By Nate Kogler, President, PMI Board of Directors, Bradley Corporation
Happy New Near! I believe that as children we were all promised flying cars by 2019, but yet we still sit in traffic. For those that joined us at the 2018 PMI Conference, you had the opportunity to hear from the futurist Jack Uldrich, who spoke about innovations that are on the near horizon, such as the proliferation of self-driving cars and 5G networks. Hopefully soon, while we sit in traffic, the car handles the driving.
As we look at our individual businesses, we all have lists of things that concern or inspire us for that next innovation or opportunity. As an association, we have the challenge of building positions to collaborate and advocate effectively. This enables PMI to effectively influence legislators and regulators and to work with codes and standards organizations to ensure safe plumbing and an innovative industry.
We also have the opportunity to share knowledge about trends and directions in our industry and educate individuals to be better positioned to take on the challenges. In 2018, the PMI Board of Directors went through a foresight strategy session and identified key macro factors that are influencing the future. We developed a strategic plan complete with annual tactics to implement PMI’s response and proactive positioning to be ready for these changes.
The first initiative that your association is undertaking is to develop and improve PMI’s educational offerings. PMI has long been a resource for us as members to stay aware of the codes, standards and governmental activities that affect our businesses.
Now, we have the opportunity to surround this core knowledge with educational offerings. At the end of 2018, Emilee Hughes was hired to focus on developing this educational initiative and implementing learning opportunities. The first learning opportunity is the introduction of the on-demand, e-learning course, “Primer on Standards, Regulations, Codes and Conformity Assessment.” I encourage you to take advantage of this course and provide feedback and ideas for what you would like to see in future offerings. As we progress through 2019, you will see more formal training offerings, including webinars and opportunities to engage in micro learning, as well as a continuously refined annual conference experience.
Mahatma Gandhi, in his famous quote, “Be the change you want to see in world,” reminds us that we all have a choice. As individuals, companies, and as members of our association, we can embrace change and drive action through understanding the issues and advocating to enable those changes to become reality. If we stay on the sideline, you can be certain change will happen to us. We can be better prepared for these changes by equipping ourselves with knowledge through these learning opportunities.
As 2019 starts, I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. Our work is always more powerful when you make time to share your thoughts and concerns. I invite and encourage you to reach out to Kerry Stackpole, myself, or any of the members of the PMI Board of Directors throughout the year.
By Kerry Stackpole, FASAE, CAE, PMI CEO/Executive Director
Where were you in 2019? Marveling at AI-generated voices like Siri and Alexa? Sitting behind the wheel of a self-driving car? Garnering your best smile for the biometric screen at the airport jetway? Maybe you were joyously snapping portrait photographs of your children, grandchildren or friends with that amazing camera (12 megapixels – and doubles as a phone) you carry around in your pocket. Were you imagining what it might feel like if your company lost $530 billion in market value à la General Electric? Perhaps you learned more about your business, manufacturing productivity, or customer satisfaction levels using augmented analytics? Maybe, just maybe, you jumped on the blockchain bandwagon.
Wait. 2019 just got started, right? Well yes, according to the kalendarium. But not according to your competitors. There’s an enormous value in imagining your future in reverse. If you were explaining your business decisions and directions of 2019 to a freshly minted engineering student in 2023, would they make sense to her? Would they make sense to you? While there are few do-overs in life, there are always choices—those we make and those we don’t—that fuel our collective future.
For our industry, those choices will arrive in extraordinary fashion. I’m not talking about change, disruption, or VUCA – those are now simply features on the business landscape. I’m thinking about the importance and growing value of strategic weaving. The emerging art of sewing together disparate inputs from around the world into a cohesive estimate of what’s to come, from where, and in what form, that will move our business and industry.
The PMI Board of Directors engaged in this exploration this past summer. Instead of using a linear model of strategic planning, the board sifted through 46 shifting demographic, social and economic trends to distill eight most likely to impact our industry. With a bit more exploration, three were adopted and adhered to PMI’s strategic framework for 2019 and beyond. It was an experience of looking backward and forward, not just at our business or industry, but far beyond the everyday borders of our own life and experiences to imagine a different reality, a different time, and place. Ultimately, it will drive the metamorphosis of your association.
So where is PMI in 2019? We are busier than ever delivering more member value. Our two new economic and market outlook reports will drive ideas for members to grow and profit. You will have the freshest insights into both our industry and the marketplace for your products across the residential, commercial and industrial landscape. We continue our longstanding practice of proactively delivering solutions to challenges facing our industry, such as PMI’s “Recommended Parameters for Indoor Use of Recycled Water,” and helping PMI members navigate tariff barriers, claims for exemptions, and other international trade barriers.
We’re on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to engage, encourage and educate the 97 newly elected members of Congress about the critical contributions of the plumbing fixture and fitting manufacturers to America’s economy, infrastructure, and safe, responsible water efficiency. We’re in the hallways of state capitals supporting safe, sensible and science-based water-efficiency standards. Most of all, we’re working closely with our colleagues to assure that specifications and regulations that impact your company and products reflect the latest advances in science, technology and design capabilities. Our commitment to “safe, responsible plumbing, always” is in fact our commitment to excellence.
With the demand for skilled labor growing by the day, PMI is launching a series of innovative education initiatives under the leadership of our newest team member Emilee Hughes. The first of those initiatives, the “Primer on Standards, Regulations, Codes and Conformity Assessment” is now ready and available online. This course can be completed on a schedule that suits you and your team. A second part of the primer will be available this spring. We’ll also be announcing new workshops, webinars and online learning opportunities in the months ahead geared to technical teams, supply chain professionals, and executives. Several industry organizations are searching for new ways to attract and develop the skilled workforce essential to the future of our industry. PMI is in the mix crafting new learning initiatives to grow emerging leaders at all levels of our industry.
In the months to come, we’ll be asking for your help. We need your thoughtful insights and value your opinions about the needs of our industry moving forward. We’ll be conducting research among member and non-member companies to gather fresh ideas and insights about what’s to come and how it will impact your company, your teams, and your community. Most importantly, we’ll be executing strategies to assure PMI does everything possible to support your continued success and profitability. Here’s to your prosperous future in 2019 and beyond.
By Genny Valek, PMI Communications Team, Valek and Co.
When young people think about potential careers and make plans for after high school, most don’t think of plumbing manufacturing. Due to the heavy emphasis placed on college education by parents, teachers and counselors, trade school is often not seen as an option for students looking at continuing education. College graduates looking for their first job often overlook plumbing manufacturing as well, despite the many opportunities for individuals with undergraduate and graduate degrees.
To help spread the word about careers in plumbing manufacturing, PMI has published a webpage listing the career-related website pages of its members, as well as members’ LinkedIn company pages. Students and others looking for career opportunities are encouraged to peruse these listings to gain an understanding of the broad array of positions available and to apply for positions of interest to them.
Take a look at these pages and notice that these manufacturers and allied PMI members will shatter many preconceptions you may have; they offer health and fitness programs, opportunities for professional development, involvement in community projects and philanthropic causes, outstanding benefit packages, competitive wages, and much more for their employees. Plumbing manufacturers are dedicated to employee diversity and inclusion, water efficiency and sustainability, and many offer internships and apprenticeships for students and graduates.
Plumbing manufacturing provides hundreds of thousands of jobs
Yes, plumbing manufacturing is much more than one might assume. According to economic data compiled for PMI by John Dunham & Associates, plumbing manufacturers directly provide 193,057 jobs and $10.4 billion in wages in the U.S. The industry’s total impact, including indirect and induced economic effects, equals 464,370 jobs and $26 billion in wages. The plumbing manufacturing industry makes a positive economic impact in all 50 states; plumbing fixture and fittings manufacturers’ total economic impact on the American economy is $85.5 billion. Read more.
For the plumbing manufacturing industry, a skilled workforce is fundamental to continued growth and innovation. Like many industries in the U.S., plumbing manufacturing faces a looming talent shortage– from production level, maintenance and technician positions to machinists, engineers and industrial designers. There is an equally important need for professionals with expertise in plumbing codes and standards, sustainability, sales, marketing, finance, operations, human resources and training, government affairs, and much more. Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute states that there is an estimated 3.5 million jobs needed to be filled by 2025 within the manufacturing industry sector.
Many PMI member companies have developed co-op and intern programs to train and place college students in permanent roles. They also have opened their doors to students and others to draw attention to the roles manufacturers play in their communities and to underscore the economic and social significance of manufacturing.
Though it may not seem like the “glamour” job being chased by young professionals, plumbing manufacturing requires high-quality workers and a strong technical workforce. “There are a broad range of positions in many different fields, including ones that start at hourly pay rates up to executive positions,” said Kerry Stackpole, PMI CEO/executive director. “When looking at the economic impact data, there is no question about the economic strength of this industry. The diversity and wealth of this industry promises outstanding career paths to hardworking and dedicated employees.”
By Judy Wohlt, PMI Communications Team, Valek and Co.
If getting the most out of your PMI membership is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, then take a look at 11 ways you can easily do that.
- Attend a fly-in - May 7–8 in Washington, D.C., and May 13–14 in Sacramento, Calif. PMI organizes the annual Washington, D.C., Executive Forum and Fly In, providing members with opportunities to meet with and express their views to staff representing key legislators and regulators. The two-day event also includes presentations from experts on current issues relating to politics and elections, taxes, trade, industry regulations, and much more. In addition, members can join PMI staff at the California capital each year to meet with California legislators and regulators on issues pertaining to plumbing, water, and public health and safety. Agencies involved in the meetings include the California Building Standards Commission, California Department of Housing and Community Development, California Department of Water Resources, and California Energy Commission. PMI members also have other opportunities to interact with policymakers throughout the year.
“I enjoy the policy side of this business for both Sloan and working on behalf of PMI over the past decade,” said Danny Gleiberman, co-chair of PMI’s Water Efficiency and Sustainability Issue Committee and manager of product compliance and government affairs at Sloan Valve Company. “Transparency in policy making, creating stakeholder collaboration and gathering input from all involved ultimately leads to better educated officials and better legislation for the plumbing industry.”
- Work alongside other PMI members, industry partners and media. Members working together have helped PMI earn its role as a thought leader on key public health issues, including preventing Legionella and taking a safe, responsible approach to lead in plumbing. Our strategic partnerships with WaterSense, peer United States trade associations, and counterpart organizations in Canada, Mexico and other nations help members to gain insight on industry issues and to form coalitions advocating for common interests. Trade and consumer media are always looking for fresh insights and opinions expressed through bylined articles, op-eds, interviews and news releases or pitches.
“By partnering with others in our industry, PMI has created an amazing leadership position by focusing on important issues, like WaterSense and flow rates,” said Mary Ahlbrand, chair of the PMI Outreach/Communications Committee and channel manager, Delta Faucet Company. “We also walk such an interesting line of setting aside any company and competitive differences to not only work as a team focused on the interest of PMI as a whole, but actually becoming friends and collaborators.”
- Participate in the new on-demand, e-learning course on standards, regulations, codes and conformity assessment. You can gain a unique overview of plumbing codes, engineering standards and government regulations, and their impact on the application, installation and commission of plumbing systems. The workshop also offers an easy way for you to bring added value to your company. The course is available to PMI members at a discount and to non-members. Learn more and register.
- Provide input on future PMI training offerings. Contact Emilee Hughes, PMI’s new education manager, to share your ideas about professional development and training you and your staff need. Emilee can be reached at email@example.com and by phone at 847-481-5500, extension 106.
- Recommend speakers for the next PMI Conference. The 2019 PMI Conference will be held from, Nov. 4–7, The Don CeSar Hotel, St. Pete Beach, Fla. Have you seen an industry expert speak about a topic you think PMI members would find helpful or interesting? Let the PMI staff know by emailing PMI’s Association Manager Jodi Stuhrberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Become a PMI committee participant or co-chair. PMI committees give members the opportunity to join the discussion on many topics important to members and the industry, from codes and standards, to international trade relationships, to the challenges of indoor recycled water use. PMI’s committees include Advocacy/Government Affairs; Technical; Outreach/Communications; Commerce; Water Efficiency and Sustainability; and the Allied Member Committee.
- Listen to Tech Talk or any committee call. Any employee of a PMI member company can join committee calls to share your ideas and feedback, or just to listen. To participate, simply update your member profile or contact Jodi Stuhrberg, at 847-481-5500 ext. 107, or via email at email@example.com to indicate which committee calls you are interested in. Once you’re signed up, you will receive emails with details and call-in information.
“Being a PMI co-chair has been a tremendous opportunity for me both in terms of professional growth and strengthening of my industry relationships. It’s truly a great way to get involved with PMI and help shape the industry,” said Amy Scherer, outgoing co-chair of the PMI Outreach/Communications Committee and director of product management at Professional Plumbing Group, which manages the Speakman brand.
- Like, share or comment on PMI messages on social media. Like, share and comment on PMI posts to help spread the word on all the valuable actions PMI and its members are taking to support the industry and PMI’s vision of “Safe, responsible plumbing – always.” You can find PMI on:
Twitter @SafePlumbing: twitter.com/safeplumbing
Facebook (Safe Plumbing): facebook.com/SafePlumbing
LinkedIn: PMI Company page, PMI Group page, Safe Plumbing Group page.
- Share your company’s news releases in the Member News section of PMI’s website. Send your releases to Ray Valek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Advertise on PMI’s website or in PMI publications. Members and their companies can gain valuable exposure through PMI silver or gold sponsorship advertising (safeplumbing.org/communications/advertise). You may choose your sponsorship level and PMI communications vehicle — SafePlumbing.org website, Ripple Effect or Inside My PMI.
- Sponsor and attend the PMI Conference. Connect with current and prospective PMI members every fall for four days of thought-provoking presentations and valuable networking at the annual PMI Conference. Attendees rate this time spent as extremely valuable. The conference’s program includes inspiring keynote speakers, presentations by subject matter experts, hands-on workshops, and enjoyable nights out. Take a look at details from last year’s conference. The 2019 conference will be Nov. 4-7 at the Don CeSar Hotel, St. Pete Beach, Fla.
“I regularly share highlights from PMI conferences and events with my NSF colleagues and staff who are happy to hear about the latest trends, legislation, and codes and standards, which gives context to our work at NSF while keeping them engaged in the plumbing industry,” said Terry Burger, former co-chair of the Allied Member Committee and principal engineer in mechanical plumbing at NSF International.
Keep an eye out for PMI’s staff at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), taking place Feb. 19–21, 2019, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. PMI’s CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole will be joined by PMI Technical Director Matt Sigler, PMI Association Manager Jodi Stuhrberg, and new PMI Education Manager Emilee Hughes.
They will host the PMI Strategic Advisory Council meeting at KBIS and will spend many hours on the show floor learning from PMI members while seeing the newest innovations in kitchen and bath products.
In addition, PMI will sponsor the 19th Annual Crystal Vision Award Breakfast on Feb. 20 at the Westgate Resort, Las Vegas. The Crystal Vision Award Breakfast will feature keynote speaker Craig Webb, president of Webb Analytics and former editor-in-chief of ProSales Magazine. He will discuss “Construction’s Next Revolution: 3 Big Changes You Should Prepare for Now.”
PMI will be following the proceedings on its social media platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube and will report on KBIS activities and learnings in upcoming PMI publications.
KBIS is North America’s largest trade show focused on kitchen and bath design. Learn more about the show on the KBIS website.
By Genny Valek, PMI Communications Team, Valek & Co.
Many new elected officials have started their jobs this January, and PMI’s goal is to provide members with the tools needed to make a good first impression with these public officials while renewing relationships with incumbents.
To achieve this goal, PMI has developed economic impact data reports, templates and other materials for members to communicate the national, state and local economic importance of the plumbing manufacturing industry to policymakers and media.
While these materials can be used throughout the year, now is a good time to use them.
Many tools have been developed for PMI members to use. Economic impact reports and tables can be downloaded from the PMI website at safeplumbing.org/advocacy/economic-impact. This information can be localized by state, congressional district, state senate, and state house district. Elected officials love localized data that illustrate benefits to their constituents, and PMI member companies are the plumbing manufacturing industry’s best local representatives.
For each PMI member company, PMI has developed a template letter to send to elected officials, a template news release for local media, and instructions on how to tailor them. Contact PMI communications team member Ray Valek at email@example.com, and he will send these tailored materials along with instructions on how to use them to you. Printed copies of a brochure titled “Plumbing Manufacturing – A Key Driver of Jobs, Growth and Innovation” can be ordered from Ray as well. All of these tools will soon be distributed to PMI member CEOs, as well.
For example, send an economic impact report to your governor, U.S. congressional representative, and state senator and representative. Introduce the report using the template letter to link the local economic data with your company and each elected official’s constituents. Match each letter with the appropriate economic impact report. If you wish, use the materials as a supplement to an invitation to tour your facility. See PMI’s Plant Tour Guide.
The template news release can be sent to local media as part of a story pitch and also can be used as a newsletter article or posted as background on your website or in your press room. This template can be adjusted according to the interests of local media. Generally, media are interested in news or data that relate to the geographic areas they cover.
PMI members’ use of these materials will make PMI’s voice even stronger. PMI has nearly 40 members with even more facilities across the nation. The help of members is needed to communicate and personalize the plumbing manufacturing industry’s messages across the country. Using these data and materials, PMI members can position themselves as valuable resources. Many PMI issues are important national, state and local issues right now – including tariffs, trade, water efficiency, sustainability, manufacturing jobs and more. These issues make PMI companies more relevant and valuable to elected officials.
These materials were designed to make it easier for PMI members to conduct important outreach to elected officials. These materials will reduce the time spent preparing communications to elected officials and local media from many hours to only several.
PMI will continue to contact and advocate on PMI members’ behalf. But adding a bit of local flavor to the mix will everyone’s effort more valuable and effective.
By Ray Valek, PMI Communications Team, Valek & Co.
PMI successfully worked to achieve the goals of the plumbing manufacturing industry in 2018. PMI helped to achieve WaterSense authorization, kept members abreast of the impact of tariffs, saw member-developed technical recommendations gain approval, organized another successful PMI Conference, and much more. Here are some highlights. All 2018 accomplishments and recognitions can be reviewed in detail at bit.ly/2CPi8Y1.
Advocacy and Government Affairs
PMI Joins with Industry Allies to Preserve and Authorize WaterSense
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump in October. Receiving bipartisan support, the act authorized the EPA’s successful WaterSense program and provided funding for investments in critical infrastructure programs for the nation’s ports, harbors, inland waterways, and drinking water systems. PMI and its industry allies had been continually encouraging federal lawmakers to authorize the program and to take steps to rebuild and revitalize the nation’s water infrastructure.
By formally authorizing and codifying the WaterSense program, the act provides annual funding specifically to the program, after years of the program’s budget being left up to the discretion of the EPA administrator. Over the course of the advocacy effort, PMI met with the staff of dozens of congressional members to underscore the importance of WaterSense authorization.
PMI Opposes Trump Administrative Tariffs, Helps Members Stay Informed with Frequent Updates
PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole testified in August before the United States Trade Representative on the unfavorable and consequential impacts the tariffs would have on U.S. plumbing manufacturers that produce hundreds of plumbing-related products and components, as well as on consumers and the economy.
PMI held an in-depth webinar on the Section 301 tariffs and the exclusion process in August (bit.ly/2M6yWiz) and posted regular trade updates for members (bit.ly/2LBOmft).
PMI Develops Parameters and Ranges for Recycled Water Use
PMI introduced parameters for the use of indoor recycled water. Developed for the benefit of water utilities to ensure that plumbing products function as intended by manufacturers, the water quality limits provide recommended ranges on 13 different parameters of water quality. View the news release: bit.ly/2AvyVho
PMI Releases PCR Guidance Documents
In collaboration with its members, PMI issued a Product Category Rule (PCR) Guidance Document for Kitchen and Bath Fixture Fittings, as well as version 1.1 of the PCR Guidance Document for Kitchen and Bath Vessel Fixtures. These documents were developed to help program operators apply consistent rules and calculations when developing PCRs. Learn more: bit.ly/2GUNbG9
PMI Conference and Professional Development
PMI Conference Evolves to Meet Members’ Changing Needs
PMI welcomed members, speakers, media and other guests to the 2018 PMI Conference at the Wigwam Resort outside of Phoenix. Well-received by members, this year’s program featured futurist Jack Uldrich; a panel of home building experts; a panel addressing challenges posed by tariffs, Brexit and other trade issues; emcee Thom Singer; and a media panel, as well as discussions about technical topics, WaterSense advocacy, water-efficiency accomplishments, Legionella prevention, and more. Attendees enjoyed open-air dinners and valuable networking activities.
Post-conference resources have been posted for PMI members, including speaker information, presentations and photos. View resources: bit.ly/2BNxJqL
Next year’s conference will be held Nov. 4-7 at the Don CeSar Hotel, St. Pete Beach, Fla.
PMI Elects Nate Kogler President, Announces 2019 Board of Directors
The members of PMI elected Nate Kogler president of the 2019 PMI Board of Directors at PMI’s 44th annual meeting of the membership held during the PMI Conference. The director of product management at Bradley Corporation, Kogler succeeds Pete Jahrling, director, product engineering and intellectual property at Sloan Valve Company, who served as board president in 2017 and 2018. Jahrling will continue to serve on the board as immediate past president.
Joel Smith, director – new product engineering at Kohler Co., was elected as vice president and Todd Teter, vice president and general manager - U.S. wholesale for Moen Inc., will serve as secretary/treasurer. Elected as directors at large were Chip Way, director of OEM sales at Lavelle Industries, and Carol Baricovich, director - global brand communications, government relations, and marketing/business development at InSinkErator.
PMI Committee Co-Chairs Guide and Drive PMI Efforts and Accomplishments
The committee co-chairs for 2019 were named at the PMI Conference. PMI thanks those retiring from their committee positions after outstanding service.
Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee
Co-Chairs: Lowell Lampen, Kohler Co., and Michael Martinez, Delta Faucet Company
Retiring: Martin Knieps, Viega LLC
Allied Member Committee
Chair: Shahin Moinian, ICC-ES
Retiring: Terry Burger, NSF International, and Colin Thielmann, KEROX
Chair: Mary Ahlbrand, Delta Faucet Company
Retiring: Amy Scherer, Speakman Company
Co-Chairs: Bob Neff, Delta Faucet Company, and C.J. Lagan, LIXIL
Retiring: John Finch, Masco
Co-Chairs: Liz Renfro, Delta Faucet Company, and Elton Perkins; Fluidmaster, Inc.
Retiring: Carol Baricovich, InSinkErator, and Erik Theisen, T&S Brass and Bronze Works, Inc.
Water Efficiency and Sustainability Committee
Co-Chairs: Daniel Gleiberman, Sloan Valve Company, and Cambria McLeod, Kohler Co.
PMI Hosts Webinars
PMI hosted a webinar in March 2018 concerning California Proposition 65, which covered new warning requirements. PMI also provided webinars to members about changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), about lead in schools and selecting lead-free plumbing, and about “What To Expect from NAFTA Renegotiations.” These webinars are still available for on-demand viewing to PMI members: bit.ly/2M6yWiz
PMI Introduces On-Demand, Online Codes and Standards Training
PMI’s first online course offering went live in December, “Part I: Primer on Standards, Regulations, Codes and Conformity Assessment.” Learn more and register at safeplumbing.org/codes
Outreach and Communications
PMI Launches Enhanced Website
PMI launched an enhanced website, with an emphasis on creating an easier user experience for members. A newly created dashboard on the members-only section of the upgraded PMI website lists the latest reports, news, events and more - providing PMI members with valuable information on breaking issues that can be used for business planning, implementation and evaluation. In addition, much of the content throughout the site was rewritten or refreshed while maintaining the site’s excellent search engine optimization.
PMI Introduces New Legionella Content and Social Media Toolkit
“Just the Facts: Legionella and Water Supply Systems,” a new PMI resource, was introduced to the media, allies and the general public in February. Produced by PMI with the assistance of Legionella experts, this publication and accompanying social media toolkit is available from the PMI website (bit.ly/2OgIqp0). PMI encourages members and allies to use and link to this information and to participate in the social media conversation about this important safety issue by using the toolkit.