In 1989, prompted by the urgent need of a customer who couldn’t wait for a decanter centrifuge to be manufactured overseas, Centrisys President Michael Kopper and his team built their first dewatering centrifuge from scratch. It was among the first of many customer-focused innovations that would continue to drive the company and its industry forward.
Today, after decades of centrifuge technology breakthroughs helping customers around the world, Kopper’s achievements are now being recognized right in his own back yard. Kopper is the winner of the 2013 Kenosha County Entrepreneur of the Year Award, recognizing excellence and achievement in business throughout the county in southeastern Wisconsin.
“This award is a great honor for me and for the Centrisys team,” said Kopper. “We couldn’t have imagined so many years ago that our small enterprise would grow into a global leader in dewatering and centrifuge technology. The fun part is we’re not done yet. We continue to set the bar higher with new ideas that help our customers succeed. That’s what makes this job so rewarding.”
Humble beginnings paved the way for innovative ambitions
Centrisys Corporation began in 1987 as a small company dedicated to the service and repair of decanter centrifuges for the U.S. market. The company quickly built a reputation as a service leader in the industry.
Then in 1989, Centrisys began engineering and manufacturing its own high-quality dewatering centrifuges and systems, starting with a contract for three centrifuges for the city of Honolulu (which are still in operation).
Centrisys now is an ISO 9001:2008-certified global provider of centrifuge equipment for wastewater treatment and other industries, with about 1,400 installed centrifuges around the world. Many major metropolitan wastewater treatment plants use the technology, including those in New York; Denver; Seattle; Cleveland; Austin, Texas; and Fresno, Calif.
The company has grown from two to 85 employees, with revenues of about $45 million. Service and repair facilities are in California, Texas and Germany, with joint venture partnerships in China and Brazil. Originally located in Libertyville, Ill., Centrisys moved to its current headquarters in Kenosha in 1999. Since then, the headquarters has gone through four expansions, most recently an additional 23,000-square-foot building.
Under Kopper's leadership, Centrisys continues to expand and innovate. Recently, the company unveiled its award-winning THK Thickening System, which features a patented hydraulic assist drive that significantly reduces operating and chemical costs, saving municipalities hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
The award will be presented at an annual dinner hosted by both the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside.