After 40 years in the pumps industry in the United States, one may wonder what a company like Tsurumi Pump gets excited about. The company and its employees have probably seen it all, right? Well, not so fast. Glenn Wieczorek, managing director of Tsurumi Pump, says there’s a lot to be optimistic about, and the company’s people are at the top of that list.
“I get excited about the people we have and the people we’re bringing onboard,” Wieczorek said. “We have some people in sales who are young who I’m really excited about. Our engineering department has some younger people [and the] accounting group is younger and very motivated.
“I get excited about the excitement they have.”
As far as business is concerned, Wieczorek said the potential infrastructure bills are promising.
“When you look at the infrastructure in the U.S., it’s crumbling,” he said. “I get enthusiastic that they’re thinking about these things.
“But I get less enthusiastic when they’re playing political football with people’s lives, with these things that make total sense,” Wieczorek said. “We’re wealthier now as a country than we’ve ever been in history, and we’re saying we can’t pay for it—so when are we going to pay for it?”
Besides infrastructure, advances in technology are a big source of excitement in the pumps industry.
“I’m looking to take a class on block chain because what they’re able to do, it has many more business applications than just the crypto currency,” he said. “How can old industry implement these things? We’re starting to see that [being done]. We’re starting to see preventative maintenance be done instead of reactive maintenance. [We’re] starting to look at innovations to take the pump out for maintenance before it really needs it.”
Pumps & Systems also asked Wieczorek more about what has made Tsurumi successful as a company.
P&S: What has made the company last 40 years?
Wieczorek: The main reason for our success, and our more recent success, is really due to the team that we have. I truly believe we think the customer is so important to us. We have some really great people in our organization. I can rely on the teammates to take responsibility to see it through and see it through well. I really truly and sincerely do mean that.
P&S: What makes the company attractive for employees?
Wieczorek: We have a hiring process that is very systematic, and we’ve been using it for 10 years. It allows us to dive in to see who the person is and what makes them tick. The most important thing that we look for is someone who is going to fit in with our team. I don’t care about your credentials in many cases. I think if you go down the list, and especially the people who we’ve added in the past 10 years, they fit within our team and they’re really smart. I’ve seen a lot of companies not make that the No. 1 thing. They look at a salesperson who did well at another company, but they may not fit well with the team. That’s really the drum that we beat. I think most of our people and our HR [human resources] people understand it now—do they fit with the team, are they going to be part of our solution or will they be someone to hold us back? I have frustrated some of our managers over the years because they thought someone was the perfect person and they wanted to hire them, and I’d rather not hire someone than put the wrong person on the team. We’ve tried to create an environment where people enjoy working here. We like to laugh, that’s important to us, but we’re serious—we can do both. We’re also getting work done, too. We try to create an environment of not just recruiting people but retaining people. Our first and second people ever hired, and the fourth, are still at the company. We try to make it a nice environment where you want to come to work every day.
P&S: How is the company helping with the skills gap?
Wieczorek: From a safety point of view, we think that’s very important. We have monthly safety meetings. The training is important and it’s also important for upper management to continue training. I’m a proponent for constant education, and I think it’s important because we need to maintain our skills. When I first started working, I worked for the government and they didn’t have any PCs in the office. I think that we need to continue to evolve our skills. [We are] continually doing education with our distributors—more assets and resources that we’ve put into that, introducing new training for them and our internal staff. We try to make it fun—bring in lunches, getting something out of it and make it enjoyable as well. I’m a firm believer that employees know what we sell and what we do. We periodically take all our equipment out and [employees] have to go to each booth and learn about each product—take the products apart and put them back together, do certain obstacles/challenges. I think it’s important that everyone, even the accountants, know what we sell, what we do, what direction we’re going into. It’s a part of all that training. I think we do a pretty good job right now.