At age 19 I started working at Process Systems, Inc., now one of the Ruthman Companies just like Great Lake Pump. Back then I was cleaning parts, sweeping the floor, and cleaning chips out of engine lathes, the CNC and vertical mill. From there got to dis-assemble vertical turbine pumps and quickly moved into inspecting pumps and writing up bills of material for pump repair. That experience prepped me for a stint at pump assembly before becoming shop foreman and eventually the plant manager. I was lured by the excitement of sales, moving through the customary training of inside sales, before hitting the road and as outside sales engineer, selling vertical turbines primarily, but also other styles of centrifugal pumps. I left Process Systems after 22 years with the title of Sales Manager. In 2000, I came to work at Great Lakes Pump & Supply as an outside salesman, and after Jim Bush’s retirement, became our general/sales manager. Someone told me that adds up to 40 years of experience serving industry with pumps. Can that be right?
I will never forget the work ethic that I learned from Bob Strohs, founder and long-time owner at Process Systems for most of my time there before he sold the business to Crane Pumps and Systems. He led by example and it rubbed off. For years I had been trying hard to get into Rouge Steel (now AK Steel) to do their pump repairs with no luck. One Sunday morning I got a call from the guy at Rouge saying here was my opportunity, but I needed to pick up the pump that Sunday. I called Strohs, got the OK to drive the flatbed truck, and went over to pick it up. We turned around the repair as fast as we could and now 25 years later, we are still doing their repair work today.
One thing I seem to encounter over and over and over again are the problems and headaches with mechanical seal leaks in horizontal pumps. It just doesn’t go away. If I never sold another pump with a mechanical seal, I would be OK.