Founded in Port Orange, Florida in 1970 by George A. Thompson and his sons, Bill and George Jr., Thompson Pump presently serves the pumping and dewatering needs of more than 6,000 clients (nationally and internationally). The company’s clients represent such industries as underground utility, road building, heavy construction and remediation, as well as mining, industrial, and agricultural operations; municipalities, the military and other government agencies. Thompson serves these clients with a fully developed distribution network for sales, rental, service and parts, including several company-owned support centers.
Back in 1970, the Thompson’s had no idea how successful the company would become. At the time, George Sr. had extensive experience in the dewatering industry, and had worked on numerous large projects before starting the company. George Sr. put his mechanical aptitude to work and was soon inventing and patenting pump products that earned the company a reputation for innovation. The Vacuum Underdrain Pipe was one such product — used to make shallow dewatering more efficient. With Bill handling administrative, accounting and management duties, and George Jr. taking charge of operations, George Sr. was off digging up new business and developing new products. Growth was fast and furious but they and the growing team were up to the challenge.
During that fast growth period, Thompson Pump manufactured and introduced lines of wet prime pumps, high pressure jet pumps and uniquely designed diaphragm pumps. In 1973, Thompson adapted the rotary pump for dewatering for the first time. The rotary pump proved to be so efficient at wellpoint dewatering that Thompson quickly became the market leader. In 1977, Thompson introduced its own version of vacuum-assisted pumps, which allowed standard pumps to prime without filling the pump housing with water first, and to reach higher heads for demanding applications.
After establishing its headquarters and factory in Port Orange on 2 acres of land, Thompson began purchasing property and opening branches in other strong pump markets. In 1975, the first operation outside Florida was opened in Goldsboro, North Carolina on 12 acres of land. Florence, Mississippi followed (1978) to take advantage of major projects near Jackson, Miss., and by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Unfortunately, the unprecedented success of the late 1970s was bittersweet when George Jr., then company vice president, died in 1979 at the age of 25.
With its resolve restored, the company maintained its commitment to growth in the 1980’s. Additional branches opened in Chesapeake, Virginia, (1982) to expand northward; Pensacola, Florida, (1983) for the Florida panhandle and gulf; Ravenel, South Carolina, (1984) to provide greater Carolinas presence; Sarasota, Florida, (1986) and West Palm Beach, Florida, (1989) for the coastal Florida areas. Several branches increased the size of their facilities to more than 5,000 square feet.
The Port Orange headquarters also doubled in size during that time. Land was purchased and a building was constructed to house accounting and administrative offices.
Product innovation continued in the 1980’s with the introduction of Thompson’s hydraulic power units with submersible pump heads for high head applications, such as mines or quarries. Continuing expansion of the pump line attracted the attention of equipment distributors across the country, and Thompson established a strong national network of dealers and rental centers. Today, the company utilizes more than 30 regional, national and international distributors internationally.
The 1990’s brought another tremendous growth pattern. The branches were rapidly outgrowing the original facilities and new sites were opened in Jacksonville, Florida, (1991) and Orlando, Florida, (1996). To provide better service to the branches and their customers, the Goldsboro, N.C., and Orlando, Fla., facilities were expanded as regional depots. Testing facilities were established in selected branches to improve product quality and performance.
Other notable product innovations followed: The FilterVac pipe was rolled out in 1994. In 1997, Thompson introduced dry prime pumps with compressor-assisted priming systems. Named Enviroprime System®, the environmentally safe priming system was perfect for sewer bypass and similar applications. It is still unique to the industry. The Silent Knight® sound-attenuated pumps were brought to market in 1998. The Silent Knight® offers a high quality noise-suppressing enclosure for quiet pumping.
By 2000, Thompson reached new records in sales, rental activity and employment. The company weathered an emotional setback when George Sr. passed away in the spring. Bill recalls, “This company is his legacy. He was the type of person to make a contribution every day, and keep us on our toes. We miss his guidance and leadership, but benefit every day from his example.”
Thompson continues to build on its experience while growing and improving its operations. Development at Thompson headquarters has increased with the main property in Port Orange expanding from the original two acres to over 11 acres. In addition to the 6,000 sq. ft. administrative offices built in 1985, the 10,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in 1996, and the 2,800 sq. ft. pump testing facility in 1997, Thompson completed its new 22,000 sq. ft. Logistics Center in 2001 - bringing the total of the Port Orange factory and offices to over 70,000 sq. ft. Dedicated to the founder of Thompson Pump, the George A. Thompson Logistics Center is a symbol of the increased business volume Thompson has realized in recent years and the company’s commitment to its customers. The building is home for purchasing, accounts payable and parts sales personnel. There are two loading docks and storage for new pumps, components and spare parts. The Logistics Center allows Thompson to utilize advanced material handling strategies, resulting in even better customer service and reduced costs.
During these prosperous times Thompson continued to expand its branch network, opening service centers in Fort Myers, Florida (2000), Atlanta, Georgia (2001), Panama City, Florida (2002), Kansas City, Kansas (2002), Savannah, Georgia (2003), Providence, Rhode Island (2003), Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (2004), and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2005).
In the years following the economy turned downward but Thompson Pump endured continuous revolution tackling new challenges and growing the company in new ways. New strategies and resources have resulted in the largest revenue years in the company’s history, and significant growth in market share.
Thompson Pump continues to amass considerable experience in meeting the pumping and dewatering needs of its customers with innovative products and services. Thompson invites its customers, both old and new, to Experience Innovation!