On this "BizRoanoke" episode, Rainwater Management Solutions was chosen as a local business to spotlight by the City of Roanoke Department of Economic Development.
Lisa from BizRoanoke interviewed Shawn Crawford, National Sales Manager at Rainwater Management Solutions in the city of Roanoke Virginia. Shawn is the national sales manager for the company. RMS recently moved into a new, bigger facility at 2550 Shenandoah Ave NW Roanoke, Virginia.
Tell us about the company and the products and services that Rainwater Management Solutions offers
Shawn Crawford: Sure, absolutely. So we do design, consulting, provide material for rainwater harvesting, as well as graywater reuse, and then what we call stormwater harvesting. And those are all different avenues of water collection and reuse. So graywater is within the building. Rainwater is outside on your roof. Stormwater is parking lots and pervious surfaces. We got started out mainly doing residential, and now it's escalated into more commercial.
We still look after our residential. So there's a lot of folks in the Roanoke Valley and NRV that have a rainwater harvesting system that are near and dear to our hearts that have been in for... You know, we've been around for 20 years, and that's how old some of the systems are. But yeah, now we work all over the nation, and Rainwater Management Solutions is really focused on improving the water quality for folks, making sure that they have another source for water. They're not just tapped into the city all the time. They can save water and reuse a free water source that's coming back down.
How many employees do you have, and what are some of the features of your new space?
Shawn Crawford: So we have, I think it's about 13 employees now. And at this facility specifically, where we are manufacturing product and a lot of different engineering and design work goes in here, we have about 10, I think, is what we're up to now. Part-time and full-time. The new space is great for the employees. In our old space, we used to have three people for one office. It was hard to talk to customers because you were talking over each other. The fabricators had a tough time in manufacturing because they would have to build something. If it wasn't done, they'd pick it up and move it somewhere else. Stuff would get damaged, you know, equipment would get damaged if we were moving a lot. The other great thing which they have told me they like a lot is that it's close to everything. They can go get food, lunch, very quick and easy.
We've found our local restaurants that we really like a lot. And plus, it's really great to cater to customers who come in. We'll take them down to Roanoke City, and it's very easy to get down to the city. Very affordable.
Tell us about Rainwater Management Solutions (RMS)
Shawn Crawford: I would say the big thing is probably about the industry. You know, the whole industry is evolving constantly for rainwater collection and reuse. A lot of people think that it's illegal throughout the country. It's not. It's only illegal in some states. And the reason for that is because of, the runoff goes directly to critical sources. Like the Colorado River, for example. They don't want you collecting rainwater because it's going to go to that critical source. Here on the East Coast, it's actually encouraged, and you actually get credits for it because there's so much... As you can tell, the picture behind us, sometimes we have so much runoff that it actually needs to be collected and reused. It helps with the overall infrastructure. So what I would say with Rainwater Management Solutions is we're all about educating, getting this detail out, this kind of education out to our customers, making sure that they know that when you're collecting water, you're not only just saving water, but you're saving the infrastructure, you're helping your neighbor downstream, you're improving the water quality.
Also, the other industry that's really moving right now is gray water, and gray water is water within the facility. So places where there's not a lot of rainwater, this is really big. You know, Colorado, California, really the West Coast a lot, where we work a lot, and some parts of the East Coast, as well. So we're looking at all that, and we bring all that attention to detail in our systems, our components. And it's all being made here in Virginia. Right here in Roanoke. Yeah. People ask us, "Where are you located?" They always expect us to be a West Coast company because of what we do. But we're not, because, you know, the East Coast has experienced just as bad a droughts, poor water quality, polluted rivers and streams. We are seeing it firsthand, and we saw it 20 years ago. And now our focus is to really educate people on that. Like I said, turn that around, and continue to create systems that improve that, and reduce those types of stormwater issues.
Rainwater Management Solutions encourages people to come by the showroom to learn more about rainwater and stormwater management
Shawn Crawford: We love talking about it. So please come by. We want people to come by and see the facility. Little things, like water filtration equipment that you have just for your house. You know, if you have incoming water that you're just really not happy with, we can help out with that.
How do you feel like RMS impacts economic development in the city of Roanoke?
Shawn Crawford: So the big thing is, we're buying local, constantly. The equipment that we're getting, everything is coming in from local suppliers, which is supporting local jobs. We're continuing to steadily grow, which we want to support and bring in more employees. We hire local and try to bring them in. A lot of us joke around because we all went to the different high schools. We don't have one... I went to Glenvar High School. We have someone from Cave Spring, Hidden Valley. We have some from Salem. Lots of local folks. So we want to promote that, also local business. And then we also want to promote these types of systems in Roanoke City, which is starting to really increase.
How can we learn more about Rainwater Management Solutions?
Shawn Crawford: Go to our website which is www.rainwatermanagement.com. We have videos, we take videos on systems so you can see what a residential system looks like, what a commercial system looks like, what we kind of do, and the products, also by coming down here and talking to us. We love interaction, we love talking to people. We have this nice showroom in Shenandoah we can show off now. We have a lot of projects locally, as well. So the Roanoke City is really starting to improve these types of systems, and kind of becoming the leaders for, basically, a city to start to do this... More and more rainwater collection, stormwater collection. So we'll go down and show them that, as well.