The plumbing manufacturers institute (PMI) announced the selection of Barbara Higgens as its new executive director in late April. Higgens succeeds Richard Church, who recently withdrew as PMI’s longtime executive director.

Higgens, a 1978 graduate of Northern Illinois University, said she plans to meet promptly with approximately 40 PMI member companies across the country to introduce herself and tour their facilities.

“I’m new to the industry,” she told PM in a recent phone interview, “so getting lines of communication established is my first priority.”

Higgens brings to her new job a 20–year background in corporate marketing, advertising and media relations. Her most recent job was as marketing director of Switchcraft at which she launched new products, developed direct mail campaigns, planned trade shows and developed Web sites.

In between her travels, Higgens will also be establishing a new PMI office in the Chicago area. “We are keeping an eye on always adding value — making sure that members know what they’re getting for their due dollars, whether it’s from legislative support or training for their workforce.”

She emphasized she will strive to prevent any interruption in PMI’s service to the plumbing manufacturing industry and PMI member companies during the transition.

“We believe Barbara Higgens is a superb choice to lead PMI and the plumbing industry into the next century,” said William O’Keeffe, PMI chairman of the board of directors. “She brings a mix of creativity, experience and energy to the Institute that will well serve our members’ needs.”