We were delighted to meet Harry Söderström, CEO and Founder of Unibloc Pump Inc. Unibloc Pump has been a business member of SACC GA for many years. Harry’s company develops world-leading, innovative products. The future looks bright for Harry and Unibloc Pump, whose headquarters will remain in Atlanta, GA. Read about the origins of the company, their recent acquisition, his connection to SACC GA, and much more.
Söderström has worked in the pump industry since he was 16 years old. He started with the Swedish company Albin Pump in Kristinehamn, where he was responsible for their export.
After his successes, he was offered to bring the Albin Pump business to the U.S. He moved to the States in the 1980s and established meaningful connections right away. With the experiences from his previous work at Albin Pump, he decided to start his own company and create valves and pumps. He hired high-tech engineers and started the pump company with only two pieces of paper.
“You have to rely on your own intentions and innovations”
The start-up was a tough period at first, but after a while, the business slowly started to establish a market. The Unibloc Pump company first focused on biotechnology and pharmaceutical pumps. The business sold all over Europe, the U.S, and Asia. They then expanded into pumps for the food industry and business has been booming ever since. He explained that he came up with road tanker pumps for food products for the Swedish company and later moved the business to Germany. Today, these road tanker pumps are a market leader in Europe.
The Game Changer
His biggest accomplishment has been developing and innovating pumps and valves from just a white piece of paper. Unibloc was the first company in the world that made cast iron into stainless steel -that was the game-changer in that industry, he says. Today, Unibloc Pump designs displacement pumps, strainers, valves, sight glasses, bubble traps, and hydraulic oil coolers.
The key is to niche yourself into a market
Harry explains three reasons why Unibloc Pump is the market leader in the protein business:
1. The professionalism and industry knowledge of the employees
2. The innovation and adaptability of the business
3. Knowing their niche within the industry
He told us that design has become a vital component of the industry, which was and still is Unibloc’s niche. As Harry states it, ”if you go to the dance and you see two suits, both of them have nice designs but one is more good-looking than the other, who would you pick? That is how you can describe this industry. If you choose between two pumps that have the same functionality and same price, you will pick the one that has the best design.”
“We have been successful in every area we have been worked in”
Unibloc Pump is delivering products in a variety of industries including transportation, food & beverage, and pharmaceutical. The company is mainly targeting the biotech industries. They have also made the world’s smallest lobe-pump in the industry.
Unibloc Pump has been acquired by May River Capital, a private equity firm focused on helping high-caliber industrial businesses grow and prosper. Harry Söderstrom will continue leading the company as Chief Growth Officer under May River Capital’s (MRC) ownership. Söderström explained that many companies have been interested in buying Unibloc Pump, but most were only interested in purchasing to close down the business in Georgia.
“Employees comes first, money comes second”
What made the MRC deal unique was that they wanted to keep the business in Atlanta and keep all employees. MRC also wants to develop Unibloc into something bigger, which was very important to Harry.
Atlanta is an untapped city
Many companies have started to move from the northern U.S. to the south. What makes Atlanta an attractive city for businesses is the bustling airport that connects flights from all over the world This easy access has made Atlanta a hot area to live in.
“Atlanta is where the future is.”
Labor costs less here as well since cost of living is cheaper than, for instance, New York and California. His favorite places to visit in Atlanta are the High Museum of Art, the Georgia Aquarium and the restaurants. Harry hopes to one day scuba dive with the sharks at the aquarium. He also mentioned that he loves the bustling and excellent food culture in Atlanta.
His relationship to SACC GA
Harry became a member of SACC GA early on to establish Swedish connections. As a member he has enjoyed the dinners, lectures, networking, and events that SACC GA has to offer. We were happy to hear that in the future, he hopes to be more involved in the chamber.
Harry finished the interview with a recommendation that people, especially Swedes, come and visit Georgia to experience the beautiful nature and culture. Everything is closely located
to the city and outdoor activities are popular and plenty of them. We are only 3-4 hours away from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mexican Gulf or 2 hours flight to Caribbean.