Watts Water Technologies held a grand-opening celebration in late April for its new Watts Works Learning Center, housed in the company’s corporate headquarters in North Andover, Mass.

The grand opening was attended by Watts’ manufacturers representatives from across the country, local industry representatives, members of the industry trade media and Watts’ employees.

“Eighteen months ago we heard the voice of the customer loud and clear,” Watts Water Technologies Vice President of Marketing Chris Jamieson said. “This is an opportunity for us to engage contractors, distributors and engineers in training and learning about our company in a state-of-the-art facility.”

The training center covers 12,000 sq. ft., and features a plethora of educational components, including a training classroom that either can function as three separate classrooms with 18 students each or one large classroom/assembly area.

Outside the classroom are various displays of working Watts products and systems. A wet lab allows customers to handle and troubleshoot backflow and valve products, while just a few feet away are six areas dedicated to different HVAC applications Watts products can be used in. Those six areas include a residential mechanical room; a residential hydronic zone; a commercial mechanical zone; a hydronic zone installation; a snow-melting mechanical room; and an electric radiant installation area.

“This is a transformative moment for Watts as a company,” Watts Water Technologies Senior Vice President of Sales-Americas Andrew Windsor said. “Our customers are our greatest asset. This is an opportunity to bring customers back to our national headquarters and not only have them get to know our products and features, but they get to see our company. We will be able to get the customers’ point of view on what is great about Watts and what we can improve on as a company. We are pivoting even more toward our customers.”

Windsor said the training center will offer two levels of instruction to customers — a two-to-three-day intensive course on a specific product, such as backflow preventers, and another aimed at the customer getting to know the Watts company better, which also would involve visiting the Watts lead-free foundry in nearby Franklin, N.H.

Watts is in the process of conducting pilot classes of its training offerings in the center before officially opening its doors to its customers. Watts expects to bring hundreds of customers through the new learning center over the next few years.

“Watts manufactures world-class quality products,” CEO and President Bob Pagano said. “Our job is to make sure our partners in the channel understand their purpose and the important role they play in protecting people and communities. This facility is a great value for us and a great value for the industry.”

During a celebratory lunch, guests heard from Pagano, North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor, and retired Watts CEO and President Tim Horne, who gave a history of the company that has been in his family since his grandfather purchased it in 1918.

“This facility is a winning combination for Watts, its customers and its reps,” Horne said.

To view Editor Mike Miazga’s video interview with Watts National Product Training Manager Peter Parsons talking about the new training center, visit www.supplyht.com/videos.

This article was originally titled “School is in session” in the May 2016 print edition of Supply House Times.