John Guest is one of the most popular quick-connect fitting brands in the water filtration industry. John Woodard, our Master Water Specialist spoke with Nathan Curry, a John Guest Business Development Manager. Here's what Nathan had to say about the history, growth, and future goals of the business.
John Guest has been in business since 1961. What's changed? How has the business grown?
That's a really interesting question, John. You're right, we've been in business for 50 years. A lot of change has taken place. There's one thing that hadn't changed. We have a standard that has been developed over the last 50 years. It's the standard of expectation that people now have of John Guest and the push-pull fittings that we've developed and continue to develop. And it's a standard that provides consistency, and people depend upon it. And because of that, our business has grown significantly. We've expanded into new areas, but we're consistent with the standard and continuing to move forward with the new products.
I know that John Guest has become a Kleenex term in the quick-connect fitting family. It doesn't matter whose they are, people call them John Guest. So what makes John Guest unique?
So I have to admit, I'm kind of spoiled. You know, as a business development manager, it's really nice to go to customers and they already know about John Guests, and they know that they're dependable fittings used in a wide variety of industries. You're familiar with all the different industries. Water filtration is our main focus, but we also do business in the poultry industry. We do business in the medical industry; we do business in pneumatics; we do business in automotive and in off-road vehicles. Our main focus is water filtration. That business has been our mainstay. We continue to grow in that business. RO systems are growing significantly, not just for personal use but also in industries and in agriculture. And this fitting here, which is relatively new, is used in that market. So we're taking that standard that we've set in fluid systems and fittings, and we're branching out into new areas.
How does John Guess maintain a spirit of innovation?
I was actually looking through one of the power points to do a presentation, and one of the words that we used in that PowerPoint was ethos. And I wanted to find out what that actually meant, so I looked up the definition. And the definition of ethos is "culture." That really provided some clarity to me on this point because we have a culture and have always had a culture, since 1961, where we want to live by a certain standard, and we aren't ever going to jeopardize that standard. As you said, we're known as a Kleenex [brand], and so we want to make sure we maintain that standard. And we've got that commitment that we've had for 50 years and will continue to push that standard to make sure that we stay at that level.
That spirit and that culture are probably what brought to you to what's really new at John Guest - that's your association with RWC.
Yeah. Who would've thought, right? You know, this time last year, nobody had a clue, at least the people that I knew at John Guest too. It's a privately-held company [RWC] based out of the UK. We're a small portion of the business here in the United States. June of last year it was announced to us that we were being bought out. And everybody's head was spinning a little bit. There was a bit of anxiety, I must admit. But after the thing settled down, it became apparent why this happened because I can't imagine a better company to work for.
Over the last six to eight months, six to nine months, we've gotten another people at RWC (Reliance Worldwide Inc.). It's a company based originally out of Australia. Their global headquarters is now in Atlanta, Georgia. They are now a global company with the purchase of John Guest who was mainly focused in Europe and in Asia, and this is one of the reasons why they bought us. Not only that we had great products, but those products were sold throughout Europe and Asia. With that addition, Reliance Worldwide is now a global company, close to $2 billion in sales per year and they, like John Guest, are known as providing products that are top of the line. You're probably familiar with SharkBite. I used to sell against these guys. I used to go in and try to develop business for ProLock, one of our plumbing fittings to compete with SharkBite. Now, I get to go into companies and, and provide opportunities for Sharkbite PEX pipe, SharkBite fittings, Cash Acme valves, and some products from other companies too.
One of the great things about RWC is they want to be a company that takes and provides systems and products from the meter at the street, and then provide everything to the shower in your bathroom. They've made progress in that. They offer a number of different products, but they're going to continue to grow by acquiring other companies to make sure they provide every part of that fluid system that I just mentioned.
Learn more about John Guest Quick-Connect and SharkBite Fittings.
What is John Guest and what is Nathan Curry looking forward to in the future? What kind of things can we expect to see?
I think there's going to be a lot of benefit in providing not just John Guest fittings to the customers, but also providing those products that RWC offers also. I think there are some areas with existing customers that we weren't familiar with that use PEX pipe, or use a type of valve, or even SharkBite fittings. So I think there are existing opportunities which will cause the business to grow, but we also have new products too.
One of the really cool products is a product you see right here. This is a monitoring system for leaks. You use it typically in residential housing. It's basically installed where the water line comes into the house for CTS pipes, which is copper, PEX, and CPVC three-quarter inch, one-inch or one and a quarter inch lines. It uses ultrasound to measure the flow rate of the water. And then you download an app on your cell phone that works in conjunction with Amazon Alexa, or Nest. It'll give you a notification if you have a leak in the house.
We have a system that's not invasive, and all it does is inform you of a potential leak. This particular one, when you put it inline, can actually shut off the system. The neat thing is, you can set it up with the certain parameters that will shut it off itself. Or if it notifies you, and you have Wifi, you can shut it off yourself. Or if you're at the location at the house, you can actually manually shut this thing off stuff.