Welcome back! This is one of our favorite series on the blog because we get to highlight all the great things our partners and customers are accomplishing worldwide. These people are as much a part of Falcon’s journey to conserve water, as our employees. Today we will be highlighting Bill Goris from our partner Bobrick in Denver, Colorado. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Tell us about your background and what your current roll in your industry is.
I have been with Bobrick Washroom for over 20 years. I have been National Sales Manager for Aftermarket and National Accounts for over 5 years, located out of beautiful Denver. I previously spent 9 years as a Regional Manager in Atlanta for the new construction side of our company.
How do you see the industry moving forward? Are there any practices and/or products you foresee becoming more predominant in the market?
I remember when LEED was introduced to our company, it seemed at the time like a new and exciting thing. Now, sustainability undergirds much of the industry, old ways of doing things are being improved to be ecologically friendly. I think that great design is imperative in a globally competitive market, in the washroom you see much higher grade materials, electronic fixtures, and a more comfortable environment. In the Janitorial – Sanitary industry where I spend much of my effort, hygiene and cleanliness are important in employee health and welfare, with skilled employees harder to find, companies want employees to be happy and healthy in their working environment. Code compliance and liability mitigation are becoming big issues for building management. Of course, all of these things are undergirded by the competitive need to maintain value in operating costs- efficient buildings are essential to building owner and patron value. All of these trends will continue to accelerate, as well as information to support decision making and the operations of building owners via the internet, apps, and a professional, consultative sales force.
There are a lot of misconception regarding waterless technology. What’s your take on it and do you have any recommendations on how it works the best?
I think a key challenge of waterfree urinals is adaptation to something new. When a plumber installs a waterfree urinal, they need to understand the proper installation procedures. You also can’t put a new piece of technology in your building and not familiarize your operations staff on how to maintain the technology. It is not that the installation or maintenance are difficult, arguably, they are much easier. There must be training of these groups to ensure smooth operation. It reminds me of when we all moved from old-fashioned CRT monitors for our computers to LCD monitors. LCDs aren’t harder to clean, but they must be cleaned differently than heavy old thick glass CRTs. Improved technology requires acclimatization. Thousands of customers happy with their waterfree urinals proves the point that when successfully introduced, this technology provides seamless operations, and a tremendous, long term environmental and cost benefit. Being in Aftermarket Sales, we put significant efforts into educating our customers on how to successfully recognize and accomplish these things. As importantly, you need to educate the facilities staff, and sometimes even the patrons as to the benefits this technology will give their facility. Gaining understanding as to why a change is being made makes acceptance more likely. Water is becoming more precious and costly every year, and flushing a gallon or even more of water with each urinal use is something that must change.
How has the current drought impacted your business and what recommendations do you have for commercial real estate owners on how to save water?
To be honest, I think much of society is still oblivious to the danger that recent droughts pose. I was just in California, and was shocked to see water running into the street from businesses watering their shrubbery in the middle of a hot afternoon. On a recent trip to Arizona, I was again astounded to see lush and large lawns being watered. Water infrastructure- reservoirs, treatment plants, even water mains, have not been maintained and adequately invested in to meet the demands the population puts on the system. Existing views of water must change, and unfortunately, it seems that it may take major shortages before people and government start to take significant actions to address these problems. As for building operators, they are seeing the impact of increasing water and sewage costs, and as time moves on, waterfree technology makes more and more sense for them. For a moderate up front cost, waterfree urinals provide a significant savings- cost and water- and can be easily implemented in most facilities.
Are there any sustainable initiatives Bobrick is involved with?
One of Bobrick’s Core Values is continuously improving everything we do. Sustainability initiatives have been undertaken company wide, as employees and management find innovative ways to save as well as improve our processes. Our new corporate headquarters will contain a number of sustainable technologies, and will be a showplace for advanced technology and eco friendliness. I always say that to me personally, one of the most overlooked aspects of sustainability is durability. When a building owner invests in a product that lasts for a long time, sometimes decades, that is a wonderful example of long term value. The longer a product functions well, the less often it is replaced, the less material has to be disposed of or recycled, and the better the life cycle cost for the owner. This is a major part of what the Bobrick brand brings to the market. I think this is where selling Bobrick and Falcon together dovetails nicely. Our customers understand the value of investing in their building, they have more than mere short-term payback considerations- and the moderate up-front investment in Bobrick and Falcon products gives a tremendous payback over the many years they will enjoy the benefits and value of our products.