From MIOX to De Nora - an integration journey

By: Tom Muilenberg, Vertical Market Manager, De Nora

A lot has happened in the five months since MIOX was acquired by De Nora. In this article, Tom Muilenberg gives an overview of how the process has been from the perspective of a former MIOX employee.

Last week I attended the AWWA Convention and Expo (ACE) in Denver, CO, where I ran into a ton of people I’ve worked with over 25 years in the water business - including the last 11 years with MIOX.  Everyone I talked to was curious about how the De Nora acquisition has been – and they weren’t shy about hitting me with a number of questions!  Not surprisingly, the questions were relatively similar and I thought I would share some of them and the responses I gave.

The first question was almost always how is the integration going?

My response was typically something like:

Great!  I’ve been through a bunch of these before with USFilter/Siemens.  With those it always took at least a year to even get started on integration, if it ever really happened.  With De Nora, we jumped right in on Day 1, and have made real progress.  We’re already integrating proposals management and other things with the folks in Sugar Land, where De Nora’s electrochlorination business in the US – including ClorTec – is located. So far, I’m impressed with the progress.

Inevitably, the next question was are you still going to manufacture the equipment in Albuquerque?

To which I would respond:

Unfortunately for the shop employees, no.  Manufacturing is being moved to Sugar Land.  However, in the long run, it will be for the best as they have a larger facility including a panel shop, which should give us a bit more flexibility and streamline the operations.

So, are they closing the Albuquerque office?”

No. In fact, it is being turned into the De Nora center of excellence for De Nora Electrochlorination technologies and is being headed up by Justin Sanchez, the former MIOX Chief Technology Officer. This is really exciting for us ‘MIOX guys’ because it shows that De Nora values the unique design of the MIOX on-site generation system and other achievements from the Albuquerque team. Innovation and R&D is such an integral part of the MIOX culture and history. It’s been reassuring to know that De Nora wants to embrace that mindset and expand some of the our unique MIOX features to complement the next generation of De Nora products.

Why did De Nora buy you guys anyway?  They already had ClorTec.

MIOX worked with De Nora and bought their DSA® electrodes from them for 20 years, so we knew each other very well already, albeit as a vendor/OEM relationship. That being said, De Nora saw a lot of the exciting and unique things we were doing, such as self-cleaning, standardized designs and other features. In addition, some of the unique chemistries already commercialized and others in development were very attractive

What’s it like working with De Nora?

Actually, it’s a little weird.  Usually when you are the acquired company, you are the odd man out for a while until the acquiring company really gets to know the team. There’s sort of a ‘hey, we bought you’ superior mentality.  I haven’t really seen that here. In fact, I have been pulled into multiple projects immediately, including writing responses to interview questions and helping with other public-facing projects.  It’s really cool to be included immediately and quite exciting to know your experience and gifts are being appreciated.

Typically, we ended these impromptu tradeshow floor chats with “sounds like it’s going great for you guys. I’m really happy it’s working out and I look forward to working with you guys some more.”

Reflecting on the conference while flying back I realized that it truly is an exciting time to be part of De Nora and it will be great to see the great things we do together in the coming years.