By Kerry Stackpole, FASAE, CAE, PMI CEO/Executive Director
There’s a lot that is uncertain in our world.
Getting the USMCA passed by Congress in 2019 certainly qualifies for the uncertainty Olympics. On July 23, under the umbrella of the USMCA Coalition and with more than 600 organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), PMI signed onto a letter asking U.S. lawmakers to support the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USCMA.
The letter notes that “More than 12 million American jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico. U.S. manufacturers export more made-in-America manufactured goods to our North American neighbors than they do to the next 11 largest export markets combined, and the two countries account for nearly one-third of U.S. agricultural exports.”
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his team will continue to meet this month with members of a Democratic working group established last month by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to address some lingering concerns about labor, environmental and pharmaceutical provisions, along with the deal’s enforcement mechanism. The business community is hopeful that a vote will take place this fall on the modified trade agreement.
The notion of “cradle-to-grave” responsibility for manufacturers using single-use plastics and packaging has found its way to the United States Congress, although its passage is uncertain at this point. Last month Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) released an outline of a sweeping plan to address single-use plastics and packaging that would hold producers and consumers responsible for the waste they produce. The lawmakers have a goal of formally introducing a bill this fall.
The proposal, the first major plastic waste proposal to be released in decades, outlines a wide-ranging set of provisions, including:
- Extended producer responsibility (EPR) - As a condition of sale, producers will be required to design, manage and finance end-of-life programs for products and packaging. Industry will also be incentivized to develop more sustainable alternatives.
- Single-use plastic bans - The ban would apply to items such as expanded polystyrene, bags, packaging, cups, lids, cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws and stirrers.
- Carryout bag fee - The new fee would be deposited into a federal fund.
- Nationwide container deposit requirements - Non-refunded deposits would go into a federal fund to assist with collection infrastructure.
- Labeling requirements - Plastic consumer products would require clear, standardized labeling indicating correct disposal method.
- Awareness-raising measures - States would be encouraged to educate consumers on the impact of single-use plastics, as well as available reuse systems and waste management options.
- Recycling targets - Standardized single-use plastic bottle collection targets would be established for states and communities. A requirement would also be set for bottles, packaging and other products to be made from 100% recyclable materials.
- Federal waste reduction assistance - Proceeds from a federal fund, carry-out bag fees, unused container deposit requirements, and other sources would go toward pollution reduction, remediation programs and innovation research.
- “Clean Cities Program” - The program would use smart technologies and social media to help local governments identify pollution hotspots and implement source reduction solutions.
The complete plastic waste pollution reduction outline is located on Senator Udall’s web site. Stakeholders are invited to submit comments by Aug. 21, 2019. I can tell you with certainty PMI will be actively engaged on this proposal.
I can also tell you with certainty that foreign competitors are disrupting and undermining the U. S. trademark system. More importantly though, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is determined to put a stop to it. Beginning Aug. 3, 2019, the USPTO will require all foreign-domiciled trademark applicants, registrants and parties to a trademark proceeding to be represented by an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the U.S.
The USPTO says that there has been an increase in inaccurate and possibly fraudulent trademark submissions from some applicants outside the U.S. The new rule is expected to improve accuracy in submissions and safeguard the integrity of the trademark register.
Current title and employer: Principal Design Engineer – Showers Division, Water Pik, Inc., a subsidiary of Church & Dwight.
My first job: Manufacturing engineering for Coin Acceptors Inc., where I designed and implemented automated testing machines that would test vending machine coin changers. It was rather challenging slinging coins along a track from a stack at the base of the machine to the top of coin changer and then collecting the coins back into the stack – ready to be re-used. The real unexpected challenge was dealing with static electricity generated by coins sliding along a nylon track. Our ultimate solution was to use some metal tinsel draped along the track that would pull the charge off the coins as they passed by.
Length of time in the plumbing manufacturing industry: Almost 20 years.
My proudest plumbing manufacturing career achievement: Seeing my first showerhead design in a retail store. There was just so much effort breathing life into a product that had never existed before. The ultimate reward and real achievement, though, is hearing consumer comments about how it is making their lives just a little bit better every day.
I started a career in the plumbing manufacturing industry because: It was by accident, actually. I was hired to create a new ozone sanitizing system. After that project was completed, I was asked to join the shower division. And now 19 years later, I am still enhancing peoples’ daily lives with shower fixtures and products. I take this as a great responsibility as we touch millions of peoples’ lives every year with the products that I design. I am constantly concerned about the small details that may impact new products: How is this going to delight a consumer? How is this going to make their day start better? How is this going to help them relax easier at the end of the day? It is the sum of the details that really makes a product shine.
My hidden professional talent: As a child, I was always exploring, seeing where I could ride my bike, what was around the next bend in the creek, what lies in the nook in the forest - always in search of what is next. That sense of exploration, expedition and invention also drives me in my adult life to search for the next new idea, new experience, and new emotional response to a product.
Advice I’d give someone just starting their career in the plumbing manufacturing industry: Work hard, hone your craft, set goals, keep your audience in mind, and make the world a better place. But above all, be happy, passionate and enjoy what you do. This is what moves things forward. Folding your passion into your efforts is the best way to give back to yourself. Since your work is what you spend most of your time on during the week, it should be a worthwhile endeavor.
What is your current role in PMI? What do you hope to accomplish in this role? Our engineering team at Water Pik has been stepping up and participating in PMI activities, including Tech Talk, the WaterSense task group, local government activities, and the PMI Conference. We hope to influence policymakers, so they base their decisions on consumer empathy and create policies that will make a real difference in peoples’ lives, the community and the planet.
In my spare time: I create fine art images of the polar regions of the planet. For the last 10 years, I have been traveling to the far north and south in search of big ice in Iceland, Greenland, Antarctica and Svalbard, Norway. Being on expeditions in these vast desolate places allows me to re-ground myself and contemplate what is really important. My photographic mentor distilled what I do down to this thought: “During the day you manipulate water; during the night you manipulate images of water (ice).” That was an eye-opening conversation. This year, I have been invited to display my iceberg images in several gallery shows.
I’m currently reading: The “FAR/AIM 2019: Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual,” which is kind of dry, very detailed, and has a lot of information that I need to understand and memorize because I am earning my private pilot’s license. So, my reading these days consists of flight manuals, federal regulations and practice exams.
If I weren’t in the plumbing manufacturing industry: I’d be flying airplanes for polar researchers and maybe a few tourists now and again.
Best advice I ever received: Set goals that you want to accomplish in life, write them down and keep them on your bathroom mirror, so you are reminded of them every day. Then, go make them happen. As items are accomplished, add new items. Always be learning and growing. Life is about your experiences and stories – not about what you have.
My favorite movie: “Star Wars, A New Hope.” It was just stunning – sitting in that big, old movie theater when the curtains pulled away and the opening scene began. Then, it was exciting to see the audience get involved in the movie and cheer at the end when Hans Solo comes out of nowhere to save the day. For me, there was a time before “Star Wars” and a time after. The world changed after seeing that movie and my eyes and imagination were opened and inspired.
When I face a challenge at work (or in life): I distill a problem into its essence, try to see it from all points of view, and then take action. This is still a work in progress for me.
By Judy Wohlt, PMI Communications Team, Valek and Co.
Providing access to clean water in disadvantaged countries, building homes for those in need, and granting wishes to sick children. Those acts of kindness – and so many others – are made possible by more than 1.5 million nonprofits and charities in the U.S., according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics.
With National Nonprofit Day approaching on Aug. 17, it’s a perfect time to recognize some of those charities and the good deeds they help realize.
As a nonprofit, PMI supports members and advocates for manufacturing safe, reliable and innovative water-efficient plumbing products that help protect public health and safety.
PMI members collaborate with many charities, ranging from Make-A-Wish Foundation, to Habitat for Humanity, to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The following are just a few examples of the many great things these charities are accomplishing and how PMI members are assisting them.
In May, PMI member Fluidmaster won the Champion Cup for raising the most money in the 11th Annual Leaders Build Challenge fundraising competition to build four affordable homes for families in Fullerton, Calif. The event raised more than $310,000 to support Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. The nonprofit’s mission is to create a future where all families have an affordable place to live.
This year, Kohler Co., a PMI member, continued its partnership with World Vision, a leading humanitarian organization, to provide access to clean, safe water in communities around the world. When access to piped water became contaminated in Honduras, World Vision turned to Kohler, which distributed more than 2,220 of its Kohler Clarity filters that helped to provide safe water to tens of thousands of people. The filters remove more than 99% of bacteria and protozoa to provide up to 40 liters of safe water each day. They are being used in homes, schools, and health clinics throughout communities in Honduras and are helping to diminish illness and issues associated with waterborne bacteria.
LIXIL/American Standard, Reliance Worldwide Corporation and IAPMO were recently sponsors of the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWSH) Foundation’s International Community Plumbing Challenge (CPC) in northwestern New Mexico. These PMI member companies partnered with IWSH, DigDeep’s Navajo Water Project and others to help provide access to water and improved sanitation to households in the Baca-Prewitt area of the Navajo reservation.
Last year, PMI member Speakman Company donated $10,000 to give current and former patients at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., the opportunity to dance and mingle at the hospital’s annual teen prom. PMI member Brasscraft Manufacturing Company, supported by parent company Masco Corporation, helped raise $25,000 for JDRF and more than $35,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
National Nonprofit Day recognizes nonprofits’ primary altruistic goals of awareness, research and aid, while acknowledging the positive effects they have on communities and the world.
There are plenty of ways to participate, including:
- Volunteering your team’s time to a local charity, such as a food pantry
- Collecting funds for a nonprofit that your company supports
- Gathering clothing and other items for a local shelter
- Recognizing employees who volunteer and give back
How does your company support nonprofits? Be sure to share your examples and stories on social media using the hashtag #NationalNonprofitDay. And let PMI know, so we can feature your good deeds in future PMI communications.
Registration is open for the PMI19 Conference “Manufacturing Success” to be held from Nov. 4–7 at The Don Cesar hotel in St. Pete Beach, Fla.
This year’s conference will feature PMI’s first-ever Aspiring Leaders’ Program; keynote speakers Lindsey Pollak and Joel Zeff, who will also serve as emcee; and sessions on issues including multi-generational leadership, workforce development, sustainability, accessibility design, industry economic trends, trade and tariffs, consumer data protection, water reuse, lead in water, the EPA’s WaterSense program, technical topics, and much more.
Day one opens with the Aspiring Leaders’ Program
PMI’s first-ever Aspiring Leaders’ Program will be held on Nov. 4 at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. Within an environment dedicated to the work of the highly imaginative artist Salvador Dali, PMI’s one-of-a-kind, innovation-training experience will offer an ideal setting for PMI’s top talent to tap into their personal creativity and innovation potential. PMI member companies can nominate high-potential employees for this leadership gathering. Working in partnership with the museum, the one-day summit will draw from examples in art and business to inspire the ability to see and think differently, foster self-awareness, and instill a growth mindset.
Multigenerational workplace expert Lindsey Pollak to deliver Nov. 5 keynote presentation
After leading a workshop during the Aspiring Leaders’ Program, New York Times bestselling author Lindsey Pollak will open the conference with a presentation titled “The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace” – a reflection of her book of the same title. Lindsey is a leading expert on millennials and the multigenerational workplace. Her consulting clients and keynote speaking locations have included more than 250 corporations, conferences and universities. Her advice and opinions have appeared in media such as the Today Show, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN and NPR.
Conference emcee Joel Zeff will take humorous approach to reaching success
Conference emcee Joel Zeff will lead attendees through the Nov. 5-6 agenda. Joel’s central message – that organizations and individuals should celebrate everyday successes – increases collaboration, productivity, passion and innovation. He takes a humorous approach to helping his audiences adopt new perspectives and reach professional success.
Sessions on important issues during the day; fun networking activities at night
The Nov. 5 agenda will include a panel on human resources and workforce development and sessions on accessibility design and sustainable packaging. The sustainability session will cover innovative ways to reduce the use of single-use plastics in product packaging in favor of more recyclable options.
That evening, attendees will enjoy a reception and dinner on the water aboard the Starlite Sapphire.
On Nov. 6, Joel will open the day with a keynote address. He will be followed by sessions on industry economic trends and advocacy/government affairs issues including trade and tariffs, consumer data protection, water reuse, lead in water and WaterSense. The day will conclude with the general membership meeting, a reception featuring local craft beer, and dinner.
Nov. 7 will feature technical topics including the latest industry research studies on potentially hazardous microbes and chemicals, water quality in buildings, hot water delivery, and much more.
Learn more and register for PMI19 at safeplumbing.org/2019-pmi-conference.
PMI strives to provide its members with business intelligence that helps them make optimal decisions positively impacting their bottom line. Recently, PMI members received access to two important reports that add value to membership.
The percentage of American homes with WaterSense bathroom products has increased, but most residences still do not have these water-saving plumbing products, say the results of the 2019 U.S. WaterSense Market Penetration Report commissioned by PMI and published by GMP Research, Inc. PMI thanks all members that shared data with GMP Research.
To demonstrate the tremendous upside in the market for manufacturers of WaterSense products, PMI shared the report with EPA WaterSense as the program reviews WaterSense product specifications in accordance with America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. “PMI member manufacturers have done a great job creating these innovative, water-saving products and pushing them out to market to consumers, who report high satisfaction after replacing older toilets, bathroom sink faucets and showerheads with WaterSense-certified products,” said PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole.
Using the latest economic tools and trend analyses, the PMI Market Outlook Q2-2019 places more than 15 segments of industry in their current economic phase: A) recovery, B) accelerating growth, C) slowing growth, or D recession. The quarterly report also predicts each segment’s growth or decline through 2019 and into 2020 and 2021 and provides supporting evidence.
This kind of valuable information gives PMI members advance notice of trends likely to impact their businesses. Being able to anticipate shifts in the economic frontier allows members to adjust and redeploy resources ahead of competitors who lack the information and insight provided by the PMI Market Outlook. It’s more than business intelligence. It’s business insight for your success. Login and read the latest report.
David Hoyer, senior regulatory engineer, InSinkErator, is our latest PMI Pride winner! David was one of the PMI members who volunteered to participate in PMI’s online members’ survey – a very important feedback mechanism that will help PMI to meet member’s needs in an optimal fashion. Over the coming months, we plan to recognize more engaged PMI members! Do one or more of the following to qualify for a drawing:
- Participate in a PMI committee conference call or educational offering
- Create your log-in to members-only content at safeplumbing.org
- Share or comment on a PMI social media message
- Join the LinkedIn PMI Group or follow @SafePlumbing on Twitter
- Participate in any other kind of PMI activity
Your participation in these activities will automatically enter you into the drawing. Thanks for being an engaged PMI member.
PMI successfully worked to achieve the goals of the plumbing manufacturing industry during the first six months of 2019. Read the entire report with all noteworthy accomplishments.
Voicing Concerns About Tariffs, PMI Represents Its Members at USTR Hearing
PMI advocated in opposition to the Section 301 List 3 tariffs, which began at 10% in Sept. 2018 and increased to 25% in May 2019. These tariffs impact $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, including dozens of plumbing products. PMI provided frequent updates on the tariffs issue to PMI members and hosted a webinar on the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) recently announced exclusion process for the List 3 tariffs. On June 17, PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole testified on the adverse impact an additional $300 billion of List 4 tariffs the Trump administration is planning to begin on Sept. 1 would have on manufacturers, their supply chains, workers and consumers, as well as on the construction and renovation markets. PMI member companies Moen, Pfister and Water Pik also testified.
D.C. and California Legislative Forums Provides PMI Members Briefings and Access
PMI members participating in the Washington D.C., Legislative Forum and Fly In on May 7-8 received briefings from policy experts on issues such as housing and construction, tariffs, the USMCA, infrastructure legislation, privacy and cybersecurity, and stainless steel, cobalt and nickel in the European Union and U.S. At the May 14 California Legislative Forum and Fly-In in Sacramento, the PMI delegation held advocacy meetings with California legislators and executive branch officials on key policy issues such as parameters for the indoor use of recycled water, consumer privacy, single-use plastic packaging, green chemistry, and flushable wipes.
Martin Knieps and Michael Martinez Join PMI Board of Directors
Two new members were added to the PMI Board of Directors: Martin Knieps, of Viega LLC, and Michael Martinez, of Delta Faucet Company. Both individuals will serve terms through 2020.
Committee Heads Serve PMI Membership
PMI members beginning terms as committee chairs during 2019 include Lowell Lampen, Kohler Co. (Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee); Shahin Moinian, International Code Council - Evaluation Service (Allied Member Committee); Bob Neff, Delta Faucet Company, and C.J. Lagan, LIXIL (Technical Committee); Elton Perkins, Fluidmaster, Inc., and Liz Renfro, Delta Faucet Company (Commerce Committee), and Cambria McLeod, Kohler Co., and Daniel Gleiberman, Sloan Valve Company (Water Efficiency and Sustainability Committee).
Industry Committees Vote in Favor of PMI’s Positions
At the April 2019 WE-Stand Code Hearings in Corona, Calif., 17 out of 20 code proposals (85% success) voted on by the Technical Committee were in favor of PMI’s positions. At the April 2019 UPC Code Hearings in Denver, 26 out of 34 public comments (76% success) voted on by the Technical Committee were in favor of PMI’s positions. PMI also persuaded the National Research Council of Canada’s Standing Committee on HVAC and Plumbing; City of Fort Collins, Colo.; and the U.S. Access Board to make rulings in PMI’s favor.
PMI Conference and Professional Development
PMI Launches On-Demand, E-Learning Courses and Webinars
PMI’s on-demand, e-learning course, “Part 1: A Primer on Standards, Regulations, Codes and Conformity Assessment,” can be taken at any time or place, at the convenience of the professional’s schedule. A second course, “Part 2: Standards and Topics in Plumbing,” features in-depth information on Legionella and water supply systems, backflow issues and several other important plumbing subjects. Keeping PMI members current were webinars on the China tariffs, data privacy, WaterSense specifications, PMI Market Outlook, and California Energy Commission research relating to flow rates and hot water systems. Most of these webinars are still viewable by logging into the PMI website’s webinar page.
New PMI Web Page Encourages Careers in Plumbing Manufacturing
To help spread the word about careers in plumbing manufacturing and add value for members, PMI has published a webpage listing the career-related website pages of its members, as well as members’ LinkedIn company pages.
Engagement with PMI Members-Only Website Content, Social Media Platforms Up
Due to improved members-only content and the switch to the new Membee system, visits to PMI’s members-only portal totaled 3,372 for the first six months of 2019 vs. 4,741 for the entire 2018. Social media engagement is up with significant increases in comments, likes, shares and followers so far in 2019 compared to the 2018 pace.
Testimony to USTR Gains Significant Media Coverage
PMI achieved significant media coverage of Kerry Stackpole’s testimony to the USTR, with stories in Asia Pacific Daily, Business Insider, China Daily, China Economic Net, China.org.cn, Congressional Quarterly (CQ) magazine, Contractor, The Hill, Mechanical Hub, PHC News, Plumbing Engineer, Plumbing Perspective, Roll Call Online, Shanghai Daily, Xinhua News Agency, and U.S Chamber of Commerce website.
By Genevieve Valek, PMI Communications Team, Valek and Co.
The digital revolution is transforming manufacturing, causing changes similar to those that continue to disrupt media, consumer products, healthcare and many other sectors.
PMI members are innovating the ways in which they manufacture their products; not only are the products more technologically advanced than ever before, but so are the facilities and processes used make them, creating exciting career opportunities within the industry. For example, at the 2019 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), four PMI members were recognized with Best of KBIS Awards for their innovations.
The DXV by American Standard Blade 3D-printed faucet boasts what may be one of the most interesting ways to manufacture a bathroom necessity. The Blade is printed directly into stainless steel and is finished by hand to add the extra human touch. 3D printing is just one representation of the evolution of additive manufacturing in the plumbing product world.
Another KBIS award-winner was PMI member Hansgrohe, which developed a shower jet named PowderRain, which has the technology to spray water droplets that are so light that they fall gently on the skin without bouncing off. Developed through rigorous testing in an acoustics chamber, the PowderRain produces spray designed to be exceedingly quiet and splash-resistant while retaining warmth on the skin. The use of acoustics chambers for testing and other ways of innovative thinking are what keeps many companies in the plumbing manufacturing industry ahead of the game.
PMI member Moen was recognized by KBIS for developing a very “tech” savvy way to monitor water usage and promote water conservation through its MicroLeak technology. Called Flo by Moen, this system can monitor and detect pipe leaks in water supply systems. Flo by Moen features FloSense, a proprietary machine learning technology, which applies algorithms to learn how the home uses water and to alert the homeowner if it senses abnormalities.
PMI member TOTO won an award for its Flotation Tub with ZERO DIMENSION. Constructed of Galaline, a man-made marble, the tub simulates zero gravity by offering bathers a weightless experience. After 10 years’ research on bathing’s relaxation effect, biomechanics, neuroscience and ergonomics, TOTO found that a unique body posture—the reclining body stabilized and the hips, knees and ankles flexed—reduced the joints’ mechanical energy/load to nearly zero – replicating the body’s posture at zero gravity and enabling the most relaxing rest possible.
Read the rest of this article on our PMI@Work blog.