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.”

Todd Loudin

President/CEO North American Operations 
Flowrox Inc.
“I believe it’s not a question of how industry embraces technology. It’s a fact that they must to continue. You’ve got toothbrushes—electric toothbrushes that have Bluetooth in them that tell you when you need to change the head on the toothbrush. Everything we do now can be automated and help us. … We’re trying to help our customers and ourselves by creating the intelligence at the pump that can not only alert them but also alert us.”

Walt Erndt

VP & GM Municipal Market, Crane Pumps & Systems
“The major challenge in the water and wastewater 
industry is the lack of proper infrastructure. Our aging infrastructure causes leaks, which in turn affects the distribution and supply of water. Leaks in our city water systems as well as the urban population growth will continue to put a strain on our utilities. The city of Atlanta loses over 31 percent of their water supply due to leaks in their aging system. Conservation of water usage at the consumer level is a restricting factor to budgets as our current rate structures are based on usage. This reduction of billing revenue delays proactive water system repairs and continues the trend 
of aging infrastructure.”

George Harris

President and CEO, Hydro Inc.
“We expect the oil and gas industry to have a difficult year in 2016 and to reduce the spend for the aftermarket services which is unusual for normal downturns.”

John Manna

VP Global Marketing & Business Development, 
ITT Industrial Process
“Raising pump awareness and increasing pump education are important. ... Like a heart is to a human being, pumps are an integral system in keeping plants running. Yet, they are one of the least understood components, despite their important role in powering key global industries. And this is why ITT sponsors the World of Pumps Quiz and Pump Appreciation Day. The quiz is 20 weeks of educational and interesting questions leading up to Pump Appreciation Day. These activities are a celebration of the pumping industry, building public education and awareness of the importance of pumps. We have been teaching customers for several years that it is not only important to have a high-efficiency pump, but the complete pumping system is also critical because the location of the operating point on the pump system curve will affect not only the energy cost but also the maintenance cost.”

Jack Creamer

Market Segment Manager, Pumping Equipment, Schneider Electric
“One question yet to be answered is with regard to the ‘system efficiency’ guidelines being considered. Interesting potential enhancements to pump systems, related to energy solutions, have to do with system monitoring to ensure energy savings yet can also provide feedback on pump system performance that can provide predictive/preventive maintenance alarms—all of which can result in both enhanced system performance and significant operational costs savings, especially due to the remote location of so many pumps.”

Mike Mccauley

Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, Flowserve
“The Internet of Things (IoT) opens up tremendous opportunities for the industry as we move into the future. 2016 will be interesting as the technology continues to evolve and advanced information sharing platforms continue to enable more collaboration with customers to tackle bigger challenges. Network and information security concerns are always a topic of debate and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. The process industries will continue the progress toward incorporating sensors and monitoring devices into critical equipment. Ultimately, the IoT will take the collection, dissemination, and 
analysis of this data to the next level 
and help generate significant improvements in process uptime and availability, which will in turn help drive profitability and performance.”

Eric LaCoppola

President, Environment One Corporation
“Most central sewers in place today are gravity systems. Infiltration and inflow (I&I) issues are creating expensive headaches for communities all over the (U.S.). We’re finding that … small-diameter pressure sewer is emerging as a new ‘best practice’ for 100 percent elimination of I&I. ... Another emerging trend will be the use of command, control and communications systems deployed with grinder pump driven pressure sewers on larger scales. …The savings alone from the ability to provide peak flow shaving to the water resource recovery facilities are amazing.”

Oakley Roberts

Product Management and Global Sales Leader, ARO
“Businesses can thrive in 2016 by increasing their penetration into higher-growth market segments like construction, water/wastewater and vehicle production. Customers are becoming more reliant than ever on pump manufacturers and distribution to provide pump selection and troubleshooting services. Those businesses adding value to customers with their expert knowledge of pumps and associated applications will fare better than those not able to provide knowledge.”

Michael Blundell

President, KSB Inc.
On ways businesses can thrive in 2016: “From a North American standpoint, what we need to do is educate and raise the profile of KSB. We make a good product, but what we have to do is complement that with good customer interaction both pre- and post-sale. That is a general trend you’re going to get from all pump companies. When markets are flat, companies are going to focus on the aftermarket. … Another is digitization. Going down the digital path is really intriguing. I want us to come from a new perspective and being open to opportunities and looking at it from different angles.”

Darryl Mayhorn

President and CEO, Colfax Fluid Handling
“Prolonged downturns in pump-heavy industries (i.e., oil and gas, marine, mining) are creating an acquisition-favorable environment. Industry-centric OEMs will continue to be squeezed as their market stagnates, enabling exciting acquisition entry points for well-capitalized, diversified companies. (When it comes to data,) the pump industry is lagging behind heavy equipment companies in real-time performance data collection, which can be used to prolong equipment life and ensure optimal operations.”

Larry Lewis

President, Vanton Pump
“Whether a robust economy or not, the challenge to provide greater utility and value to the customer has never been more significant. While product performance and reliability remain an absolute requirement, from our perspective, overall customer support 
and service is more important than ever; from presale consultation and faster response times leading to quicker deliveries to post-sale support, including startup and aftermarket care. … We have found the best investment is the reinvestment in ourselves; be it new product development, tooling for existing product enhancement or expanding our pump testing facility capability. Predictions for 2016? We have seen an increase in traditional chemical business domestically and an upswing in municipal business, so we are optimistic for 2016.”

Philip Rolchigo

Vice President of Technology, Pentair
“You focus on smart products to drive efficiency to enable predictive maintenance and the trend toward higher efficiency hydraulics and controls and the need for handling solids (in wastewater systems). These are big trends that are going to be with us driving the industry for the 
next 10 years.”

Axel Bokiba

VP Product Management, IDEX Corporation
“Similar to what the automotive industry experienced in the late 20th century, the pumping industry is in the midst of an electronic revolution. … The notion of unattended pumps running in remote locations, connected to a network that can monitor their performance and regulate their output (based on changing environmental conditions) is no longer a fiction. … (Smart pumps) are also increasing their market size with the potential retrofit opportunities they are creating.”

Andrew Yeghnazar

President, Blacoh Industries
“I believe we are living in an era where leaders need to be contrarian and have the resolve to visioneer the future. Simply doing what you have always done will most definitely no longer get you what you used to get. … Water in every form is key (in 2016). It is and will be the oil of the future. Oil and gas will come back; we all hope and pray close to $75 or so a barrel, which would be good for everyone.”