Brad Fox’s goal is to put Waterco USA Inc. on the map.
The CEO took the reins of the pool product and water treatment manufacturing company at 1864 Tobacco Road two years ago. Though the site has manufactured products for 30 years, many residents don’t realize it’s there, Fox said.
He wants to let people know it’s not only here to stay but also has plans to expand.
“We are trying to, and have successfully, increased our manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. We hope in the near future that will turn into more jobs,” Fox said.
He said he hopes to add second and third shifts at the manufacturing facility. The site now has 18 full-time employees working in sales, engineering, production, marketing and the general office.
Previously, Fox worked in the petrochemical industry in Houston. He also held positions at Culligan International Co. and was a Gulf Coast regional manager within the filtration industry. A headhunter contacted him about the opportunity to run Waterco USA, he said.
“I had run similar businesses in the past, of similar size and divisions,” Fox said. “...I saw Augusta and North Augusta as a great place to raise a young family.”
It was also the type of business model that he would go after in terms of potential and growth. Fox said he enjoys his job because he gets to work with customers on complex problems.
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Waterco Ltd.’s only U.S. location is in Augusta, Fox said.
The 100,000-square-foot facility manufactures pumps and filters for the residential and commercial pool industries that are sold through distribution in the U.S. and Latin America and resold in retail stores. It also has a water treatment division that sells large water treatment vessels for the desalination industry that remove salt or other minerals from saline water.
“In the last two years, we’ve really expanded that side of our business,” Fox said.
The Tobacco Road plant operated as Baker Hydro, a locally owned manufacturing facility, for 30 years before the company was purchased by Waterco Ltd. in 2005, Fox said.
Waterco Ltd. has been in business since 1981 and is listed on the Australian stock exchange. It has other manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and China.
Fox said he hopes residents with pools and pool professionals will start to buy products directly from Waterco USA.
“Why send the money outside the CSRA? If they need a pool pump or a pool filter, they can actually come to us and deal directly with a manufacturer that’s in their backyard,” Fox said.
In the future, he wants to acquire additional distributors for the residential and commercial parts of the business. He also plans to bring back the Baker Hydro brand.
“We’re bringing back a brand that has long been forgotten. That had great notoriety and respect within the residential and commercial equipment marketplace,” Fox said.