Piedmont Pacific’s Jim Medanich dies at 75

One of the best loved characters of the desalination world passed away on 9 November 2013 – James Medanich, founder and president of Piedmont Pacific Corporation.

A graduate of University of California at Berkeley, with a geology degree, Jim worked initially for Kaiser Steel, US Gypsum and Fluor. It was with Fluor that he employed GG Pique who he assisted with the start-up of a game-changing company for desalination: Energy Recovery Inc (ERI), whose pressure‑exchanger energy‑recovery units have become a major force in reducing desalination’s energy costs.

Jim was president and a member of the board for ERI from February 2001 to July 2002, when he started up his flexible pipe couplings business, under the Piedmont Pacific name, that made him a fixture on the desalination exhibition circuit.

Jim was always a friend and supporter of Desalination & Water Reuse, often providing its new editor in the early 2000s with valuable knowledge and advice.

And we were not the only ones: Rick Stover, who worked under Jim at ERI, provided this epitaph:

“Jim brought me into the desalination business and, doing so, he started what has become my life career. His willingness to take risks with me, with himself and with others made him a true entrepreneur and a great inspiration. No one was more motivated or engaged than Jim and it made him quite successful. Yet even in the heat of work, he kept in great spirits. But what was most memorable about him and what I will miss the most was his genuine interest in me personally, from our first meeting to our last.

“So goodbye to my mentor, role model and good friend. You got the most out of life and you did it with style and grace.”

Jim is survived by his wife, Ursula, two daughters and two grandchildren.