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Business: Pat Whalen, LuminUltra

Jeremy Duguay

As the son of a consulting chemical engineer, Pat Whalen developed his keen interest in water treatment at an early age. Now the president and CEO of Fredericton’s LuminUltra Technologies Ltd., Whalen has become a highly successful and sought after expert in the management and mitigation of microorganisms in water processes.

His company offers solutions based on the real-time measurement of microorganisms in water and wastewater processes through their innovative second generation ATP test. “[Our] solutions focus on the ability to proactively monitor microorganisms in any type of water-based process,” Whalen said. “As the old adage goes, ‘If you don’t measure it, you cannot control it.”

Their products are pivotal in helping water operators solve microbiological challenges before they get too serious and cause public health concerns or infrastructure damage. Technicians at facilities that implement LuminUltra’s monitoring tools are quickly alerted whenever there is a microbial issue, and the real-time feedback means testing turnaround time can be shortened from several days to mere minutes. This means operators can quickly and immediately identify, address, and validate microbiological control solutions while in the field, saving both time and money.

“I strongly believe that microbiological control is one of the next big frontiers in water treatment,” Whalen said. “Both LuminUltra and I are committed to spreading awareness as to the implications microorganisms can pose on water systems of all shapes and sizes.”

LuminUltra has expanded from its original focus on wastewater treatment applications to include testing solutions for other markets, including industrial water treatment, upstream oil and gas, and drinking water management.

Under Whalen’s leadership, the company has grown from three employees in 2003 to 33 at the start of 2016, and the company has achieved an average of 35 per cent revenue growth year-over-year for eight consecutive years. They can now also boast about having a global customer base that includes a number of Fortune 500 companies.

Whalen said a customer-first approach goes a long way in fuelling his success. “We always have been and always will be committed to developing solutions based on customer feedback,” he said. “Not only do we want to strengthen our connection with each of our customers in order to enhance their experience with our products, but we also want to empower them with robust tools that lead to their achievement of proactive microbiological monitoring.”

Later this year, Whalen and his company will launch LuminUltra Cloud, a cloud-enabled expert system that will help customers understand how to best use the data collected from their test kits. They are also working on developing a simplified version of their second generation ATP test, while introducing new tests that provide actionable information about microorganisms such as metagenomics.

Whalen also has his sights set on changing attitudes in the sector. “Both the company and I are working hard every day to change philosophies of microbiological control in water treatment from a reactive to a proactive basis,” he said.

– Rachel Phan

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