Ron Askin, vice president and director of sales for Godwin Pumps, sat down with Water Online Radio for this live interview from the show floor at WEFTEC 2011 in Los Angeles. Askin talked the development of Godwin’s reputation, its affiliation with Flygt, and the latest trends in pumping. Listen or read on to learn more.
Todd Schnick: We are back, broadcasting live from the Los Angeles Convention Center floor of WEFTEC. I’m Todd Schnick, joined by my cohost, Todd Youngblood. Todd, we’re building a crowd here.
Todd Youngblood: I love that. It’s killing me not to wave to my fans out there. They recognize talent when they see it. Okay, thank you.
Todd Schnick: Todd’s waving at fans. Someone who has fans is about to join us on the show. I’m really looking forward to welcoming the vice president and director of sales of Godwin Pumps, Ron Askin. Welcome to Water Online Radio.
Ron Askin: Thank you very much, Todd.
Todd Schnick: Before we get into a conversation, Ron, why don’t you take a few minutes and just share with us a little about you, your background, and then tell us about Godwin Pumps?
Ron Askin: Alright, I appreciate it. I have been in the pump business really since birth. My family were water well drillers and I have been repairing pumps from the time I was old enough to carry a wrench. After I went to college in engineering, I went to work for a pump company, and I’ve been in the industry ever since.
Todd Schnick: I have this picture of a small infant with a wrench repairing a pump, and it’s going to be in my head for the rest of the day now.
Ron Askin: I got some pictures of when I was small, carrying pipe couplings and stuff like that. It’s a great thing because a lot of people are new to the industry that we hire, and I try to explain to them that you can live your life in a pump industry. You can grow for years and years. I still learn something new every day.
Todd Youngblood: I know I was making light of it, but I think there really is something to be said that it gets in your blood and it’s something you’ve been fascinated by and focused on for an entire lifetime. How does that help your customers? Let’s talk about the dollars and cents of it.
Ron Askin: I think it helps the customers because a pump really is the second-most commonly manufactured thing in the world. I think the only thing more common than that is an electric motor because most pumps need an electric motor to run. And when you look at that many products – there are so many options for people out there – if you have a pumping application or a pumping problem, there are so many different solutions available. When you find people that have been in the industry for that long, they’ve got a lot more tools in the toolbox.
You’ve got a lot more options. It isn’t maybe just about the pump that they represent or the pump that their company builds. It’s about coming up with the right pump for their situation.
Todd Schnick: Now, Ron, I understand that you are in the midst of a new product launch of the NC Series pumps. Tell us all about that.
Ron Askin: That’s probably the most exciting thing that’s happened during my 13 years at Godwin Pumps. We’re known as a world-class brand. We are best in class in portable pumping. We were acquired by ITT about a year ago, and with that acquisition came the opening up of technologies from some of our sister companies.
One of our sister companies is ITT Flygt, and Flygt is known, certainly, for engineering expertise beyond any one in the pumping industry. To be able to leverage off of that expertise, have them look at our products, and talk about improvements that we could make … one of the things that we were able to share is implementation of their patented N-Technology into our standard pump line. We are taking our entire range of pumps that we pump sewage with, and sewage bypasses, digester cleaning … things like that, every day, and incorporating this N-Technology, which allows that pump to run without clogging.
Todd Schnick: You can tell by the gray hairs I have here that I have been around in the industry awhile. And one thing I hear and have heard for years and years is “we provide great service,” so I’m a little bit skeptical, but you guys truly do have a reputation for a commitment to service. Can you just share why you deserve that reputation?
Ron Askin: We’re a rental company. We’re a pump manufacturer and we’re a rental company at heart. We all carry our phones – I’ve got two phones. I’ve got Nextel and a BlackBerry, 24/7 on my hip, and I answer it at 1 A.M., and I expect anybody that works at Godwin Pumps to answer theirs when I call. And it’s been like that since day one at Godwin. It’s about picking up the phone, giving a live voice for someone to talk to, and being able to provide immediate service.
Todd Youngblood: I like that idea – carrying two cell phones. That’s pretty amazing.
Ron Askin: Can’t miss us.
Todd Youngblood: So you’re always talking to a human.
Ron Askin: That’s right. You will not get an answering machine when you call our company.
Todd Youngblood: In addition to a commitment to service, we also understand that you have a real availability of products. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Ron Askin: Certainly, the widest range of portable pumps in the industry. We’re known as the “big pump people.” As we’ve continue to develop products, we’ve continued to develop on the higher head range and the higher volume range. So it’s really about getting the right pump for the job.
We’ve got a very, very wide range of pumps and we go to market through two main channels: through the rental channel – and we’ve got 36 rental branches located around the United States, in most every major city; and we’ve got a distribution network, so, through the center of the country, that covers a lot of everything from the Midwest down through Alabama. That combination, along with the product availability, really gives us local availability anywhere in North America.
Todd Schnick: Ron, what do you guys see as the emerging trends and issues in the water/wastewater industry going into 2012?
Ron Askin: Probably the biggest thing is the method in which people back up pumps stations. Traditionally, you would put a generator to back up a pump station, and if something happened, if there was a power outage, the generator would come on and provide power.
But so many of those pump station failures were non-electric related, and we developed a product called the Dri-Prime Backup System that really replaces that generator with a diesel-driven pump – automatic self-priming – and eliminates the need for that generator and gives you a much, much higher assurance that when something happens to your pump station that you’re going to have a bypass and you’re not going to have an overflow.
Todd Schnick: Ron, help the thousands of professionals in the Water Online community really, really truly understand the value that you’re delivering to your customers by sharing a recent story or a recent win that you achieved on behalf of one of your customers.
Ron Askin: Just this morning I got a call, probably an hour ago, from a company helping for flood relief in Thailand. They have a situation in Thailand – extreme rain, extreme flooding – and they need pumps air-freighted out today to provide relief to sewers that are overflowing, buildings that are flooding, wastewater treatment plants in trouble.
We are going to mobilize within the next few hours to start mobilizing pumps for that job. I think that’s a good example around the world. We do that in every city in the country all the time. That’s what we do.
Todd Schnick: Ron, I’m interested in this whole idea of collaborating, and you gave an example a little bit earlier of collaborating with another ITT division. What other things are you doing to collaborate with other players in the industry?
Ron Askin: I think development of products that are ancillary to ours, products that go to market with us, I think that we’ve greatly developed a lot of the technology and probably made a lot of products more popular by working with … whether it be our sister companies at ITT, or some of our vendors whose products maybe weren’t that readily recognized in the industry.
Todd Schnick: Ron, I hate to admit it but we’re out of time. Before we let you go, share with the audience how they can get in touch with Godwin Pumps and learn more about the work that you’re doing.
Ron Askin: Well, www.godwinpumps.com is probably the easiest way. You can find your local branch or distributor there. Our headquarters are in Bridgeport, NJ. 856-467-3636.
Todd Schnick: Outstanding. Ron Askin, thank you so much for joining us on Water Online Radio. Ron Askin: Thank you very much, guys.
Todd Schnick: That wraps this segment. On behalf of Todd Youngblood, I’m Todd Schnick, Water Online Radio. We’ll be right back.