Pentair goes all in on smart, sustainable water solutions


John Staunch, president & CEO, Pentair
John Staunch, president & CEO, Pentair

Pentair, a leading global water treatment company, believes that the health of the world depends on reliable access to clean, safe water. With approximately 110 locations in 30 countries, Pentair’s 10,000 employees are focused on its mission to deliver smart, sustainable solutions that empower its customers to make the most of life’s essential resource — water.

Approximately a third of Pentair’s business is focused on filtration solutions with products, solutions and expertise to address critical water treatment challenges including water quality, consistency, taste, and purity across residential, commercial, food and beverage, and industrial applications.

Its comprehensive product suite of components and systems ranges from point-of-entry and point-of-use filtration, valves and automated controls for residential and commercial applications, as well as advanced filtration, oil and gas separation, membrane technology, and energy recovery for food and beverage and industrial applications. In addition to residential systems, Pentair’s equipment and solutions are found in water purification and sanitation systems, food service operations, food and beverage processing plants, and in other applications worldwide.

Ed Gregor: Now that Pentair has spun off its electrical business, what do you see as the basic overall strategy for water filtration?

John Stauch: Since the April 2018 separation of our Electrical business, Pentair has made the strategic transition from a business-to-business industrial company to an omni-channel water treatment company focused on solving some of the world’s most pressing water issues.

Ed Gregor:  What was the thinking behind the split-up of Pentair?

John Stauch: Separating the Water and Electrical businesses into two entities has allowed both companies to focus as “pure-play” companies in their respective spaces, thereby developing distinct strategies, growth plans, and asset allocation.

With this enhanced focus, Pentair is able to accelerate its growth plans and direct capital investments in the areas we believe offer the highest value for our stakeholders. To that end, in the first quarter of 2019, we announced and completed the acquisitions of Pelican Water Systems and Aquion, which further advance our residential water strategy by adding new and complementary products and solutions to the Pentair portfolio, and expanding our scope to better meet consumer water needs.

We also have explored investments in smaller technology companies and are excited about our investment in Aqua Membranes and its innovative technology. Our investments align with our innovation roadmap and are designed to meet customer needs, including providing more sustainable and lower-cost water treatment solutions.

“We see tremendous opportunity to build IoT-enabled solutions for our industrial and commercial customers, as well as homeowners. We have an exciting roadmap for developing products with smart, connected technology to create differentiated innovation aligned with our strategy.”

Ed Gregor:  There is a growing global concern for available water for industry, agriculture and the individual consumer. How is Pentair addressing it?

John Stauch: At Pentair, we combine our global perspective, deep industry expertise, and proven innovation processes to deliver smart, sustainable water solutions. In fact, 65 percent of our solutions support water efficiency, helping to reduce, reuse or recover water, directly or indirectly. We work with customers around the globe — from dairy and food manufacturers to oil and gas producers to farmers — to deliver customized water and fluid management solutions to increase productivity and water efficiency. For consumers, we offer energy-efficient water treatment, filtration products, and water systems for the home.

Ed Gregor: To what degree do general industrial and medical filtration needs fit into your plans going forward?

John Stauch: Although a smaller part of our overall portfolio, the work we do to provide industrial and medical filtration technology and solutions is an important piece of our business that is helping drive innovation both within our company and in the industry overall. A great example of this is the Helix tubular membrane-based wastewater solution that we introduced in 2015. This breakthrough technology helps to prevent membrane fouling and improves filtration efficiency in difficult to treat industrial processing and wastewater treatment applications. Since we launched this product, our customers are realizing great success in boosting plant performance—increasing productivity up to 100 percent and lowering energy consumption by up to 50 percent. We also feel a great deal of pride in helping some key industrial companies who use water in their processes to return the water to its same state or even better.

Ed Gregor:  What you would like the company to look like in 10 years and longer term?

John Stauch: Our vision is to be the leading residential and commercial water treatment company. We want people to understand our commitment to clean, safe water and insist on Pentair due to our smart, sustainable solutions. To help achieve that, we’ve established technology innovation centers, where we are not only looking at new technologies, but also new applications to apply those technologies. We see tremendous opportunity to build IoT-enabled solutions for our industrial and commercial customers, as well as homeowners. We have an exciting roadmap for developing products with smart, connected technology to create differentiated innovation aligned with our strategy.

Ed Gregor: What is Pentair’s approach to corporate responsibility?

John Stauch: Our focus, every day, is on developing smart, sustainable water solutions. With some of the world’s largest companies among our customers, our product innovations can deliver wide-reaching impacts that further a sustainable world by helping customers and end-users manage water use more efficiently while also using less energy. It’s part of our brand promise and infused in our new product developments.

We apply the same sustainability-focused innovation of our products to our own operations, pursuing continuous improvement in our water use, energy use, waste production, and emissions. We manage our global operations with care for the health, safety, and well-being of our employees, customers, communities, and the environment.

Ed Gregor:  In the water industry, what are the most important trends and unmet needs and where would Pentair like to plant a leadership stake?

John Stauch: Consumers today are increasingly focused on water quality and great tasting water. Consumers want to be able to have water options tailored to their individual tastes and needs, and homeowners want to be able to improve the quality of the water inside their homes. Commercial and industrial customers want quality, consistency and efficiency. A recent public report reflected that much of what is holding consumers back is the lack of what they believe is reliable information on the efficiency of the products in the markets; this is a space that we can provide leadership. With our focus on smart, connected technology, we can provide consumers with the tools for great tasting, high-quality water.

For more information about Pentair’s smart water technology initiatives, contact Drew Cremer, global director of sales, at drew.creamer@pentair.com.

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