At a press conference in Chicago, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association announced that Amtrol and Power Line USA have joined the PHCC Professional Product Line.

Amtrol will begin offering its redesigned line of indirect fired water heaters through the PPL, the BoilerMate Classic and the Premier Series. Bob Pape, Amtrol's vice president of sales and marketing, said the goal is to get closer to its distributors.

"We are working through the PPL to improve our relations with installers, distributors and to educate both on the program," said Pape. He went on to explain why Amtrol's heaters are special for the PPL and why the PPL is important to his company. "The water heater's redesign and performance set it apart from competitors. It's important to us to show the contractors that we support them."

Power Line, whose representatives could not attend the conference, will begin offering its Alpha-One line of drain treatments through the PPL.

The announcement was good news for the PHCC, which lost Delta Faucet earlier this year because Delta's new strategy, though it supported the PHCC, did not include the PPL.

"By adding Amtrol and Power Line we are seeking to maintain and improve the lines of distribution between the contractor and the wholesaler," said Don Morin, chair of the PHCC-PPL.

According to the PHCC, the primary role of the Professional Product Line agreement is to help market the contractor's business. PHCC members that sell PPL products can offer better deals, such as longer warranties and upgraded product features, to their distributors, which use those deals as a selling point to their customers for greater profits. In other words, the deals are incentives for the distributors to promote the PPL products.

The long-term goal of the PPL is to grow the channel between the distributor, contractor and wholesaler. But it really builds leverage to compete against retail stores by creating incentives for the three groups to work together through the PHCC; the program gives professional contractors a chance to compete.

The companies Amtrol and Power Line are joining as partners in PHCC's Professional Product Line include Anaheim Mfg., Bradford White, Hammond Valve, Plumbmaster, Ward Mfg. and Glentronics.

While the PHCC could not comment on other possible suitors for the program, Harry Massey, executive director of the PHCC PPL Council, said they hope to have another announcement of added partners by early summer.