Blumenauer Corp.: A Reliable Source for Pump Solutions
With an eye towards the integration of cost-efficient, cutting-edge, and eco-friendly technology, The Blumenauer Corporation is a leading supplier of innovative pumps to its growing base of customers in Florida and overseas.
“Our firm is dedicated to serving the Florida market with products that save energy, conserve water and bring comfort to the homeowner or commercial user,” says Wes Blumenauer, president and CEO of Blumenauer Corp., an Orlando-based statewide manufacturing representative firm. The company is also a leading exporter of pump products and works closely with the state’s exporters to supply the Caribbean, Central and South America with its products.
“Our product line encompasses residential, commercial and industrial applications, including new construction and retrofits, providing solutions for all our customers’ pumping needs,” says Blumenauer in an interview with Plumbing Perspective.
Opportunities in hot water recirculation
Looking at the state’s plumbing marketplace, Blumenauer sees excellent growth opportunities for contractors in the residential and commercial hot water recirculation market. Since demand for hot water tends to peak in the morning and evening, with much lower requirements most of the day, many users can benefit by replacing older systems with new technology that can match that demand cycle.
Blumenauer Corporation offers several options for contractors and their customers considering retrofits. For more than three decades, the company has been a leading representative and distributor for Grundfos Pumps Corporation, whose solutions include the Grundfos Comfort System, which pumps hot water through existing pipes, ensuring that water is not wasted and comfortable temperatures are available in an instant. The international company also offers the Grundfos BoosterpaQ system, using multistage centrifugal pumps.
Blumenauer notes that Grundfos was one of the first companies to develop this pump technology nearly 40 years ago, and his rep firm has worked with Grundfos for most of that period. “I really appreciate your long commitment to Grundfos,” said Poul Due Jenson, a member of Grudfos’ international board of trustees and grandson of its founder, also named Poul Due Jenson.
Blumenauer Corporation is also a stocking distributor for Goulds pumps, another high-quality pump line. In addition, the company recently added the Advanced Conservation Technology (ACT) patented D’MAND® system for controlled hot water recirculation. By providing instant hot water, the ACT system can save homeowners and commercial users thousands of gallons of water annually. The Orlando company is seeing increased demand from engineers and contractors for energy efficient motors with variable frequency (VF) drives. “In the past, these pumps were quite expensive and difficult for users to manage,” he says. “Now they have come way down in price and have many convenient features, while providing money-saving benefits to the users,” Blumenauer says. “Florida contractors can point out the advantages of VF drives when discussing options with their customers.”
Another trend Blumenauer sees is a growing demand for pump packages that simplify the installation process while offering benefits to contractors’ customers. “Instead of running a circulating pump for 24 hours a day, you can save a lot of energy with packages that include VF drives, timers and aquastats,” he says. “Grundfos has packages that make the pump a more energy-efficient product by adding these features, reducing the owner’s ongoing operating costs.”
A long history of service
Blumenauer Corporation has been serving the Florida market for more than three decades. Company founder Roy C. Blumenauer moved to central Florida from Maryland in 1956 at the start of the “Space Age.” He worked for Hicks and Ingle Mechanical Contractors and was involved in the construction of the rocket launch facilities for NASA at Cape Canaveral and Pratt and Whitney’s jet engine facilities in Palm Beach County.
After plans for the development of Walt Disney World were announced, Roy Blumenauer realized Orlando’s potential for growth. In 1973, he left Hicks and Ingle, moved to Orlando, and formed Blumenauer and Associates, supplying mechanical contractors with a variety of pump and boiler products to meet the demands of the rapidly growing market.
“Back in the 1970s, my father was selling plumbing, heating and air conditioning products,” says Wes Blumenauer. ” We had a broad line of valves, steam and hydronic equipment. Over time we decided to expand our lines and began to specialize in quality pumping products. That is where our main focus still lies today.”
Blumenauer joined his father in the business full-time after graduating from the University of Florida in 1979. “I always knew I wanted to go into sales and work here,” he says. In 1980 the firm changed its name to The Blumenauer Corporation and became the manufacturer’s rep for Grundfos Pumps Corporation. The company soon expanded its product lines to include another well-known company in the industry, Goulds Pumps. Blumenauer Corporation continues to provide quality water products that the pumping industry demands today.
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Through the years, Blumenauer Corporation has received glowing testimonials from manufacturers, distributors and contractors. For example, , “On behalf of everyone here at Interline, I want to thank you for your loyalty and our strong partnership.”
Morten Lindkvist, managing director, Goltens Service Co., Miami said, “Thank you for your assistance in supplying two pumps on an emergency basis. It’s always nice to have a supply network that can be relied upon, and I’m confident that our client will never hesitate to contact us again based on the outstanding service we all provided.”
Strategies for the future
Reflecting on Florida’s economic downturn and slow recovery, Blumenauer says contractors and suppliers need to focus on operating efficiently while responding to market demands. “This is a different era in terms of the way everyone does business,” he adds. “No one has the luxury of the higher margins of the past, and the market itself is smaller. An even bigger change is that more people – from homeowners to purchasing agents to business owners and contractors – have access to a flood of product information. However, plumbing professionals still have plenty of questions despite that access to information.”
In keeping with those trends, Blumenauer says the company is increasingly focused on developing professional relationships throughout the plumbing industry and building on those ties to generate referral business.
“All of us like to go out into the field and have our hands on the product,” he says. “We want our sales people to be talking with plumbing engineers and specifiers as well as contractors. Most of all, we want them to know that if they run into any issues with the product, the Blumenauer Corporation will take care of them as quickly as possible.”
Another change for the company is moving to a “smart” inventory system for its main warehouse facility and service center in Orlando. “We are focusing on the products our customers need right away rather than stock the shelves to the ceiling,” Blumenauer says. “Control of inventory, along with investments in our website, have really helped us move through this challenging period. We use our website as a sales and educational tool designed to answer the questions that Florida engineers, contractors and users have for us.”
Blumenauer adds that the firm spends time training contactors and wholesalers on a pumping product or package. “Once they have a good grasp of the product, they’ll sell it for you,” he adds. “Normally, we have training sessions at our facility in Orlando, as well as lunch-and-learns or late afternoon sessions at wholesalers around the state. They invite their contractors to join with us and we give them a good overview of what’s new in pump technology and what those changes mean to prospective customers.”
Blumenauer states that the company has also taken advantage of social media like YouTube by posting instructional videos showing how to disassemble and reassemble pumps when servicing them. “This allows our customers to trouble-shoot an issue on site,” he says. The company is also an authorized warranty service center for Grundfos Pump Corporation and has trained technicians on staff to evaluate pump issues.
As part of its emphasis on service, Blumenauer Corporation’s technicians also provide engineers and specifiers with information to help determine the appropriate pump size for certain job applications. “From time to time a customer will provide us with a rough drawing of a system and ask us to size the pump,” says Blumenauer. “This is one of the value-added services we provide.”
With new innovative products that will be introduced this year by Grundfos and Goulds, including the addition of the new ACT line, Blumenauer expects steady growth. He is looking forward to the return of his eldest son Jeff from Afghanistan. “Jeff is an attorney and captain serving as a legal advisor with Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps,” he says. “As a third-generation member of the family business, Jeff will continue to work with the company in a consulting capacity, along with building his private law practice.” Today, Wes Blumenauer is accompanied by his wife Vickie in the day-to-day operations of the business. He adds,” We are joined by a valued team of talented employees.”
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