A.O. Smith taps Zurn exec to lead its new water treatment unit

Sales projected to increase 50% this year

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:20 pm

Milwaukee-based A.O. Smith Corp. on Monday announced that D. Samuel Karge will lead the company’s newly created water treatment business unit as president.

Karge was previously vice president of sales and marketing at Milwaukee-based Zurn Industries, a subsidiary of Rexnord. He also worked at Pentair Residential Filtration in Milwaukee from 2008 to 2016 and held global marketing and sales positions at GE Water and Process Technologies.

“Sam brings a wealth of global experience in the water treatment and residential water filtration industries to A. O. Smith,” said Kevin Wheeler, A.O. Smith president and chief operating officer. “He is widely known and respected by customers, water associations, and other companies in the industry.”

The new position will give Karge profit and loss responsibility for a business unit that includes A.O. Smith branded water treatment products in North America, the Aquasana line of drinking water solutions and the Hague line of water softening products.

Long known for its water heaters and boilers, A.O. Smith entered the North American water treatment business with the acquisition of Aquasana in 2016. The company followed the deal with the acquisition of Hauge in 2017.

The company is projecting a full year of Hauge sales and an increase in overall volumes will increase North American water treatment sales by 50 percent this year. Hitting the target would give the unit revenues of $85.5 million, up from $57 million last year and $18 million in 2016.

By comparison, A.O. Smith’s entire North American business segment generated $1.9 billion in revenue last year. Water treatment sales in China, where the company has a longer track record in the market, were $177 million in 2017, up from $130 million in 2016.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.