuitry is so reliable that the product warranty has been extended to 5 years.
Corey Jones joins BEC as an independent contractor focusing on many areas, including graphic design, web design, and technical writing. Corey's wife, Liz, joins BEC later on, and is an extremely talented graphic artist.
Sales climb to new heights, thanks to the release of the new transmission controller, and customer feedback is very favorable.
BEC makes their first OEM sale of private-label transmission controllers to a large company in the performance industry.
Amid plans to expand the product line and to expand the market for standalone transmission controllers into new territory, BEC makes the decision to unite all of its current and future transmission control products and accessories under one cohesive product line. To simplify marketing tasks and increase name recognition, BEC chooses a new name that is easy to spell, pronounce, and remember, while also highlighting the fact that their products are US designed, made, and supported, with a focus on US domestic hot rods. Hence, the trademarked name US Shift is born.
A major, multi-faceted project is begun, in order to take the company and its products to the next level. Please subscribe to the newsletter and like our Facebook page to be one of the first to see the results of this effort.
Ted Tallman joins BEC late in the year as a production manager and designer. His advanced electronic troubleshooting and repair skills help BEC to achieve the best product quality possible, while allowing Karl to focus nearly 100% of his efforts on product development. Ted's wife, Christy, also helps out on a part-time basis in several ways.
Ted's mechanical design and drawing skills, as well as his vendor sourcing skills, are evident in the new TPS kit that BEC introduces exclusively for Edelbrock carburetors (p.n. TPSKIT3). This kit is a very clean and robust design that installs in just a few minutes and doesn't interfere with throttle cables or linkages.
Corey produces BEC's first product video (with many more to come) featuring the installation of the TPSKIT3.
This year marks another busy year of changes and developments at BEC. We will be attending the SEMA show for the first time this year and work is already underway to make it a huge success.
Jackson "Jake" Chandler, who used to work part-time at BEC back in the old days, returns to lead the product marketing and 24/7 self-service technical support efforts. Welcome back, Jake!
Corey Jones is now a full-time independent contractor and will be leveraging his television and video production experience in the coming months. The skilled efforts of Corey and Liz Jones will become more apparent to customers in the near future and especially at the SEMA show.
In addition to great telephone support, the new self-service technical support options will include a highly-detailed online troubleshooting guide and an exhaustive collection of how-to videos that take the guesswork out of product installation and configuration. The advantage of these resources is that they will be available around the clock, even while everyone at BEC is sound asleep, so many problems and questions can be resolved without having to wait until Monday morning.
There are also some new products in the works that will be ready before SEMA. Please subscribe to the newsletter and like our Facebook page to be one of the first to find out about them.