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Bradford White makes greater commitment to tankless market


BY MARY JO MARTIN Editorial director


A


t the recent Omni Spring Conference, Bradford White was one of four new vendors


introduced to the group. President and CEO Nicholas J. Giuffre was in- vited to address the membership dur- ing the Opening Session, and with a combination of humor and zeal shared the backstory on Bradford White and its dedication to distribu- tion. He reminded those present of the three founding principals by which Chairman of the Board A. Robert Carnevale led the ESOT to ac- quire Bradford White in 1992: • Supporting the American worker


manufacturing its products in the U.S. • Employee ownership to encour- age greater pride and loyalty • Dedication to the trade through


wholesale-only distribution. “We still hold true to those three


core values, which continue to res- onate with our customers today,” he said. “Every time we go to a meeting like this, or visit with customers out in the field, we are reminded how im- portant these principals are to them. It’s what defines us, and it’s a very comfortable fit for us.” During a break in the meetings, I


sat down with senior vice president- sales and marketing Bruce Carnevale and newly appointed director of spe- cialty sales Carlos Morales to get an update on the direction Bradford White is taking their business — in- cluding a renewed focus on tankless water heating. In addition to their traditional water


heating business, today’s Bradford White consists of Bradford White


Canada, LAARS Heating Systems and Niles Steel Tank. The latter were very strategic acquisitions that helped Bradford White service their cus- tomers with solutions to heat or store water, and also to diversify into the commercial market. These divisions work very synergistically together — in fact, LAARS is Niles Steel Tanks’ biggest customer — but have re- tained their own sales and marketing teams. There is a popular saying that “per-


ception is reality,” so I asked Carnevale how he believes that Brad- ford White is perceived by customers in the marketplace. “The best answer to that is coming


to a meeting like this and hearing from your customers,” he responded. “We walked into the Opening Recep- tion here and it was a little over- whelming — in a good way. All of our customers were coming up and congratulating us on getting into the group. We really have to thank our customers for making that possible; they went to great effort to advocate for us being in Omni. I think it speaks very highly of our relationship that our customers will go to such lengths to support us.” The Omni Spring Conference pro-


vided an ideal opportunity for Brad- ford White to introduce the newest member of their team, Carlos Morales, to many of their whole- salers. Morales, who has earned high respect from the tankless water heat- ing community thanks to more than a decade as vice president-sales and marketing at Noritz, is looking for- ward to the opportunities he sees with Bradford White. “In my previous work, I made it a point to support professional contrac-


tors and distribution — a strategy I learned from watching Bradford White,” Morales said. “I had long known of their reputation and ad- mired their success. My skills are in


•THE WHOLESALER® — MARCH 2011


ally decided that this guy was a good fit for our company.” When Morales started marketing


tankless products in January 2000, there were no wholesalers in Califor- nia who even specialized in tankless water heaters. According to Morales, there are now over 400,000 tankless units sold in the U.S. each year — or about 10% of the gas water heater business. He also noted that in the en- suing years, the tankless movement has spread through Texas and the


the tankless water heating field and its specialized engineering. Without having the strong commitment to contractors, I don’t think I could have achieved such success at Noritz. I’m looking forward to using those strengths and skill to help Bradford White grow the tankless side of their business.” In fact, Morales had even ap-


proached Carnevale some years ago in an attempt to better understand how Bradford White went to market. “Carlos had reached out to me to


get a better understanding of the strategies behind how we did busi- ness exclusively in the wholesale channel,” Carnevale explained. “We were philosophically on same the page, and had a lot of respect for each other and the work we were doing. So when things changed and Carlos be- came available, I reached out to him to see if there was anything we could do to help. It seemed to make sense to bring on board someone of his ca- pability and who has those entrepre- neurial skills.” As with any company, the internal


chemistry between those who work together is crucial. And Bradford White is well known throughout the industry for their genuine, hard- working team; in fact, internal turnover is so low they joke that once someone comes on board they never leave. “The reaction internally about


Bruce Carnevale senior VP-sales & marketing Carlos Morales director of specialty sales • Be sure to visit www.thewholesaler.com for web exclusive articles and videos! •


adding Carlos to our team has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Carnevale. “At Bradford White, we strongly believe it’s more about chemistry and the fit with our team. While education, credentials and ex- perience are important, they are not the deciding factor. Before we hired him, Carlos spent several days with our team members and the team re-


Southeast, and now is gaining mo- mentum in Chicago and the North- east — areas that he will be strongly focusing on.


The first step is training Over the years, Bradford White has


developed a very thorough training program that involves reps, whole- salers and contractors. In conjunction with this new push into the tankless market, they will be expanding their training program in that arena. Morales will be key in introducing these new technologies to customers and teaching them how to sell, install and service Bradford White’s tank- less product offering — which in- cludes both gas and electric tankless models, as well as solar and heat pump options. “Contractors handle a lot of differ-


ent products,” said Morales, “and they need to be familiar and comfort- able with the features and benefits. In addition, many utilities, gas compa- nies and municipalities are offering incentives, so we need to make sure our customers are fully aware of what incentives are available. It’s our job to help them with training and give them the right tools so they can make the sale.” Carnevale added, “We’ve seen


more changes in the water heater in- dustry in the last 10 years than we’ve seen in previous 50. And I think we’ll see even more changes in the next five. As the market evolves because of both consumer interest and gov- ernment regulations, we will continue to expand our offerings to meet these demands with further enhanced tech- nologies. Carlos’ role is in some ways tactical to help us be a better supplier to customers with our current prod- ucts, while also being strategic in (Turn to The Internet... page 162.)


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