PBM puts the questions to industry members
June 07 2011
PBM puts the questions to Calvin Pope, Sales Director of Grundfos Pumps GB.
PBM discusses legislation, environmental issue’s and industry change with Calvin Pope.
Grundfos boasts an annual production of more than 16 million pump units, with circulator pumps for heating and air-conditioning and other centrifugal pumps for industry, water supply, waste water and dosing as its major products. Today, it lays claim to being the world’s largest manufacturer of circulator pumps, covering approximately 50% of the global market. The Grundfos Group, which is represented by 134 companies in 51 countries, is a foundation — a self-governing institution. Its aim is to consolidate and expand the economic basis of the continued development of the Group with the capital and profits of the foundation re-invested in the Grundfos companies. In order to maintain a leading position, Grundfos attaches great importance to R&D and annually invests over £55 million per year in this area. At the company’s Business Development Centre there is constant focus on expanding its existing business areas and improving the products, with particular attention being paid to creating ever more energy efficient products.
PBM: How did you get into the industry and to your current position?
I started as a Saturday Lad in a builders’ yard, serving the local trade and DIY customers. When I left school I joined a Youth Training Scheme at Whitemans Builders Merchants in Kenilworth. The scheme was run in conjunction with the Builders’ Merchant Postal Course and I was subsequently taken on as a trade counter assistant. A dedicated counter was put into place to cover Plumbing & Heating and from there I began to develop my core skills in plumbing and heating products.
I later joined a specialist Plumbing & Heating operation for J T Edwards which had just opened in Leamington Spa. This gave me even greater focus working with some excellent colleagues who had exceptional knowledge of the market, its products and most of all how to look after the customer.
I held several positions including external sales and branch management before becoming an Area Sales Manager with Ocean boilers covering the West Midlands. This led me to Valliant from where I moved to Grundfos Pumps as Southern Regional Sales Manager before progressing to a National Sales Manager’s role focusing on Domestic Building Services.
After several years, I was offered a position as Sales Director for AHED who specialised in distribution of Plumbing & Heating products to independent merchants. This is where it pays to leave on good terms and up hold a professional and honest approach to your customers and employers — which is something I have done all of my career — as four years on Grundfos asked me to return as Director of Sales.
PBM: How do you feel the industry has changed in recent years?
Over recent years we have seen many changes which have had a significant impact on our market. Acquisitions and mergers are happening on a regular basis and with each one we face, new challenges and are presented with new opportunities. But one thing has always remained pretty constant and that is the people: the one thing that makes our industry different and enjoyable is the people who operate in it.
PBM: What are the current challenges facing your company?
As with most companies, production of energy saving products and solutions are high on the agenda. As we move forward, changing regulations and legislation will challenge everyone to be more aware of what impact our products and services have on the environment. Developing the products and systems to stay ahead of the game will be even more challenging because of this.
PBM: Which individual has influenced you most in your career?
There are actually two people in the industry that have had the biggest influence on my career, both former line managers of mine. The first was Arthur Bicknell, Branch Manager at J T Edwards, who gave me some sound advice on how to conduct myself. The other (and probably the most important influence on my career after my father) acted as my mentor — Mike Robinson. I worked for directly for Mike for several years at Grundfos and he was an absolute inspiration and great leader. He just did everything is the correct way — straight talking, honest, genuine, sincere, but most of all intelligent and with a fantastic work ethic that made everyday enjoyable and relevant.
PBM: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
As with any business, time management is always a challenge and my work / life balance is one area I always need to focus on.
PBM: What has been the highlight of your career to date?
I don’t really have one highlight that stands out, but overall I take a great deal of pride from doing a good job.
PBM: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Hopefully doing something very similar to what I am doing now, providing I am still enjoying it and delivering the results.
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