AURORA, Ill., April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Grundfos today celebrated the official launch of a new business-development "competency center," serving all of North America and devoted exclusively to the municipal waste water market. Located approximately 40 miles west of Chicago, the center is housed in the 105,000-square-foot, pump-manufacturing facility of the former Yeomans Chicago Corporation (YCC), which Grundfos acquired in December 2008.
Since that acquisition, the global pump manufacturer has invested several million dollars in new equipment and systems to upgrade the Aurora facility and ready the operation to begin production of Grundfos-brand waste water pump systems, previously made by the company in Europe and Asia. The first such product, the Grundfos S-Line of energy-efficient waste water pumps, commenced production in Aurora in February of this year.
One of numerous such "competency centers" operated by Grundfos worldwide, the North American Water Utility Center brings together a fully integrated team of professional experts in the municipal waste water industry. Their specialized skills include engineering, manufacturing, product sales and service, distribution, regulatory issues and equipment testing. The Aurora facility currently employs 93 full-time personnel, including 31 machinists working two shifts five days per week.
Nearly 100 guests joined Grundfos personnel for a ribbon-cutting ceremony inaugurating the new Water Utility Center, led by Pia Olsen Dyhr, Denmark's Minister for Trade and Investment; and Dan Seals, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
Speaking at today's ceremony, Grundfos North America CEO and president Jes Munk Hansen said: "This center is pivotal to Grundfos becoming a leader in the North American municipal waste water business. We have big ambitions for the next five years, as we strive to double—if not triple—our sales in that key segment, with commensurate growth in our product offering."
Grundfos has invested more than $50 million in municipal water-related activities in the United States during the past few years, including acquisitions, increased production and infrastructure, information systems, product launches and the hiring of key people. Over the next half-decade, the company expects to invest an equal amount in its North American operations. "These investments are part of a global strategy that aim to capture 10 percent of the worldwide municipal market and generate roughly $1.3 billion in export sales," said Hansen.
Minister Dyhr praised Grundfos as an example of a Danish company successfully meeting the global mandate to counter climate change by reducing water and energy consumption.
"One of the most pressing challenges facing the world today and over the next decades will be identifying and implementing technologies that mitigate climate change through the conservation of water and energy," said Dyhr, noting that Grundfos has gained a global competitive advantage by embracing Denmark's energy-efficient and resource-conservation public policies. "Just as clean technology is now the fastest growing part of Danish exports, we are positioning ourselves to also lead in water and climate solutions."
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn commended the company for its area investment and centralized location.
"Illinois is one of the best places to do business in the world," Governor Pat Quinn said. "We are pleased Grundfos has chosen to expand its operations in Illinois and build a new business development center, which will create more jobs and boost economic growth in our state."
During remarks today at the ribbon cutting ceremony, DCEO Assistant Director Dan Seals echoed Quinn's praise for the Danish pump maker, "With the state of Illinois' unparalleled transportation infrastructure and pool of highly skilled workers, we have the resources that companies like Grundfos need to grow and thrive," DCEO Assistant Director Dan Seals said. "We congratulate Grundfos on their expansion and look forward to watching the company's continued success."
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Grundfos expects to use the Aurora Water Utility Center as a platform for launching increasingly sophisticated, energy-saving pump technologies in the coming years, all targeting the waste water market. While the segment has been slow to adopt these more advanced—and therefore more costly—technologies because of a slumping economy and local-government budget shortfalls, Hansen is confident that the current brake on infrastructure spending will not last much longer.
"That is why our focus at Grundfos is on developing more energy-efficient pumping products, and why we look at the market in terms of the next two decades, instead of the next two quarters," says Hansen. "As a privately held organization, we can afford to have a long-term perspective with regard to our investments and business strategy. Our dedication to the municipal water market in North America is a long-term strategy."
For a full version of this press release and downloadable hi-res photographs, visit: http://grundfos.oreilly-depalma.com/2012/water-utility-center-aurora.shtml