Siemens Water Technologies’ Gordon Grabs Spotlight

March 1, 2008
A native of Deadwood, SD – the Black Hills town made famous by the popular HBO series highlighting its history with goldmines, gamblers and gunslingers – Chuck Gordon ...
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by Carlos David Mogollón, Managing Editor

A native of Deadwood, SD – the Black Hills town made famous by the popular HBO series highlighting its history with goldmines, gamblers and gunslingers – Chuck Gordon found his fortune on the frontiers of the water treatment business for the past two decades.

Gordon replaced Roger Radke as Siemens Water Technologies president and CEO on Feb. 1. He served previously as executive vice president of the Water & Wastewater Systems Group and, from 2003-2005, as president of the USFilter Water & Wastewater Services & Products Group. He’s been a member of what’s now Siemens water management team since May 1995 with the acquisition of Arrowhead Industrial Water, which he joined in 1988.

Gordon credits Radke with nearly doubling Siemens water business from $1.1 billion in revenue to $2 billion in his tenure since Siemens AG bought USFilter from Veolia in 2004. He anticipates further dramatic growth over the next three years, internally for the most part but also through acquisition.

His previous experience was largely industrial via Arrowhead Water and the Services & Products Group. During the heady USFilter buyout frenzy of the late-’90s in the United States, he participated in nearly 20 acquisitions in his region among hundreds by the company overall. Today, he sees revenue multiples being asked for as prohibitive to ROI, which means a more selective approach to enhance Siemens product portfolio or global position.

Challenges include a tighter economy, subprime mortgage fallout on housing and financial markets, a weak U.S. dollar, and continued high fuel costs. The first two raise worries for the U.S. municipal market largely based on fears of how it could impact community tax revenues and their ability to pay for new infrastructure – but Gordon notes no slowdown in business to date. Upsides on the last two issues: a weak dollar makes export markets more attractive for U.S.-made products (spurring domestic manufacturing and related water and wastewater services) and record petroleum prices also benefit demand in global oil & gas markets. Even uncertainty also shifts emphasis from permanent to temporary systems, such as outsourcing with Siemens Mobile service fleet.

Gordon also sees issues like climate change emphasizing more efficiency in energy and water, thus water minimization and reuse will be key drivers as well as membrane system innovations. Click here to read "An Interview with Siemens Water Technologies CEO Chuck Gordon" in full in Q&A format.

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