This week’s Industry Person of the Week is Silvino Geremia, Director of HIGRA Industrial Ltda.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Silvino: My career has always been in the pump industry. My pathway started 50 years ago as a pump manufacturer employee in Bento Goncalves, a town inner Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil. After this first contact with the pump industry, I moved to another city where I was coordinator in a company in the same field. This background brought me the certainty that I was in the right path. That was when I decided to achieve and start my own pump company. I had a bad time with a short seed money. Also, I had the technical expertise, but not commercial. However, as everything else in life, one has to persist and not giving up the objective. With a lot of hard work and focused where I wanted to get, Bombas Geremia (my company’s name) manufactured submersible pumps for artesian water wells. At that time there were no submersible motor manufacturers in Brazil and I, as an electromechanics student, applied my knowledge to develop submersible motors and solve this problem. The company grew and evolved becoming a helical progressing cavity pump manufacturer, the first one in South America. The cavity pumps worked with high viscosity oil (8 to 15º API) and for this reason Petrobras, the largest oil company in Brazil, was my first customer in the oil segment. The success of this project was fantastic and when the product was consolidated in Brazil, I started selling it to the United States, Canada, Venezuela, Peru and Trinidad & Tobago. Then I had the chance to get in contact with the largest oil companies in the world, like National Oilwell and Baker Hughes. Both of them became Geremia products’ distributors. Due to the company results and product quality, Bombas Geremia was acquired by EVI, an American group that later became Weatherford.
After three years, together with my adult children Alexsandro Geremia and Lisiane Geremia, I founded HIGRA, that started with an innovative project. The pump we named Amphibious operated with raw water, widely used in river harvesting, dams, water segment and mining draining. The many applications of the product lead HIGRA to get international success. Our pioneer style is also reflected in the zero-boss policy, where there is no formal command hierarchy, and remains 20 years later.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Silvino: I like working with R&D, guiding the development of innovative products, to which our competitors’ do not equate. I am proud of the several patents my equipment got. They show how serious our work is. We currently hold 17 patents registered in Brazil and other countries.
I am proud of being a self-made man, achieving in a country poor in incentives and conquering a very closed and highly technological international market. It is impossible not to mention that I implemented an educational plan that covered the costs with college, university and MBA for our professionals, having an engineering team with technical excellence, demanded by our competitive market.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Silvino: The market is dominated by large groups that hold advanced technologies, so my advice is pursuing specific areas not yet covered by other players. It is also necessary to respect the ones dealing in the market and create something innovative instead of presenting better versions of competitor’s existing products. Wise manufacturers have well-established products… listening to customers and INNOVATE are the golden rule to understand customer’s needs and create solutions to meet them.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Silvino: After coordinating the amphibious pump and making HIGRA a reference in energy saving and high pumping efficiency areas, last year we developed the amphibious turbo generators, an equipment to generate clear energy through hydraulic potentials available in dams, spillways, waterfalls and other accumulated hydric power sources, aiming to suit water companies’ applications.
Another project we have been developing and that is motive of proud to me is the BVP (Progressing Vortex Pump) to be installed in high viscosity oil wells. Together with CENPES (Petrobras’ Research Centre), I am also developing a model of progressing vortex pump to be coupled to submersible motors and operate in ultra-deep water (pre-salt).
THANK YOU, SILVINO! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
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