by Carlos David Mogollón, Managing Editor
As global director of Water Resource Industry and Product Management for the Pumps Division at Flowserve Corp., C.J. "Chuck" Powers measures his words carefully, but speaks authoritatively about issues and how they affect the water and wastewater industry and various markets it serves.
"At this point in time, nobody has a clear understanding of the crystal ball – where things are going in the next six months or year because we have a new president and a new government coming in the United States. There's also a global impact as to the financial world and a lot of those things can have adverse effects or positive effects on different industries. It's too soon to say," Powers said.
A Maryland native, Powers earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Maryland. With Flowserve and its heritage companies, Ingersoll Rand, IDP, Byron Jackson and Stork since 1977, he has held progressively more responsible positions in engineering, sales and project management, both domestically and internationally. Flowserve produces engineered and industrial pumps, seals and valves, as well as a range of related automation control and flow management services for the power, oil & gas, chemical and other industries. The company employs over 14,000 people in over 55 countries.
Speaking from the 100th Annual Conference of the Water & Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association's (WWEMA), Powers mirrored the general perspective of "cautious optimism," leaning heavily on projects now in the pipeline, aftermarket sales and expanded customer service in 2009.
"The projects we have in our backlog are very strong. We have a tremendous focus on a lot of other market areas to make sure we're well balanced. And that's working very well. And we have a considerable number of facilities globally... We're well balanced from that standpoint...," he said.
Stressing geothermal and subsea operations in general, Powers notes China and India remain positive for growth but plummeting oil prices raises questions elsewhere. Still, stainless steel prices – also at or near record highs in recent years – have fallen too and the power market outlook remains strong. Renewed emphasis on infrastructure investment by the U.S. and China also could offer a lifeline for a recovering economy. It all depends, though... For a hyperlink to the full interview with Powers in Q&A format, see this article's online version.