Archive for April 2012


Danish pump maker centralizes municipal waste water business near Chicago

Posted on April 26, 2012 by Joel Williams

Danish pump manufacturer Grundfos dedicated a new water utility center today in Aurora, Ill., that will serve the North American municipal waste water market. Pictured (left to right): Tom Weisner, Mayor of Aurora, Illinois; Dan Seals, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; Pia Olsen Dyhr, Denmark’s Minister for Trade and Investment; and Jes Munk Hansen, president and CEO of Grundfos North America.

Executives from Denmark and the state of Illinois were on hand Wednesday as Denmark-based Grundfos debuted a new business development center devoted exclusively to the municipal waste water market in Aurora, Illinois.

Nearly 100 guests joined Grundfos personnel for a ribbon-cutting ceremony inaugurating the new Water Utility Center, led by Pia Olsen Dyhr, Denmark’s Minister for Trade and Investment; and Dan Seals, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner.

More than 100 guests were on hand as Grundfos dedicated a new water utility center “competency center,” that will serve the North American municipal waste water market.

Speaking at today’s ceremony, Grundfos North America CEO and president Jes Munk Hansen said: “This center is pivotal to Grundfos becoming a leader in the North American municipal waste water business. We have big ambitions for the next five years, as we strive to double—if not triple—our sales in that key segment, with commensurate growth in our product offering.”

Grundfos has invested more than $50 million in municipal water-related activities in the United States during the past few years, including acquisitions, increased production and infrastructure, information systems, product launches and the hiring of key people. Over the next half-decade, the company expects to invest an equal amount in its North American operations.

“These investments are part of a global strategy that aim to capture 10 percent of the worldwide municipal market and generate roughly $1.3 billion in export sales,” said Hansen.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn commended the company for its area investment and centralized location.

Dan Seals, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, helps dedicate a new water utility center for Danish pump manufacturer Grundfos

“Illinois is one of the best places to do business in the world,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “We are pleased Grundfos has chosen to expand its operations in Illinois and build a new business development center, which will create more jobs and boost economic growth in our state.”

Grundfos expects to use the Aurora Water Utility Center as a platform for launching increasingly sophisticated, energy-saving pump technologies in the coming years, all targeting the waste water market. While the segment has been slow to adopt these more advanced—and therefore more costly—technologies because of a slumping economy and local-government budget shortfalls, Hansen is confident that the current brake on infrastructure spending will not last much longer.

“That is why our focus at Grundfos is on developing more energy-efficient pumping products, and why we look at the market in terms of the next two decades, instead of the next two quarters,” says Hansen. “As a privately held organization, we can afford to have a long-term perspective with regard to our investments and business strategy. Our dedication to the municipal water market in North America is a long-term strategy.”


American Standard Honors W.T. Leonard & Associates for Top Sales

Posted on April 25, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Mark Owens (left) of American Standard Brands awarded the company's 2011 Top Sales Award to Tom Leonard (right) of W.T. Leonard & Associates, recognizing the firm's outstanding sales growth and performance.

American Standard Brands recently honored W.T. Leonard & Associates for outstanding sales achievement and performance in 2011. This top sales award for 2011 was presented by Mark Owens, central regional business manager for American Standard, to Tom Leonard, president of W.T. Leonard & Associates, in recognition of the firm’s continuous growth in sales and successful execution during the past year.

“We congratulate Tom Leonard and his team on a fantastic effort in 2011,” Owens said. “The Midwest territory – consisting of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Central/Southern Illinois – showed consistently strong growth throughout the year. The groundwork laid by W.T. Leonard in each of these states positions this company to hit new levels of growth well into the future.”

For more information on this announcement, view the complete press release on the American Standard top sales award or email us.


“Plumbers Dream” American Standard Toilets Exclusive to Trade

Posted on April 24, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Based on recommendations from more than 150 professional plumbers, American Standard has created the Champion PRO and Cadet PRO toilet series that offer distinctive features available exclusively through wholesale distribution.

Drawing largely on the quality and single-flush performance from two of the industry’s most powerful siphonic flushing platforms, the new American Standard toilets consume just 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf), while virtually eliminating clogs, noisy flushes and the dreaded overflow.

“We’ve listened to what matters most to trade professionals: performance, durability, and one-flush reliability,” said James Reinhart, senior product manager at American Standard. “The PRO series combines our best flushing platforms with professional-grade parts, offering plumbers an exclusive on a proven consumer favorite.”

For more information on this announcement, visit the complete press release for the new PRO series toilets or email us.


American Standard Brands Partnership with Gates Foundation on

Posted on April 18, 2012 by Nora DePalma

The new partnership between American Standard Brands and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was featured on, a site that follows sustainable and socially responsible business news. American Standard has teamed up with the Gates Foundation to develop and test a low-cost, prefabricated toilet system as part of a challenge to improve safety and sanitation in developing countries.

In collaboration with the Gates Foundation’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy, and the International Development Enterprises (iDE), American Standard engineers will work to develop a prefabricated toilet system that is more hygienic, easier to install, easier to maintain and clean, and can be economically mass-produced.

To learn more about this news, view the complete press release for the partnership between American Standard Brands and the Gates Foundation or email us.


American Standard Introduces Hygienic ICU Sink

Posted on April 17, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Every element of the new integrated ICU sink and faucet system from American Standard is designed to minimize splashing and create a more hygienic environment.

The stylish hand-washing sink and touchless faucet work in concert to minimize splashing by allowing the water stream to fall gently on the sink’s deeply sloped back wall and away from the grid drain.

The ICU faucet delivers hygienic, hands-free operation thanks to the universal Selectronic sensor that is used in all Selectronic products, including flush valves. The laminar flow device in the spout base prevents air from being drawn into the water stream, and the plain spout end eliminates areas for lime and debris to collect.

For more information on this product, visit the complete press release for this new hand washing sink and faucet system or email us.


Kitchen & Bath Design News Features Porcher and Mr. Steam

Posted on April 13, 2012 by Nora DePalma

A product trend report on “Heated Sanctuaries” in the April issue of Kitchen & Bath Design News highlighted the new [email protected] steam shower generator from Mr. Steam and the Lutezia Freestanding Bath by Porcher.

Sized to fit smaller baths and smaller budgets, [email protected] is 20 percent more compact than regular Mr. Steam generators, making this generator ideal for starter homes or guest bathrooms. Special features include a 20-minute timer, a polished chrome in-shower control, and even a cool-to-the-touch AromaSteam steamhead that can hold essential oils to infuse aromatherapy into the steamroom.

The Lutezia tub offers a vintage European look, demonstrating that classic settings do not have to be staid or stodgy. Available in a number of luxury bathing options including a premium airbath system, Lutezia tubs bring a touch of elegance and indulgence to any traditionally-styled bathroom.


American Standard Brands Awarded Gates Foundation Grant to Develop Toilet System

Posted on April 11, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Cheers to our client, American Standard on being awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. American Standard Brands will develop and test a low-cost and potentially life-saving toilet system.

It’s easy for those of us in developed nations to forget how plumbing systems and plumbers “protect the health of the nation,” as  heralded in the famous 1930s advertisement from American Standard.

Lack of adequate sanitation facilities affects around 40 percent of the world’s population. 40 percent!   The World Health Organization estimate that 1.6 million people, mostly children under the age of five, die each year from water and sanitation related disease.

American Standard is putting its top toilet scientist on the case, Jim McHale, a Ph.D, assisted by industrial designer Daigo Ishiyama.   McHale and Ishiyama just returned from a fact-finding trip to Bangladesh with International Development Enterprises (iDE).   Above, Ishiyama opens the door to a typical latrine.

Inside a typical Bangladesh latrine.  The pit is directly under the latrine, allowing flies to easily enter and exit the pit, spreading disease:

The villager is holding a “bodna.”  Everyone goes to the river to fill the bonda before using the latrine, pouring the one liter of water down the latrine after use.

Improving the situation is quite challenge. There is simply not enough money in developing countries to construct and maintain sewer systems to safely remove waste from homes and villages.  Nor can villagers pay much more than the roughly $10 they currently pay for latrines.

Eight universities are also taking on the challenge with Gates Foundation grants.


New Eljer Toilets Boast Upgraded Performance and Features

Posted on April 10, 2012 by Nora DePalma

Known for its popular features and fast, no-tools installation, Eljer expanded the performance, design and offerings of several of its leading models, which might lead to an inferiority complex among other toilets.

Three popular Eljer toilets will now leverage the innovative American Standard PowerWash bowl cleaning technology that scrubs the bowl with pressurized water from the rim during every flush to remove every last trace of paper and waste.

The Diplomat two-piece, Stratus high efficiency, and Somerville dual flush toilets employ this siphonic-action technology to ensure a powerful flush and superior bowl cleaning, every time. In addition, these Eljer styles also offer slow-close seats for a smoother, quieter close.

For more information on this announcement, view the complete press release for the new Eljer Toilets or email us.


CASE STUDY: Productivity Gains Worthy of Henry Ford

Posted on April 3, 2012 by Joel Williams

A new continuous finishing system from Ames Taping Tools was a featured article in the online version of The Trowel, Western Canada’s Wall & Ceiling Industry Magazine.  The article profiled how a professional finishing contractor automated a successful, 25-year practice of traditional hand-finishing, and in the process, boosted worker productivity by 300 percent.

In addition to boosting worker efficiency, the continuous flow system produced a uniform finish quality that could not be duplicated by hand. “Every finisher has a slightly different technique, but today’s automatic taping systems serve as a quality control system – so that every joint, every inside corner is identical to the next – even in direct sunlight that shows every defect,” emphasizes Tony Cruzado, co-owner of Bridgeport, Connecticut-based CGM Acoustics, Inc.

Cruzado’s tool of choice was the Ames Bazooka Continuous Flow System, which allows high-volume production drywall contractors to finish continuously without reloading.

The automated finishing system delivers up to 1½ gallons per minute, or roughly twice as much as standard pumps that are not specifically engineered for thicker compounds. Moreover, it eliminates the need to constantly stop and reload, thereby reducing worker fatigue so contractors can spend more time finishing.

For CGM, the ability to finish uninterrupted was an irresistible competitive advantage. “The automatic taper doubled our output,” explains Cruzado. “But multiplying the efficiencies of the automatic taper with an endless supply of mud – that’s just a home run all around.”