Fire, Power and Water
Power Pumps has been operating for more than 15 years, solidifying a tradition of excellence and representing quality products. Power Pumps is part of group of companies with shared ownership, each playing specific, but related, roles in the water and power industry.
“Power Pumps & Engineering is an industrial based pump business here in Adelaide,” says Andrew Cromarty, Managing Director and Majority Owner of Power Pumps. That is not the only service Cromarty and his companies provide however – he has other holdings in the fire, water, and renewable energy sectors managed under a cooperative common ownership structure that could be expanded into something more in the near future.
Blackmore’s Power and Water is another company within this group, and they are located in South Australia. “They are focused on the pump industry, where they are typically more involved in solar pumping,” Cromarty explains. “Over recent years, however, Blackmore’s has moved into both solar and other general renewable energy jobs.”
“The third business that we have is called Territory Fire, which is only a recent acquisition, and is based in Darwin,” he adds/ “They take care of the fire industry, where they look after the routine service of pumps, hydrants and sprinkler systems.” Cromarty says that to really understand their business one has to look at all of their focuses.
Cromarty himself has a strong background in electrical engineering and management. “After all that, I decided to jump out of the corporate world and right into business ownership about three years ago,” he says. Cromarty has worked his way through the industry, starting out as an electrically qualified tradesperson and engineer. He has over 10 years of experience in the pumping sector, and has applied skills in production, logistics, engineering, project management, quality systems, and after-sales service. Before his purchase of Power Pumps, he held senior management roles in multinational production and engineering companies.
“It’s about fire, power and water,” he says. “We are a water based industry – dealing with pumps – but have developed particular abilities around fire and power, particularly in renewables.”
Power Pumps & Engineering serves as almost a focal point to all the aspects of the group’s capabilities. It was established in 1997 by Phil Munn and Jon Thomson. Three years ago the company was purchased by Cromarty. “Power Pumps looked like an ideal entry point to the pumping sector due to its high reputation in the industry,” Cromarty comments.
Blackmore’s & Territory Fire
“Early 2011, my business partner Robert Warne and I purchased Blackmore’s Power & Water,” Cromarty recalls. Blackmore’s continues to be based out of its home in Laura, South Australia and recently moved into a new premise just down the street. Blackmore’s has worked with councils and other companies to help develop the renewable energy industry – a fact that Cromarty thinks is very important to both industry and individuals who wish to reduce their carbon footprint. Over time, Blackmore’s has extended beyond solar power. “We have also moved into wind turbines and generator sets that really rounds out our multi-faceted approach to stand alone power systems.”
Cromarty’s joint purchase of Territory Fire with David Taeuber helped round out more of the groups offerings. “David is responsible for the day to day running of that business, which is based out of Darwin but also with a branch office in Alice Springs,” Cromarty explains.
Cromarty says that there is no single name for the group. “I hold majority ownership over the three companies but there is no real single holding company,” he reiterates. “It’s three businesses with common ownership.” He does say that there are opportunities to leverage common skills across all companies at some point in the future but does not believe they are quite at that point yet.
Different faces, common goals
“Collectively we employ about 35 to 40 individuals,” Cromarty says. Even though these individuals are spread out over the three companies, Cromarty and his other managers maintain a serious work ethic, but foster a great sense of humour and sense of team.
“We work to build our name and protect our reputation,” states Cromarty. As a company they stand for many things – honestly, reliability, and consistency among them. Power Pumps describes itself as existing to provide solutions to the pumping industry. “We are a solution provider, so that’s really the core culture of the business. We are experts in our field, and because of that we know how to provide unique pumping solutions.”
When speaking about his employees, Cromarty believes that all the companies under his majority ownership represent the best the industry has to offer. “We see ourselves as people who take pride in the work we do. This is shown in the excellence with which we represent ourselves in terms of customer service,” say Cromarty.
Internally, they strive to make their workplace fun, he comments. “We really don’t want to take ourselves too seriously. We do work in a professional working environment, and we seek to be an employer of choice,” he says. Power Pumps, Blackmore’s and Territory Fire provide flexible work hours, on the job training and skill development and in the future look for all employees to share in the success of the companies.
Power Pumps, Blackmore’s, and Territory Fire select their employees from individuals who have already established good reputations in the pumping industry. “We also strive to create a great working environment that they will be pleased to work within,” says Cromarty. “This is part of our approach – it is work, but no one will accuse us of being a stuck in the mud type,” he laughs. “We really look for people who are communicative and will speak their mind, but at the same time be able to relate well with others.” Good relationships on the ground with their own co-workers is where it starts, a great relationship with their clients is where it ends.
Power Pumps Aim
“We see ourselves as a key player in the water, and water infrastructure market, and we have developed some very good skills in those areas,” Cromarty says. With the current mining situation in South Australia, he says there are some obvious opportunities for Power Pumps to tap into. “We really feel that we are multifaceted in our abilities. We do everything from domestic products – you could bring in your pool pump and we can look at that for you – right through to reasonably complicated mechanical & electrical systems,” he clarifies. “This is where we see ourselves from a Power Pumps perspective. We are really a service provider; we are not just selling a pump in a box. We are looking at value adding services and providing a solution that works.”
Solar the Blackmore’s Way
Cromarty goes on to delineate the role that Blackmore’s has come to play in the solar power industry. “There is a real glut of installers who are prepared to put solar panels on your roof, so we see our unique positioning is that we are about rural and remote installations with this combination of solar and wind generator and battery power,” he says. He sees solar power as a good solution to many off grid or low service areas, and thinks that they could really capitalise on this in the near future.
Across all three businesses, Cromarty sees that they have a good representation of experience in every field, and although he cannot comment on specifics for the direction of all the companies, it is clear that they represent some shared aspects of work ethic, service, and knowledge. When choosing a supplier for fire, power or water, it would be a good idea to place your requirements in the hands of Andrew Cromarty and his companies.