Apr 10, 2016
Salt Lake City, Utah
Water Treatment technology
Salt Lake City, Utah
Employees: 375 in Utah, 500 Worldwide
“We treat water,” says John Gottschall, senior account manager for WesTech Engineering and long-time employee. “We either clean the water of the material that's in it or we capture the solids that are suspended in the water because they are valuable.” A mission as clear as the water.
But there's more, as President and CEO Rex Plazier notes. "At WesTech, our core purpose is to pursue our passion for problem solving by advancing and applying water technologies to benefit humanity. We really take that to heart," he says. It's a powerful addendum.
WesTech Engineering serves industrial and municipal clients from offices located in Utah, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts as well as India, China, South Africa and Brazil. Utah’s a manufacturing outpost, though much of the manufacturing takes place as close as possible to the client.
“We have found it is more economical to do that,” says Gottschall. “But most of the engineering is done in Salt Lake City.”
Local contract manufacturers are approved to work on specific projects through an inspection process that also involves re-certification every two years. Additionally, most projects are also subject to an inspection at the local manufacturer before shipment. “All projects that are manufactured near the installation site are completely assembled prior to shipment to the customer,” explains Gottschall.
When it comes to materials, the local manufacturer may choose the source of the material and is also responsible for selecting the type and size of the material being selected, though on large projects WesTech is an active participant in the selection and purchasing of the material used for WesTech Engineering equipment. “This is mostly an economic decision,” Gottschall adds.
But as its name implies, engineering is the company’s unfiltered strength. “We have over 170 degreed engineers and 64 of those are registered professional engineers,” Gottschall says. “We can design everything. We can create anything.”
The talent provides for long looks into the future. “We always look five, ten years out,” shares Gottschall. For the next decade, WesTech will add to their focus the ability to build and service entire wastewater systems.
Challenges: Competing in a tough market. “The biggest challenge we have is becoming a known, quality provider in a market with many competitors,” admits Gottschall, though WesTech’s corporate structure is a competitive plus: the company’s 100% employee-owned. “The other companies in our marketplace are owned by bigger corporations and their ownership keeps changing,” he says. “As a result, we’re the most stable competitor in the market.”
Opportunities: New projects arising from an aging infrastructure. “The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, and the federal government started funding projects that could clean the wastewater and clean drinking water more thoroughly. All of that was done in the 70’s and 80’s. And we’re starting to replace that equipment with better equipment and replacing old parts. As a result, we are doing more systems work.”
Need: “We need talent with the vision to see what our needs will be in ten or twenty years,” Gottschall says. “But we have the best workforce in America. I have travelled to every state in the union, and the workforce here in Utah is the best in the country. And because of the programs and research provided by Utah State, the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, we know the source of that quality is going to continue to march on.”