Grundfos is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of circulator pumps for heating and air conditioning and centrifugal pumps for water supply, sewage and dosing.
Headquarters: Bjerringbro, Denmark (with North American headquarters located in Olathe, Kan.).
Revenue: North American revenues of more than $500 million
Company status: Privately owned
Number of employees: More than 18,000, worldwide
THE FINANCIAL EXECUTIVE
Title: VP/Finance, North America
How Long in Current Role: 8 years
A Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Cal Poly Pomona, majoring in Finance, Real Estate and Law. When I started almost 17 years ago, there was one Grundfos company in the U.S., with revenues of under $100 million.
Now, there are several companies in North America and revenues of more than $500 million. I’ve been involved in separating the manufacturing and sales companies into two legal entities, helping relocate U.S. sales from California to Kansas and rebuilding the finance team along with integrating several acquired companies.
I’m currently involved in helping develop strategies to grow the North American business to $1 billion.
What sparked your interest to join?
When I first learned about Grundfos, I had just moved to Fresno, Calif. I drove by the factory and was so impressed by the design and quality of the facility that I asked what company it was. I learned that Grundfos was known throughout the community as a top employer, a good community member and a designer of high-quality, high-technology pumps that used the latest technology in a well-managed factory.
After my interview for a finance positions, I was given a book about the founder and the company history, which I read that weekend. When I finished the book, I knew without a doubt this was a company where I wanted to work, a team I wanted to join.
This feeling has increased. I believe Grundfos truly wants to make the world a better place by providing people around the world access to clean drinking water.
How did the company get started?
Grundfos was established in 1945 in Bjerringbro by the late Poul Due Jensen, who initially named it "Bjerringbro Pressestøberi og Maskinfabrik" (Bjerringbro Die-Casting and Machine Factory). After several changes, the company took its current name in 1967. The Poul Due Jensen Foundation was established as a self-governing institution in 1975 to oversee the business and all other business of the Grundfos Group, the majority shareholder in all Grundfos companies. It now has 80 companies in 55 countries.
What are some of the company’s basic strategies?
Our strategy is based on increased water scarcity and a growing need for clean technology and the provision and purification of water in a globalized world that is characterized by fast economic growth and rapidly growing consumption.
In addition to pumps, pump systems and advanced technology, we have developed a number of groundbreaking technologies within a sustainable perspective. That includes Grundfos Bio- Booster, which cleans industrial wastewater at the source; Grundfos LifeLink, a solar-powered water treatment unit for drinking water in the world’s poorest areas; and Grundfos Microrefinery, which will generate valuable energy in the form of diesel from sludge.
What’s most unique about the company?
Our ownership structure, where the majority of profits are required to be reinvested in the company, gives us a strategic advantage over competitors — being able to take the long-term view for the business.
Also, sustainability is a key part of Grundfos’ business activities. We wish to create and strengthen sustainable relationships with our employees, business partners, and the society around us, not only in terms of products and solutions, but also financially and socially.
Sustainability is understood in its broadest sense as embracing the threefold bottom line of economic, social and environmental concerns.
What are some challenges?
In the future, demand will increasingly shift toward solutions addressing water scarcity. Acting on water scarcity, rising energy costs and increased need for water purification is therefore not only the right thing to do, it is also where future business opportunities lie.
Sustainability is all about being financially healthy, assuming responsibility and seeing business opportunities in the needs of the future.
We develop products and technologies that can help people to live a better life and use less energy. This sounds ambitious and idealistic, but it’s how we think.
How do you view growth and expansion?
We want to earn money from investing and producing green, sustainable technologies. There is already a large market for this and one that we do not anticipate will shrink in the future.
By 2050, there will be about nine billion people in the world. The strain on the Earth's already scarce resources is increasing. This requires innovation and a change in lifestyle.
Production must be viewed from a global perspective. We seek to locate production close to the individual markets. And as central production lines are relocated, there will also be a need for other parts of the organization to move with them.
What companies are your chief competitors?
We have a variety of competitors worldwide, depending on the market and geography. We keep a close eye on their activities but do not discuss or comment on them publicly.
Are you hiring now?
Yes, across all business segments.