It is wonderful to see peers nominate each other! Nominated by Anita Callahan, the Empowering Pumps & Equipment Industry Person of the Week is Bob Jennings; he shares his story about being in the Pump Industry for over four decades.
Q. How did you get started working in the industry?
Bob: I began my career in 1976, fresh out of engineering school, as an application engineer for HydroAire, one of the larger pump distributors in Chicago. Our family has a history of working in the mechanical power transmission industry dating back several generations. As such, my father was the regional sales manager for Borg Warner Fluid Drives and HydroAire was their local representative in Chicago. HydroAire had been expanding at the time and looking for a qualified application engineer for the several product lines they represented. As I recall from my engineering courses, the discussion of pumps is often limited to 3 paragraphs in chapter 3 of Fluid Mechanics, and at the time, I had no idea how varied, complex, and nuanced pumps and pumping systems could be. Working on the application desk was my first introduction to the pumping industry, and having worked as an application engineer, new unit sales/consulting, manager of engineering for our submersible product line, and finally the aftermarket, after 43 years, I couldn’t think of working in any other field.
Q. What is your favorite part of your job?
Bob: Simply put, I have always enjoyed solving problems and providing our customers with viable, reliable, long-term solutions. Every pumping system presents its own unique set variables and obstacles, and it is challenging to find the best pump for the specific applications. Additionally, as many manufacturing facilities have increased their through-put, many present-day pumping systems are no longer operating at the conditions of service for which the original equipment was sold. This presents endless opportunities to investigate, diagnose, troubleshoot, and ultimately, provide system improvements. I enjoy the challenges and the ability to provide system improvements that are cost effective as well as energy efficient. And with technology changing almost daily, the opportunities for making cost effective system improvements are almost endless.
Q. What are you most proud of?
Bob: Of course, I have enjoyed success over the years, but I am most proud of the fact that I have had the unique and honorable opportunity to help countless people, both customers and coworkers alike, to gain a better understanding of pumps and pumping systems. I have been privileged to conduct over 300 pump training seminars to an estimated 4,500 people over the years. I am proud that I may have contributed a small part to the advancement of their careers as sales professionals or consultants working in the pump industry or as end users who are responsible for operating and maintaining critical pumping equipment.
Q. What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?
Bob: Keep reaching for the stars. There are endless opportunities for making improvements. One of my favorites quotes is “If good enough is good enough, how will we ever get better?” Many pumping systems were installed 30 or 40 years ago and these systems present great opportunities for making systems more efficient and more reliable. Keep learning. Technology is changing day to day, and the impact these new technologies are having on the pump industry is profound. The future is unlimited. Too often, the pump industry is seen as “settled technology” and stagnant. Nothing could be further from the truth. The design of pumps, the casting of components, the manufacturing of parts, and the operation and monitoring of pumping systems is being transformed daily. Processes that were considered state-of-the-art yesterday are becoming obsolete today by newer, more efficient means. In the next 10-years, CAD/CAM/CNC and 3D printing will revolutionize the industry. I am excited to see what changes are coming next.
Thank you, Bob, for your many contributions over the years! We look forward to keeping up with you through the #PumpTalk Community!