REVENUE: $115 million
IT CHIEF: Ron Maillette, senior VP, information services
BUSINESS COLLEAGUE: Jack Wilson, EVP and chief customer officer
WORKING TOGETHER Six weeks; previously, seven years
IT/BUSINESS CHALLENGE: Managing growth and deploying technology without adding staff
UPSHOT: IT and business are closely aligned.
NuCO2 makes soft drinks fizzle. Based in Stuart, Fla., the company puts the bubbles into millions of fountain drinks every day at fast-food chains, movie theaters and amusement parks. Order a soda at McDonald's, 7-Eleven or a Loews theater, and chances are that NuCO2 is supplying the carbonation.
For decades, soda fountains depended on high-pressure cylinders to carbonate soft drinks. Then, in the 1980s, companies began marketing bulk carbonation systems, which replaced individual cylinders with liquid Co2 tanks that create gas on demand. Bulk providers tout advantages such as uninterrupted service and ease of operation.
NuCO2 entered the fledgling market in 1990 with one service area and 19 customers; today it installs, maintains and services CO2 systems for more than 106,000 customers. After a series of acquisitions, the company estimates its market share at about 60% of the bulk CO2 market. NuCO2 went public in 1995 and projects that current fiscal year sales will hit $115 million. The company employs more than 600 people.
With three-quarters of the fountain-beverages market still carbonated by cylinders, the opportunity for bulk providers remains great, presenting NuCO2 with both the potential and the pitfalls of high growth. Facing these challenges are Jack Wilson, executive vice president and chief customer officer, and Ron Maillette, senior vice president of information services. The two executives sat down to discuss how they work together.
This was first published in March 2006