By Donald A. Mounce

Back in 1993, Dennis and Grace Bowman formed Eco-Tech as a Michigan corporation primarily focused on the retail distribution of health-related products. One line of products they carried was residential RO systems.

While installing his very first under counter RO system, Dennis quickly faced a challenge. The RO manufacturing industry at that time had put the responsibility upon the installer to provide an accepted plumbing drain hookup. Since it was his first such job, Dennis was required to figure things out on the fly.

Dennis realized that the function, aesthetics and code compliance of drain line connection issues had not clearly been defined by the industry and no solution or guidance was readily available. So he and Grace had an idea: why not develop approved installation kits that were otherwise not available.

Today, Eco-Tech provides a full line of ready to use drain line installation kits for RO systems and airgaps for water softeners. These kits also have crossover uses in the plumbing industry for such things as condensate lines.

Growing in the forest
Dennis Bowman started in 1970 as a plumbing contractor in Malibu, California.  “I enjoyed my lifestyle there…plumbing and surfing and meeting so many people in the movie and entertainment industry. I almost changed my company name to ‘Plumber of the Stars.’

“After retiring in 1985, I moved to Maui, Hawaii and learned first hand about the importance of potable water safety.  Once I began selling and installing RO systems through Eco-Tech in Michigan, my 15 years of plumbing experience kicked in again.”

“Like any small business, we had a real challenge in our early days finding a lending institution who would give us a loan in order to build our first plastic injection product mold,” says Bowman.  “Since our patent was pending and our new product was novel to the industry, we could not find a lender anywhere who would take a chance on us.

“Finally we were able to borrow enough from the parents of a close friend to build our first tool. They enjoyed assisting aspiring entrepreneurs, and now 14 years and seven patents later, we have proven a good investment.”

“Our privately held corporation is now fully owned and funded and we conduct business in beautiful Arkansas,” says Dennis Bowman. “We own a 4,500 square foot business building in a private forest setting, with a broad deck overlooking Lake Beaver.

“The building has a reception room, three offices, three loading bays and warehouse space.  There is a sonic welding room, assembly and packing area and kitchen and lunchroom for staff use. All of our products are made in the USA. And we usually ship the same day we receive orders.”

Maintaining the mission
“Our mission is very straight forward. We are in a great industry. And our industry becomes more relevant each passing day as we learn more about current and future issues concerning the global water crisis,” adds Bowman.

Just recently I read an interesting article in E-Main Stream by Mary Parmelee regarding AWWA’s annual conference.  Guest speaker Dr. Sharon Roy from the CDC noted that public health officials are discovering an increasing number of deficiencies in premises plumbing and point of use devices.”

“The article noted ‘We need to focus more on premises plumbing.’ It further stated that utilities could support changes in plumbing codes that would do more to address premise plumbing deficiencies,” notes Bowman.

“There has long been a disconnect between the plumbing industry and the water treatment industry. This has created many a hardship for conscientious installers of POE and POU equipment.”

“This disconnect is largely due to a basic misunderstanding of each discipline by the other,” suggests Bowman. “And I have worked toward bridging that gap.

“I have primarily done this through educating my customers in our little corner of the industry. That has come from the quality, service and innovation of selling our DLA series of drain line adapters and airgaps.”

What the future holds
“Eco-Tech will continue to provide specialized innovative plumbing products for the water treatment industry,” says Bowman. “We have many more useful inventions that we intend to produce in the future.

“Each new product must go through various stages of design, testing, plumbing code approval and patent application.  All these steps take both time and money to bring new products to market.”

“We pride ourselves on assisting our customers with design configuration and plumbing code issues,” says Dennis Bowman. “This allows us to obtain new product code listings that will assist water treatment professionals to perform installations that are acceptable nationwide.”

“Once a small company such as ours reaches a certain size, with over a decade of steady growth and good will, a larger company in a related business will show an interest in acquisition.  We have been approached a few times in the past but have never actively sought to sell.”

“We are now on the verge of another growth spurt and our goal is to continue to increase our annual sales,” notes Bowman “And we are happy with where we see ourselves building our future. We may someday agree to an acquisition by another company, but it would have to be a good fit.

“A company would have to continue the manufacture and distribution of our product line to the standards we have set and the quality of service our customers have come to expect from us.

We must always maintain the quality of service and support that we have offered since we sold our very first system.”

That attitude is what makes a good idea even greater.

Eco-Tech, Inc.
17340 Walnut Lane
Rogers, AR 72756.
Phone: (800) 399-3159
Fax; (479) 925-4093
Email:  [email protected].
Website: www.ecotech-DLA.com.
Number of Employees: Three full time employees, one forklift and one truck.   

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