Girard has a history dating back to 1952, what in your opinion have been the most significant points in the company’s progress over the period?
The early 1970s was a time of big change for the liquid transportation industry. There were new laws enacted by the US Department of Environmental Protection to prevent what many believed was an emerging environmental crisis. One of the main initiatives was to prevent pollution of our water supplies. At that time, the biggest contributor to the water pollution was a growing number of 55 gallon drums being discarded throughout the country; lawmakers wanted to put a stop to that quickly. On the other hand, liquids were also being transported by rail tank cars; however, it often took a long time between suppliers of chemicals and delivery points, adding additional burdens. The Chemical road tanker was created to fill this niche. The chemical road tanker was an efficient way of transporting chemicals and it could be cleaned and reused many times. The road tanker needed a way of adjusting internal pressures and we were there with our first venting product for this application. As this market grew, so did our sales for the first pressure relief vents. From there we never looked back, we currently have over 30 unique designs for pressure relief vents as well as vacuum breakers. The passing of the Clean Air and Water Act was a very significant point in our history.
Could you briefly outline the most significant changes in manufacturing technology that have helped enhance Girard’s product line?
The introduction of highly sophisticated CNC machinery, capable of machining our valve components to exact tolerances with consistency, was a direct enhancement to our Girard product line. We will continue to invest in the most accurate manufacturing technologies and this is a testament to our dedication to product superiority. After all, our name and reputation has become an industry standard in North America and are certainly proud of that.
Across your range of products, which are you most proud of as a company and why?
As a company, Girard Equipment is most proud of our DOT 407 vent for road tankers. It is a simple design yet it is highly efficient. Better still, it is inexpensive to maintain and extremely durable. The DOT 407 vent also has user-friendly features to allow for expeditious cleaning and when they are in need of repair they can be reset to factory settings within minutes. This design has been widely used for over 20 years; still it is always a good feeling to hear from our customers how much they appreciate the overall value and functionality of any of our products. We are very proud indeed.
Girard saw the growing potential of the tank container as a transport mode early. Did this require any substantial changes in production or technology to adapt equipment to the TC fleet?
No. Fortunately for us, we are able apply the same technology to the emerging tank container market as we utilize in our well established North American road tanker market. Because we have made such a heavy investment in the latest technologies of machinery; we have kept on the cutting edge of the TC fleets and we are able to offer a superior product at an affordable price.
Competition in the component sector is obviously quite intense. How does Girard maintain loyalty among its customers?
Girard’s history spans over sixty years serving this market; our name has become synonymous with the word “quality” and our customers consider our products to be standard equipment on most road tanker fleets in North America. Girard Equipment understands the objectives of our customers to keep road tankers in service and to minimise downtime. Looking out for the best interests of our consumers while providing the service and quality they expect has gained Girard Equipment a loyal following and it is something we work consistently at nurturing.
Since you took over the reins at Girard, what would you consider as your biggest achievement at the company?
The expansion of our presence into markets not previously served such as the rail tank, tank container, waste management, and food grade markets has given Girard Equipment substantial strength through our diversity. With this diversity we have the strength to resist downturns in the overall chemical distribution market.
Where do you see Girard in five years’ time?
Girard Equipment, in five years’ time, will have a far greater global presence with well-established markets in Europe and Asia. Additionally, we plan to offer a more diversified product range to meet the growing expectations of the global markets while embracing all the lessons that are to be learned in the process. Girard Equipment is a company rooted in tradition and has an investment in innovation; we are looking forward to the next five years and well beyond.