By Denise M. Roberts
Tim and Rae Weaver own and operate one of the most diversified companies in their area, combining several businesses into one. Be it hardware, power equipment, water pumps or water treatment, this family business tackles all problems, large or small. Currently, Precision Pump, Inc. is one of the largest, full-service water pump businesses in the Pacific Northwest, offering pump installation, service and maintenance, as well as water treatment equipment sales and service. This broad array of options includes well pump installation and service; water system design; storage tank systems for low-yielding wells; fire suppression systems; water conditioning systems; POU water filtration; iron and manganese removal, and flow and potability testing for real estate transactions. Located about 30 miles from downtown Portland, Precision Pump serves most of the area to the west, all the way to the Oregon coast, focusing on residential, small commercial and agriculture markets. “We encounter iron, both ferric and ferrous, many times finding both in the same water,” said Weaver. “A high percentage of our water is also acidic. Compared to other portions of the US though, we have fairly low hardness levels. Manganese, tannins, iron bacteria, silica and arsenic also show up. The bulk of what we install are calcite and iron filters and softeners.”
A different starting point
Tim Weaver’s father Bob, purchased Banks Hardware in 1967 and started a pump department. Tim and his brother started working in the store at a young age, setting the stage for a well-rounded vocational training program that would result in both expansion and success. “I bought my first motorcycle at the age of seven by putting together tank tee manifolds,” said Weaver. “Working summers turned into full-time employment and set my path toward the future. I purchased the pump portion of the operation from my parents and started Precision Pump in 1994. In 2003, we started Precision Outdoor Power Equipment, followed the next year with the purchase of Banks Hardware. These transactions solidified a strong retail presence in the community.
“Also in 2003, we started the water treatment department. While doing work on water systems, we were constantly being asked if we could fix the quality of their water and noticed that more water treatment equipment was either in bypass, unplugged or laying in a pile unused than was actually in service. We referred customers to a reputable water treatment company for years, until the owner convinced me that we should start our own water treatment department. He has served as my mentor and friend ever since.”
A top team keeps things moving
The company team of professionals takes pride in their work and stays current with emerging technologies to offer residential and commercial customers the best water systems available. The company mission to become a premier water pump business is being realized through a solid foundation of positive customer service, extensive product knowledge and ongoing professional education. Currently, Rae manages the hardware and equipment companies along with Chris Shaw, who handles the phones for Precision Pump. Shaw, who has been with the business for many years, developed and maintains the website and all IT functions; he also oversees the retail water department. Chad Vanderzanden is manager of the water treatment department. He got his start with Precision by working summers for Weaver. Trent O’Connor, suggestion of Tim’s father (as they were neighbors), is the company technician. “Watching him grow up, I thought he would be a good employee for me,” said Weaver. “And, my now 17-year-old son Ryan works with us as school and activities allow. Dusty, who is 14 and worked in the store last summer, will join his brother to work with us this summer as well.”
“We have always been very active in our industry and in the Oregon Ground Water Association (OGWA), and attend almost every training seminar available,” said Weaver. “I was honored as OGWA’s Member of the Year in 2003 and have served on the board numerous times. All employees are active members of both OGWA and NGWA. We will continue to play a significant role in addressing the emerging challenges of providing clean, healthy and affordable groundwater as these issues continue to rise to the top of the priority list for national and local policy discussions. In addition, we became members of the WQA a few years back and attended one of the conventions. I was extremely impressed and somewhat overwhelmed at how diversified the products being displayed were. I also found the educational portions very informative. Education and training are key to our success and we take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way. Industry vendors and manufacturers are very good at providing quality and affordable education, in addition to the programs offered by the associations. There is much to learn that helps us gain that little bit of edge that keeps us out in front of competitors.”
“We grew by leaps and bounds, as we added outdoor power equipment, hardware and water treatment in a short period of time,” Weaver said. “Managing and maintaining growth, hiring and keeping good employees, staying profitable and time management, all important aspects of running a successful company, requires continued focus on all of them at once, which can be difficult. Paying more attention to one aspect than another can lead to problems and I’ve been guilty of doing just that. Throw in our current economy and severe drop in new wells being drilled…it can certainly be trying at times and I’m sure I am not the only one who has pondered, what am I doing this for! But, at the end of each day, our customers reinforce our belief that we are providing the best products and service to ensure their well being. And that makes it all worthwhile!
“Most members of our local community are not on city water. It’s uplifting to change the local attitude from ‘city water is way better than that nasty well water’ to customers being proud of their well water. We strive to contribute to the development of our community, which has helped to make this business such a success. We enjoy talking with citizens about groundwater issues and participating in groundwater-related events such as Ground Water Day at the state capitol and the Clean Water Festival. We also look forward to participating in events within our local community, such as the Banks Barbeque and Parade each August. I do find this industry to be very rewarding and enjoy what I do. ”
“Although the well drilling industry is showing some signs of improving, we are going to focus our time and resources on expanding our water treatment department. Most water specialists have not focused enough on water that is not from a well and I see it as an ‘untapped’ market. I strongly feel that safe drinking water will continue be a big issue in the future and as a result, our industry will expand and flourish as more people question what is in their water. Most of the municipal water in our area is surface water and some media attention has been given to those systems and their problems but more will come. The study on water softeners and how hard water affects instant hot-water heaters will also be helpful for developing new products and enhancing service. As the cost of water increases, our customers will demand that quality keeps pace as well. And that’s what we’re here to do.”