By Nate F. Searing
The following is a conversation with Jeffrey Connelly, Vice President & General Manager at GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies. Connelly spoke to WC&P en route to General Electric’s newest piece of real estate, the former headquarters of Ionics Inc. in Watertown, Mass.
GE Water and Process
65 Grove Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472 USA
Phone: (617) 926-2500
Fax: (617) 926-4304
Employees: ~7,000 (total for GE Water)
Quote: I think the ultimate goal is coexistence of all our drinking water technology: to have technology remain available direct to the consumer through the ‘big box’ stores; residential and commercial systems selling to a different segment of that market; municipalities and industries seeking out our desalination technology—with all these segments reinforcing one another to bring new technologies to market faster and more efficiently.
“Every few years, we take a fresh look, evaluating every aspect of the water industry,” says Connelly. “We determine how we want to grow and how best to get there.”
That’s precisely what happened last November when GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies initiated its acquisition of Ionics, Inc.
Jeff Connelly, a seventeen-year GE veteran and the new Vice President & General Manager for GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies, has nearly two decades of experience across a variety of industries. In 2001, Connelly moved from overseeing operations in power generation to industrial water.
“I spent the first 13 years in our energy sector, involved in power systems and power generation. Through analyzing the needs of the boilers and cooling towers, I was first introduced to the water industry,” Connelly says
In 2003, following the acquisitions of BetzDearborn and Osmonics, Connelly moved to lead the Osmonics segment of GE’s new water business, largely focused on mechanical separations technologies. Over the last few years, GE’s presence in the POE/POU home water treatment industry has grown, exposing Connelly to a variety of new and advanced technologies. The recent addition of Ionics to this division of GE Water has added further to this global presence.
“We’re learning a great deal about the global desalination market, about drinking water treatment on the very large scale and about all the other smaller point-of-use technologies for which Ionics is known,” he says.
As GE initiates the integration of Ionics’ technologies into its product line, customers will profit from the combined resources and broadened desalination and water reuse capabilities. While still too soon to offer details about the effects of the acquisition, Connelly says that this synthesis will result in many of the acquired technologies taking on the GE brand
“What our customers will see (with these products) is a concerted effort to showcase the GE name and logo which will avoid confusion in the marketplace,” Connelly says. “Therefore, as a result of the acquisition, our customers will benefit from the expanded product offerings, advanced technologies and innovative solutions.”
The addition of Ionics’ desalination and water reuse technologies has provided GE Water & Process Technologies with a competitive advantage in water treatment, especially in regions like the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and China, where freshwater is scarce, Connelly said.
“GE’s strong research and development capability worldwide, along with the financial structuring expertise that runs deep within the company, positions GE Water to provide unique full-service offerings where few others can compete,” Connelly said. “GE Water & Process Technologies, as part of GE’s company-wide “Ecomagination”, is committed to continually investing in innovative technologies that meet its customers’ industrial and environmental challenges head on.”
“GE is not done growing. While the company is now reevaluating how all the pieces of its water business fit together, we never stop examining the marketplace, and eyeing new technologies that can bring innovative solutions to our customers,” Connelly concludes.