By Marshall Myrman
This month we are shining the light on a valued member of our supply chain – Bob Domkowski of Flygt (rebranded Xylem). A well-oiled supply chain (or ‘vendors’ to all the old school people out there) can make or break a company. We are firm believers that a Supplier is just as important as a Customer, as they are both key partners in our business. Our suppliers have allowed us to greatly reduce lead times for installation to the point of – “…you get your concrete ready and we will be ready to install!” It is all about trust and trustworthiness with our partners – key values at FlowRider. Bob from Flygt fits this mold for us.
A critical aspect of the FlowRider® is the pumping mechanism. When Tom Lochtefeld was developing the technology 30 years ago, he went to the #1 pump company in the world, Flygt. Leading the charge for Flygt at the time, and for many years, was Stefan Abelin. He led Flygt globally from the corporate offices in Sweden and was a huge fan of our brand.
When I joined the company in ‘07, the US Flygt team was led by Bob Domkowski, now 35 years with the company. Bob is the epitome of a “sales/engineer” (BS degree in Mechanical Eng), but where he has had the greatest impact for FlowRider is with the service side of the business. We have high expectations for service within our company, and if a supplier can’t match our expectations, it may be a tough relationship, and not a long one. Even when Flygt was going through the “Xylem” reorganization, and things were a little shaky, Bob would bulldoze through the BS to get us the service we needed – sometime single-handedly. Ten years ago, pump lead times were 14-16 weeks. Currently we can get them in 6-8 weeks. This is entirely because we pushed, Bob listened, and he got Flygt to execute.
We have many examples of this, and when I get a call on a weekend from a client for help, I call Bob, and he ALWAYS picks up. Saturday, Sunday, whatever day, he knows that many of our clients rely on the FlowRider as their entertainer, and downtime equals lost revenue. Bob never ducks a call, and always jumps on an issue to help us, and our valued client. It is complicated. These pumps are massive, and they are workhorses – meant to never be turned off. We put them to the ultimate test, but they have certainly stood the test of time, and we have many pumps that have been in service well over 20 years!
Bob has had a 35-year love affair with the amusement industry. Imagine selling submersible sewage pumps for the wastewater industry, and then you are told to focus on the Amusement Attractions industry! Sounds like a good gig. Bob has been past President of the Submersible Wastewater Pump Association, Chair of the Water Environment Federation MERC Committee, and volunteers with several organization.
He recollects his first interaction with the sheet wave technology – “I fondly recall being within the first dozen participants to ride the original FlowRider land-based surfing attraction that was being started-up at NBGS, New Braunfels, TX. I was happy to be able to knee-board that day for a while!
At that time, certainly no one knew what the future would hold for this totally new water attraction. I was both participating on and witnessing the birth of a wonderful new type and class of water attraction that day.”
Bob’s interests outside of work include softball, baseball, football, hockey and golf. Sounds very northeastern, and it is as Bob is from Milford, CT. Bob wants to always leave a positive feeling with those that he meets and is focused on fully supporting his customers. He is motivated not only by striving for the success of his clientele and the organization, but by his beautiful family – wife Susan, and children Ashley and Brent. As Bob always tells me “I married up!” And believe me – he did!