Locally Grown, Globally Respected
A common denominator among many job sites is the distinctive blue pump designed and built by Thompson Pump and Manufacturing. The company has shared its expertise on many projects around the world, including cleaning up oil spills in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, dewatering a construction site for a nuclear power plant in Georgia, widening the Panama Canal, raising a submarine in the Atlantic, moving an east coast lighthouse, fighting western fires, controlling floods in the Midwest, handling an irrigation project in Africa, and dealing with a tragic disaster in New York.
The company – headquartered in Port Orange, Florida – is widely recognized for its proficiency and high-quality, heavy duty pumps and related equipment. For over 50 years Thompson Pump products have supported public works, construction, agriculture, mining, waste water management and more. It also offers engineering services along with pump and dewatering education and training through its Pumpology® courses.
The company was founded in 1970 as a pump manufacturing facility and has grown to employ more than 100 workers. In addition to building its manufacturing business, it also developed a substantial rental business, with 20 rental locations throughout the Southeast and beyond. In 2019, the company sold its rental business to United Rentals so it could focus entirely on manufacturing.
Thompson Pump and Manufacturing has been active in international commerce since the 1970s, occasionally importing components for its products. Since the company began exporting its products in the 1980s, it has sent pumps to more than 60 countries.
“In addition to our domestic business, we have sent pumps to Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and Africa,” said Chris Thompson, president of Thompson Pump and Manufacturing.
Exports account for between 5% and 25% of the company’s volume depending on client needs, financial markets and global factors.
Entering and growing sales in international markets is a process, not an overnight event. New relationships, procedures and even product designs may need to be developed to be successful. Exports often involve consultation with freight forwarders or logistics companies, according to Thompson.
“Depending on a shipment’s destination, we often ship through ports such as JAXPORT in Jacksonville, Savannah, Everglades, Charleston and Miami,” Thompson said. “Most of our pumps can be crated for shipping in high-cube containers at deep water ports.”
To help grow its international presence, Thompson Pump conferred with local and state economic development organizations.
“They have been helpful in making us aware of programs designed to provide assistance in marketing and sales, such as Enterprise Florida’s Target Sector Trade Show Grant Program and its Gold Key Match Maker Grant Program,” said Thompson.
For example, Enterprise Florida made it possible for Thompson Pump to participate in Bauma China, the world’s leading construction machinery trade show, by providing grant funds to help cover booth space costs of $30,000. Being at the event generated 70 leads for Thompson Pump’s distributor in China and led to a follow-up meeting with a new Australian distributor.
Trade show grants also enabled the company to participate in two editions of the Perumin Exhibition, the most important mining event in Peru, as well as Orbitec and ConExpo Latin America. The Perumin Exhibition provided great brand exposure in the growing South American market and offered direct access to mining company decision makers who would typically be very difficult to reach.
Enterprise Florida’s Gold Key Match Maker Grant Program also benefited Thompson Pump. It was on a trip to Chile, made possible by this program, that a relationship was formed with Simma Rents. This was particularly valuable since it helped the company at a time when the American economy was in recession and finances were tight.
“The information and grants we receive from economic development and other community partners has been helpful and is always appreciated,” said Thompson. “But let me also say how much I appreciate the contribution of our local supplier network. So much of what we need is available right here through companies we know, trust and have been working with for many years. Machining, welding, fabrication, enclosures – these and other items made to our specifications are available from companies that are our neighbors. Their support has definitely been a part of our international success.”
For more information about Thompson Pump, visit www.ThompsonPump.com.
For more information about the Target Sector Trade Show Grant Program and Gold Key Match Maker Grant Program, read A World of Resources for Companies Seeking Global Markets.
Volusia County Economic Development Quarterly
Second Quarter 2021
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