Customized Dewatering Solutions

Holland Pump

Florida-based mobile pumping specialist Holland Pump is celebrating its fortieth anniversary as a manufacturer that also rents, sells, and services dewatering pumps. Its customers rent for a variety of applications including general construction, utility work, stormwater management, mining, and agriculture.
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Within the group of seventy employees, Holland Pump has eleven who have been with the company for over twenty years and approximately twenty who have stayed for over ten years. The long tenure of its staff has done much to develop the culture of great customer service the company offers. Its sales, service, and administration teams all work to create a pleasant overall experience for the customer, and the company values the contribution from each of its departments.

The company has a seven-step rental promise that ensures the project will finish faster and cost less with Holland Pump equipment. Its consultants are trained to help customers choose the best pump system for the project, and the field service agents assist with the setup of the system to ensure that it works properly. The rental equipment is then serviced by Holland Pump every two weeks as a precaution.

Holland Pump manufactures one product line of hydraulically driven submersible (HDS) pumps from scratch but is more of a packager of the other types of pumps it uses. It can create custom equipment or modify existing standard equipment to suit specific needs. For example, if a customer of Holland Pump is looking to pump 2,000 gallons per minute a thousand feet away at an elevation of forty feet while making all kind of twists and turns, the company engineers a solution with customized equipment.

It has six Florida facilities in West Palm Beach, Orlando, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Pensacola. Outside of Florida, it has a location in Walterboro, South Carolina. The Walterboro facility serves Hilton Head, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. The Pensacola facility reaches Alabama and Louisiana. Holland Pump also has a number of customers in the Caribbean and Trinidad and sells a limited number of pumps across the world to places such as Nigeria and Thailand.

The company took a huge hit during the Great Recession when Florida experienced a sixty percent construction unemployment rate. Many construction companies in Florida, Arizona, California, and Texas were particularly devastated. “A lot of our customers that were forty-year-old companies with a thousand employees went out of business or nearly out of business and went down to a skeleton crew of one hundred employees,” says Win Blodgett, president of Holland Pump.

As a private company, Holland Pump had the luxury of choosing to lose money rather than its employees. It wanted to reward its loyal employees with loyalty in return by not laying off any of the staff. “We kept people on the payroll, and that’s one of the reasons we have so much tenure in the company. We recognize that a big part of the value of a company is the employees themselves,” says Win.

It has taken a long time to come back from the effects, but Holland Pump is now enjoying its most profitable year since 2005. There is optimism for the economy due to the changes in tax law that should encourage investment in business development. “The economy here is really booming at the moment, and we are happy to be a part of that. We hear from banks, customers, and vendors that they think the next few years look bright for business in general,” says Win.

Aside from its experienced employees with exceptional service capabilities, the distinguishing factor for Holland Pump is its specialized knowledge surrounding dewatering equipment. Other national rental companies that rent varied general construction equipment may include pumps but do not offer the same resources to customers since they do not have first-hand experience using pumps. Holland Pump is a pump specialist, and its salespeople act as pump consultants. Those pump consultants have seen hundreds of dewatering projects and have become experts in challenging applications that the average pump company cannot deal with.

Holland Pump has on-staff engineers who sit with the customer to design a custom piece of equipment that can be produced in two to six weeks. “A lot of rental companies just rent equipment, but they don’t have the ability to manufacture equipment or customize equipment,” says Win. “Being a manufacturer and a rental company is a good advantage.”

Much of Holland Pump’s competition are large manufacturing companies that only produce the standard designs and have a manufacturing operation that is so large that producing customized equipment is not possible. As a smaller manufacturer, Holland Pump is flexible enough to complete unique projects for its customers.

Dewatering is a small part of a construction project, yet it is essential. For example, when building an eighty-story facility, the dewatering cost is a minimal part of the budget, yet if the process is not executed properly, the project could be delayed and become much more costly. Reliable dewatering pumps are critical to the success of a project. “Until all the underground work is done, all the concrete is cleared, and the basic structure is ready to go, the dewatering is super important to keeping the whole job on time and on budget,” says Win.

Holland Pump often works with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and water management agencies such as the South Florida Water Management District. These partnerships led it to a project for a pump station in the Everglades for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The five-hundred-foot by five-hundred-foot excavation was forty-five feet deep, and Holland Pump kept it dry using twenty-four fourteen-inch pumps that constantly ran for a year and a half. It is a crucial operation, and the pumps need to perform properly all the time, or the entire site would very quickly fill up with water.

The federal government pays for half of the CERP projects; the state of Florida pays the other fifty percent, and the Army Corps of Engineers oversees the projects. Holland Pump has provided dewatering equipment and services to the first three CERP projects.

Another important project that it has worked on is the Panorama Tower project in Miami, which had the biggest concrete pour in the history of Florida. The eighty-three-story mixed-use urban development will be the tallest tower south of New York City at 830 feet high. At any given time, Holland Pump is providing services to over two hundred projects.

The company has great supplier relationships. It has partnered with Selwood Pumps in the UK since 2002 and packages its products as an original equipment manufacturer. Selwood Pumps created the original self-priming system using a water tolerant diaphragm air pump. “They’re an outstanding manufacturer, they sell worldwide, and we’re very happy to have them as a key partner. They’re a great supplier to us, and we’re the exclusive distributor for them for the southeast United States,” says Win.

Another essential supply relationship has been with Perkins Power Corporation. “As an OEM, Holland Pump has manufactured a few thousand power systems with Perkins engines which we have found over 40 years to be the most reliable and long-lasting small diesel engine manufactured,” says Win. Perkins Power Corporation has also been great with customer service and support for the product.

As a dewatering company, Holland Pump is not able to pick and choose projects based on ethical values. Environmentalists are opposed to fracking, yet if the opportunity arises, Holland Pump would still choose to work in that business to ensure that it is done as safely as possible. The project will be completed whether the company chooses to participate or not, and all that Holland Pump can do for the environment is deliver the best quality equipment and service for the challenging project.

“Whoever our customer is, we just try to do the best job that we can and deliver the best quality service and an aspect of having good quality service is to make sure that you don’t wind up with environmental problems,” says Win. The company is extremely careful about avoiding contamination of the environment with any spills.

Since 1978, Holland Pump has been creating unique pumps and is looking to continue expanding into other markets. It hopes to get more involved in municipal and remediation projects to assist with the general improvement of the communities in the region. It has done work for lead, arsenic, and petroleum contamination projects. It is a growing field in the industry and more, and more people recognize that water is a precious resource that is in short supply. “Any business related to water quality and water management is a great business to be in, and it is vitally important to everyone’s health,” says Win. “The scarcity of water throughout the world is a big issue now, and we want to be part of solving water problems in the next 50 years.”

Industry Changemakers

The construction industry has historically been slow to evolve, drawn to tradition over technology. As the industry is in a state of rapid innovation and advancement, organizations like the Toronto Construction Association (TCA) are working tirelessly to build strong member businesses that won’t fall behind.

June 17, 2019, 11:54 PM EDT