Holland Pump Company
Together we win
Business View Magazine interviews Win Blodgett, President of Holland Pump Company, for our focus on Manufacturers in the Energy Sector
Holland Pump Company already provides services across the entire southeastern United States, but a recent partnership is expected to help the family-owned business expand its territory even further. Holland is involved in the manufacture, sales, distribution, rental, and service of pumping solutions. Their corporate headquarters, manufacturing, and central repair facilities are in West Palm Beach, Florida. Eight additional branch offices are located in other areas of Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana.
Holland Pump Manufacturing has produced as many as 300 diesel-driven pumping systems in one year. On the rental side, a fleet that includes more than 600 diesel-driven rental pumps is deployed in states such as Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. A strategic deal reached earlier in March of 2019 with growth equity investor XPV Water Partners out of Toronto, Canada, will provide Holland Pump additional capital and a vast network within the water resource industry.
“That was appealing to me to have a partner that was a real expert in the water industry and could add a lot of value and bring a lot of opportunity to us,” says Win Blodgett, President of Holland Pump. “So we made that transition in March, and then our plan is to expand rapidly over the next five to seven years to be a super-regional pump rental and manufacturing company.” Reaching this point has taken a lot of hard work. Holland Pump prides itself on responding quickly to problems, whether something happens at 10 a.m. or 10 p.m. “That’s why I call it kind of old school, in that there is a lot of sacrifice from the employees and their families, because we ask a lot of the employees in terms of what they give to the company to step up to the plate but we give back a lot of loyalty and support,” Blodgett explains.
Holland Pump was formed in 1978 by a former pump salesman named Charlie Cuningham. The business was going strong when Cuningham learned he had cancer. Looking to sell the company, he struck a deal with Win Blodgett’s dad, Bill, who Cuningham knew from church. Bill Blodgett had a successful business career and was teaching entrepreneurship at a local university when he bought the company in May of 1999. Win joined the company shortly after that. His background in construction and sitework was beneficial, but there was still a lot to learn and he rotated through several different positions at Holland Pump over the years to get a better understanding of operations.
During the Great Recession, the business was split into two separate companies. The new company, LobePro, manufactures positive displacement rotary lobe pumps and has dealers all over the U.S., as well as internationally. Holland Pump buys their products and packages them with a diesel engine on a skid, fuel tank, or trailer fuel tank, for example. Win Blodgett took over leadership of Holland Pump in 2007, but his father and LobePro remain an active partner. “As LobePro’s exclusive OEM distributor for construction dewatering we have a strong relationship that gives Holland a strategic advantage in wellpointing applications against our competitors,” says Blodgett.
Today, Holland Pump specializes in temporary mobile dewatering. “Those are jobs where customers typically rent pumps from us for as short as one or two days or as long as a couple of years,” Blodgett reports. “And we are dewatering primarily groundwater for the utility industry – for utility work or site work for the municipal infrastructure that goes into neighborhoods and subdivisions and commercial developments, the underground sewer work or the retention ponds or lakes. We work on golf courses. We do marine work. Mining work. A lot of agriculture work.”
Holland Pump has also been registered as a vendor for emergency situations. The company is contacted after hurricanes, but not necessarily for flooding. More often, it’s when a storm knocks out power to a number of lift stations in a municipality. For instance, a county may have a few generators that can be moved from one lift station to another to keep wastewater moving. But when a hurricane hits and there are 500 or 1,000 lift stations without power, there isn’t enough backup power to go around. That’s where Holland Pump and its dedicated team come in. The company has about 70 employees who are all taught to operate under the mantra “finish faster.”
Blodgett relates, “In everything we do, whether it’s our paperwork or working with a pump consultant or providing a clean pump in a good mechanical condition, it’s all oriented to helping our customers finish faster.” Many Holland Pump employees have decades of experience and training. That training begins the day they are hired. There are proficiency tests for the numerous types of pumps the company produces, including hydraulically driven submersible pumps, positive displacement rotary lobe pumps, suction lift pumps, Holland electric driven pumps, and high pressure pumps. All field and shop employees are expected to pass proficiency tests for each application Holland Pump has within 60 days of being hired. But the training doesn’t stop there.
Safety is extremely important. Not only for the health of employees but also for the business. More difficult jobs require outstanding safety records, which is why having a good safety program is a high priority. All Holland Pump employees go through Occupational Safety and Health Administration training. Mining operations have their own safety program set by the Mining Safety and Health Administration. Holland Pump also works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has its own separate safety training program.
“In addition to the “safety first” mindset, and our own teaching of our finish faster culture and product knowledge, we do bring in a lot of outside vendors,” Blodgett reports. “Whether it’s engine distributors, or pump distributors, or components to do training and certification. Sometimes they come to our facilities to do training. Or sometimes we organize specific training for mechanics, or service managers, or pump consultants. And some of the bigger manufacturers have their own schools and training facilities where you can send someone for two or three days or longer.”
While Holland Pump maintains old school values, the company has embraced new technologies and the flexibility they provide. For instance, video conferencing applications such as GoToMeeting and Zoom, allow people at job sites in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to meet virtually with colleagues working in Orlando and Fort Myers, Florida, each morning. Holland Pump also started digitizing all its records a few years ago. That transition, along with early adoption of videoconferencing, made changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic easier to manage.
Accounting operations have been moved completely offsite. Those employees have been working from home. Blodgett recalls leaders of other businesses expressing concern about employees maintaining focus and productivity while working from home. He has found just the opposite. Not only has the pre-pandemic level of performance been maintained, but employees have appreciated the convenience of working from home, as well as the money and time saved by not having to commute. “And that’s what we’re about,” says Blodgett. “One of our core values is ‘together we win.’ And that applies to our relationship with our customers that together we win, but it also applies to the company itself and all of our employees.”
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AT A GLANCE
Holland Pump Company
What: Industrial Pump Manufacturer
Where: Headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida