This week’s Industry Person of the Week is Chad Wunderlich, Global Distributor Development Manager for Viking Pump, Inc.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Chad: I started my career as a part-time Student Drafter in the Engineering Department at Viking Pump. At the time I had no plans to stay; I just wanted to gain some industry experience before I graduated from college and started my career officially. But prior to graduation I was offered the opportunity to start full-time as an Application Engineer, assisting our customers with pump sizing, selection, service and troubleshooting questions. It was another great opportunity to learn, but a situation I still considered “temporary”. But I enjoyed where I was and what I was doing. I moved on to Field Sales in Chicago and later back to Cedar Falls as an Engineering Manager. It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually I realized that these jobs I’d taken for the experience had developed into a career in the pump industry. For the past 8 years I’ve held the role of Global Distributor Development Manager, providing instruction for our distribution sales channel, customers, and at talking at various industry events.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Chad: I’ve always loved the opportunity to visit our customers and get the behind-the-scenes view of how they use our pumps to produce their various products. It feels good to know I’ve played a small part in helping our customers to make the shingles on my house, the tires on my car, and the peanut butter on my sons’ sandwiches. Viking Pump has given me the opportunity to participate in new product development, help with marketing and sales initiatives, travel all over the world, and host our customer visitors…there’s a lot I love about my job.
I’m most proud of the people I’ve been able to instruct and mentor over the years. I’ve provided instruction to tens of thousands of colleagues, distributor employees, and customers all over the world. For many that training was the start of their own careers. It’s rewarding to see someone develop their industry knowledge and advance their career.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Chad: Learn. And seek out the opportunity to learn. Accept the fact that you will never know everything about your industry and be very skeptical of those who claim to.
Welcome the opportunity to get pushed out of your comfort zone and do something new as this is your best opportunity to learn and develop.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Chad: I helped Viking Pump to develop a new line of shaft seals; in fact this is my first patent. This seal series, which we call O-Pro®, offers our customers an alternative to shaft packing and the leakage that packing requires. It was developed for our customers in the chocolate industry but word of its success quickly spread and today we have O-Pro® seals running successfully on peanut butter, molasses, wax, resin, asphalt, and many other liquids. It’s been rewarding to talk to customers about the success they’ve had in getting rid of the leakage from packing that they’d accepted for so many years. And it’s been great to watch this product evolve into 3 different designs and even a full line of pumps that utilizes this seal as standard.
Q: Anything Else you would like to add?
Chad: Prior to Covid I would travel frequently and hosted training at customer sites and events all over the world. But global pandemic has changed that dramatically. Today the bulk of my training time is spent developing videos that we post to our website, YouTube, and social media sites like LinkedIn. This is a big change for a 20 year veteran like myself, but it’s been a fun new experience to develop these repair training videos and a brief technical training series we call “Pump Report”. This has again pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I’m starting to find my stride and excel at this new style of training.
THANK YOU, CHAD! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
KNOW AN AMAZING PERSON WHO IS MAKING VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS WITHIN INDUSTRY? NOMINATE THEM TO BE AN “INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE WEEK”!