By Carlos David Mogollón, WC&P Executive Editor
With three generations of the family in the water treatment industry, there’s a lot of Brane power behind Flowmatics of Dunellon, FL.
Current president and general manager Scott Brane says he sees a big difference in the industry from when he was a kid touring industry convention halls with his grandfather, Earl Brane, who seemed to know everybody in the room back then. Today, Earl—at age 85 and still designing equipment for the company—knows only a few people and it’s Scott glad-handing customers and colleagues.
Doug Brane, Scott’s father, is Flowmatic’s CEO, but Scott, 28, has been president since 1999. Scott says their working relationship is ideal because they think alike and he’s learned a lot from his father, who started Flowmatic in 1980. Shortly before that, Earl sold Brane Services to Bruner, which was among the companies for which he designed water softening valves. He also designed the valve for Hague’s Water Boss.
With Doug at the helm of Flowmatic, they developed an RO membrane housing that could be opened with a cap and built a product line from that. Continuously adding new offerings from year to year, they expanded from Largo, Fla., to Clearwater, Fla., and in 1997 moved into a new 42,000-square-foot building on 26 acres, two hours north in Dunellon. They’ve sinced doubled staff size and anticipate construction to double the size of their facility with a new warehouse later this year.
Although he’d worked at Flowmatics since he was a middle-schooler, Scott didn’t go full-time until after he’d graduated from the University of South Florida in 1994 with a business degree in advertising. At that point, the company had annual sales of $4 million. He spearheaded a new international sales department and a couple of years ago they brought on board Greg Willis, of Harmsco, and Neal DeLettre, of Shelco, to promote a new venture into commercial/industrial water treatment and better market the company’s products. Last year, sales were $10 million. This year, $12 million is expected.
Today, Flowmatic’s products are sold primarily through wholesalers in 82 countries, with Eastern Europe and Latin America showing the most growth and promise, Scott said. Among its customers are CUNO, Omni and Ametek. Among those it distributes product for are Omnipure, Hydroflow, KX Industries, Amtrol, John Guest USA, Jaeco, Filmtec and Osmonics. He sees price pressure from “big box” retailers and lower-priced Asian products affecting residential competition in the United States, but stresses that greater personal contact and customer service often can make the difference.
Other offices: Flowmatic West in Corona, Calif.
Principals: Doug Brane, CEO; Scott Brane, President and GM; Neil DeLettre, Marketing Manager; Greg Willis, National Sales Manager; Scotty Murch, International Sales Manager
Operations: Manufactures and distributes a complete line of RO and filtration components. Other products include auto shutoff valves, metering valves, filter and membrane housings, ball valves, check valves, tanks and commercial RO units.