There are so many talented and interesting people working in the pump industry that Empowering Pumps & Equipment is making an effort to shine a spotlight on individuals who spend their time and energy making valuable contributions inside and outside of their workplace. This week, we talked to James Aubrey, Vice President at Pivotal Pumps. Here is what he had to share:
Q. How did you get started working in your field?
James: I was actually exposed to centrifugal pumps at a fairly young age. My father was a mechanical engineer at a power generation facility for many years, which helped to peak my interest in heavy industrial pumps early on in life. As I progressed through my engineering studies at the University of Florida, I became more and more intrigued by the world of high-energy pumps, eventually finding a role as a field service engineer at an aftermarket centrifugal pump manufacturing company.
Q. What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
James: I love the business side of things and solving our customer’s problems. Moving into leadership roles over the past few years has allowed me to “wear multiple hats” like I never thought I would, from operations to sales to marketing to finance; every day is different. However, my position still allows me the flexibility to dive into complex engineering challenges from time to time, which is truly where my passion lies.
To date, my biggest achievement has been founding Pivotal Pumps alongside the CEO of our parent company, Alan Petelinsek. Building a manufacturing business from the ground up has always been a dream of mine, and watching it grow and now flourish has been an amazing experience. Hearing the high praise that we have received from our customers, and knowing that we have contributed to the success of their businesses is incredibly rewarding.
Q. What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
James: Get out of the office and into the field. One of the best ways to learn about centrifugal pumps is by interacting with the end-users, and learning the challenges that they face. Ask questions, be humble and learn as much as you can.
Q. Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
James: An exciting opportunity that we just executed on was the manufacturing of four large impellers used in a dredging application. The raw castings weighed in at over 9,000 lbs a piece and were poured from a special grade of high-chromium white iron known throughout the pump industry as “Ni-Hard”. Once installed, these impellers will be placed into service and run continuously to maintain critical waterways and infrastructure.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
James: I’m absolutely thrilled about the direction that the pump industry is taking. Advancements in materials and manufacturing processes will continue allowing us to make our pumps better, faster and more economically than ever for our customers. Innovations like the industrial internet of things (IIOT) and higher accuracy, less invasive sensor technologies continue to increase our understanding of how centrifugal pumps perform, and more importantly, give us the data needed to make our designs better.
If you have any questions for Jim, connect with him on LinkedIn or post your questions in the comments section below!
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