Industry leaders voiced their thoughts about 2016—what is important, what trends we should watch for, what is new in the market. Here are some of those remarks, as selected by our editorial team.

Brian Dahmer

Manager of Application Engineering, SKF
“Everything that’s going on as far as the terror activities in France and Belgium and unrest in the Middle East can certainly have an affect (on the pump market). … This could have very interesting ripple effects in the petrochemical and oil and gas industry depending on what goes on with the oil supply in the Middle East. If that’s disrupted and we see a major reduction in oil flow in the Middle East, that, of course, is going to increase demand in U.S. production and that could help resuscitate the economy. ...Certain parts of the economy may benefit, but other parts may take a nosedive.”

Jody Malo

International Sales Manager, Singer Valve
“Non-revenue water is a challenge in all parts of the world, since pumping and treating water that is not billed for is money lost. Singapore is a world leader in reducing this lost revenue through many programs which include pressure management, leak detection, as well as a solid program to replace any aging pipe. Their single-digit non-revenue water percentage is one of the best in the world, and many municipalities look at them as an example. With minimal leakage, there is simply more water to go around.”

Bill Thompson

Chairman, Thompson Pump
On ways businesses can thrive in 2016: “One, a lot of it just goes back to fundamentals. If you are going to be successful, you have to take care of your customers, you have to have top-quality products and superior service and support. On the other side, with the constantly changing environment, you have to be flexible, and you have to be able to adjust quickly. It’s almost analogous to some sports, like a football team where you have to be able to adjust not in the weeks preceding a game but also in the middle of the game and in some cases in the middle of a play. And that’s what we’re experiencing.”

Henry Peck

President, Geiger Pump & Equipment Company
“I believe that the pace that companies need to replace an aging workforce is increasing. And it is unfortunate that our high schools and colleges are not embracing the ambitions of working in the business communities that the pump community participates in, and attracting the strongest candidates is more difficult than we would like. However, I believe that we are making some progress in gaining visibility in our excellent career choices all the way back to where those life decisions are made: at high schools and in college programs.”

Paul Schlumpberger

President, Pioneer Pump
“If you look to the mining sector, because of commodity pricing, I think the mining sector is going to be soft in 2016. There’s no real impetus or catalyst for commodity pricing to increase significantly in 2016. There’s still going to be requirements for dewatering in mines, but you’ll see certain mines get acquired by larger companies, and the businesses that service those larger companies are going to tend to get the bulk of the market share. …The use of coal is not going to go away anytime soon. It is being displaced by natural gas from an electricity production perspective, but it’s not going to happen any time soon. We still need coal. A huge percentage of U.S. electricity is still generated by coal.”

Michael Dillon

President, SEEPEX
“I think most companies were caught unaware by the drop in oil prices. Not only pump companies but also the oil companies and the oil service companies. Some drastic moves resulted with plant closings and huge lay-offs. Eventually, cheap power will help. It has certainly helped the automotive industry, and we are starting to see more life in the chemical industries because the costs of power and feedstocks have been so dramatically reduced. Unfortunately, many of the chemical companies are still caught with higher-than-market prices due to hedging strategies and long-term contracts. Pumps are typically capital items. So even though companies may need equipment now, they have to wait until the next round of capital expenditure approvals take effect.”

Kirsten Meyer

Product Manager, Xylem
“As California continues to suffer from one of the most severe droughts on record, the state continues to look for additional water sources. Water reuse technology produces high-quality water at a lower life-cycle cost than developing a new water supply. It also delivers a resilient, drought-resistant water source with valuable economic and environmental benefits. We have developed a new ultraviolet disinfection system that received conditional acceptance from the California Water Boards’ Division of Drinking Water as a way to help the state with new sources of water reuse.”

Dieter Sauer

President, Grundfos Water Utility Inc.
On addressing needs of water customers in 2016: “They’re not replacing all of that aging infrastructure, including some of our larger pumps … so we’re seeing an increased need and request from our user base to get into the service support of the equipment that exists. We’re developing a service infrastructure here … that maybe we really didn’t have before. We’ve launched a service division here internally to help support customers who want to extend the life of their equipment even further.”