|COLE Publishing thanks Cape Cod Biochemical Company for 30 years
How did 13,000 unrelated, disconnected septic contractors in 1975 become
one of the strongest, most cohesive industries in America? You could point to many events since the mid 1970's and say,
That's it. It all started there."
Reprinted from May
|Rick Howe of Cape Cod Biochemical receives the 2008 Ralph Macchio Lifetime Achievement Award
Most would probably say it's Pumper Magazine. Many would
say it's the Expos. Some would say it's the founding of NAWT, the National Association. We would agree that these
events were very important, but it really started before all that.
We would argue that the genesis of the pumping industry
happened in a small office on Cape Cod. Rick Howe and Lew Garston of then Cape Cod Chemical - now Cape Cod Biochemical Company,
manufacturers of the CCLS family of bacterial waste treatment products - knew there was a place for bacteria
products in septics, and they were sure that pumpers were the right way to get them there. But when they first set out to
contact pumpers there was no way to reach them. No Pumper Magazine, no NAWT, no Expo, not even a mailing
They tried their ideas quite successfully with some local Cape Cod pumpers who they found in the Yellow Pages.
Fortunately for all, one of those pumpers, Ben Perry, convinced Rick and Lew that homeowner education was the key. Rick, then
produced the customer education brochure, What Everyone Should Know About Septic Tank Systems" that has become
the industry standard. The idea was so successful that Howe and Garston got more Yellow Page books and started sending out
mail. The response was huge. So they decided to compile the first-ever national mailing list for the septic trades. Before
they were done they had acquired every telephone directory in the US; over 5000 books. They spent 6 months (with no computers!!)
putting together the list that would eventually find them Pete Lawonn, a pumper from Three Lakes, Wisconsin.
a good CCLS dealer, and one day Pete called us to say he was trying to sell a pump truck. He hadn't had
any success advertising through the normal channels, so he and his friend Bob Kendall were going to start a trade journal
to sell the truck. Pete wanted to know if we would advertise in this trade journal. And thus the Midwest Pumper was born.
Well, now it's 30 years and over 350 issues later. Midwest Pumper was closely followed by Eastern
Pumper, then Western Pumper, and soon Cleaner came along.
Not long after Pumper
started, one of our CCLS dealers in Kentucky, Ricky Alexander, called with an idea; how about a trade show?
We thought it was a great idea, and so did Bob and Pete. We ran a questionaire in Pumper asking pumpers
if they liked the idea of a show; where it should take place; what time of year; what duration; and what should be exhibited
there. Again the response was amazing.
So in January 1981 the pumping trades converged on the Opryland Hotel in Nashville
for what has become the premier expo for the septic-related trades. The "Pumper Show" has grown from 25,000 sq.
ft. in Nashville in 1981 to over 400,000 sq. ft. this year in Louisville, with over 13,000 people in attendance, and offering
more than 60 educational seminars on every topic imaginable. From the primitive beginnings of the first Midwest Pumper
has evolved one of the strongest and most sophisticated industries in the U.S.
We at Cape Cod Biochemical Company have
certainly enjoyed many of the benefits of bringing together the brightest and the best. But even more than that, we are proud
to be a part of this great industry, and we cherish the friendships we have made over the last 30 years.
And even though
we have advertised in EVERY issue of Pumper, and have exhibited at EVERY expo, we know that Bob Kendall and
his superlative staff at COLE Publishing treat even the newest subscriber and the newest Expo exhibitor and attendee every
bit as well as they treat us. And that says a lot, because we get treated incredibly well.
and a gigantic "Tip o' the Hat" to Bob and Pete and everybody at COLE Publishing and to every pumper in the
U.S. We're all in this together, and we couldn't be happier that 25,000 scattered individual contractors have become
one. Happy 30th and Thanks, COLE. You're the glue!