On May 3, 2021, Equilibar officially joined the team of Richards Industrials, a Cincinnati-based fluid control company with a long history of quality and customer responsiveness. Jordan Bast, CEO of Richards, and Equilibar Founder Jeff Jennings took a few minutes during a recent kick-off celebration to answer questions about exactly what this means for the stakeholders of both companies.
Many people have noted the synergy that exists between Equilibar and Richards. What does this mean to you?
JEFF JENNINGS: I find that there are so many synergies between Richards and Equilibar that it’s really hard to settle on one. Our sanitary line meshes extremely well with the Richards Steriflow brand, but that’s just one example. Speaking more generally, Richards is a larger, more established organization that offers experience and resources and guidance for Equilibar as we build on our strengths as a young, energetic, innovation-driven company. It’s kind of a best-of-both-worlds scenario.
JORDAN BAST: What I find so compelling about the partnership with Equilibar is this cross-section of technology and market opportunity. While the origin of our respective companies is different, both organizations have grown over time by focusing on solving difficult customer problems, leveraging unique product designs and by sharing a passion for taking care of the customer.
What would you describe as the single defining aspect of your respective organizations, its prime directive so to speak?
JORDAN BAST: For Richards, it’s all about speed. We win in the market because we are faster and more responsive than our competition. Whether it’s shipping product or responding to a technical question, we focus on delighting our customers with a quick, accurate, and reliable response. Our speed makes all the difference.
JEFF JENNINGS: It’s definitely innovation for Equilibar. I think I speak for the whole team when I say that the most fascinating and rewarding part of our work is seeing how our devices are used in challenging projects all around the world. For me personally, it is extremely gratifying to see our technology play a key role in efforts to make the world a better place by providing cleaner water, life-saving medicines, greener energy and sustainable manufacturing.
How do you expect this joining of forces to unfold over the next year?
JEFF JENNINGS: I anticipate the transition to go rather seamlessly. Equilibar will definitely stay here in Asheville and there are no plans for changes to our workforce at all. Our brand and products will not change and we will continue to rely on our key partners. I also like to emphasize that Richards Industrials is a company we’ve known for almost our whole existence. Over the years, we’ve worked with Richards in many different ways–we’ve incorporated their valves in our applications, we’ve seen them at conferences, we’ve written articles with them. They are very familiar to us and we know that a partnership with them will be highly strategic. I’ve heard Jordan say repeatedly that his first rule here is don’t break what we have. Integration will happen in a way that makes sense without disrupting the connections and systems that work well for us.
JORDAN BAST: I agree and would like to add that I’m looking forward to several growth initiatives that we’re kicking off right away. Step 1 is for us to share the Equilibar line of products with even more customers around the world by leveraging Richards’ existing, technical-selling, distribution Rep Network. Step 2 is for us to combine forces on New Product Development. What are the big problems that our customers experience, that we can uniquely solve, by deploying our application knowledge and technical insight? How can we take our respective innovation pipelines and marry them against market opportunity?
JORDAN BAST: With respect to Richards, we celebrate our top-selling Rep firms each year with our famous Rainmaker Awards. Within our Rep Network, these Rainmaker Awards are highly sought after, as they are formal recognition of the ongoing strength and vitality of our business.
JEFF JENNINGS: One interesting story happened a few years ago when the local newspaper contacted us to ask what it was like to be involved in NASA’s Artemis Mission to Mars. We had to do some scrambling at that point because, to be honest, we didn’t actually realize that our vacuum valves had played a key role in building the Orion spacecraft for Artemis. That may sound odd, but we’ve been involved in multiple applications for NASA over the years and while they are all important, they are usually basic research or production scenarios. There is also often a lag between an order being placed and the final project debut, so we didn’t understand the significance of the word “Artemis” at the time of the order. We had to dig through our records a bit to discover how amazing this story turned out to be. I like to think the experience symbolizes just how widespread our technology is among ambitious and challenging endeavors.
What else would you like to add?
JORDAN BAST: The entire Richards team and I are very excited to welcome Equilibar into the family! We think this partnership is a great fit, very complementary. Over time I can’t wait to see all the positive impact we will have for our customers and our people.
JEFF JENNINGS: I feel good about this new chapter. I fully expect that Richards’ investment and support will open many doors and enable Equilibar to realize our potential in ways we could not have done on our own. Our team members and customers will have opportunities that would not have been possible before. I’m looking forward to exploring all types of possibilities and focusing even more on what I and the rest of the Equilibar team do best: exploring how our technology can be used in new and surprising ways.
If you’d like more information about Equilibar’s precision back pressure regulators, vacuum control valves and other fluid control devices, please contact one of our application engineers. For more information about Richards’ products, send an email to email@example.com