Sta-Rite Industries Inc. Water Treatment Group
293 Wright St. • Delavan, WI 53115 USA
Tel: (262) 728-5551
Fax: (262) 728-4256
Web: www.starite.com
Employees: 1,000
Companies: Hydro-Flow, Fibredyne Inc.
and Park International
Sister companies: SHURflo, Hypro Corp.
Revenue: Sta-Rite Industries, $415 million—Water Systems Group ($265 million), Pool & Spa Group ($100 million) and Water Treatment Group ($55 million); expects $40 million more in 2001 sales.

A major announcement in mid-April 2001 positions Sta-Rite Industries Inc. to be an even bigger player among independent assemblers and the POU/POE water treatment industry dealer network.

Sta-Rite and Clack Corp. entered into an agreement for Clack to become the key distributor of Park International tanks. Before this, Clack was the distributor for Pentair’s Structural tanks, according to Sta-Rite vice president Mark Bertler. The strategic move is the latest of several recently to place Sta-Rite more highly in the competitive market, Bertler said.

Sta-Rite began as a well pump manufacturer in 1934 in Delavan, Wis. Today, its products cover pumps for a range of applications, water treatment devices, agricultural- and industrial-related components and accessories. It does not provide completed systems except through retail filter brand Omni, which it markets through “big box” and do-it-yourself (DIY) channels with clients such as Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and GE. With products made in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, México, New Zealand and Russia, Sta-Rite distributes to over 100 countries.

Sta-Rite’s transition began four years ago when it reorganized as the manufacturing arm of WICOR Industries. Sister company Wisconsin Gas made up the “energy” arm of WICOR then. Coincidentally, Sta-Rite bought Hydro-Flow of Murrieta, Calif., which specializes in plastic extrusion, inline and cartridge water filters, housings, UV filters, shower filters and accessories. A year later, it bought Dover, N.H.’s Fibredyne, which specializes in carbon block molding. Last August, it acquired Park.

Later, Sta-Rite reorganized into global business units—the Water Systems Group, Pool & Spa Group and Water Treatment Group. Manufacturing reports to group vice presidents, who coordinate customer relations for uniform point-of-contact and efficient operation, said Bertler, who spent five years with USFilter’s Process Water Group and eight with Arrowhead Filter before joining Sta-Rite in 1999. Leveraging related synergy between the companies, international marketing efforts were refocused with more manufacturing ability.

“For instance, we’re adding additional tank capacity coming online this month [April]… Again, [with Park] we’ve taken a private company that probably wasn’t in a position to make the capital investment and enabled it to grow globally. We still have plant capacity in Long Beach, Calif. We’ll add another third to that. It’s a seven-figure investment,” Bertler said, adding that Fibredyne’s capacity is being expanded as well. “That’s probably a testament to For more on Sta-Rite’s expansion, the Clack venture and Bertler’s views on the water treatment industry, go to www.wcponline.com and click on the “Executive Q&A” button.

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