Quebec’s C.E.T. Fire Pumps builds cross-border markets
In 1985 when C.E.T. Fire Pumps MFG opened for business, no one paid much attention to the little company north of the border. Now, everyone wants to know who C.E.T. is as they carve out a larger and larger share of the portable pump market. The big three pump manufacturers are sitting up and taking notice of this upstart that is making 10 to 20 portable pumps every day, selling them in all 50 states and 40 countries worldwide. C.E.T. pumps range in size from small, light-weight mini-pumps producing 75 gpm to large, 75 hp diesel-powered pumps with maximum outputs of 750 gpm.
"They're all talking to each other about us," says Stephan Thibault, C.E.T.'s president. "They are trying to find out about us. Lately, our dealer representatives have been called by other manufacturers and they're being asked who is C.E.T.? How big is C.E.T.? All of those questions. If they are asking those kinds of questions, we must be taking some market share." Thibault is the grandson of the legendary Pierre Thibault. He founded Thibault Fire apparatus, a company that dominated the Canadian fire truck market for 80 years, selling as much as 95 percent of all Canadian apparatus in service until its demise in the mid 1960s. Through a series of business reorganizations, Stephan Thibault's father, Charles Etienne Thibault, founded C.E.T. Fire Pumps in 1985. "We were a very small company back then," says Stephan Thibault, who was a boy when his father started the company. "We had maybe five or six employees." Now, they employ 42 people in a 30,000-square-foot building and gross about $8 million annually. "We know we are getting more and more market share," Thibault says. C.E.T.'s portable pump sales have increased consistently since 1995, going up 50 percent in the past two years.
"Every single customer, every single call is important to me," Thibault says. "Our philosophy at C.E.T. is customer service, customer focus. It is always customer dedicated." C.E.T. National Sales Manager Ed Sutch quips that Thibault has a favourite saying that summarizes the company's philosophy. "Stephan is always saying ‘‘no problem," Sutch says. "No matter what it is, the answer is ‘‘no problem." "We want to give the customers what they want," Thibault chimes in. "We are the only company that will customize portable pumps and we'll do it for just one single pump".
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