Dear Dealers and Partners,
On behalf of the team here at PRO, we hope that this letter finds you and your team healthy, happy, and as excited as we are to get the new year started.
With 2020 almost in the rearview mirror, we feel lucky to have partnered up on some great projects that included: a custom rack system for the new Circa Casino, a monster system to support BBQ sauces from Ken’s Foods, the fourth chiller system for Industrial Arts Brewing, large scale low-temperature extraction facility MRGA, and some of the biggest dairy systems ever built. We also learned that a product we developed for dairies and breweries had just what some charities needed to provide real help with vaccine distribution!
Everyone from the craft beverage industry, especially the brewers, had to pivot in 2020 to remain relevant under some devastating terms, and we are especially thankful for the steady unwavering business from the brewery dealers. I have appreciated having candid discussions with many of you as we watched these events happen and tried to imagine what today might look like. It’s great to see the ongoing activity and the mutual hope that things will again open up, and it is likely one day soon!
I hope you all share in the optimism that we see in the future. We are excited, while still guarded, to have more opportunities facing us than we have ever had.
Strengthening the “dealer relationship” and building up our network of dealer partners is a top priority as we look ahead to 2021. We are even drafting our first ever “Dealer Playbook” to provide each dealer with more opportunities to sell PRO’s products and offer your services (and your other products) to more customers in different industries. We look forward to hearing your valuable feedback and ask that you please keep a lookout for a survey before year-end, which is currently being created in SurveyMonkey with an optimistic goal to send before the Holidays.
In 2020, we launched (or relaunched) several new product offerings and developments. Some of these include:
- PROPlateHx – In partnership with Thermaline, we now offer a complete Plate Heat Exchanger product line
- PROElliot IoT Platform – Highlights include:
- Developing the PROElliot mobile application.
- PROE7chart – We are the first to digitally recreate the famous 7-day paper recording chart that will hopefully help retire the paper recording method.
- Currently starting phase 2 of an IoT case study (with AWS support) that utilizes AWS Greengrass to provide critical Cold Chain Verification on the edge, with onsite message filtering, notification, and tracking of connectivity. This is a vital component for any “on-farm” safety standard, with numerous applications in more markets including transport.
- Preparing to field test the first glycol percentage tester, allowing us to monitor the freeze point of the glycol solution in real-time, degree brix vs time.
- PROHeat2o Onboard Heat Recovery – now offered on every standard system. New designs are being field-tested with remote modules that include potable and process hot water storage.
- DAIRYPro VAT – a high-quality stainless steel milk vat to collect the milk from the dairy parlor(s) before cooling.
- M45 SERIES Chiller Systems – designed to operate to -45°F Fluid.
- VPiston HYBRID – Now offering standard priced systems in custom configurations that combine water and/or air-cooled condensing. We recently shot this video during a factory commissioning of a 250 HP example for SJVDE, our dairy dealer in Tulare, CA.
It is important to note how proud I am of Team PRO. So many people stepped up in so many ways this year! As our GM, Jon stated, “the pandemic has created some amazing stories to share with my grandchildren” (and Jon’s oldest child is only 10 years old). There is not a person on our team that does not do their job differently than they did a year ago, and I’m very thankful for their efforts and hard work.
So enough about 2020, let’s look forward! In 2021 we will continue to invest in technology and products, and stay committed to fielding the best team to serve you.
We will be offering an upgraded Air-Cooled Condenser Coil for the V Series product line. The new “standard” coil includes a heavier walled, and larger diameter, 3/8” tube with a fin surface that is easier to clean and maintain. The team is also working to consolidate four coil configurations into one single, or dual, coil design(s) that will serve as a single drop-in replacement for any V Series system in operation.
In North Carolina, production will start rolling on a dedicated production line for low-temperature systems in January. We added a new mandrel tube bender (increasing our capabilities to 3 1/8” OD Pipe) that will be final-commissioned in January, ahead of a new hydraulic CNC press brake (replacing older equipment) that will be commissioned by February.
In 2021, PRO will make our biggest investment in GREEN refrigeration technology. We understand the rest of the world is ahead of the US in the development of chiller systems that utilize lower GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants, and soon regulations will force us in this direction. Our goal by 2022 is to shift 25% of our products to alternative refrigerants and develop new complete designs using Co2 vs R404A. (Co2 = GWP 1, R404A = GWP 3200) We’ve seen this coming and we are fortunate to have an opportunity to take a big step forward in 2021.
We will apply technologies more effectively across our products and into the markets we serve. We will all become familiar with terms like “machine learning” and “edge devices”, and we will work hard to raise everyone’s expectations by demonstrating the importance and how they add value.
Thank you again for the support and the partnership. We know there are a lot of ways we need to improve, and we appreciate your help as we determine the best paths forward.
Thanks to the many who asked for updates on how Jim Sr. and Karen are doing. They work hard keeping the entire family stocked up on grass (and apple) fed beef from the Star Acre’s Ranch near Lynden, WA. Dad is very engaged as a major stockholder and trusted advisor, and he literally helps wherever he can. In fact on Tuesday of last week, I called Dad after two electricians were not able to work, putting a large project’s schedule in jeopardy. By Wednesday afternoon Dad arrived with his 80-year-old brother Dale (an electrician), and by Friday afternoon the project was back on schedule!
From Trisha, Jim Sr. and Karen, and the amazing team here at PRO, we all wish you a Merry Christmas, and let’s work to make 2021 as awesome as we can!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in 2021,
Jim and Trisha
Jim VanderGiessen Jr, CEO