By Pete Jahrling, PMI Board of Directors President, Sloan Valve Company
A little more than a year ago in July, I reported out to our Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) members on our newly hired CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole. The SAC is made up of member company senior executives and advises the PMI Board of Directors on various matters of PMI. One executive of the SAC asserted, now that we have a new leader, get this association set up for success.
I am happy to report PMI has set itself up for success. Your board and PMI staff have established a solid strategic plan, which was refined this past year. We have had strategic plans in the past, but this year we have very clear objectives and tasks. This has been a year of transition within PMI, and the association has specific goals and measurements established. And while not 100% measured on all goals yet, your PMI staff and board are committed to establishing baseline metrics on those remaining goals that still need values. The 2018 board seized the 2018 transitioning opportunity to outline strategic goals that PMI staff have transformed into tactics and activities building toward the PMI strategic plan. PMI is very fortunate to have such a dedicated staff, who embraced the strategic plan and formulated detailed objectives.
Just as each one of our member companies construct and implement strategic plans, so also has PMI established its strategies and plans for the coming years. The 2018 PMI board members have convened in person two times this past year to reinforce and refine key strategies. In addition to the annual July strategic planning session, the board convened a March meeting. Of major emphasis not surprisingly – increasing and improving member value.
Defining the member value metric is always elusive and can evolve over time. Each member company takes value in different offerings PMI extends to its members. Between the board and PMI staff, we have defined values to measure toward various aspects that build value to membership. PMI’s strategic plan progressively builds toward increasing the member value of the association and enables staff and the board to justify initiatives based upon those strategies.
The PMI strategy includes four objectives; 1) Develop a PMI member value proposition, 2) Build a brand called PMI, 3) Make PMI information resources easily accessible and measure that accessibility, and 4) Develop proactive technical issue positions and drive measurable outcomes. Within those objectives are specific tasks, deliverables, and measurements. One of the more visible tasks you will notice (and an example of objective #2 above) is the evolving design change to the PMI/Safe Plumbing website, with more improvements on the way. As an example of objective #3 above, webinars on topical issues, such as trade and other unfolding challenges, have become more frequent. As an example of objective #1, an economic impact study of the plumbing manufacturing industry was recently published at this link: bit.ly/2MVJdyv, and becomes impactful as PMI advocates within various jurisdictions.
All these tactics build toward the objectives and those ultimately enhance PMI member value and identification of improvements to PMI services. For the first time that I can recollect, your PMI board and PMI staff have clear roadmaps that lead to enhanced value and assignment of measurements in which to gauge those member enhancements.
If you have any questions or observations about our direction, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself, any of your board members, or staff. We stand here to represent the interests of this great industry.
I would like to thank PMI staff for their detailed tactical plans and willingness to work toward PMI strategic goals. I would also like to thank fellow board members for their time and contribution in putting together strategic plans based upon our meetings this past year.
By Kerry Stackpole, FASAE/CAE, PMI CEO/Executive Director
“Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
Thomas Edison knew something about inspiration. Born in Milan, Ohio, in 1847, Edison went to school in Port Huron, Mich. His teachers considered him dull. Troubled by a hearing malady, Edison couldn’t follow the lessons. Some years later while working for the Grand Trunk Railway, Edison became a telegrapher. While working as a roving telegrapher, he invented a telegraph repeater, which allowed messages to be sent automatically.
By 1869, Edison’s inventions were gaining a foothold, allowing him to begin a career of full-time inventing and entrepreneurship. He produced the Edison Universal Stock Printer – a telegraph that printed real-time stock information – as well as the quadruplex telegraph and other printing telegraphs. He invented the carbon-button transmitter (still used in telephone speakers and microphones), the commercial phonograph, the electric pen, the mimeograph, the incandescent electric light bulb, and the microtasimeter.
Edison once declared that “opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Edison, it seems, knew a little something about perspiration, too.
When it comes to inspiration, it can be tough to cut through all the clatter and naysayers to find the nub of a good idea. Something that seems far-fetched to many, like giving the Amazon Echo commands to start your shower, creating a smart phone-operated water shutoff, or exploring water flow influenced by microgravity to deliver an enhanced shower experience for consumers. It’s been said that to have good ideas, you need to have a lot of ideas. When it comes to engineering plumbing fixtures and fittings, having good ideas is the price of admission.
Do you remember the feeling of delight? Like that true sense of awe you experienced as a child when you first saw a meadow of wildflowers, with the morning sun shining in the mist. How about when you rolled down a hill, head over heels giggling as you went at the unexpected discovery of gravity?
True delight is harder to recognize as an adult, but it’s there. I found it not long ago walking onto the stage for the American Society of Association Executives 2018 Annual Meeting. The room shimmered in shades of blue, purple and orange – the soundtrack was definitely “baby boomer” all the way. It was my honor and privilege to present the association profession’s highest honors to three visionary and dynamic women. As leaders, they not only helped shape their own organizations, but influenced the entire industry and profession as volunteers, contributors and mentors. I was touched by their grace, their humble manner, and their generosity in acknowledging those who made their success possible. It was truly awesome.
As we rocket toward the 44th annual meeting of the PMI membership at the 2018 PMI Conference, we are looking to you and other PMI members to serve in the many key roles within the association’s volunteer leadership. Becoming engaged in the work of the association is a powerful opportunity to share your experiences and ideas to shape the future of the industry. Nobody does this work alone. We are looking forward to welcoming an extraordinary group of new leaders in 2019.
This year’s conference flows over the mid-term elections. This is a good time (and probably again next month) to remind you to vote early or get your absentee ballot. We’ll all be together at the PMI Conference as the election results roll in, so there will be an opportunity to look ahead to celebrate and perhaps in some cases to commiserate with colleagues.
PMI members have a built-in resource in the community of plumbing manufacturers who gather regularly to talk shop, explore new ideas, share resources, or simply relax in the company of others who understand what a “tough” day really means. It is in the fabric of such gatherings that great ideas are born, twists are seen and taken, turns are noted, and flourishes fixed in the mind’s eye. Whether it’s the opening reception, the creative presentations and visuals, a gala dinner, or the stunning simplicity of a desert setting, our goal is to inspire and delight. Perhaps you will be reminded of what it means to be in awe once again.
This year’s program will be hosted by Thom Singer, who will serve as our guide and Sherpa, pulling all of us along the pathway to new ideas, new approaches and new ways of thinking. He’ll be joined by a fabulous faculty of thought leaders including futurist and noted author Jack Uldrich, Joe Cotruvo, Tara Lohan, and a host of other extraordinary presenters with fresh-squeezed ideas and new perspectives to share.
Good ideas matter. Good design matters. Inspiration matters. Perspiration is required for all of it and for your success. As Edison put it, “The three great essentials to achieving anything worthwhile are: first, hard work, second, stick-to-it-iveness, and third common sense.” So, this season, go for the great idea, the imaginative innovation, the flourish, the panache, the renewal of awe. It will delight you, but best of all, it will delight your colleagues, customers, and clients, too.
From Bulgaria to Italy to the United States, more than 1.5 million people, including school kids and “citizen scientists,” have been taking the annual EarthEcho Water Challenge to help protect water quality in almost 78,000 bodies of water.
The premise of the challenge is simple: everyone can help protect water quality in their communities. The program, formerly known as the World Water Monitoring Challenge, runs from March 22 (the United Nations World Water Day) through December, helping to build public awareness by getting citizens involved in monitoring their local water bodies.
The EarthEchoWater Challenge offers several resources, including basic, classroom and advanced water test kits (bit.ly/2P4tlqZ) that can be purchased, an app for recording water test data online (app.monitorwater.org), an outlet to share stories (bit.ly/2PywCQl), and social media sites to share photos using the hashtag #MonitorWater and Twitter handle @MonitorWater.
Once testing is completed, participants are encouraged to take action in a variety of ways, including conducting visual surveys, litter pick-ups, and one-time habitat improvement projects. Teachers can obtain action guides and lesson plans (bit.ly/2o90wym) to set up a more formal classroom program.
Some of the projects recorded in 2018 included one young “citizen scientist” taking monthly water samples from Ala Moana Beach Park on the island of Hawaii; a student at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology at Florida International University monitoring the water quality in Biscayne Bay off the southeast coast of Florida; and a local Girl Scout troop testing the water in two large lakes in Ohio.
EarthEcho International is a nonprofit organization founded by siblings Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father Philippe Cousteau Sr., son of the legendary explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau. With the mission to inspire young people worldwide to act now for a sustainable future, EarthEcho offers programs that use 21st century tools and interactive resources to empower and equip youth to identify and solve environmental challenges in their own communities.
For more information, visit the EarthEcho Water Challenge website (worldwatermonitoringday.org).
Part of an Arizona Public Radio series titled “Water Conservation in the Southwest,” a report about the modern toilet makes a case for why it should be the water conservation MVP.
“A strange phenomenon has played out in arid Western urban areas,” Luke Runyon reports. “Populations are booming, while overall water use is staying the same or going down. The trend is clear in Denver, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, San Diego and Phoenix: Cities are growing and using less water in the process. It’s impossible to give credit to one single solution, but one could make a strong case that the MVP award for water conservation efforts should go to the modern toilet.”
The report mentions the 2017 PMI/Alliance for Water Efficiency study that found that more than 13 million non-efficient toilets – those that flush more than 1.6 gallons – remain installed in five states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Texas, not to mention all the other states where non-efficient toilets remain.
The study found that water-efficient toilets could potentially save up to 170 billion potable gallons of water per year across these five states, which all face water scarcity. The five-state savings can be extrapolated to an estimate of up to 360 billion potable gallons of water per year saved nationally.
Listen to the report at bit.ly/2o4MBci.
Learn about other parts of the series: bit.ly/2NiwKSN.
Known as “The Conference Catalyst,” Thom Singer creates an atmosphere of fun and interaction that lasts throughout the meeting. Thom will serve as the master of ceremonies at the 2018 PMI Conference, Nov. 5-8, at the Wigwam Resort. He also will present to attendees on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Thom has delivered his high energy presentations and action-oriented content to more than 700 audiences. He sets the tone for a strong conference attendee experience. He is the author of 12 books and host of the popular “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast. For this show, he has interviewed over 350 entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, business leaders and others about how successful people cross the gap between potential and results.
In addition, Gary Stanley, director, Office of Materials Industries, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Salim Bhabhrawala, senior international trade specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce, will participate in the Commerce Committee’s discussions about trade. Marc Campbell, manager, sustainability policy and programs, Salt River Project, will join Markus Lenger, CEO, CleanBlu Innovations Inc., in presenting during the Water Efficiency and Sustainability Committee’s time slot. Ashlei Williams, editorial director, Plumbing Engineer, and CMO, PHCP Pros, Jen Anesi-Brombach, chief editor, Plumbing & Mechanical, and Bret Jaspers, senior field correspondent, KJZZ and Arizona Public Media, have been added as participants in the Outreach/Communications Track media panel.
Register for the PMI Conference and learn more about sponsorships here: safeplumbing.org/2018-pmi-conference
When the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relaxed its reporting rules on conflict minerals in 2017, some companies may have viewed the move as an opportunity to ease up on their disclosure reports. However, most publicly traded companies, including PMI member Masco Corporation, continue their tracking and reporting efforts.
The SEC staff suspended enforcing the requirement that companies conduct a due diligence review or an audit to determine the origin of conflict minerals after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found parts of the rule unconstitutional. The case was brought to the court because of objections from the National Association of Manufacturers and other industry organizations.
Tin, tungsten, gold and tantalum – materials used in everything from smartphones to eyeglasses to plumbing products – are classified as conflict minerals because they are mined in conflict-ridden areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries where armed gangs control the mining operations and take part in human rights abuses.
The conflict mineral rules, adopted in 2012, are part of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which requires publicly traded companies to disclose their use of conflict minerals in a report filed annually with the SEC.
Some companies opposed the 2012 rules, arguing that they do not fit within the SEC’s mandate of disclosing financial information that informs investment opinions. They also said the reporting rules caused a heavy financial burden on companies. On the flip side, supporters viewed the law as a necessary alert to existing and potential investors, informing them of possible conflict minerals use in a company’s products.
Regardless of the SEC’s reporting requirements, many companies choose to disclose use of conflict minerals as part of their corporate social responsibility policies – because they believe it is the right thing to do.
John Finch, PMI member and principal engineer at Masco Corporation, said his company has a conflict minerals compliance team that includes individuals from the appropriate domestic and international business units and departments, including compliance, finance, procurement, sales, and legal, to identify products that may contain conflict minerals in the company’s supply chain. Masco has had a formal system in place for several years to help identify the suppliers and source of the materials used in its products, he added. Masco includes its conflict minerals policy as part of the company’s broader Supplier Business Practices Policy on the company website. (masco.com/suppliers-policy/)
“The regulation requires that you do your due diligence with your supply chain,” he said. “You don’t have to test your materials; but you must undertake a more detailed survey and reporting process.” John added that he understands some smaller companies are challenged to complete the conflict minerals reporting process because they simply do not have the resources.
An SEC fact sheet with more information about disclosing the use of conflict minerals and what must be included in a company’s conflict minerals report can be found here: bit.ly/2Lpoxdw.
The plumbing manufacturing industry creates good paying jobs in localities throughout the United States.
The plumbing fixture and fittings industry contributes $85.5 billion dollars to the American economy – about four-tenths of 1% of America’s gross domestic product, according to a 2018 PMI economic study of the industry.
These manufacturers, along with their wholesale and retail partners, generate more than $34 billion dollars in direct annual output, providing over 193,000 jobs and over $10 billion dollars in wages. Furthermore, the industry supports more than 271,300 jobs through its supplier and induced impacts, with a payroll of over $15.5 billion dollars.
On the PMI website, reports can be generated showing the number of jobs created by the plumbing manufacturing industry, as well as other related economic data. The reports can be tailored to show national data or data by state, congressional district, state house district, or state senate district. Use these reports to communicate the economic contributions of the plumbing manufacturing industry to elected officials.
Learn more at: safeplumbing.org/advocacy/economic-impact
With bathrooms accounting for more than half of all water used indoors in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging consumers to save water by updating their bathrooms with WaterSense fixtures. Through its “Your Better Bathroom” program, the EPA promotes WaterSense fixtures as a way to help Americans easily and quickly save water while beautifying their homes.
Conserving water has become more important as populations in certain regions continue to rise and as two-thirds of the U.S. experiences periodic drought.
With home remodeling projects more popular than ever, it makes sense to focus on easy ways to swap out older plumbing fixtures with WaterSense products. Bathroom updates were the number one remodeling project in the U.S. in 2017, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders.
Giving a bathroom a makeover by replacing older bathroom fixtures with WaterSense products can save up to 10,000 gallons of water a year - enough to wash 11 months’ worth of laundry. An upgraded bathroom would also save 370 kilowatt-hours of electricity – enough to run a refrigerator for seven months – and $150 in utility bills – enough for the fixtures to pay for themselves in as little as one year. To estimate how much water, energy and money can be saved, check out the EPA’s WaterSense calculator (epa.gov/watersense/watersense-calculator).
If one in every 10 American homes upgraded a full bathroom with WaterSense fixtures, the savings would total about 93 billion gallons of water and about $1.3 billion on utility bills annually, according to the EPA. WaterSense fixtures meet EPA criteria for product performance while using at least 20% less water than products meeting federal water-efficiency requirements.
Consumers can choose from many WaterSense bath fixtures, including faucets, toilets and showerheads, in a broad range of designs, colors and finishes that will fit any budget. The EPA offers a handy online search tool to find WaterSense products at retailers nationwide (epa.gov/watersense/product-search). Consumers also can use the EPA’s WaterSense rebate finder (epa.gov/watersense/rebate-finder) to search for money-saving rebates in their state.
To learn more about the “Your Better Bathroom” program, visit the EPA’s website (epa.gov/watersense/your-better-bathroom).
By Ray Valek, PMI Communications Team, Valek & Co.
So far this year, PMI has been busy on all fronts, working to influence policymakers and codes and standards bodies while adding value for PMI members. Major accomplishments include working as part of a coalition to preserve WaterSense funding in FY19 federal spending bills, seeing technical recommendations take hold, and improving the PMI website. Overall, America saw its per-capita use of water reach its lowest point since before 1970, thanks to water-efficiency breakthroughs achieved by the plumbing manufacturing industry, according to a report from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
PMI also has been actively voicing its opposition to tariffs on plumbing-related product components imported from China and has been keeping members informed on other trade issues through written updates and webinars. PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole testified on the tariffs issue to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in August.
With the schedule for the 2018 PMI Conference now complete, members and other attendees can look forward to four valuable days (Nov. 5-8) at the Wigwam Resort outside of Phoenix.
Other significant PMI activities included participation during May in the Emergency Water Technologies Symposium (EWTS), the Sacramento Fly In and the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition (PILC) meeting; the June Washington, D.C., Executive Forum and Fly In; and the PMI Foresight Strategy Session in July. PMI also introduced two Product Category Rule (PCR) Guidance Documents and a campaign designed to create awareness about Legionella and how to prevent it.
Read about all of PMI’s recent accomplishments here: bit.ly/2o8Ce7o
PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole testified on Aug. 23 before the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on the unfavorable and consequential impacts that Section 301 tariffs of up to 25% on $200 billion worth of products imported from China would have on U.S. plumbing manufacturers, the economy, and consumers.
Dozens of plumbing-related products and components were included on the most recent list (known as List 3). The $200 billion list also targeted furniture, cabinets, lighting products, chemicals, plastics, seafood, and variety of metal components and machinery. If implemented, the tariffs would result in significant supply chain disruptions and increased costs that would have a detrimental impact on American plumbing manufacturers and their workers, on the construction sector, and on retailers and consumers, Stackpole testified.
While PMI supports Trump Administration actions to hold China accountable for their intellectual property violations, Stackpole said imposing tariffs on a broad range of products coming from China, most of which have no connection to the identified violations, would simply mean higher prices for consumers. PMI opposed the imposition of new tariffs at either 10% or 25%. Stackpole’s full testimony is available on the PMI website: bit.ly/2MzklgQ.
Furthermore, the number of objections to the proposed duties spoke volumes about the damage that additional tariffs would do. The hearing, which ran from Aug. 20-24 and on Aug. 27, included more than 350 witnesses from a broad cross-section of U.S. businesses. More than 1,500 comments were submitted to the docket. Formal written comments on the third list of tariffs are due Sept. 5.