Retaining employees, energy rebates, European outlook top of mind at spring meeting.
by Alecia Archibald
February 27, 2019

Pump end users will have more opportunities for education and training this year as the Hydraulic Institute (HI) continues to expand programs.

At the group’s spring meeting in Tampa, Florida, this week, Executive Director Michael Michaud discussed the success of HI’s recent efforts.

One of the most exciting programs from HI is the energy rating program, which helps utilities benefit from rebates. “Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is the first to participate. Three hundred and fifteen rebates were distributed, adding up to over $100,000,” Michaud said. Xcel Energy, which provides power to eight midwestern/western states, is up next. Xcel’s proposal is before the appropriate governmental agency for approval this week.

Along with the energy rating rebates, the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed in 2018 is expected to benefit the industry in the next few years. HI is now monitoring the progress of the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act on behalf of the industry.

Michaud also addressed the growing popularity of HI’s online training portal it created in 2018 with Pumps & Systems. “We are having a lot of interest,” Michaud said. “We are expanding our fundamentals training and are recording more webinars.”

HI continues its efforts to attract—and retain—young engineers in the pumps industry. HI’s Pilot program is in its third year. As part of Pilot, up-and-coming engineers attend to learn more about leadership and to network with their peers.

EuroPump’s President Martijn van den Born also addressed the group of about 250 industry leaders. EuroPump is a long-term partner with HI, with 23 years of cooperation between the organizations.

“We try to find projects to work on together to be more efficient. We exchange tools to benefit [OEMs],” van den Born said. “Our mission is to strengthen our contribution to society and to encourage dialogue between stakeholders.” The groups annually produce the Global Market Report for their member companies, and both groups are heavily focused on energy savings and efficiency.

EuroPump is carefully watching the Brexit proceedings, and van den Born said he doubts there will be a deal. “At this stage, it is difficult to tell. We will soon see.”

European Parliamentary elections this spring are of great interest to EuroPump. Pro- or anti-European Union measures could impact the industry. Van den Born calls the possibilities “troublesome,” saying the industry “hopes for the best.” The political ramifications of any actions could impact environmental protection, social welfare and migration issues.

“The legitimacy of the EU as a political project among the European peoples” is being questioned, he said. All of this, of course, impacts the course of industrial and economic growth in the region. EuroPump strives to answer: “how to stay competitive in Europe,” he said.

EuroPump’s annual meeting is in Napoli, Italy, on May 23-25.

Meanwhile, the HI conference will continue this week, culminating in a gala Feb. 28 where the annual HI award winners will be announced. For more information, visit pumps.org.