The show must go on — and it will — thanks to modern technology.  

Several months ago, PHCC leadership made the difficult decision to move its annual conference — PHCC CONNECT 2020 — to a virtual event due to the ongoing pandemic. 

“PHCC reached this decision after much thought and deliberation, considering all factors that came into play,” says Jonathan Moyer, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association president. “We closely monitored the current and predicted future COVID-19 situation; surveyed our members, staff and industry partners for their feedback; worked closely with PHCC of Texas and the Dallas chapter to determine best steps; considered any potential direct competition with rescheduled state chapter events that could occur; assessed safety protocols that would be needed on site if we proceeded with an in-person event; and negotiated with the headquarters hotel in Dallas to determine financial options for different scenarios. Once a decision was made to move to a virtual event, we quickly began planning how to safely deliver this event in a new, innovative, easy-to-use format.”

The event will still be held as scheduled, from Sept. 30-Oct. 1. PHCC leaders and staff have been meeting regularly to plan the agenda, assess technologies, finalize the content and discuss ways to ensure a smooth and valuable experience for attendees.  

“Our PHCC Education Committee re-visited the original education sessions and identified ways to enhance select sessions with Live Q&A, chats and other interactive features,” Moyer adds. “Once the virtual program was in place, we addressed the technology aspects of how this will all be presented in our new event technology platform. In addition, we’re working closely with our PHCC leaders and industry partners to coordinate the presentation of their remarks and sponsored events. Rest assured attendees will continue to hear the important association and industry updates they have come to expect at PHCC’s CONNECT — just in a different format.” 

Hunter Botto, president-elect of PHCC — National Association, notes the need to adapt to the current reality.

“This is the new world and the new world will continue to change,” he says. “We have some awesome leaders at the top. And you know what? We’re contractors, and we adapt. I’m looking forward to PHCC CONNECT 2020. It’s going to be quite different from my last 22 years of going to conferences, obviously. But we’re trying to serve our members the best way we can with the situation at hand.”

Botto also hopes the fact the event has moved to a digital format may help boost attendance from members and non-members alike.

“The cost of these events is they are very time consuming for contractors,” he notes. “For them to take time away from their businesses has always been tough. I’m hoping we get a better turnout because as guys are working and running their businesses, they can afford to take an hour, or two or three for this event.” 


Envisioning success

This year, PHCCCONNECT’s theme is: “Expand your vision for success.” 

“We landed on this message to illustrate that during times of uncertainty, it’s now more important than ever to reflect, recalibrate and expand your vision of best business practices in a world that is changing quickly,” Moyer says.

PHCC CONNECT 2020 will offer networking opportunities as well as the ability to discover latest trends and best practices and learn how to achieve business goals.

“By learning and working together, we will set our sights on and secure a bright future,” Moyer adds. “We are emphasizing that PHCC CONNECT 2020 is ‘coming to you,’ and that you can access it from the comfort of your office or home.”

The event will feature two keynote speakers: U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré (retired) and Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. Honoré will present “Resilient Leadership: Prepare Today — Prevail Tomorrow” by drawing on his 37 years of military leadership, including the crucial role in managing the New Orleans relief efforts post Hurricane Katrina, to reveal critical strategies that can help companies prepare, react and rebound effectively. Gonzales will present “The November Elections and Beyond: Analysis and Predictions,” providing attendees the latest information on poll numbers, economic data, historical information, trends, demographics and more. 

In addition to the keynotes, many of the educational sessions will be particularly relevant this year, with experts providing new insights on how to manage through these unprecedented times and plan for recovery, as well as how to reimagine work and business models that have dramatically changed, Moyer notes. View the education line up on Page 48.

PHCC’s Quality Service Contractors’ Business Coaches will also present three virtual education sessions to all PHCC CONNECT 2020 attendees. Additional opportunities to communicate with them regarding session content and the benefits associated with QSC membership will also be
offered virtually.


Recognizing apprentices

Unfortunately, after much discussion internally, PHCC determined it could not safely hold its annual Apprentice Contest. However, the PHCC Educational Foundation developed a creative alternative for the typically in-person event. In its place, the Foundation is collecting videos from PHCC apprentices across the nation to be shown during CONNECT to help celebrate the future of the workforce. The Foundation also wants to give some of its 2020 scholarships winners a chance to say thank you to the members and sponsors who made their awards possible.

“After discussion with our contest chairs, we decided not to host a virtual replacement for the contests this year,” says Cindy Sheridan, COO of the PHCC Educational Foundation. “In addition to the complexity of trying to host a virtual competition, many of our chapter contests were also cancelled this year, so we didn’t have our usual pipeline of competitors.”


Reimagined product and technology showcase

Always a much anticipated part of PHCC CONNECT, the Product & Technology Showcase will look very different than in previous years.

“Through a comprehensive online technology platform, attendees will be able to access a multitude of exhibitor booths to download product demos, presentations, documents and more,” Moyer explains. “They also will have options, such as video chats, to interact directly with booth personnel. In addition, there will be opportunities to participate in scavenger hunts, and take advantage of vendor giveaways and show discounts on products and services.” 

Carl Pinto Jr., senior director of marketing communications, Bradford White Corp., says the company is excited to be stepping into the virtual tradeshow world with PHCC. 

“We expect a high level of enthusiasm and participation from PHCC members nationwide, given the virtual show does not impose any travel or financial constraints for potential participants,” he says. “Our participation in virtual shows has been somewhat limited, given most of the shows and customer meetings we do are in person. However, we are looking at our past successes with Bradford White’s live virtual training, and discussing virtual tradeshow best practices with some of our industry colleagues. It also helps that the virtual show coordinator is doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the technology side, so we can focus on content.”

Attendees should be excited about this new format because it represents the future, Pinto notes.

“Even though COVID-19 has accelerated and expanded the use of many virtual communication practices, we believe various advancements in technology would have eventually driven us here,” he says. “It can save people a tremendous amount of time and money. While we believe virtual meetings and shows will become more mainstream, in our opinion, there’s no replacement for a true face-to-face experience with customers.”

Ron Shanaver, national accounts manager for Milwaukee Tool, says the company has been working closely with PHCC to understand the many opportunities the virtual environment will offer as well as looking at ways to create meaningful experiences for attendees.

“Despite the challenges we’ve all encountered during 2020, it’s exciting to see PHCC safely deliver this event in a virtual format,” he notes. “The Virtual Product & Technology Showcase will provide an invaluable opportunity for us to continue conversations with contractors and demonstrating new products that will make their jobs safer and more productive.

“We plan to engage on many levels,” Shanaver continues. “In our virtual booth, we will provide demonstrations and education about solutions that will improve safety and productivity. We will also be engaging contractors in virtual meetings through promotions, giveaways and raffles, and sneak-peeks of the newest innovation to come from Milwaukee Tool. 

“As much as we will miss the face-to-face interactions and camaraderie that has been an integral part of the PHCC CONNECT experience, we are very excited to be a part of a new and innovative event,” he adds.

For more information on PHCC CONNECT 2020, or to register for the virtual event, visit




March 15-18

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Resilient Leadership: Prepare Today, Prevail Tomorrow | Keynote speaker: Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré

1:15-2:15 p.m.: Field Process Playbook: 6 Winning Plays | Speaker: Jeff A. Crandall, Profit Rhino

1:15-2:15 p.m.: Keys to a Successful Business Exit | Speakers: Gregory S. Chelap and Robert Freedenberg, SkarlatosZonarich 

1:15-2:15 p.m.: Leading Through the Rain | Speaker: Susan Frew, Profit First and Fix This Next

2:15-3:15 p.m.: Product and Technology Showcase — Virtual Exhibit Hall

3:30-4:30 p.m.: Don’t Kill Your Golden Goose: Protect and Perpetuate Your Business | Speaker: Larry Oxenham, American Society for Asset Protection

3:30-4:30 p.m.: How to Talk with People When You Don’t Like Talking with People  | Speaker: Erica Leonor, Power Selling Pros

3:30-4:30 p.m.: Survive and Thrive in Times of Crises: Where We Are Now | Speaker: Kirk Alter

4:45-5:45 p.m.: 2020: What Sold, What Didn’t, and How Did the Supply Chain Manage Unprecedented Uncertainty? |Speakers: Talbot Gee, HARDI, and Mike Adelizzi, ASA


Thursday, Oct. 1

12-1 p.m.: The November Elections and Beyond: Analysis and Predictions | Keynote Speaker: Nathan Gonzales

2:15-3:15 p.m.: Product and Technology Showcase — Virtual Exhibit Hall

3:30-4:30 p.m.: Education Committee: Exit Strategy: What’s Your End Game | Speakers: Hunter Botto, PHCC of Long Island, and Dave P. Frame, Bob Frame Plumbing Services

3:30-4:30 p.m.: Get Excited About Service | Speaker: Les Hanks, QSC

3:30-4:30 p.m.: Why You Can’t Get Your Techs to Embrace Technology | Speaker: Aaron Salow

4:45-5:45 p.m.: State of the Industry Address



52 Weeks of Budget Planning | Speaker: Franc Exley

8 Ways to Build Value During an Economic Recovery | Speaker: Marla DiCarlo

Build a Flow of Customers with These 3 Marketing Levers | Speaker: Alain Parcan, Market Hardware

Closing the Loop: Move from CPL to CPA |Speaker: Joshua Smith, Scorpion


On-Demand Sessions Continued…

How to Increase Eyeballs and Attention Online From Seconds to Hours | Speaker: Roger Wakefield, LEED AP, Texas Green Plumbing

Lead Conversion & Engagement Boot Camp | Speakers: Dave Hansen and Nathan Hallows, ClientTether

Leadership Isn’t Magic | Speaker: Beth Dobkin, QSC

Legislative and Regulatory Landscape in a Time of Uncertainty | Speakers: Chuck Whit, and Mark Valentini, PHCC — NA

Stay Open for Business: Disaster Preparation & Recovery | Speaker: Kirk Alter

Survive and Thrive in Times of Crises: Where We Are Now | Speaker: Jeremy Cheek, Federated Insurance

The Lifeblood of Your Company: SOPs | Speaker: Chad Murray

Why Heat Pump Water Heaters Make Sense | Speaker: Gregg Holladay, Bradford White