Dieter Sauer will oversee and direct all operations in Grundfos’ water utility division, including the company’s new service center
Grundfos appointed Dieter Sauer as president and general manager of its water utility business, headquartered in Aurora, Ill. Water & Wastes Digest Associate Editor Amy McIntosh spoke with Sauer about his new role in the company.
Amy McIntosh: What is your background in the pump industry?
Dieter Sauer: I’ve been in the pump industry for about 18 years, since 1996. I’ve been with a couple different companies but got my start with an air operated double diaphragm pump company called Versa-Matic Pump back in ’96. As I moved along my career track, the first 10 years of my career were spent on the commercial side of the business in customer service, international and domestic sales and marketing leadership roles. In the last eight years of my career I’ve had the opportunity to be with a couple of businesses in a full P&L general manager/president role, and have had the chance, throughout my time in the pump industry, to really focus on a couple of primary markets: water and wastewater, power generation, and the oil and gas markets.
McIntosh: What is the role of Grundfos' water utility business?
Sauer: The role of the water utility business is to serve all the customers within the value chain—all the decision makers within the value chain in the water and wastewater utility market. From a product offering and submarket standpoint what does that mean? We offer pumps, dosing, disinfection and control application solutions throughout the entire process stream. We touch raw water intake, drinking water treatment, water distribution and we also touch wastewater transportation and wastewater treatment market segments, and various applications within each one of those segments.
McIntosh: What are your responsibilities within the business?
Sauer: I have a couple of responsibilities, the way I see it. Number one is ensure our Grundfos team members have the necessary tools and support to improve every day, grow professionally and make sure we’re taking care of customers excellently. On another point, my role is to execute product strategy that ensures we’re exceeding our customers’ expectations every day. This is a fundamental requirement for a company to be able to grow in the marketplace, is to be taking care of customer expectations beyond their expectation every day. Thirdly is to deliver a vision, a priority set, for the water utility team to ensure we’re contributing to our overall North American region goals of being a $1-billion company.
McIntosh: Both the water utility business and the North American headquarters are located in the Chicagoland area. How does the Midwest location serve the division and the company as a whole?
Sauer: The Aurora business—YCC and the brands that we have—have been in this area since the late 1800s, so this business has maintained a presence in the Chicagoland market for a long time. If you think about it logistically, having a North American region in an important hub city like Chicago is fantastic. We’re fairly centrally located between the eastern and western halves of the United States so it allows us to gain access domestically really easily and also to customers and partners internationally. If you think about it as a water industry hub, the Chicago/Milwaukee region is really emerging as an important hub within the water industry. The Great Lakes contain 20% of the world’s fresh water, so historically you’ve got a lot of industry that utilizes water concentrated within this region. A lot of our peer groups and our potential customers base their operations out of this region. That’s very important to us.
McIntosh: What do you see for the future of the water utility business?
Sauer: My number one goal is to establish Grundfos as a leader in the North American water and wastewater market utility and, as I said earlier, to be a solid contributor to our overall North American region goal of achieving $1 billion in sales. There are a lot of subsets to that, but first and foremost, my goal is to establish us as a leader in the marketplace.
I’m really excited to be here. I joined Grundfos because of the people, the technology and the culture. It’s fantastic, so I’m really excited to be here and I’m looking forward to working with my teammates in the company.