FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Bruce Ritchey was named president and chief executive officer of WaterFurnace International, Inc. According to the company, his 21 years of experience with two major hvac manufacturers should help him “guide WaterFurnace in adopting a new perspective.”

WaterFurnace was formed in 1983 from Genesis Energy Systems and WaterFurnace Inc. The company offers water-source and ground-source heat pumps.

“We were the first in the industry to offer our customers an entire package, including units, accessories, piping and loop services, training, and support,” Ritchey said. “That was key to getting the industry moving. We intend to maintain our leadership position in the residential market and expand our presence into commercial applications.”

According to Ritchey, utility companies will continue to play an important role in the geothermal industry.

“Electric utilities have a history of strong support for geothermal technology,” he said. “Although deregulation may force us to rely less on utility support, the electric utilities will be more focused on expanding and retaining their customer base. Geothermal systems can [help] a deregulated utility achieve its goals.”

WaterFurnace would also like to work with contractor-consolidators. “We are very well positioned to serve the consolidators because we have dealer direct distribution,” Ritchey said. “We can provide support on a nationwide basis with a single voice. We also offer highly differentiated product that requires sales, marketing, and technical expertise — all areas that should allow consolidators to realize strong profitability.”