On a 100° F June day, Bonomi North America played host to a group of 15 engineers, contractors, manufacturer reps and wholesale distributors at its company headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.

These close-knit gatherings play a crucial role in the Italian-owned valve manufacturer continuing its growth in the North American marketplace. Rick Wentzell, the company’s North American marketing consultant, says Bonomi’s June 17 event was well worth the effort. Bonomi, he said, has been averaging one training session per month at the Charlotte building.

 “We feel this particular training session was a complete success,” he said. “Brad Wentzell (Rick’s son), our Southeast regional sales manager, just reported a significant valve order from a mechanical contractor for valve products. What could be a better result than that?”

Wentzell opened the day by covering the company’s beginnings in North America. A tour of Bonomi’s 30,000-sq.-ft. warehouse followed. The discussion then segued into the manufacturing process.

Wentzell has led the charge to ensure Bonomi North America training sessions are unique, especially for industry veterans who make the effort to travel to Charlotte from their respective territories.  

“We try to educate the attendees primarily on the many codes and standards of the industry rather than our valve line,” Wentzell said. “In order to sell valves to end users and engineers, we believe one must be knowledgeable in the reasons ‘why’ a particular valve must be used in a particular application and why the industry chose to make a standard or a code for it.”

Wentzell discussed issues of lead-free valves, and provided an in-depth look at industry codes and standards, as well as industry associations such as IAPMO, ASTM, MSS, CSA, ANSI and others.

“Our attendees need to know more about these code people or organizations that create these standards,” he said. “Selling a valve is easy; knowing why it is required is more substantial. We have found that most, if not all our attendees are very weak in this area, even the ones who have many years of experience. When they leave our classes they are armed with a whole new world of product knowledge through our codes and standards training regimen.”

After attendees enjoyed a catered lunch, Sean Carrouth, Bonomi’s automation product manager, led a deep dive discussion about specific available Bonomi products for residential, commercial and industrial applications. Carrouth was hired by Alberto Malaguti, Bonomi North America’s general manager, almost two years ago. Rick Wentzell said Carrouth has put a lot of the training sessions on his shoulders.

“Sean has taken the leading role in developing Bonomi North America’s valve automation program to a higher level by introducing a variety of new and much more sophisticated componentry,” Rick Wentzell said.

Wentzell expects Bonomi North America to see continued growth for the remainder of 2015 and will continue to book new sessions with other potential clients. Next year, when there will be a lot of uncertainty because of the race for the White House, the company expects to roll out new valves for sale.

“We see a positive and steady growth for the rest of 2015. For 2016, even though it is an election year, we anticipate a growth spurt due to the addition of a variety of new products,” he said.

“The training sessions are critical to our growth. Each time we have one we enjoy an immediate increase in sales in that territory, not to mention the closer personal relationships gained by both sides having come face to face with each other.”


 This article was originally titled “In the zone” in the August 2015 print edition of PM Engineer.