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Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal

ITT Goulds Pumps: Celebrating 170 Years of Innovation in the Finger Lakes

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The gas for your car. The heat for your home. The food on your dinner table. The pages of your morning newspaper. The plastic for your water bottle. Practically all of life’s necessities and conveniences are made possible by pumps.

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The Finger Lakes region is home to one of the oldest and most respected pump manufacturers in the world: Goulds Pumps.

Seabury S. Gould founded Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls in 1848. That was an historic year for the Finger Lakes canal town as it also hosted the nation’s first women’s rights convention.

Goulds Pumps celebrates its 170th anniversary this year. It is one of America’s oldest brands – older than General Electric, Coca-Cola, J.M. Smucker Company, American Express and The New York Times.

A Pillar of Industry and the Community

In 1997, Goulds Pumps merged with ITT Corporation, forming the largest pump manufacturer in the world. Today, ITT Goulds Pumps serves customers in the oil and gas, mining, power generation, chemical, pulp and paper, and general industrial markets in 125 countries. Forty-two percent of its customers are outside North America.

“The brand equity that Goulds Pumps has in the industries we serve has been a key element to the company’s success over the years,” said David Steblein, vice president and general manager for the Americas, ITT Goulds Pumps.

The company employs about 630 people at its 68-acre campus on Fall Street, which is home to manufacturing, research and development, and the headquarters of the ITT Industrial Process business. ITT Shared Services is also located there and employs an additional 140 people in finance, IT and HR.

Goulds Pumps has long been a symbol of the Seneca Falls community. Over the years, it’s provided high quality and skilled jobs for thousands of people from Seneca Falls and communities across the Finger Lakes region. Multiple generations of family members have worked there.

“ITT Goulds Pumps is part of the fabric of Seneca County and the Finger Lakes region,” said Steblein, who has worked for the company for 27 years. “Many of our people are second and third generation employees with a keen sense of loyalty and commitment that you may not have in other companies. That’s given our workforce a long tradition of pride and made the company one of the preferred employers in the area.”

A Leader in Innovation and Technology

From its beginnings, Goulds Pumps has been a leader in industrial innovation. During The Gold Rush of 1849, it produced the first all-metal pump, a major advancement over previous wooden pumps. Twenty years later, as the Transcontinental Railroad was opening the nation’s westward expansion, it developed the earliest steam-powered pumps, which made it easier for trains to get the water they needed to run. During World War II, every U.S. Navy submarine used a special pump made by Goulds that was quiet enough to avoid sonar detection.

The company’s history is filled with industry firsts. According to Steblein, one of the most influential product introductions was in 1961, when it launched the Goulds 3196 chemical process pump.

“It was revolutionary at the time because it provided a standard process pump that accommodated the vast majority of chemical and general industry applications,” he said. “It’s still our largest selling pump today.”

In 1999, Goulds launched its PumpSmart technology. Sensors on the pumps allow customers to monitor pump performance from a smartphone or tablet. It further advanced the technology in 2008 with the introduction of the i-ALERT monitor, the world’s first patented intelligent monitoring system for pumps. The company has expanded these cutting-edge solutions over the last several years.

The use of smart technologies is a major focus for the company. “We’re advancing much of our development in that direction,” said Steblein. “It helps plants utilize the pump properly, predict when a pump may fail, and extend the life of the unit over time.”

In 2010, ITT Goulds Pumps began to grow its footprint in the oil and gas and mining industries, introducing several award-winning products. Its facility expansion in 2014 also made the company more competitive in those markets with the capabilities to test larger pumps up to 8,000 horsepower.

Focused on the Finger Lakes and the Future

Steblein credits the quality of the region’s workforce, and the proximity to leading educational institutions, as key economic attributes for the region.

“One of the nice things about upstate New York is we’re surrounded by very good technical schools like RIT, Clarkson University and the University of Rochester, from which we can draw top engineering talent,” he said.

Steblein said the company plans to further invest and grow its business.

“We’re expecting to see another surge in growth over the coming years,” he said.

ITT Goulds Pumps is an old company that refuses to act its age. Its stamina and smarts resemble that of a young startup. It’s part of an exclusive group of companies that can claim such a lifespan, while having stayed true to their founding mission and products.

“That’s a significant accomplishment when you think of all the things that have changed the complexion of business today,” said Steblein. “That’s a tribute to the commitment of our people and the success we’ve achieved over the years. We’re very proud of that.”

“Goulds Pumps is still going strong,” he added. “We’re still pumping.”

ITT Goulds Pumps

240 Fall Street
Seneca Falls, NY 13148
315-568-2811

Year founded: 1848
Number of employees: 630
Website: gouldspumps.com

See the timeline of 170 Years of Goulds Pumps Innovation. And watch these videos for more on the people and products behind ITT Goulds Pumps.

We Are Goulds Pumps: https://gouldspumps.com/About/We-are-Goulds-Pumps/

The Pulse of Industry: http://pumpappreciationday.com/Pulse-of-Industry-Video.aspx/

Krista Gleason is a contributor to the Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal. She is a freelance writer and owner of Gleason Writes in the beautiful Finger Lakes.

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