News

2M Company Product Manager Dan Ruff Retires After 43 Years

05/28/2021

Littleton, CO - May 28, 2021 - 2M Company announced that Dan Ruff, the company’s senior salesman and product manager, retired today, May 28, 2021 after 43 years with the company. Ruff joined 2M on the company’s opening day: June 1, 1978.

Prior to joining 2M, Ruff had worked in sales for a large distributor specializing in turf irrigation, pump supplies and water well equipment. That’s where he met his then supervisor, Bill Mills. When Mills decided to branch out and start his own business he asked Ruff to join him.

“I asked him to join us because I liked him and I trusted him,” Mills said. “He knew the customers, he knew the product lines, and he knew the area. Dan was very outgoing, pleasant, funny and always joking about something. He was exactly what we needed.”

“I left a high-paying job and a new company car for a third of the wages and a four-year-old beat-up van,” Ruff said, laughing. But he knew it was the right move. “I trusted Bill. He had the right vision.”

When 2M opened for business, they set out to provide the best service in the industry. They installed the first 800-number in the pump industry, so that customers could call in toll-free any time of day. One of the three-person team stayed in the office to answer the phone while the other two were out selling. Ruff would drive as many as 1,400 miles over the course of a week. Mills laughs when he recalls the 5,000-square-foot warehouse and $80,000 worth of inventory.

“We were a grassroots organization,” he said. “But our goal from the beginning was to give better service to our customers than anyone else, and Dan understood that.”

“I had the gift of sales gab,” Ruff said. “I could find humor in just about any situation. That breaks the ice with people. At 2M we were honest, we gave our customers all the correct information, and we were available 24/7. And through it all, what a luxury it was having Bill as my boss and mentor, along with him being a close friend.”

Ruff became a resource of information and service. Early in his career at 2M, Ruff learned turf irrigation, sprinkler design, residential, commercial, industrial, and golf course irrigation, water treatment, stock water pipelines, canal and reservoir lining systems, and more. New turf irrigation technology was developing rapidly back then, and Ruff learned it all — then went out and sold it. Ruff even started getting calls from civil engineers asking for his advice.

Ruff played a critical role in a memorable project involving an extensive radio control irrigation system at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Cascade County, Mont. After Ruff completed thorough site surveys and detailed proposals, the civil and air force engineers hired 2M over their much larger competitor. This was just one of many major projects that included canal and reservoir lining, oil field frac water depots and pump stations, stock water and irrigation pipelines, residential, commercial, and golf course irrigation design and sales.

During his career, Ruff also served as VP, secretary and four-time president of the Montana Water Well Drillers Association (MWWDA), totaling 12 years of service. In 1994, he earned the Trailblazer Award from Hunter Industries, one of the largest turf equipment manufacturers in the world. In 1998, he earned it again — a rare honor.

Additionally, Ruff served on the boards of the Montana Association of Montana Turf, Ornamental, and Pest Professionals (AMTOP); the Montana Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA); and the Peaks and Prairies Golf Course Superintendents Association.

“He was helping to grow the company from the get go,” Mills said. “Basically, Dan was a super salesman. He was an employee, but he was like a partner. 40 years later, we have gone from one location to 15 branches plus a corporate office. Dan spent a lot of personal time developing relationships. We’ve been working with some customers’ families for generations.”

Dan has also worked with generations of 2M Company leadership. When he started, Bill Mills ran the company. Today, Bill’s son Buzz Mills leads 2M. “I worked for Dan in the warehouse way back in the summer of 1978, at the age of 11,” Buzz Mills said. “I watched him paint the first 2M sign.”

“Bill created a culture at 2M that was more like a family than a business. The 1990s brought tremendous growth of sales, new products and locations. Driven by Bill and Buzz, our company footprint expanded dramatically, but the 2M culture and mentality never waivered. That’s what made my career of 43 years at 2M so enjoyable,” Ruff said.

Ruff plans to continue consulting in the industry after he retires. He hopes to spend more time golfing, fishing and traveling to visit friends and family around the country.

“The biggest blessing of my career is that I have very close friendships with employees, customers and vendors throughout most of our locations,” Ruff said, “which I feel very fortunate to have, and will continue to have, after I retire. What a ride it has been.”

Gicon Engineered Pumps Announces Rebrand, Joining Headwater Companies as Headwater Engineered Systems

05/12/2021

Littleton, CO - May 12, 2021 - Gicon Engineered Pumps today announces it will be renamed Headwater Engineered Systems going forward. As a part of Headwater Companies’ national footprint, Headwater Engineered Systems will be able to provide its products and services to all Headwater Companies’ network of customers going forward.

For almost two decades, Gicon Engineered Pumps worked with specifying engineers to build custom products, systems and designs. These include high-voltage, high-horsepower water transfer designs as turnkey solutions for advanced, nonstandard applications in municipal, commercial and industrial settings.

In addition to engineered-to-order products, Headwater Engineered Systems provides all the technical support, field services support, installation, onsite training and troubleshooting for any type of system — from a custom-built 650 horsepower submersible or lineshaft turbine to a pre-packaged pumping system.

General Manager of Commercial Business Mark Durham is excited about the opportunity to synergize with Headwater Companies and its customers.

“We are very excited to introduce Headwater Engineered Systems and to provide engineered and specified products and professional services to the commercial, municipal and industrial markets that Headwater Companies currently serves,” Durham says. “It allows Headwater Companies to broaden its market scope with confidence, knowing they have a competent team and product offering to meet and exceed expectations.”

Headwater Engineered Systems will be headed up by Mark Hacker, newly appointed operations manager. Hacker brings 28 years of industry experience to the role, from customer service to manufacturing and engineering processes. Hacker joins a team of professionals with equal experience with varying skill sets and professional disciplines to round out one of the most respected teams in the industry.

Furthermore, Gicon Engineered Pumps was recently recertified for the ISO 9001 certification under the Headwater Engineered Systems name. By meeting the requirements set forth in the ISO 9001 Standard, Headwater Engineered Systems demonstrates its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

“Attaining the ISO 9001 certification is a mark of commitment to quality,” Durham says. “We just had a major audit with zero infractions, which is essentially a perfect score. It points to our unwavering dedication to quality.” Gicon Engineered Pumps has been ISO certified each year since 2015.

DSI Acquires New Lineshaft Turbine Facility in Pelham, GA

04/23/2021

DSI Pelham brings state-of-the-art assembly and repair capabilities to the Headwater Co. subsidiary.