Facets of Success

July 21, 2010
Diamond H2O has crafted a successful business in north central Wisconsin

The diverse facets of Diamond H2O in Greenville, Wis., are evident to any customer who comes to pick up salt for their softener. As they walk through the doors on their way to the front desk, they can’t miss TG Analytical Laboratories to the right and an impressive retail showroom around the corner. By the time they reach the desk, they will know that the company is about much more than installing softeners.

Tom Griesbach, CWS I, president and owner of Diamond H2O, explained how the business, now with a customer base of 12,000, began.

“Since 1949, my father Harold Griesbach owned and operated a dairy farm and a local water conditioning dealership.” Tom said, explaining that because of the water technology needed for cheese production, dairy operations and water treatment often went together in Wisconsin.

In 1984, Harold purchased the Oshkosh Filter & Softener Co., the manufacturer of Diamond water conditioning equipment and water heaters since 1932. At this time, the company’s name was changed to Diamond Water Inc., and moved to Greenville, Wis.

Tom was offered the opportunity to work in either operation, and from an early age, was drawn toward the unending opportunities provided by the water profession.

Harold and his sons ran the business until he passed away in February 1999. Tom and his wife Denise then purchased the company and formed a management team consisting of five experienced employees.

Three Facets

This management team “has contributed greatly in the organization and growth of all three divisions: Diamond H2O Engineering/Manufacturing, Griesbach Diamond H2O retail stores, and TG Analytical Laboratories,” Griesbach said. The company now provides services ranging from light residential water treatment up to 3,000-gal-per-minute industrial systems.

The company’s manufacturing facility allows them to design and manufacture their own products, customizable for individual water conditions and applications. Take car washes, for example. Griesbach has owned and managed five car washes over his career, so he understands what car wash owners need in water treatment and can deliver customized systems for them.

TG Analytical was established in 2003 and became certified in 2004. “The lab’s strengths are moored in the commercial and industrial ion exchange resin analysis and separations/ membrane autopsies and performance reviews,” Griesbach said, adding that the lab also acts as a research and development arm for the company. The lab, with certified Safe Drinking Water Act analysis packages, also caters to well drillers, pump installers, realtors and lending institutions.

Diversifying the business with these different facets has been a huge factor in thriving in this economy, Griesbach said. “It is truly a privilege to employ eight WQA-certified water specialists and licensed plumbers, which has separated our company from the competition.”

And although he hasn’t had to lay off any employees, it is still hard being a business owner in today’s environment, Griesbach said. “Society is being conditioned to have the opinion that ‘CEO’ is a four-letter word.”

A Balanced Business

Diamond H2O strives to cultivate a unique culture of respecting employees as well as the environment while having fun. The best evidence of this is the company’s memorable service trucks, which feature life-sized photos of Griesbach on the back. In one, the photograph shows him “dropping” a softener off the back end; in the other, it looks like he is throwing salt off of the truck.

Griesbach explained the fun: “What we are doing doesn’t determine whether someone lives or dies. But satisfied customers determine whether the company lives or not. We want to convey to customers that we’re a trustworthy, reliable and fun company to do business with.”

The company has invested in professional videos on their website (www.diamondh2o.com), explaining their residential and commercial/industrial services. Especially on the commercial side, many customers won’t ever see the facility, so providing a glimpse of who Diamond H2O is and what they are capable of can go a long way in inspiring confidence.

When asked what advice he would give to other dealers, Griesbach emphasized the importance of clarifying a business direction and plan. “Know your products,” he also added. “Know how they are built and how they are serviced. Perception is reality--how the public views you is real.”