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The work on the addition for Liberty Pumps began a year and a half ago with the first phase of construction adding more than 81,600 square feet of manufacturing space. The added space added more manufacturing cells and a new lunch room, a powder coat line that was just about operational when we visited late last year during the company’s annual sales meeting.
Next up was for expanded R&D, including a much larger in-ground test pit along with about 14,200 square feet in all for the research and engineering lab. By the way, the testing facility was quite the hit during the open house when the company’s grinder pumps made quick work chewing up clothes and other heavy-duty items grinder pumps handle every day in the field.
Finally, the company added what might be termed more “public space,” as part of a 23,000-squre-foot sales/marketing wing. The new wing, along with office space, features an 85-seat training center decked out with audio and visual devices. Next door is a product display area for hands-on training and demonstrations. Along the hallways are several historical displays, including a look at highlights of each of the past five decades, plus all the patents granted to the company, and, finally, a visitors lounge.
“After all our other expansions,” said Randall Waldron, vice president of sales and marketing at Liberty, “I'd like to say this one's going to hold us for a while. But at the rate of growth we've had, that's probably not the case.”
One of the more important aspects of the expansion to Waldron is the additional square footage for training space.
“As we’ve grown our customer base and our product offering, we really see the need to better train everyone on our products,” Waldron added. “This facility gives us the opportunity to provide a better environment and experience when they come here.”
Waldron, himself, is another long-term member of the staff with 34 years on the job. He originally took a part-time job between semesters studying physical education at a college in Ohio.
“Even back then, without a lot of job experience I could see it wasn’t just a great place to work, but I could tell it was heading someplace," Waldron said.
Waldron “grew with company” after a change in major had him taking years of night school classes at the Rochester Institute of Technology while working at Liberty and, ultimately, earning a degree in marketing.
“When the company was smaller, we all wore a lot of hats and did whatever it took to get the job done,” he added.
One of those hats was customer service.
“I think I was the first customer service rep when we actually decided to dedicate one person to take calls,” Waldron noted. “I think one of the big things that has made us successful is that we have always had a focus on the customer.”
Throughout the years, the company has strived to make innovative products designed to make the contractors life that much easier, but a simple phone conversation still goes a long way.
“I think it makes a tremendous difference when a customer calls in and a real person answers the phone,” Waldron added. “Even as we’ve grown and it’s become difficult to maintain that personal touch with so many calls coming in every day, we feel it is still a vital part of the service we give our customers.”