By Donald A. Mounce
Over the next few months, as WC&P prepares for and celebrates its 50th anniversary of publication excellence in 2009, this column will take a special look at some of the leading executives, companies and organizations of our industry. This month, we will focus on Dennis Rupert, President of Rupert’s Culligan and the 2007-2008 WQA President.
129 Mechanic Street
PO Box 225
Hillsdale, MI 49242
Email: [email protected]
Web site: www.hillsdaleculligan.com
Dennis Rupert, President
Renee’ Rupert, Vice President/Treasurer
Dennis Rupert is the type of businessperson that has made the US and global economy great; he is an independent and self-supporting water softener dealer, but as a former WQA President, he also understands this strength can best be accomplished by everyone working together.
“As a family owned Culligan franchise, we have personally worked hard to become the residential and commercial market leader in our territory,” says Rupert. “We stand behind the quality of our work and offer 100 percent satisfaction or your money back on each and every job.
“We also enjoy being a member of the Culligan team and are proud to be able to offer enhanced new products with advanced efficiencies to our customers. These cost-effective solutions to a wide range of water problems would not be possible without that supportive teamwork.”
Rupert receiving the WQA Key Award from good friend and past WQA President C.R. Hall (left)
“This relationship provides us with a great deal of confidence to continue to promote our business and our service region,” adds Rupert. “We know we are never alone with Culligan and the WQA behind us.
“We can provide a complete line of residential products, softeners, filtrations processes, Ro systems, POU systems and bottled water services to consumers, which is 60 percent of our business. And we can provide commercial softeners, RO systems, DI services to the other 40 percent of our business.”
The dealership in Hillsdale, MI was started in 1948 by Dean and Mary Jane Chappell. It was then purchased in 1980 by Tom and Joann Shaw, the parents of Renee’ Rupert.
She and Dennis purchased the business in 1985 and remained in the original 2,800-square foot locale until 2005. They moved into a more modern 12,000- square foot location at 129 Mechanic Street in Hillsdale.
“I came from a boiler and power plant background,” notes Rupert. “So I was very familiar with the water treatment industry. But family illness led Renee’ and me to own and manage our operation.
“We continue to look for and work on growth initiatives while addressing a very challenging economic landscape in Michigan. And that fortitude was developed through my term as WQA President, providing me with a strength and positive perspective for our industry and profession.”
“My one main goal as President was to find ‘the’ place for commercial education and make it a real focus for WQA,” says Rupert. ”With the major WQA reorganization that took place several years ago, the commercial and industrial market segments finally found an appropriate separation and a home within WQA.
“It was also most gratifying to work with Pete Censky, Chubb Michaud, Vince Kent, Jim Baker, Stan Fauth, Bret Tangley, Richard Mest and Tanya Lubner in these areas. They worked hard to help identify the needs for the industry and begin to lay the WQA groundwork that will provide members in both categories with truly enhanced benefits.”
“I am also very proud to have later chaired the new Commercial Education Program that was born out of the Dealer Section two years ago,” adds Rupert. “This program is a tremendous asset to the dealer member as they move forward with enhanced competencies in the a very bright commercial market place.
“The first module has been completed. Written by Vince Kent and Tanya Lubner, it was unveiled at the convention in Las Vegas last March to rave reviews and, in fact, has entered a second printing.”
“In my 23 years in the profession, the current economic conditions in both the residential and commercial marketplaces have been and will be the major focus for our dealership,” says Rupert. “Clearly the industry will remain very strong with a strong growth multiple.
“But we will continue to have challenges to deal with relative to the discharge of effluent and the inefficiencies of equipment. New technology will be the solution, and will be forthcoming in the very near future to deal with these challenges.”
“As a former WQA President, I remain very confident in the strength of our industry. It has great potential for moving forward,” concludes Rupert.
“The issues we face we must face together, as they are critical to the grassroots dealer. And the best way to face these issues is through a strong, single voice in the industry with WQA as well as strong state water quality associations with involved dealer participation.”
The industry really is all about strength and confidence at the grassroots level of service and customer satisfaction, supported by national and global peers and suppliers.