Florida Flow Control Inc.

When it comes to water, people tend to focus on the preservation of it more than its movement. But at Florida Flow Control Inc., that movement is the very focus of its business. Based in Wellington, Fla., the company provides specialty water and wastewater contracting services to public, private and commercial owners.

Project Manager and Estimator Felipe Lofaso helped evolve Florida Flow Control in 2009 as a separate division of Chaz Equipment. At the time, Lofaso explains, he and his partners saw a need for a firm operating in south Florida that could provide line stopping, wet tapping and valve insertion services.

“We felt not only we could do the work, but perform at a higher value of service,” he recalls. Today, the company employs a staff of only five, but serves such clients as Disney Resorts and Parks, the city of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and the city of Tallahassee, Fla.

“As a specialized water and wastewater company, we are constantly in search of new opportunities within our industry to provide innovative products and services that create real world solutions to the everyday problems of aging infrastructure and the ever-growing need for water distribution and wastewater treatment,” the company says.

Goal of Satisfaction

Florida Flow Control always considers the client’s satisfaction to be its main goal, no matter what the size of its project may be, Lofaso declares. “Every job is considered an utmost priority, whether it’s a $50 job or a $100,000 job,” Lofaso explains.

In addition, Florida Flow Control keeps close communication with its clients and makes sure all  of the paperwork is available online for them to review. “We try to make sure we’re almost perfect,” he says.

Recently, the company completed work on a lift station rehabilitation for the Village of Wellington. Before Florida Flow Control and Chaz Equipment stepped in, “They had a lot of issues with lift station sewage overflows,” Lofaso says.

This led to conflicts with EPA regulations. However, “We were able to get to work and solve that problem for them,” he says, noting that the project’s total value was $150,000.

During south Florida rain events, the level of rainfall infiltration would cause the sewer system to surcharge because of failing components in the system.  “We replaced non-functioning mechanical and structural components so that the lift stations would perform at peak capacity and not surcharge,” he says.

Industry Evolution

Before Florida Flow Control, Lofaso was a project manager and estimator for Chaz Equipment. “We bid very large construction projects [at Chaz],” Lofaso recalls, and during that time he saw many underground pipe projects through to completion.

Recently, at Florida Flow Control, Lofaso has seen changes in customers’ requests. Previously, when clients had emergencies, they usually requested temporary line stoppages so that components could be replaced.

“What we’ve seen [lately] is line stopping has evolved into valve insertion,” he says, explaining that customers are now looking for a more permanent solution. In the valve insertion process, valves are installed on live mains under pressure.

“The need for additional isolation valves is a common complaint amongst utility owners,” he says. “In an emergency line breakage or repair situation, they are looking for the safest way to isolate that section of main and repair it. With valve insertions, they are not only creating new isolation points in their system, but also adding value to their infrastructure system with a value producing asset.

“Line stoppages are becoming obsolete,” he says. “We’ve seen an evolution from the old way of doing temporary [solutions] to utilizing these permanent assets in their systems.”

Instrumental People

Lofaso praises his team at Florida Flow Control, including General Manager and Superintendent Shawn Petty. “He was one of the instrumental people in founding the company and helping take it to the direction it is in now,” he says.

“Shawn is the type of person that has an idea and builds it without hesitation,” Lofaso says. “As valve insertion technology is evolving, Shawn has been at the forefront with working with the manufacturers of the insertion valves to give comment, critique and help innovate those products to better serve the end user.”

Another key member is Lead Sales Consultant Kevin Trost.

“He has been [essential] in helping grow the business throughout the state of Florida,” Lofaso says. “Kevin has developed relationships with customers ranging from Indian tribes to utility directors. He has a skill for listening to the customer needs and offering solutions pertinent to their problems.”

Working in Tandem

Lofaso says the company also has good relationships with its vendors. “We don’t consider them just a supplier of something,” he says. “We work in tandem with their [operations].

“When they’re talking with our customers on how they can incorporate our services into their sales, we dedicate part of sales to that,” he says. “We help them sell valves and we help them put them in.” Florida Flow Control’s key partners include Advanced Valve Technology.

Excited for the Future

Lofaso says Florida Flow Control notices an upswing in improvement projects on aging infrastructure. “We’re seeing a lot of the utilities start to fail,” he states.

In addition, “We’re seeing a future [where] instead of new pipe installs, we tailor our work towards the need for new valves in the system,” he says. “That’s what we’re really excited about. We’re seeing [the industry] start to evolve in this economy.”

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