Jonathan Evans, Paul Nieberding
We’d like to put the spotlight on one of our successful distributors in the United States, Fondriest Environmental. Established in 1999 by Steve Fondriest, working from his basement, the company has grown to 25 employees and is now managed by Paul Nieberding, who joined in 2005. The company is based in Fairborn, Ohio. Earlier this year, Paul Nieberding was interviewed by Jonathan Evans, account manager US East with Van Essen Instruments.
Paul, how would you describe the core business of Fondriest Environmental?
We are a distributor and integrator of systems that monitor natural resources, such as lakes and streams. For system integration we have developed NexSens Technology, which specializes in the design and manufacture of real-time environmental measurement systems. We can supply instrumentation for both water quality and quantity. Roughly 70% of our projects are surface water oriented, but we see the share of groundwater projects increasing – that is a growth area. For both applications we work with Van Essen Instruments’ Divers, growing the business year-on-year.
And what are the markets you are active in?
We are serving three core segments within the United States: environmental consultants, university researchers and government agencies. Occasionally we also work for municipal and industrial customers, e.g., wastewater projects.
If you looked five years ahead, what would Fondriest look like? What is your vision for the company?
We really want to grow our system integration business, focus on ‘complete solutions’. Offering more services, like field maintenance, start up support, rental service, oceanographic applications. I also envision Fondriest having multiple branches, with Florida and California as target areas.
Van Essen and Fondriest have been partners for seven years now. How satisfied are you with the cooperation?
I think the partnership works really great. You are responsive, helpful and knowledgeable. I think three things are important when working with a vendor: product quality, responsiveness and reliable and quick deliveries. You check all of those boxes. The Divers fit well with our system integration solutions. For example, the Diver SDI interface with built-in Baro sensor you offer makes connecting the Divers easy.
I remember in 2014 the Van Essen account manager visited and started the cooperation. He brought a briefcase with demo equipment for us get acquainted with the instrumentation. We started off a bit slowly, but now we have a demo site with your equipment on our premises and are growing together every year. We have no complaints.
Then let me conclude by stating that we also highly appreciate our partnership with Fondriest and look forward to many more years of success together. Thank you very much for this interview.