It’s Your Business: Flowpoint says, “Yeah, We Can Do That!”

Jay Morrison, Vice President of Flowpoint Environment Systems was the guest speaker at Rotary Club of Morinville Sept. 4. – Lucie Roy Photo

by Lucie Roy

It started out with two guys—Darrell Stang and Ron Simonsmeier— in a garage building stuff on the weekend as a sideline to their regular work. That and a person with a yeah, we can do that attitude. It has evolved into a business in Morinville that has more than 600 stations throughout North America and a 30,000 square foot facility with more than 40 full-time employees and the world’s best-automated water management system.

Jay Morrison, Vice President of Flowpoint Environment Systems was the guest speaker at Rotary Club of Morinville Sept. 4.

Morrison said since 1996 Flowpoint Environment Systems (previously Municipal Solutions) has been a manufacturer and distributor of turnkey, automated bulk water dispensing stations, septage receiving stations and management software. They build and sell bulk water dispensing stations which no longer use coins but a secure automated system.

They have 600 stations throughout North America, from Alaska to Florida, San Diego to Boston, and Victoria to Halifax.

They have 32 stations within a 25 km radius from Morinville.

In Canada, there is only Nunavut and Newfoundland or PEI that they do not have stations and the company is in all but 10 states in the USA.

They are situated in the Business Park not far from Champion Petfoods.

In the Beginning

How it all got started was with two people, Stang and Simonsmeier building a water treatment plant in Nampa, a small town in Northern Alberta. At the time the guy they were helping in Nampa said, “Boy, this bulk water dispensing station is just a coin box and people put in a quarter for just 30 seconds of water. Kids on the weekend, all they do is try and steal quarters and mess it up, try to break in, wreck the door for the coins.

“Sure would be nice to figure out a way to build a bulk water dispensing station that didn’t rely on coins, that we could actually record what we are using and give access to the community.”

One of the Flowpoint managers at the time said, “Yeah, we can do that.” So, they got together and built a little system, sold it, and then the community next door. Falher wanted one, then counties in Alberta; St. Paul County, Big Lakes County and Northern Sunrise County.

Stang and Simonsmeier quit their day job and did Flowpoint full time.

After they sold 100 units, they decided it would be nice if they could put those controls in the box with piping and metering. They started selling what they named the Water General, a cost-effective solution for curbside loading locations.

Morrison said they moved about five times between 1996 and last year, while they were in St Albert, each year outgrowing their facility.

How it Works

In Sturgeon County, for example, a person can set up an account, get access with a personal identification number (PIN). They then enter that PIN, and how much water they are taking is sent to the County where they are billed or have a pre-pay method set up.

In the old days, some used to hook up to a fire hydrant, which had a meter and was dangerous for flow prevention. There was also a real chance the person operating it may not understand water hammer and slam the fire hydrant close, breaking a water main a mile away without realizing it.

Morrison said they also have the other end of the spectrum for wastewater. They have newer products for people that deal with septage receiving and haul wastewater.

The company employ design drafters, project engineers, project managers, welders and electricians. Everything is designed in 3-D, making it realistic from design to reality.

Morrison said they don’t build anything until the customer signs off on the drawing, so they do not have a warehouse full of models.

Once the weld is completed, they assemble the component and arrange all of their shipping. Everything is done in house, including software development.

Flowpoint also provides on-site training on operating and maintaining the equipment.

“We are pretty proud of our company, a little company grown to be pretty significant,” Morrison said.

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