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Al Wasinger Speaks Out on the State of the Firetube Business Question and Answer

It’s been a few years since the decision was made to become a comprehensive full line manufacturer of firetube boilers. How has it gone?

The market has responded to us extremely well.  The momentum for the business has grown appreciable year over year.  As more users become familiar with the quality and performance attributes of our FRONTIER firetube units, we’re seeing increased sales.  Each year we’ve continued to make investments in the business – in both the products as well as the people supporting the business.  Our products are price competitive all across the product line. The rep network that sells the product is expanding with higher quality rep firms having joined us over the past two years.  More and more product configurations like vertical and hot water firetube boilers are being added to the line.  I feel we’re in a great place and incredibly well positioned to experience tremendous growth in 2021 and beyond.

You are the V.P. of Operations as well as head of the Firetube Business, what actions have been implemented in the manufacturing of firetube boilers?

We’re continually innovating the way that our FRONTIER firetube boilers are manufactured in the Collinsville operation.  It’s all part of the lean culture that resides within the plant.  All firetube boilers are manufactured on our PULSE Line.  Everything works in unison ensuring that product is moving through all five stages in a timely manner. Our CNC drill helps speed tube drilling to hours instead of days.  We can easily ramp up production to meet demand due to standardization and line balancing.  Our lean culture is integral to making that happen on a daily basis.  From a manufacturing viewpoint – it’s always Full Steam Ahead.

Victory Energy is well known for delivering thermal engineering solutions.  How have you enhanced your engineering support of the company’s firetube product offering?

Even before we entered the firetube business in a significant way, we manufactured complex large firetube boilers that required significant engineering support. The market views us as a firetube company that brings engineering talent that isn’t found with our competitors.  We see this as a significant competitive advantage.  We’re continuing to invest in new engineering capabilities that enhance this competency.  Users can look to Victory Energy to help them with engineering solutions for firetube boiler applications.

The name Victory Energy has been synonymous with watertube boilers, how have you inculcated a firetube pedigree in the organization?

Prior to joining Victory Energy, I had extensive experience in the firetube industry. We are fortunate to have Oren Hardesty as our National Sales Manager.  He’s been responsible for firetube product sales for  Victory Energy over the past ten years.  He’s highly respected in firetube industry circles.  Having both Jim Atkinson and Carson Lushin functioning as Regional Sales Managers has help build and solidify our firetube rep network.  We’re supplementing this vast industry experience with young applications engineers, like Clay Viskup.  They are the future of the business.  In a very short period of time, they’ve forged on-going relationships with customers and made an impact with our rep partners.  I’m extremely pleased with the team that we’ve assembled.

Having a full firetube product line is a critically important component to ensuring that you’re addressing all the available firetube market. What are your plans for new product introductions?

Ever since we committed to being all in with the firetube market, our emphasis has been on extending the product line.  We’re moving forward with offering more firetube products for our reps to sell.  In 2021, we bringing on a complete line of vertical boilers.  We’re also focusing on the development of hot water firetube boilers.  Every gap that we have in the line is being addressed.  Needless to say, this year is going to a substantial one from a product development perspective.  Both our reps and our end user customers are asking for this product expansion.   We’re on it.

A strong representative sales force is paramount to covering the entire country.  How have these recruitment efforts been progressing?

Finding the right reps to sell our line of firetube boilers has been challenging.  We want reps that are going to be in it for the long haul with us.  In the beginning we went through several reps trying to find the right rep portfolio and set of sales performance attributes.  Over the past two years, we’ve built out a strong set of partners.  Having Regional Managers Jim Atkinson and Carson Lushin promoting what we’re doing with our line of firetubes has been invaluable.  The close connection they provide with the factory is critically important. They educate reps on things Victory Energy firetube related and assist them in all selling situations.  I believe that our rep sales network has never been stronger.  We’re looking to do great things together in 2021.

What does the future hold for the Victory Energy firetube business?

We’ve come a long way in a very short period of time. The market has responded to our offering in a big way.  We’ve been able to penetrate a competitive product category with a compelling product that’s backed by industry experts.  There is a tremendous amount of untapped potential.  We’ve done the spade work to put the business in position to experience tremendous growth.  I see this happening in 2021 and beyond.