(Photo by Dan Whitney) [Click to enlarge]
Jeff Bowen worked for more than 14 years with drilling and grouting wells with all kinds of equipment in all types of conditions, and was getting frustrated with plugged pumps and broken equipment, He saw the " need to invent a new style of grout pump that would establish a higher standard in our industry." With that goal, Bowen tested many prototypes, and patented the Geo-Loop Grout Pump in 1999.
Bowen started his own plumbing business at the age of 21, following several years of hands-on training with veteran plumbers and builders likeRoyce Steffens, Ed Johnson, and Red Brownmiller.
When Steffens became seriously ill and no longer able to work, Bowen set out on his own in the plumbing business. He sold it to Bruce Bonneson, who had been working for him, in the year 2000, because Bowen had become so involved in the well-drilling business, and had a growing demand for his grout pump.
Bowen is not even involved much in installing his pumps today, concentrating instead on manufacturing the pumps and related accessory items , such as hoses and trailers, at his building on the north side of the Aurelia Municipal Golf Course.
Bowen's company is called Geo-Loop, so-called because of his passionate interest in geothermal loops for heating and cooling. Bowen started installing these in 1989, and his interst is what got him into the manufacturing of the improved pump. Today, Geo-Loop Inc. 's machines and equipment are in use in 40 states and 9 foreign countries, including New Zealand, Korea, Ireland, Spain, and Romania.
Bowen has a geothermal heat pump installed in his home and in his shop. The unit in his home has been in use for 15 years, and he estimates his heating, cooling, and hot water bills run from 60 to 75 per cent of the bills of others who are using standard furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters. The geothermal system in general terms uses the earth's steady temperature to heat in the winter and cool in the summer.
Bowen is an Aurelia native, class of 1975, and the son of Gilbert and Betty Bowen. Bowen's mom happened by his shop while I was there, and stated that they have had a heat pump in their home for 11 years, and love it.
Geo-Loop, Inc. has five employees - Bowen, his wife Maria, Deloy Bruce, Dustin Harrison, and Matt Sangwin. Bowen said they are all hard workers, and have had a lot to do with the success of the young company.
Despite his success as an international businessman, Bowen has no intention of leaving his hometown. He loves the small community, and, in fact, was elected to serve as mayor last fall. One of his projects on that job is to develop a new web site for the town, hoping to draw new businesses . His son, Glen , will graduate from Morningside College this spring as an honor student in Graphic Design, and he has been developing the Aurelia web site, with input from community businesses. They hope to have the site up-and-running on a trial basis soon.
Bowen's daughter Jenny will graduate from Aurelia High School this spring, and her post-high school plans at this time are to go to Morningside and major in education and coaching.