PHCC to join EPA WaterSense partners
Year-long 125th anniversary celebration kicked off
Group continues efforts to secure workforce of the future

Fran Williams (left), PHCC Educational Foundation Chairman, receives a $25,000 donation from Rob Grim, vice president of wholesale sales at InSinkErator. The pair is joined by emcee Lucille Ball.

Staff Report

Southern California was on fire in October, but Network ’07 also put on a hot show for approximately 1,000 attendees in Anaheim, Calif., for the annual Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association convention, Oct. 24-27.

The keynote address from founder Terry B. Jones had heads bobbing in agreement on the changing “wired world” of customers. The theme of adapting to change and facing new challenges continued through other seminars, such as Kirk Alter’s employee recruitment and retention session. Other speakers addressed market changes, and emerging state and federal policies that will affect the way plumbers do business.

Overall, the show was a good blend of information and celebration. Here are some other highlights from this year’s event.

Going Green

On Oct. 26, the PHCC board of directors voted to become a U.S. EPA WaterSense partner to encourage members to install water-conserving products. The board also passed a resolution to organize a task force of green construction and water conservation.

A revision to the PHCC water conservation position paper will include a reference for the need to field-test the impact high-efficiency toilets have on water/sewer infrastructure. It also calls for legislators to consider tax and other incentives.

125th Anniversary Celebration

At the annual member business meeting, the association kicked off its official year-long 125th anniversary celebration. The goal is to bring awareness to the general public of the importance of hiring a professional contractor. The media campaign includes a special logo, and a DVD highlighting the organization’s long history.

The event will culminate April 28-May 2, 2008, during PHCC’s Leadership and Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., when PHCC will sponsor National Plumbing Industry Week.

In & Out

Skip Pfeffer, Canton Plumbing (Canton, Mass.) was elected at the annual business meeting as the new vice president. Assuming the role of president isJim Finley, C.N. Finley Inc. (New Orleans, La.). President-elect isJoe Schmitt, Joe Schmitt & Sons Plumbing & Heating (Englewood, Ohio).

It was also announced at Network ’07 that Lake Coulson, PHCC vice president of governmental affairs, would leave the group to head up legislative affairs for the National Electrical Contractors Association.

With Honors

The Hollywood theme prevailed in Anaheim, and especially at the annual InSinkErator luncheon. From the red-carpet entrance to the paparazzi, it was an all-out entertaining event. Even Lucille Ball (uncanny impersonatorSuzanne LaRusch) showed up to emcee the festivities and hand out awards and honors from the PHCC Educational Foundation and the PHCC-National Auxiliary.

This was the 19th year that InSinkErator has sponsored the award ceremony luncheon, and Lucy did not let that go unnoticed. She kept things light and spontaneous, and the large-size Oscar statues, teleprompters, TV screens - and inevitable over-run of time - helped encourage the idea that this was a traditional televised awards show.

Besides the entertainment and laughs, InSinkErator presented a $25,000 check to Fran Williams and the PHCC Educational Foundation for the promotion of the trades. Several members were honored and congratulated by the PHCC at this year’s event:

  • The 3D Award, sponsored by the Copper Development Association, was presented to Terry Giebelhaus for her desire, dedication and determination.
  • The Larry Dore Auxiliary Member of the Year Award went to Bernadine Stockmeister of the Ohio Auxiliary, who has served almost six decades in the PHCC Auxiliary.
  • The AEC Spectrum Award went to Rodney Jones of Egyptian Plumbing (Marion, Ill.).
  • The Delta Apprentice of the Year was Orlando Zamora. Contractor of the Year went to Larry Lee, Lee Plumbing & Heating Co. (Thief River Falls, Minn.).
  • Trane presented its HVAC Contractor of the Year Award to Tom Warner, Utility Service Express LLC (Reston, Va.).
  • A Legislative Service Award went to Tim Williford, Southern Piping Co. (Wilson, N.C.) for his dedicated service to the PHCC PAC.
  • The founders’ award, the George D. Scott Award, was given to Laurie Crigler, L&D Associates Inc. (Aroda, Va.), for her long and dedicated service.
    (A full list of honorees can be found at

    During the closing ceremonies of Network ’07, the winners of the 2007 PHCC Apprenticeship Contest were announced. First place was Tom Shields, Waterloo, Ill., sponsored by the Missouri PHCC/Plumbing Industry Council. Second place was Richard Aldridge, Chesapeake, Va. Third place went to Cory Schutte, House Springs, Mo.

  • Workforce Future

    As Network ’07 ended, top members and PHCC staff held a press conference to outline what the group has done and will continue to do to address the industry’s workforce shortage.

    “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the plumbing and HVACR industry need more than 100,000 new workers each year to replace those that are retiring and to fill new jobs that will be created,” said outgoing PHCC President Jo Wagner.

    Recruiting the needed talent to the plumbing and heating industries has included combined efforts from the PHCC Educational Foundation and the PHCC Partners for Professionalism.

    For example, Gerry Kennedy, vice president of the Educational Foundation, met with federal authorities at the Department of Education to support a “career cluster” concept to introduce students to careers while in middle school. Last March, Kennedy was appointed to an advisory committee to further promote the idea. Kennedy and Ike Casey, executive director of the PHCC, also met with staff of 11 industry trade groups all affected by the plumbing and HVACR trade shortage.

    Meanwhile, revenue generated from PHCC Partners for Professionalism helps underwrite many of the PHCC’s efforts. This year, the trade group updated plumbing/HVACR apprentice textbooks, held an instructor conference and promoted student scholarships.

    Next year, the workforce issue will be discussed at the PHCC Leadership Conference, and a tool kit will be developed for use at the state and local levels.

    The 2008 PHCC Convention and ISH North America Trade Show will be Sept. 29-Oct. 4 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and Atlanta Convention Center in Atlanta.