Engineering for a Better World

WesTech Engineering
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

WesTech Engineering serves the industrial, mining and municipal water and wastewater markets and has developed a reputation for being an industry leader that does the right thing and stands behind its products. The company engineers and manufactures liquid solids separation and water treatment equipment. By removing solids and treating the water, the products not only benefit clients but the environment as well.
Senior Account Executive John Gottschall was once asked where he worked and he answered with “WesTech.” The questioner promptly responded, “WesTech. That’s the quality company!”

WesTech is recognized for its quality water treatment solutions and unparalleled commitment to customer service. They do what is in the best interest of communities and ecosystems across the globe.

The company offers its clients process equipment and engineered solutions for surface water, groundwater, water reuse, drinking water, wastewater and industrial and mineral processes. Its intelligently designed, efficient processes satisfy its clients’ expectations for water treatment systems from pre-treatment to back-end processes and safe discharge.

At the heart of the company are its core values that are present in everything that the WesTech team does. The company operates with honesty, integrity, pride, hard work and a commitment to its people and the community.

It improves operational capacity with sustainable water solutions. The company provides reliable separation equipment to remove solids from water and offers its clients responsive service and a long warranty on its products and solutions. The WesTech name is synonymous with quality and its guarantee even outlives its warranty.

“I have never seen us tell a customer that the product is out of warranty,” said Gottschall. “If we felt that it was our design error that created the problem, there is no warranty period for this company, really.” He states that there is, in fact, a warranty on paper, but that WesTech loves to outperform it.

The company’s process equipment is engineered and manufactured to client specification and designed to exceed performance criteria to produce exceptional results. “How easy is that for a person like myself who has been involved in the sales for this company for twenty-two years to be able to have that behind you?”

WesTech has roots that date back to the 1940s when it began as Process Engineers, a company started by two World War Two veterans and an engineer in the industry to provide liquid/solid separation for the mining industry. By the 1950s, and in the decades following, Process Engineers diversified into the water industry with wastewater and water drinking treatment.

Process Engineers was purchased in the late 1950s, and employees who decided not move over to the new company formed WesTech in 1972. It was incorporated in 1973 and has since enjoyed over forty years of success.

In the 1980s, the company implemented an employee stock ownership plan and is currently one hundred percent employee-owned. Its employee shareholders continue to reinvest in the company to expand its global footprint.

“We choose to reinvest our profits in our company to develop more products and to develop better products,” noted Gottschall. “In many cases, we develop system kinds of approaches to our clients’ problems.” He continued, “We have expanded not only our products and the industries that we serve, but we have also expanded our reach into the global market.”

WesTech has grown four and a half times in size since entering the twenty-first century. Based in Utah, the company now has multiple offices in the U.S., as well as in India, China, South Africa, and Brazil, with a widespread distribution network for its innovative products and solutions.

Not only does it design products and solutions for new installations, but it also retrofits existing systems. The company has taken part in projects for municipalities and industries around the world, and it is proud of the results.

“We’ve developed a product that solves problems for the mining industry, the power industry, for the petroleum industry, and with those products, we have become a supplier to a broad range of industrial clients.” He added that WesTech has a systems group to fully serve these industrial clients.

“Our growth in the municipal market,” Gottschall said, “would not have happened if we had not been an ESOP. Our culture of ownership has allowed us to produce quality products, go the extra mile in serving our customers and do all of this while being the same company for all of these 40 years. Now that we are 100 percent owned by our ESOP – and the fact that we have not changed – we have been able to maintain and cherish and hold onto that culture that we find so enjoyable to work within.”

Gottschall was involved in the water industry when the Clean Water Act came into existence in 1972. The federal government required secondary treatment of wastewater, and regulations have since been expanded to include tertiary treatment and processing.

This caused a boom for wastewater treatment plants in the U.S., and WesTech was there to take advantage of that growth. Now, several decades later, these wastewater treatment facilities are aging, and once again, WesTech has engaged municipalities to update systems and processes for even greater results.

“The industries we serve are asking for cleaner water because they realize they can do more with it,” Gottschall explained. “We all understand that the reuse of water is important, but also, we have increased the quality of our drinking water because we realize more and more that there are things in our drinking water that we should remove.”

The company partnered with construction and civil engineering company Bechtel to help rebuild the water infrastructure in Iraq after it was damaged during the war that ravaged the country for years. WesTech had a water treatment plant supplying running water for the Iraqi people in less than a year.

“We did it on budget, and we did it quicker than the six months required of us. I think we were actually about a month early and met all their commitments,” said Gottschall. “When I talk to the project managers of that project, throughout the whole project, what we kept thinking was that there are people like us – families – that haven’t got any water right now. It is a fine example of what we can all do if we work together. What we deliver to people is just so important.”

Doing the right thing has been built into the company culture. “I’ve been in so many meetings in WesTech and the last question that is always asked is, ‘Are we doing the right thing?’ Not ‘Are we doing the most economically prudent thing?’, ‘Are we doing the thing that will make us the richest?’” said Gottschall. “‘Are we doing the right thing?’, because that is one of the top things in our culture.”

Culture has supported WesTech as both an industry leader and an employer. It employs five hundred people worldwide, with sixty-four professional engineers on staff, and it has fostered the development of a work culture and environment that secures the industry’s best and brightest professionals, which further enhances the company’s capacity and expertise.

“We support people as they go through engineering school. The last two years are on us, so they come to work for us, and they stay because of the culture, and they generate that pride in WesTech products that allows our company to be known as the quality company in the industry.”

Through the development of new products and solutions, WesTech finds new ways to do the right thing for industry, society and the environment. “We are represented by individual companies called manufacturers’ representatives,” said Gottschall. “They bring us the greatest ideas. They bring us the problems that need to be solved, and that has probably been the greatest motivation to develop new products for the industries that we serve.”

The company feels that it can impart a real change in water use worldwide. Through the sustainable use of water, WesTech improves the quality of life of humans and entire ecosystems. As its reputation for quality and integrity continues to grow, so too will demand for its products and processes and, thus, the widespread benefit of clean water.

“We are trying to return clean water to industry as well as to human beings,” Gottschall said. “We have a feeling that we are making things better, and that feeling creates a certain resonance with all of the employees, no matter what our task is in the company.”

Since the amount of water on earth is finite, processes that improve the quality and quantity of usable and drinkable water are of great importance in order to meet the demands of an ever-growing population. “It is the same amount,” Gottschall stated. “We never lose it. We give it to the atmosphere, and it comes back, but the useable water has to be expanded.”

WesTech has found a way to do the right thing, making the world a better place one drop of water at a time.

“It’s so rewarding because, at the end of the day, if I have sold anything, water got better somewhere,” Gottschall said proudly. “Speaking for other employees, if they design a product, water is better somewhere because of that design. It’s a wonderful feeling.”



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