By Peter Jahrling, PMI Board President and Director, Product Engineering and Intellectual Property, Sloan Valve Company
Have you ever had a moment in your life, personal or business, where you said to yourself, “I should have called him” or “I should have met personally with her,” as you reflect on how an outcome could have been different? (Sales professionals know this well in the “ABCs” of customer relations). Consider these historic relationships and their improbable impacts; Romeo and Juliet, Lewis and Clarke, Bonnie and Clyde, Daimler-Benz & Chrysler, Jobs and Wozniak (Apple), Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft), Proctor and Gamble.
Relationships are based upon formal introductions, chance meetings, clandestine or serendipitous acquaintances. They typically start with a human desire or a need to accomplish some goal. Perhaps the relationship has been a long-cultivated friendship; some valuable, others perhaps not so valuable; some treasured, some taken for granted. Those relationships that survived and flourished had some purpose and grew out of further benefit. Some relationships found others with similar interests or perspectives and forums for exchanging common interests and challenges, evolving into networks such as PMI.
Relationships for whatever reason, origin, or length usually involve like-minded people with some common experiences and have been critical to PMI’s success. The relationships beget modes of communication and timely messages plugging into otherwise non-receptive stakeholders. With each collective experience, a pattern develops as some deep-rooted expectations grow. Common interests can attract more like-minded associations and those like-minded people can continually calibrate amongst themselves. (Calibration can often be an undervalued benefit and taken for granted.) Relationships sometimes expand our scope by taking us down paths or causing us to think in a different way. Those associations with their external relationships can leverage those relationships to formulate agendas on which to promote common progress.
An organization such as PMI facilitates a forum of relationships among manufacturing-minded individuals who experience the same challenges from an ever-demanding marketplace. To keep up with the marketplace demands of stakeholders (customers, suppliers, local/federal regulators, and industry influencers), ongoing calibration within those network relationships are critical. And under the umbrella of an association, we can call upon PMI staff confidentially, if necessary, to receive assistance over an entire industry bandwidth. PMI can also broadcast within the membership general areas of timely manufacturer issues.
PMI is an association of relationships, connections, and timely industry positions. We as members (and PMI staff) have formulated positions on any number of issues and matters so that others can evaluate engaging our industry through a relationship. Our industry advocates promote our positions through relationships they’ve cultivated so that plumbing manufacturers unique perspective is unfiltered and factual.
These relationships have been built over decades of interaction and trust. Don’t be fooled that other associations can represent the unique challenges we manufacturers face as we operate (and manufacture) daily to transform materials and services into customer solutions. Manufacturers impact the regional locations where they operate and cultivate long-standing relationships as employer, as consumer of manufacturing supplies, and as local promoter of communities. In the world of plumbing manufacturing, we each have our own individualized perspectives on the market but have much in common with each other member companies.
Carpe Diem on the next PMI committee call. You’ll see that ours is a unique collection of relationships of like-minded manufacturers operating under the PMI mission. (See PMI’s mission statement here: goo.gl/8qZAlg.)
On a PMI internal relationship, we are about to transition from a leader of 19 years into a new association leader. The PMI executive search committee has begun to narrow down interested applicants to a few selected individuals and ultimate interviews. We have been fortunate to have received many responses from a variety of qualified candidates. The process outlined by our consultants is coming down to the final weeks and will culminate in final selections and interviews.
By Barbara C. Higgens, PMI CEO/Executive Director
As recorded last month in this space, I’ve been focused on the upcoming transition as I look to the next chapter of my life. While my spirit and drive are usually aimed at “onward and upward,” lately my thoughts center on the wonderful journey I have had with PMI.
In human terms, 19 years represents: the weddings of two daughters, the addition of four grandchildren, two great nephews and a great niece, the loss of three parents, 500,000 airline miles, countless meetings, press interviews and editorials, 34 PMI conferences, some humbling local and national recognition, and an opportunity to network with an amazing array of individuals.
For PMI, it’s meant leveraging those relationships to achieve mutual goals including a myriad of legislative and regulatory victories, (among them the passage of the reduction of lead bill), thousands of social media hits, time in the spotlight from national humanitarian outreach (Orme, Tennessee; Flint, Michigan; The Storehouse of World Vision; and Habit for Humanity locations around the U.S.), as well as recognition of PMI on the global stage (through, for example, our participation on an international panel on water efficiency hosted by the EU). PMI has had a stint on local radio and another on TV and last month a podcast. We’ve come a long way since the early days of rebuilding and reenergizing an organization on the brink of extinction. Over the years, the small changes, enhancements and course corrections have been woven into the fabric that is now PMI. There are only a handful of folks today that have been along the journey since 1998 and who realize that many elements of PMI, which today are taken for granted, were once considered “break-through,” innovative and even controversial. PMI of today is very different than the PMI of yesterday. It’s hard to imagine perhaps, but in the beginning, not much of what we have today existed.
Here are some examples (and in no particular order):
The PMI office: PMI was formerly managed by a firm representing several associations. Starting from my kitchen table, I secured office space in Schaumburg, Ill., (moving to the present location in Rolling Meadows in 2007), furniture, a computer system, and established PMI as an independent and free-standing organization. I was the sole employee on day #1, ultimately hiring an association manager and a technical director to join me.
Staff and consultants: Over the years, we have welcomed and on-boarded a number of talented new employees, focusing on coaching, team-building and balancing both chemistry and productivity. We have also assembled a stable of efficient, top-notch consultants and have outsourced essential functions not within staff’s wheelhouse (e.g. accounting, public relations, graphic design and information technology). Beginning with the original “Dream Team,” which included both Dave Viola and Maria Bazan, in their pre-IAPMO days (with PMI 10 and five years respectively), PMI’s commitment to excellence remains unwavering. Today, the recipe is perfect. PMI is well-staffed to serve members and maximize opportunities.
The PMI monthly newsletter: (“Ripple Effect,” which I launched in 1998 as “PMI News.”) With two conferences per year, there was nothing binding the membership together between times. I felt a newsletter would create a sense of community and provide an opportunity to profile individuals and companies so that we could all get to know each other better. Today, the circulation reaches hundreds of members and non-members alike and helps amplify PMI’s voice throughout out industry. It never ceases to amazes me when folks you’d never expect quote from the articles and editorials they have read in the publication.
The PMI membership directory (first in 1999 as a spiral-bound printed booklet and now an interactive portion of the PMI website.)
Inside My PMI began in response to members’ concerns with the overwhelming number of emails coming from PMI staff. The idea was to consolidate these correspondences into a quick-read summary.
Monthly committee calls. There is so much work to be done and progress to report, it just can’t wait for the annual conference anymore!
Tech Talk began as a monthly written report. Today, it is a popular by-weekly oral summary of our complicated and every-changing technical world
New websites: 1998, 2010 and 2014: pmihome.org and safeplumbing.org, the bifurcated website designed to reach multiple audiences as both an innovative educational tool and a traditional source of association news.
New logo in 1998 and updated with a new name and identity in 2010. Plumbing Manufacturers Institute became International, keeping our familiar “PMI” acronym and we secured trademark protection around the world.
While never gaining much momentum, we launched (and then repealed) a mobile app to bring PMI into the hands of cell phone users. Perhaps we were a bit ahead of our time?
We have our own YouTube channel where you’ll find a variety of PMI videos.
Governance: We’ve updated by-laws, policies, created new member categories, and formalized the way PMI’s volunteer leaders are selected and elected. We offer leadership coaching to those new to association committee work, captured in the pages of our PMI Leadership Notebook. We have developed the role of Board of Directors liaisons to provide direct access of the various committees to the board. We have engaged the support of member company CEOs who volunteer for the Strategic Advisory Council (SAC), providing input to the board. PMI’s vision and mission statements have been updated to communicate proactive strategies.
Winter/Fall Conference: PMI conferences traditionally were held in the winter and fall. Not much happened between the semi-annual meetings and even these were interrupted by golf outings and ballroom dancing. PMI conferences had a reputation as a junket, enjoyable (though not necessarily productive) with gatherings held in exotic locations. In some camps, I was known as the person that “took the fun out of PMI.” Great.
Spring Conference: The winter conference was moved into the spring timeframe, separating it from the fall meeting by 6 months. In 2015, we moved to a single annual conference and the up-tick in staff productivity has been remarkable. Members appreciate the timed agendas and prompt meeting starts and stops. Quality content and efficiency has become a hallmark of the “new” PMI.
The Executive Round Table launched in 2011 at a PMI Fall conference, is now a popular feature of our conferences in even-numbered years.
Executive fly-ins: PMI executives meet twice annually to visit policymakers on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, Calif., to communicate PMI’s concerns and initiatives, and to enhance our legislative efforts.
Operating reserve: PMI lived hand-to-mouth back in the day. Today, resulting from good business practices, we have built a healthy reserve which can be tapped into for special projects, like industry research.
Emphasis on communication and feedback: Beginning in 1998, PMI increased its visibility in the field through ongoing member visits. Member satisfaction surveys, quarterly progress reports and year-end reviews are now part of our regular outreach to members. We listen and adjust our sails given input from our members!
Industry exposure: PMI regularly participates in a variety of industry trade shows and events including Crystal Vision. PMI co-founded PILC, partnered on PERC, and developed MOUs with a variety of like-minded groups.
International exposure: While PMI has a long history with CIPH, we’ve expanded our visibility through the BMA and CEIR. We’ve developed inter-industry relationships to amplify our voice and attract international members. PMI attends conferences around the world like ISH, to provide members with a global heads-up.
Increased presence in government agencies and activities: PMI has had a seat on the Department of Commerce’s ITAC/9 since 1999. We have fostered close relationships with EPA, FTC and through our lobbyists and members, with national and state-based policymakers.
Training and stand-alone seminars: PMI has tapped into our expertise to offer a variety of workshops ranging from codes and standards, to e-business opportunities, the dotcom boom and bust, and supply chain management.
Research: PMI has sponsored a number of research projects to solidify our position as a reliable, go-to resource to separate fact from fiction and avoid unintended consequences.
Expanding focus/member value: Traditionally a technically-based organization, PMI has expanded its focus to include both advocacy and communications. The resulting three-legged strategy supports PMI’s vision and mission.
As I prepare to start the next chapter of my life, I do so with the confidence that PMI is well-positioned for expansion, increased influence and success. The future holds exciting possibilities for PMI… and me!
Growing up in Sharon, Wis., Chip Way could often be found at his dad’s side, helping to fix the family car or whatever household item needed a little fine-tuning. Since then, he has enjoyed a rewarding career in engineering and sales, including 16 years at Lavelle Industries, but still looks forward to changing his own oil and fixing the brakes on his car.
Referring to himself as a “newbie” on PMI’s Board of Directors this year, Chip has made good use of his hands-on approach by jumping right into helping produce an outline for the 2016 PMI Year In Review along with Joel Smith, another new board member. Chip’s board membership follows his two-year term as co-chair on PMI’s Fair Trade Issue Committee, which studies industry concerns like enforcing trade laws and border regulations and preventing non-tariff trade barriers.
Chip says his PMI membership and committee experiences have opened his eyes to the challenges his customers face when manufacturing plumbing products. As an example, he mentioned PMI’s work on the Plumbing Efficiency Research Coalition II studies, which examined the potential consequences of low toilet flushing volumes. “Those studies sparked great conversation with our members, key industry groups and customers and gave us the knowledge base we needed to make informed recommendations to legislators and water municipalities who often pushed for lower and lower flush volumes,” he said.
Chip’s a PMI supporter in other ways, too. Active on Twitter with the handle @chiprway, Chip regularly promotes PMI resources, activities and news. His well-honed social media skills have even earned him awards for “the most PMI tweets” at the last two PMI annual conferences. “Using Twitter is a fun and easy way to share all the great information coming out of PMI,” Chip said.
He believes that combining his good communication skills with a mechanical aptitude gave him the leg up needed to make the move from a manufacturing engineer in rubber molding at Lavelle, a leading plastics and rubber manufacturer, to his current position as the company’s director of original equipment manufacturer sales. In between those two positions, Chip tried his hand at manufacturing car parts for five years at Daimler Chrysler. “My career sweet spot is working side-by-side with Lavelle’s customers, helping develop high-performing plumbing parts that solve their problems,” he said.
Success also comes easier when you surround yourself with the right people. Chip says he works with a lot of intelligent and talented people, both at Lavelle and PMI, who are ready to lend a supportive hand. “Being the lone ranger usually doesn’t work in the end,” he said.
It’s obvious that once he finds something he likes, Chip gives it everything he’s got – and that includes his hobbies. About four years ago, one of his friends asked if he wanted to try racing mountain bikes. “Just one race and I was smitten,” he said. Since then, Chip joined a race series and has participated in more than 40 races, spending many hours training on local trails and in his basement with special support from his canine cheerleader – the family dog, a 7-year-old Weimaraner named Rallee. “She either runs behind or in front of me, depending on how energetic she’s feeling,” he said. Chip’s wife, Debby, prefers to root him on from the sidelines.
He and Debby, a lower elementary Montessori teacher, are raising four kids – their oldest son Brian, a junior in college, and three daughters Maddy, Rachel and Megan, who all attend high school.
Water-efficient toilets could potentially save up to 170 billion potable gallons of water per year across five states facing water scarcity, according to new research released by the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) and Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI).
The “Saturation Study of Non-Efficient Water Closets in Key States” focused on Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Texas – all states that have experienced serious water shortages. The savings projected by the study (170 billion gallons of potable water yearly or 465 million gallons saved per day) could be achieved if non-efficient toilets in residential properties are replaced with water-efficient ones. This five-state savings can be extrapolated to an estimate of up to 360 billion potable gallons of water per year saved nationally.
This research produces important direction for water managers nationwide, as 40 out of 50 states anticipate water shortages in the coming years, according to a Government Accountability Office survey of state water managers published in 2013, with most of these states already experiencing periodic shortages. The five states researched represent 28 percent of the national population and 47 percent of all housing units in 2015, so the report examines a large part of the residential water consumption in the United States. Toilet flushing is the largest single indoor use of water, representing 24 percent of total use in single-family homes. Replacing non-efficient toilets with efficient ones is an important strategy to stretch available water supplies.
“This study affirms the important and sometimes overlooked role that water-efficient plumbing products – and programs such as the EPA WaterSense label – play in assuring water sustainability for our nation,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, AWE president and CEO. “We are nowhere near the potential of water savings we can achieve through water efficiency.”
Barbara C. Higgens, PMI CEO/executive director, said plumbing manufacturers are proud of the water-saving innovations they have brought to the marketplace. “Great water-efficiency innovations have already been made and are readily available. Now, it’s time for consumers and businesses to do their part to replace non-efficient toilets, showerheads and faucets with water-efficient ones,” she stated.
Non-efficient toilets defined as those using more than 1.6 gallons per flush
The five-state water savings estimate was calculated after the study’s research determined that more than 13 million non-efficient toilets, with gallons per flush (gpf) of more than 1.6 gallons, remain installed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Texas residences. These 13 million toilets comprise about 21 percent of all toilets installed in these states; therefore, about 79 percent of installed residential toilets in these states are already efficient at 1.6 gpf or less.
Using the AWE/PMI study estimate of 170 billion gallons of water, these examples – illustrated in this infographic – show how much water can be saved within residential properties located in the five states included in the study:
Enough water saved to take 10 billion showers – more than one for each person on the planet
Enough water saved to serve the indoor home water needs of a city of 100,000 for 45 years
Enough water saved to fill 250,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools
Enough water saved to fill 1,000 Rose Bowls
Enough water saved to equal the water that goes over Niagara Falls in 2 1/2 days
Current water-saving technology can make a tremendous impact
The AWE/PMI study demonstrates that current plumbing technology can make a tremendous water-saving impact, especially if toilet replacement programs can be accelerated. At the current 4 percent annual toilet replacement rate, the potential savings illustrated in this study will not occur for another 15 to 30 years unless replacement programs are accelerated.
This study’s results also merit consideration within the current federal and state regulatory environment. At the federal level, proposed cost cutting at the Environmental Protection Agency threatens the WaterSense program, a voluntary public-private partnership initiative to encourage the use of water-efficient toilets, showerheads, faucets and other plumbing products. Through the use of the more than 16,000 WaterSense product models on the market, the nation has already saved more than 1 trillion gallons of water over the past 10 years.
PMI’s Fair Trade Issue Committee met at PMI headquarters on March 30, 2017 with the goal of brainstorming ways to increase the visibility of the committee and to elevate awareness of its functions by and for the greater membership.
Co-chairs Carol Baricovich, InSinkErator; Eric Theisen, T&S Brass and Bronze Works, Inc.; and the committee’s liaison to the PMI Board of Directors Michael Miller, LSP, were joined by PMI Board President Pete Jahrling, Sloan Valve Company; PMI CEO/Executive Director Barbara Higgens; and PMI Association Manager Jodi Stuhrberg.
Due to the nature of the committee itself, they expected the session to yield a few initiatives that might enhance the reputation and value of this small committee. All it took to agreeably dispel that notion, however, and see it replaced with the even more fruitful results was the attendance (via conference call) of Gary Stanley and Salim Bhabahrawala of the U.S. Department of Commerce. They began with discussion of the Trump Administration’s review of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the call for input from various stakeholders, including trade organizations such as PMI.
During their presentation, Gary and Salim brought up about a half dozen issues that were deemed valuable for the committee to explore in greater detail with membership. These issues included rules of origin and conflict minerals, opening markets, harmonization of world standards, and several other topics with direct impact on members.
These and several other subjects will provide a focus for the committee to concentrate its purpose and scope and to identify new opportunities for education and discussion to provide or enhance member value. Superb input came from others in attendance, including Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee board liaison Nate Kogler, Bradley Corporation, and A/G committee co-chairs Jay Burnett, Delta Faucet Company, and Martin Knieps, Viega LLC. As a result, the committee quickly identified concrete ways to provide true value to members on matters of complexity that many are interested in. Great things should be coming in 2017, 2018 and beyond.
Read the Fair Trade Issue Committee report here: goo.gl/XybZWx (members only).
The full list of issues/value points for the committee to address:
- Rules of origin
- Conflict minerals
- Made in America
- Shipment issues
- Non-tariff trade barriers
- Opening markets
- When and who to contact
- Trade policy
- Top market report
- Harmonization of world standards and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Other statistics and new administration policies
The names GROHE and American Standard Brands are familiar ones among PMI members. These brand names now play important roles in a company renowned for innovation, reliability, conservation and design – LIXIL, a global leader in housing and building materials products and services.
LIXIL emphasizes human-centric innovation that enhances people’s living spaces. Bringing together function, quality and design to provide better living solutions to the world today and for future generations, the company’s unique portfolio includes LIXIL, GROHE, American Standard Brands, DXV, INAX and Permasteelisa and spans everything from technologies that change the way we interact with water to a full lineup of materials and products for the interior and exteriors of homes and major architectural projects.
LIXIL operates in 150 countries, designing and manufacturing products that are used by more than a billion people around the world every day. Employing more than 80,000 people, the company generated $16.8 billion in revenue in 2016. While offering comfort and convenience to their customers through their products, LIXIL creates water-efficient solutions that use less of the world’s most precious resource: water.
LIXIL is leading in areas such as energy efficiency and water-saving technology and aims to achieve a net zero environmental footprint by 2030. LIXIL believes everyone should have access to clean and safe sanitation, and are committed to using their expertise to help make this possible.
Employing its award-winning SATO toilets, which were designed to provide a safe, affordable sanitation solution for open-pit latrines in developing countries, LIXIL has improved sanitation conditions for more than 5 million people in 14 countries since 2013. The company expects to extend this effort to provide access to adequate sanitation facilities for 100 million people by 2020.
The LIXIL Americas management team includes President and CEO Steven Delarge, Chief Marketing Officer Maha El Kharbotly, Vice President of Public Affairs Troy Benavidez, and Vice President of Research and Engineering Jay Londhe. PMI is proud to have LIXIL as a member, as both organizations embrace the evolving role of plumbing technology to assure water efficiency and public health.
Against the backdrop of a new U.S. federal government that will no doubt impact the future of the plumbing and water efficiency industries, Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), in cooperation with the World Plumbing Council (WPC), will convene the sixth biennial Emerging Water Technology Symposium (EWTS) in Ontario, Calif., at the DoubleTree by Hilton Ontario Airport May 15–16, 2018. A Call for Abstracts for this highly respected event has been issued and is available for download at goo.gl/V4APHR.
Previously called the International Emerging Technology Symposium, the EWTS has been renamed to better associate the event with water- and plumbing-related issues. The sixth EWTS is co-convened by the four associations that have worked together closely over the past few years to grow the symposium and make it a can’t-miss event for those who work or are interested in the fields of safe plumbing, water distribution, and water efficiency. The co-conveners stress that the EWTS remains an international event and welcome abstracts and participation from across the globe.
“Speaking on behalf of Barbara Higgens (PMI), Mary Ann Dickinson (AWE), Billy Smith (ASPE), and myself, we are looking forward to continuing our long-term commitment to convene the EWTS,” said GP Russ Chaney, CEO of The IAPMO Group. “The EWTS continues to grow and build upon a reputation for being a highly respected forum where attendees can learn about and discuss the challenges associated with delivering safe water in and around buildings and the new technologies that will play a role in addressing those challenges.”
A series of videos from previous EWTS symposiums are available for viewing online at goo.gl/P4exSw.
For further information, please contact Maria Bazan at (708) 995-3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.