Innovation at Work


As the world-class leader of evaporative media and portable evaporative cooling solutions for more than 30 years now, Portacool is proud of the world-class teams that serve as the foundation of our organization. Innovation drives our cooling solutions. Our research and development (R&D) department is an integral part of our innovation success. What makes R&D tick? Today we highlight an interview with several key team members.

What does a typical day look like for the department?

There is no typical day in research and development. This is because we believe in continuous improvement and our job is never done in R&D.  Our goal is to ensure that Portacool delivers products that exceed customer & consumer expectations of what they believe an evaporative cooler can be. The team spends a lot of time researching, creating, and executing test plans for both the individual components that are considered for use in a Portacool portable evaporative cooler, as well as the overall performance of the unit itself. The test results narrow down options for component selection and facilitates our direction with our suppliers. Also important to our work is maintaining records and writing ECNs (Engineering Change Notices) for changes, improvements, and modifications to products. Our products are built for longevity, so these elements are important for ongoing customer support of the utmost standards.

In addition to the day-to-day operations, the R&D department is constantly gathering insights to steer efforts on new products, innovations, and projects.  We partner with Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Manufacturing, & Supply Chain to understand the needs of the market. If a question about a product arises, we are happy to help find the answers and we help pave the way to find the solution. This team is constantly working to ensure all pieces of the puzzle result in a superior product for every customer & consumer.

What do you think sets you apart from other R&D teams?

We are insights driven. We focus on the needs and wants of our customers and consumers and that steers our R&D efforts.  Also our diverse team and experience from all different industries allows us to pull from best practices and learning from other companies. The challenge of innovation and product improvement/development is enriched by the experiences of each member of the department. The team’s experience ranges from over 25 years in the evaporative cooling industry to recent college graduates. We are proud of how seamlessly our department works together and the culture we are building in our team and at Portacool.

Portacool is a company that fosters collaboration and innovation. The R&D team works with other departments to incorporate outside perspectives, demographics, and backgrounds in the evaluation process, making each portable evaporative cooler the best for the customer. With this collaborative environment and a state-of-the-art R&D laboratory, the team is empowered to learn, discover, and build a solution to new challenges. We work hard, work together, and help each other whenever possible. 

How do you process feedback from customers?

Feedback from our customers & consumers is the R&D team’s fuel for innovation.  We collect details and feedback from a variety of sources and departments through constant communication.  Our R&D team is dedicated to receiving suggestions and feedback that lead to insights to steer efforts for not only existing products, but for future product developments and designs.

How do you determine which features will be on new products?

As a company centered on customer service, the Portacool R&D team ensures that the customer and our consumers are the motivation for all product innovations. We gather information from a variety of sources to determine what’s needed and what solutions can be generated to minimize current challenges. Our team is continually asking itself what the products could do that no one thinks is possible – pushing limits and creating solutions for the needs of the customer without compromising safety and quality.

How do you stay innovative in your thinking?

The Portacool R&D Department is curious by nature and stays innovative by always being observant. Our focus is bringing new and better cooling solutions that solve the problems-challenges-needs of today’s and tomorrow’s cooling needs. Our team stays engaged through hands-on learning experiences, proactive research, and trial-and-error solutions so that we are constantly learning and getting better.

Given that Portacool headquarters is based in Center, Texas, all members of the R&D team are keenly familiar with sweltering Texas heat. They know that customers need cooling solutions that fit their lifestyle and environment, and the goal is to keep them safe, cool, and comfortable. Each member of the team tackles each day asking themselves how they can improve the lives of customers and loyal Portacool fans. The result: setting out to create the best possible cooling solutions that are reliable, cost-effective, and efficient.