Ideation and innovation are built right into the DNA of Duperon Corporation , a company founded in Terry Duperon ’ s garage in 1985 . The Saginawbased company manufactures screening equipment for water and wastewater solutions serving a variety of needs such as municipal wastewater , collection systems and pump stations , food and beverage and more .
Being a natural inventor and coming from a background of working with water treatment and pumps , Terry recognized that the bar screens being used to protect pumps from stormwater debris were inefficient and had to be cleaned manually .
Thus , he set out to create something from nothing — a theme that has persisted and become mobilized for the entire company . So how does the company and the leadership team continually innovate and outclass competitors ? He says it comes down to the team and their ability to problem solve .
“ We need people who can think and create ,” says Terry . “ We manufacture products and we develop those products , but the thing that makes the company is the people and their ability to dream , to create and to move this whole thing forward .”
Tammy Bernier — who is the company ’ s Owner , CEO and Terry ’ s daughter — takes that a step further saying their team is comprised of risk-takers who not only want to succeed for the company and for each other but who want to achieve something great and advance important environmental issues .
“ The heart of the company is that we are a group of human beings who have decided to constitute themselves as daring to make a difference for people , for water , for the planet and we do that by having people that care .”
“ We are not innovating for the sake of innovation . We innovate for a purpose — to solve a problem , make a difference , be in service and impact water quality . These are worthy causes that unite our team to bring a spirit of innovation to every endeavor ,” President Mark Turpin adds .
Sound complicated ? Well , according to Mechanical Engineer Steve Dill , it ’ s not . In fact , their manufacturing design philosophy focuses on simple and robust components that work well and last a long time .
“ Our design philosophy is that having two parts is one too many ,” says Dill . “ Duperon ’ s innovation really stems from solving customer problems . So , we look at how best to do that , and how to do it with as few parts as possible . And that often leads to something that ’ s really innovative .”
Innovation and creativity are such important facets to Duperon ’ s business model that employees have the option to take ‘ The Class ,’ taught by Terry , that focuses purely on activating that inventive spirit . It teaches participants how to bring something into the future that has never been done before . The entrepreneurial skills taught at The Class help the team reinvent themselves and their departments regularly .
Encouraging creativity , open communication and inspiring new ideas certainly makes Duperon a unique place to work and thrive . That environment also builds a lot of trust and empowerment which helps drive their success , says Bernier .
“ When people ask me what makes Duperon successful , I say that we allow the next thing to emerge . We ’ re looking for the next problem to solve . We ’ re looking for people to unleash their creativity to solve the most pressing challenges in the water industry with novel ideas ,” she says . 6
Get More ! Find spotlights and videos of all award winners , past and present , at mimfg . org .