Dear fellow industry leaders:
An important part of both of our jobs as PMI leaders is talking with you and other industry executives to learn about the challenges and opportunities your organizations are facing. These conversations generally occur at PMI and industry events, and over the phone or email.
Over the past year, we’ve also completed a formal, confidential survey of PMI member needs, as well as various surveys of those attending PMI events.
Whether in person or via survey, there are a few messages which tend to be repeated again and again. Here’s a brief summary of what we’re hearing about PMI:
PMI is a primary and trusted source of information and education about issues and trends impacting the plumbing manufacturing industry. Many long-time PMI members have strong connections to fellow members and consider them a valuable community of peers.
PMI’s technical expertise and advocacy/government affairs capabilities are its greatest strengths. PMI members rely upon PMI’s guidance and credibility in these areas to serve the industry and their organizations well.
PMI members would benefit from an enhanced menu of professional development formats including live events, webinars, web-based interactive learning, podcasts and recordings. A mix of live, personal events and convenient learning opportunities optimizes both networking and the quick dissemination of knowledge.
PMI and the plumbing manufacturing industry would benefit from broader exposure to new audiences, particularly PMI member employees not yet engaged with PMI and young professionals searching for career opportunities.
PMI is at its best when members actively participate in PMI’s efforts and initiatives. Your engagement makes PMI stronger. Manufacturers, suppliers, certifiers and vendors – large and small in size – all stand together as PMI members to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Your voice is amplified by being a part of PMI.
The accomplishments and signature PMI events presented in this report show how PMI is living up to its core strengths and taking steps to meet the new needs of members and the plumbing manufacturing industry. We hope you will take the time to review how PMI is serving your interests.
And if you’d like to talk, we’re always happy to lend an ear.
President, PMI Board of Directors
Immediate Past President, PMI Board of Directors
1. PMI’s California Task Group stops drastic flow rate reduction in Los Angeles County
In response to PMI’s advocacy efforts, Los Angeles County removed proposed amendments calling for a 20% reduction in current California plumbing product flow rates by Jan. 1, 2020. PMI’s actions avoided disruptions to a major market, inventories and production lines for PMI members.
The work involved to produce that profitable outcome for PMI members was substantial. Shortly after the proposed amendments were announced in August 2019, PMI’s California Task Group sprang into action; this group of PMI-member experts had previously persuaded regulators in this bellwether state to amend proposals with potential adverse effects on public health, safety and the industry.
The PMI group quickly reviewed the proposed amendments in detail and started to notify and engage members and allies in developing a response. They included the California Building Industry Association, Alliance for Water Efficiency, American Society of Plumbing Engineers, Laborers’ International Union of North America, IAPMO, and International Code Council, as well as expert consultants and scientists such as Dr. Patrick Gurian from Drexel University, Gary Klein, and Dr. Paul Sturman from Montana State University.
The PMI group developed evidence-based talking points about public health and safety threats, infrastructural risks, and the lack of product availability to fulfill the proposed requirements and participated in a meeting and conference call with county staff on Aug. 22. By the end of the discussion, county staff agreed to listen to and consider additional input. Over the next several weeks, the PMI group and its allies continued to email suggestions and comments to the county, encouraging collaboration to achieve the win-win solution announced on Nov. 26.
2. PMI government affairs effort protects member investments in WaterSense
Protecting PMI member companies’ investments in WaterSense product development and marketing, PMI led efforts in an allied coalition that successfully secured report language in both the House and Senate Interior-EPA Appropriations FY2020 bills directing the EPA administrator to continue funding the WaterSense program at FY2019 levels.
To achieve this result, PMI Washington, D.C., government affairs representative Stephanie Salmon and PMI allies arranged meetings with dozens of congressional offices to underscore the importance of the program.
Operating on only a $3 million annual budget, WaterSense products have saved Americans 3.4 trillion gallons of water and $84.2 billion in water and energy expenses since 2006. Plumbing manufacturers have developed nearly 30,000 models of WaterSense products for bathrooms (toilets, showerheads, faucets, and urinals) and commercial kitchens.
3. PMI provides valuable guidance on market trends, tariffs and regulations, proactively assisting PMI members to plan and make smart decisions
WaterSense Market Penetration Study. In anticipation of an EPA review of WaterSense specifications, PMI commissioned this 2019 study, which shows tremendous market upside for WaterSense products and market domination for products meeting federal water-efficiency standards. An update of the original 2015 study, the 2019 report presented data showing that virtually all American homes have water-efficient plumbing products, which continue to achieve satisfaction among consumers.
Achieved more than a dozen exclusions on tariffs. PMI led the charge in opposition to proposed tariffs while helping members win more than a dozen exemptions on plumbing-related products and components. As part of seven days of June 2019 International Trade Commission hearings with more than 300 witnesses, PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole testified on the adverse impact of tariffs on manufacturers, their supply chains, workers and consumers, as well as on the construction and renovation markets. His testimony gained positive international media coverage for PMI. Member companies American Standard, Moen, Pfister and Water Pik also testified in opposition to the tariffs. As a member of the Americans for Free Trade Coalition and the National Association of Manufacturers China Task Force, PMI continues to provide updates on tariff issues to help PMI members navigate an ever-changing international trade landscape.
PMI Market Outlook. New in 2019, this quarterly report provides key economic trend indicators in 15 market segments, giving PMI members valuable planning information. The economic condition descriptions explained in the outlook are flagged by phases in the business cycle – A for recovery, B for accelerating growth, C for slowing growth and D for recession. The report suggests management objectives for each phase.
PMI Privacy Regulations Guidebook. This helpful guide summarizes consumer data privacy laws and regulations and includes checklists to help guide compliance efforts. Developed to assist PMI members to prepare for expected consumer privacy regulations in several states, the guidebook is designed to help PMI members to develop data governance practices that comply with the patchwork of laws while remaining nimble enough to allow for innovation in the digital marketplace.
Similar regulatory guides on conflict minerals, NAFTA rules of origin and Made in USA were developed for PMI members during 2019 and are available in the members-only section of SafePlumbing.org.
PMI On-Demand E-Learning. PMI introduced in 2019 two online courses that can be taken at a member’s convenience. “Part 1: Primer on Standards, Regulations, Codes and Conformity Assessment” and “Part 2: Standards and Topics in Plumbing” deliver essential knowledge to plumbing manufacturing professionals. In addition, webinars on topics including tariffs, privacy laws, flow rate research, and market forecasts were developed for PMI members.
Website and Media. PMI’s website, publications and email campaigns keep members informed about breaking news and trends and serve as a storehouse of valuable information.
To help spread the word about careers in plumbing manufacturing and add value for members, PMI published a webpage listing the career-related website pages of its members, as well as members’ LinkedIn company pages. The PMI@Work blog explores efforts to develop the manufacturing workforce for the future, particularly among PMI members whose innovation and work environments are attractive to individuals looking for career opportunities.
PMI raised its visibility both in traditional and social media, particularly through its workforce development, tariffs and WaterSense advocacy, resulting in PMI mentions in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and other major media.
4. PMI plays a leadership role on technical and advocacy issues
As it did in preventing the drastic increase in flow rates in Los Angeles County, PMI continued in its traditional role as a leading voice on technical and advocacy issues.
Regular PMI conference calls and educational “Tech Talks” give PMI members the opportunity to learn about recent technical and advocacy developments and to voice their opinions as PMI recommendations are formulated.
PMI’s technical accomplishments over the past year are a testament to its ability to bring stakeholders together in pursuit of a common goal.
A proposed change regarding optional lead requirements in the annex of NSF 61 that would have caused major supply issues for manufacturers was rejected by the NSF Joint Committee on Drinking Water Additives – System Components. PMI contributed to the rejection of the proposed change and developed a proposal to benefit manufacturers by providing them with sufficient time to comply with optional lead requirements. This proposal will be considered by the Drinking Water Additives Optional Lead Task Group in 2020.
PMI and the Alliance for Water Efficiency came to an agreement on a memorandum of understanding on the topic of multiple showerhead requirements in green codes and standards.
PMI developed, disseminated and discussed with several water utilities a guidance document intended to help them produce recycled water that will not hamper the performance of residential and commercial indoor plumbing products that can be used with non-potable water, such as toilets and urinals.
The majority of PMI technical positions or recommendations for the 2021 Uniform Plumbing Code, 2021 International Plumbing and Residential Codes, 2021 National Standard Plumbing Code, 2020 WE-Stand Code, and 2020 National Plumbing Code of Canada were approved.
The U.S. Access Board accepted PMI’s interpretation of grab bar length in the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design; this interpretation benefits PMI members that manufacture grab bars.
The PMI Technical Committee submitted written comments to international, federal, state and industry regulatory and standards bodies on issues including ISO 31600 (a standard which looks to establish international appliance efficiency standards for faucets, showerheads, toilets and urinals), EPA WaterSense’s Notice of Specification Review, EPA’s Development of a Draft Water Reuse Action Plan, and state appliance efficiency standards.
PMI participated as a selected member in the first meeting of the Water Use Study Workgroup convened by the California Department of Water Resources and State Water Resources Control Board to provide input on required recommendations to the California State Legislature on a new gallons-per-day per capita indoor water use standard.
PMI technical and advocacy efforts were activated in Washington, D.C., and Canada, as well as in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, Rhode Island and Washington state and in various municipalities.
PMI Manufacturing Success Conference
The PMI Manufacturing Success Conference gives PMI members and guests the opportunity to learn about a broad range of issues pertinent to the plumbing manufacturing industry. Held at a beautiful setting on the Gulf of Mexico in St. Pete Beach, Fla., the 2019 conference added expanded educational content to the traditional focus of technical and government affairs topics.
Multigenerational workforce author Lindsey Pollak delivered a keynote address about the challenges and opportunities of having five generations participating in the modern workforce and gave PMI members practical advice on how to fulfill the needs and preferences of today’s worker. Speakers including economist Alex Chausovsky, sustainability expert Adam Gendell, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant winner Dr. Daniel Yeh gave attendees an interesting and valuable glimpse into the future. Shabbir Rawalpindiwala of Kohler Co. was recognized as the PMI Ambassador of the Year. The close-knit character of the conference provided PMI members with exceptional networking opportunities.
PMI Aspiring Leaders Program
Designed to prepare promising talent within PMI member companies for leadership roles, the inaugural PMI Aspiring Leaders Program was held at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., with 18 individuals participating. The program is open to PMI member employees nominated by their management.
Dr. Kim Macuare, co-director of the museum’s Innovation Labs, led a workshop and gallery tour demonstrating the commonalities between Salvador Dali’s artistic principles and creative thinking in business. Participants completed a FourSight Thinking Profile to reveal their personal strengths and tendencies and to help them work more collaboratively within a team.
PMI Washington DC Legislative Forum and Fly-In
The annual PMI Washington DC Legislative Forum and Fly-In gives PMI members the opportunity to receive expert briefings on federal issues and to gain access to influential legislators and regulators. The 2019 event covered topics including housing and construction industry projections, tariffs, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), EPA water priorities, infrastructure legislation, consumer data privacy, and cybersecurity.
The PMI contingent visited lawmakers and staff in 25 congressional and government agency offices to advocate for the preservation of the WaterSense program, passage of the USMCA, and infrastructure legislation. PMI members highlighted concerns over tariffs, which harm plumbing manufacturers and consumers. PMI emphasized that China must be held accountable for its failures to meet its obligations under the rules-based international trading system but using the American consumer as a means to punish China simply will not work.
PMI California Legislative Forum and Fly-In
PMI members traveled to Sacramento to meet with regulators and legislators at the PMI California Legislative Forum and Fly-In. Their goals included maintaining current state water-efficiency standards, assuring the safety of recycled water use, and encouraging the replacement of inefficient water fixtures in commercial buildings. Other topics discussed were the California Consumer Privacy Act, Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65), packaging reform, housing development, flushable wipes, and more. The potential ramifications of these issues on PMI members were continually communicated and discussed among members.
PMI has established itself as a major influencer in California, where legislative and regulatory activity serves as a bellwether for the rest of the nation. PMI’s influence has been established by many years of working with California legislators and regulators on key issues through the annual PMI California Legislative Forum and Fly-In and the local presence of PMI government affairs representative Jerry Desmond. Key relationships with allied organizations have been developed over the years by PMI’s Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee.
Generally, the California fly-in includes meetings with policymakers involved with legislation and codes relating to plumbing manufacturing and with staff at regulatory agencies such as the California Building Standards Commission, California Department of Housing and Community Development, California Department of Water Resources, and California Energy Commission.
New in 2020 – PMI CEO Thinking Forum
Designed with the specific challenges facing the plumbing manufacturing industry in mind, the PMI CEO Thinking Forum will be an interactive seminar exploring leadership philosophy, vision and imagination. Participants will engage in open roundtable discussions with fellow CEOs to develop strategies that will keep their companies and our industry on a continual path to success through the 2020s. Co-located with the Washington DC Legislative Forum and Fly-In in 2020, this event is open to CEOs and other c-suite executives.
Co-Chairs: Lowell Lampen, Kohler Co., and
Troy Benavidez, LIXIL
Allied Member Committee
Co-Chairs: Elton Perkins, Fluidmaster, Inc., and
Liz Renfro, Delta Faucet Company
Co-Chairs: Bob Neff, Delta Faucet Company, and
C.J. Lagan, LIXIL
Water Efficiency and Sustainability
Co-Chairs: Cambria McLeod, Kohler Co., and
Will Wang, Fluidmaster, Inc.
2020 PMI Board of Directors
President Joel Smith, Kohler Co.
Vice President Todd Teter, House of Rohl
Secretary-Treasurer Martin Knieps, Viega LLC
Immediate Past President Nate Kogler, Bradley Corporation
Fernando Fernandez, TOTO USA
Sal Gattone, LIXIL
Daniel Gleiberman, Sloan Valve Company
Strategic Advisory Council
Graham Allen, Sloan Valve Company
Steve DeLarge, LIXIL
Shawn Oldenhoff, Kohler Co.
Ken Roberts, Delta Faucet Company
William Strang, TOTO USA
Claude Theisen, T&S Brass and Bronze Works
Kerry Stackpole, FASAE, CAE, CEO/Executive Director
Matt Sigler, Technical Director
Jodi Stuhrberg, Association Manager
Candace Spradley, Education Manager
Ann Geier, Administrative Assistant