By: Jeff Coale
Experienced combustion and boiler expert Vijay Mandayam recently joined Victory Energy as Vice President Combustion and Business Innovation. For over three decades, Vijay has made a tremendous industry impact. He recently shared some thoughts on his new role and the future direction of the business, including expanding the VISION burner line. The following are excerpts from the interview.
Why did you choose to come to Victory Energy?
I admire what Victory Energy has done over the past 20 years. They established a leadership position in a very mature industry which is incredibly difficult to do. Their ability to be innovative across the entire product suite was a critically important factor in my decision. Unlike competition, they are not about “force fitting” a standard product and focused on providing value-added solutions to meet customer needs. I felt an overriding sense of commitment by VEO to be truly innovative in the way steam and other heat transfer solutions are delivered to customers. This manner of thinking is embodied throughout the company including across the shop floor. I was blown away during my visits to the Collinsville facility. It’s a culture that you want to be a part of. That made my decision easy.
What are your initial thoughts about the direction for Victory Energy’s Combustion business?
The combustion industry is intensely crowded with lots of competitive players. Victory Energy has been tremendously successful with the launch of the VISION burner by establishing a strong position in the steam and hot water generation market segment. The key is expanding on this to gain more retrofit business where combustion and heat transfer solutions work in harmony. We need to think of combustion and heat transfer in more holistic terms by expanding the available market that we address, both domestically and internationally. It requires delivering breakthrough steam and other heat transfer solutions with combustion at the core.
With over 30 years in the combustion business, what excites and motivates you about what you do?
The quest to always be better or do it better gets me up in the morning. Solving customer challenges to help them advance their operations is truly a motivating factor. I have always been and continue to be fascinated by combustion. It’s a mature industry, but one that’s constantly evolving and changing. I’ve always tried to think about what could be the future new products and solutions that create long term value to society. That requires innovative thinking and not settling for what currently exists. I’m as excited today about all things combustion as I was when I first started in the business.
What do you envision as the future of combustion and combustion products?
At Victory Energy, we truly innovate the way in which we deliver steam and other heat transfer solutions to the customers. I’m passionate about the ways in which we can harmoniously bring the combustion and the heat transfer products together to create superior solutions for our customers. The need has never been greater to go beyond the accepted norms of reliability and performance. There are a lot of game changing technologies ahead of us.
What role will technology play in the development of these products?
Technology offers the opportunity for true breakthroughs in the ability to monitor combustion and boiler/heat recovery assets for optimal performance and allow for predictive maintenance progress to improve reliability. Much has been written about IoT and smart solutions. I believe we are on the cusp of being able to deliver it. The benefits are boundless. This is the value equation that customers are seeking and, in many cases, demanding. Much of my focus is going to be directed toward bringing technology answers that equate to innovative steam solutions.
What markets represent the most potential for future combustion growth?
Victory Energy has done a great job in the institutional, power and ethanol markets. We’ve established a strong track record. One of the keys is building on this dominant success by increasing our penetration to the refining, petrochemical, pulp and paper and chemical industries. Our ability to customize combustion and steam solutions plays well. It is all about creating increased awareness of the difference that Victory Energy delivers by tailoring combustion products and steam solutions services directly against customer wants and needs. The more that people know about VEO, the more likely they’ll want to implement our steam solutions in their operations.
What role are you going to play in championing the cause of innovation across Victory Energy?
True innovation is the lifeblood of a company. It is often said that in order to survive and thrive, over 25% of revenue needs to be derived from new products, year over year. This puts the onus on the need for continual innovation – both organically and inorganically. Innovation comes in many different facets that are meaningful to customers. It requires always looking at customer current needs, anticipating their future requirements and tailoring our products and services with a keen eye and asking what we can do better to create real long-term value to our customers.