The Business of Family
Like everyone else during the 1980s oilfield downturn, Louis “Booga” Klingman got hit hard, and his Montegut grocery store that supplied groceries to oilfield vessels really felt the pinch.
Booga stayed up nights – literally – scouring the library’s Thomas Registry and any other source he could for information on what business he could turn to that might create a steady income to support his family.
“Having personally experienced flooding from hurricanes and storms,” said his son, Paul Klingman. “He saw the need for pumps in South Louisiana and from that thought Associated Pump & Supply was born.”
Booga got behind the wheel of his blue Crown Victoria and hit the road. He traveled throughout the state for weeks at a time selling pumps out of catalogues and sometimes sleeping in the car until he could take a weekend break.
Paul was a teenager when his Dad was still selling out of the Ford. “I was just learning how to drive,” Paul said. “I traveled with him and sat through all these pump presentations he made.” Paul eventually moved on to college, attained his education and followed other career pursuits.
As the company grew it also innovated and early on Booga realized that payment on some pump projects was going to come in slowly. To ease cash flow issues he began to rent pumps, a branch of the business that still flourishes.
Paul came on board at Associated full time in 1999. Father and son made a good team, with Booga as the face of the company having laid a solid foundation with good customer relations and Paul in charge of all phases of day to day operations.
“Dad began to peel away from the company a little bit at a time,” Paul said. “I’ve been fully running things for about 6 years now but he still stops by the office to have coffee and check to see if any help is needed. To this day he still assists with some clients he has had for decades. I don’t think my Dad will ever leave the business fully and I don’t want him to.”
Municipalities and parishes are a big part of Associated’s client base utilizing pump sales, rentals, repairs and maintenance. Maintaining water control issues is an ongoing business and is not limited to South Louisiana. Associated Pump continues to be a resource for water control issues throughout the United States. “When storms or flood water disasters occur we have the knowledge, equipment and resources to aid in recovery,” Paul said.
The company sells pumps from 2” to 120” in diameter for both permanent and mobile applications. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina both Paul and Booga donned their work boots and managed pumps they rented which were placed right at the 17th Street Canal, as well as other places throughout the New Orleans area.
“Keeping good relations with customers big and small has been a mainstay of the business,” Paul said. “A homeowner can come in and consult on what might work best to keep low areas of their property dry and engineer and design firms can consult with us on large municipal drainage projects and pump stations.”
“Another reason we believe the company has done so well is our loyal and knowledgeable staff with a combined experience of 80 plus years. Our mechanics, field workers, and office staff are family as well as valued employees,” Paul said.
With 35 plus years of caring about doing the job well, big or small, Associated Pump & Supply is a family-owned business with a great reputation in the bypass and drainage industry. “We see the needs of this area as a priority,” Paul says. “This is not just a business; this is home.” •