News from the first day of Network '06.

James Bradley, author of "Flags of Our Fathers," speaks Sept. 27 to a packed house at the opening keynote of Network '06, the combined convention program of PHCC and ASA.
Network '06 began Wednesday at Chicago's historic Palmer House Hilton with a stirring keynote address by James Bradley, author of “Flags of Our Fathers,” a look at one of the most famous photos of World War II, the raising of the American flag over Iwo Jima. Bradley's father, John, was one of the six men immortalized in celluloid.

John Bradley never told his son or anyone else in his family about his experiences in the Pacific Theater during the war. After his father's death, James and his family found boxes of letters and photos that they had never seen. In fact, Bradley's family didn't even know that John had been awarded the Navy Cross for heroic efforts separate from the flag raising.

Bradley began researching the other men in the photo, and eventually talked to the surviving members about what they had seen and done during their time on Iwo Jima. He realized that the stories of these men would never be told unless he told them - in a book.

Bradley recounted his grueling efforts into getting his book published. He know that since he had never written a book or magazine article, no one was going to buy something just because he wrote it (other than his mother). He knew what would sell the book was the photo.

From putting together a proposal to finding an agent to getting a publisher to sign on to actually getting the book printed, Bradley had many obstacles to overcome. His message to the packed ballroom of attendees was to keep at your dream or idea, even if the experts say it is impossible.

Dickie McCurdy, MMM Plumbing, speaks to a PHCC group Sept. 27 about starting an apprenticeship program.

PHCC Seminars

The group then broke into wholesaler and contractor segments. While American Supply Association members attended their general session, PHCC members had their choice of four educational sessions - methods for identifying lost time, residential maintenance agreements, immigration reform, and starting an apprentice program.

PHCC President-Elect Jo Rae Wagner and Dickie McCurdy teamed up and discussed their respective apprenticeship programs in different areas of Texas. They had prepared a DVD discussing the whys and hows of setting up an apprenticeship program. The DVD also includes a public service announcement that McCurdy recently implemented.

PHCC President-Elect Jo Rae Wagner, CTO Inc., Sept. 27 explains how her apprenticeship program board was formed and the criteria it uses to accept/reject students for the program.
Both Wagner and McCurdy agreed that it is imperative in this industry to have qualified people in the field, and one way to ensure this is to set up an apprenticeship program. Both have formed “boards” of people from their local-area plumbing contractors who are like-minded when it comes to apprenticeship training and wages. This helps spread the financial burden amongst members.

They also talked about various avenues to obtain grant money, and partnering with wholesalers and manufacturers.

PHCC Auxiliary/InSinkErator Lunch

InSinkErator again sponsored the annual PHCC Auxiliary Lunch. The Auxiliary, with the help of the PHCC Educational Foundation, awarded scholarships to deserving students, including the Ginny Scholarship, which went to Dawn Thomas of Delaware.

The Robert Cox Humanitarian Awards were given in the image and recruitment categories. In addition, the 3-D Award was given to Judy Driscoll, and the Larry Dore Auxiliary Member of the Year went to Sandy Stack.

PHCC President Jim Stack, Stack Plumbing, gives the president's report at PHCC's business meeting, Sept. 27.

PHCC Business Meeting

The rest of the day was filled with the business of the association. More awards and scholarships were presented, including the Delta Contractor of the Year - Dave Jones of Dave Jones Plumbing & Heating, Madison, Wis. - and the Delta Apprentice of the Year - Benjamin Brown of Evan Hibbs Plumbing, Chesapeake, Va.

President-Elect Jo Rae Wagner nominated her secretary, Frank Maddalon, who was approved.

Zone directors were elected: Zone 1, Ron Dunsmoor; Zone 2, George Raburn; Zone 3, Kenny Calkins; and Zone 4, Craig Lewis.

Two amendments to the bylaws were unanimously accepted, both regarding new members.

Four people ran for vice president of the group, but one emerged victorious - Joe Schmitt.

Jim Witten received the Col. Scott Award, named after the first PHCC president.

A Look Ahead: Thursday, Sept. 28

Thursday is the first day of ISH North America, including seminars, vendor booths, Radiant House, and the PHCC Apprenticeship Contest.

The Radiant Panel Association also begins its conference with a full-day Radiant Basics course.

Check back here for more updates and photos.