2016 Year In Review

Board Of Directors, Strategic Advisory Council And PMI Administration

The PMI Board of Directors and Strategic Advisory Council met during July to redefine the purpose and scope of PMI’s Strategy Map, looking to better document and quantify the value PMI offers via three pillars of equal weight: technical, advocacy/government affairs, and outreach/communication. Participants completed a SWOT analysis identifying PMI strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats across the entire map. PMI’s core values, priorities, audiences, leadership and financial resources were also considered. Tom Morrison, author of How to Get People to Scream Your Name and Beg for More, facilitated a brainstorming session on how to “Uber-proof” PMI from upcoming trends and potential competitors.

Transition plans began as PMI CEO/Executive Director Barbara C. Higgens announced plans to embark on the next chapter of her life. Ms. Higgens will remain in her post at least through the end of 2017 and will be actively involved in the transition process.

PMI Conference

"Proactively Engaging Influencers," the 2016 PMI Conference, Oct. 24-27, in Rosemont, Ill., set new records with 32 of 35 member companies present and 85 individual member attendees. Total attendance was 139.

PMI Members

Globe Union Group (Gerber/Danze), Jing Mei Industrial (USA) Inc., and Reliance Worldwide Corporation were approved as members by the PMI board.

Flint, Mich. Relief Effort

PMI worked with the UA (plumbers union) on a relief effort in Flint, MI installing more than 700 PMI member-donated faucets and supplies so residents could use state-provided filters.

  • Media coverage. Included national, local and trade stories by outlets including National Public Radio, People magazine, and CBS News. Mostly due to the Flint coverage, the first quarter of 2016 was a record-breaking quarter for communications: website traffic doubled; and there were more than 14,600 press release views, with more than 567 social media mentions reaching more than 240,000 people.
  • Political attention. PMI was acknowledged and thanked for their efforts in Flint by presidential candidates during campaign speeches and by Congress during congressional hearings on Flint.
  • Follow-up effort. Building on the success of the initial January event, hundreds of volunteers gathered in Flint on May 21 to install products donated by PMI member companies in homes where existing fixtures were not compatible with filters. While the initial effort focused on filters for kitchen faucets, participants in the later event installed more than 1,000 water-efficient showerheads and filters.

Washington, D.C., Advocacy and Government Affairs

WaterSense. PMI contributed to amendments authorizing EPA WaterSense included in the Water Resources Development Act (S. 2848), the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S.2012), and the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R.8). PMI continues to work behind the scenes to ensure authorization language remains intact. PMI also signed onto a Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition (PILC) letter highlighting 10th anniversary of EPA WaterSense Program and joined coalition effort in support of tax exemption status for water efficiency rebates.

Water infrastructure and financing. PMI advocated for sweeping bipartisan legislation addressing the nation's water infrastructure. Barbara C. Higgens and Stephanie Salmon met with the top lobbyists for the American Water Works Association (AWWA) in Washington, D.C., regarding top priority issues for the new Congress and Trump administration, including water infrastructure and financing. Ms. Higgens also attended the AWWA Conference in Chicago and met with AWWA CEO David La France and other AWWA leaders in Denver to discuss national water infrastructural challenges and partnering opportunities

Washington, D.C., Executive Forum and Fly-In – April 27-28, 2016. Fifteen PMI executives participated in the half-day forum. Topics included the economic outlook for housing/construction, tax reform, water-related legislation and regulations, 2016 elections, and workforce development. PMI hosted a reception including key business and water-related organizations. PMI members participated in 28 House and Senate Congressional meetings for Advocacy Hill Day.


PCR Guidance Document. PMI released a Product Category Rule (PCR) Guidance Document for Kitchen and Bath Vessel Fixtures; developed by PMI’s Sustainability Task Group with Board approval. PMI’s PCR Guidance Document was posted to UK and European media via the BMA.

Removed outdated labeling requirement for plumbing products. The FTC issued an official proposed rule regarding removing an outdated labeling requirement for plumbing products, in agreement with PMI comments submitted in 2015 in response to an advanced proposed rulemaking notice.

PMI submitted concerns about building standards related to California’s AB 2282 recycled water legislation at a stakeholder meeting on Aug. 30 and in follow-up communication with the California Building Standards Commission. The concerns relate to potential unintended public health consequences of the use of non-potable water indoors, as well as to the potential impact non-potable water may have on plumbing product performance.

The PMI Codes & Standards Workshop was conducted on August 9 & 10, drawing the attendance of 35 professionals who reviewed a brief history and summary of the roles of codes and standards, an industry acronym guide, a report on significant code changes, and more.

PMI initiated a low flow and pathogen growth study with Dr. Paul Sturman (Montana State University).

PMI and the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) initiated a study to determine the number of non-efficient water closets (greater than 1.6 gpf) that remain within residential dwellings in 5 key states.

PMI successfully lobbied against code proposals at the International Energy Conversation Code (IECC) Hearings that would have changed lavatory faucets flow rates to EPA WaterSense levels in the mandatory IECC.

California Advocacy and Government Affairs

Sacramento Fly-in. Several member company executives and PMI Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee co-chairs attended the 2016 fly-in to California’s Sacramento Capitol. They updated the California Energy Commission’s executive staff on PMI member efforts to comply with the low flow rates that apply to their products, and met as constituents with 10 legislative offices to lobby specific measures.

Los Angeles Ordinance. Following months of PMI engagement, the L.A. City Council adopted an ordinance with voluntary low flow rates for specific plumbing products that reflect PMI’s input and suggestions and will enable companies to move forward and provide products.

Toilet Donation Program. The California Water Resources Department, Department of Community Services and Development, and Governor’s Office of Planning and Research thanked PMI and member companies Kohler and American Standard for the donation of 75 high-efficiency toilets that are being installed to assist the residents of East Porterville.

Prop 65 warnings. PMI informed members of changes they should consider making to the content of their Prop 65 warnings in advance of a 2018 effective date.

Industry Networking

International Emerging Technologies Symposium (IETS) and PILC Meeting. Together with the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), PMI co-convened the 5th annual IETS for an audience of 124. Founded and convened by PMI, ASPE and IAPMO, the 5th annual meeting of the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition (PILC) followed with 31 participants.

American Supply Association. PMI had a welcome/orientation lunch with the American Supply Association’s executive director and new technical director.

Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA). Barbara C. Higgens attended the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) Conference, October 3-4, in the United Kingdom. Yvonne Orgill, BMA chief executive, celebrated her 30th year with the organization. Ms. Orgill, in turn, attended and presented at the PMI Conference in October.

CEIR (European Valve Industry Association). Ms. Higgens addressed the CEIR annual conference in Lyon, France.

Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH). Ms. Higgens and Paul Patton attended the CIPH annual conference in Banff, Alberta. Past PMI board president Fernando Fernandez also attended.

Outreach and Communication

Developed a monetary value to members estimate of $277,000 for PMI media outreach during the first nine months of 2016. This estimate includes more than 75 stories and coverage of the Flint Relief Effort. During 2016, PMI distributed 16 news releases/media alerts that gained a total of 86,000 views, 515 website clicks and 3800 multimedia views via Business Wire.

2016 safeplumbing.org website activity totaled 94,752 users, 110,312 user sessions, and 168,517 page views. The most viewed pages were lead in plumbing (59,954), home page, glossary, product markings, history of plumbing timeline, no-lead compliant plumbing products position paper, calendar, Ripple Effect newsletter, members-only, and importance of manufacturing.

Position paper on water infrastructure approved by PMI board. A one-page position paper calling for the restoration of America’s aging underground water infrastructure was approved by the PMI board. PMI recruited speakers for and promoted Aug. 10 media and members event introducing PMI’s position paper and infographic about the need for a restored national underground water infrastructure. A full room of more than 25 individuals attended the event held at PMI headquarters.

Formed and gained volunteers for four outreach and communication work groups. value of PMI membership, amplifying PMI efforts through its members, engaging with youth to grow the industry, and expanding and diversifying PMI relationships. The work groups on value and amplification will start first.

Google surveys about water infrastructure and water efficiency. Wrote and distributed news releases about the two Google surveys conducted by PMI about public attitudes about water infrastructure and water efficiency. The release about infrastructure received 5,487 Business Wire views, 64 link clicks and 27 social media mentions in one week. The release about water efficiency received 5,763 Business Wire views, 46 link clicks and 50 social media mentions in one week.