A Different View of Membership Recruitment

November 8, 2019
By Michael Copp, Executive Vice President

Membership recruitment and retention continue to be major focus areas for PHCC; however, the three-tier federation structure of our association is not growing sufficiently to replenish members who’ve left, in addition to recruiting new members.  While we continue to lean on member benefits and discounts offered at each level of the federation to prove value in joining, the fact is that if members do not take advantage of all those discounts and services, then the value will never fully be felt. You can check out those benefits here, but in the meantime- so what is another reason to join PHCC?

The larger, more altruistic reason to join PHCC is much deeper in meaning and a growing practical necessity for contractors. We are seeing increased attacks on our industry that require a much larger and more powerful organization to fend off challenges as witnessed in Texas with the near removal the state’s plumbing license, which could spark a trend into other regions of the U.S.  Other critical challenges include workforce development, apprentice ratios, unfair utility competition, an aging infrastructure, growing number of legionella outbreaks, and other difficulties in which there needs to be a unified a call to action:  a “movement” to protect our industry and the safety of our customers and the environment.

The PHCC federation represents (as described back in 1883) a membership of “allied contractors” engaged in a “movement” dedicated to the “advancement and education of the plumbing and HVACR industry for the health, safety, and comfort of society and the protection of the environment.” 1  This movement requires constant engagement at the local, state, and national level to ensure that members mobilize in lockstep when our industry is being attacked in ways like, for example, faulty and wasteful legislative or regulatory requirements.

In a recent survey, PHCC members ranked “legislative and regulatory leadership/representation” as a critical driver of membership in the association. As one member said in an interview: “If we have a problem and we want to see laws changed, we have a say and that’s awesome.” Comments like this indicate PHCC is providing exactly the type of representation that the PHCC founders envisioned so many years ago, but there is so much more to do- and there is power in numbers! I think of not joining a trade association as akin to what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once described as “like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet”.

We need a movement toward a common purpose that asks if you believe that:

  • a national “cultural shift” is needed in which parents, guidance counselors and others do not view vocational skilled-trades education/ apprenticeships as a second option to going to college; and
  • we need to attract and educate enough skilled tradespeople to fix the declining economic health of the construction trades industry and crumbling infrastructure; and
  • we need to protect the professionalism of the industry by working to keep licenses intact and ensuring that PHCC helps set crucial standards as noted by PHCC President Jonathan Moyer of Cocalico Plumbing & Heating; then

We need you!  We need you to join and actively participate in PHCC’s campaign to change the trajectory of this great industry.  If you are a member (thank you), then please recruit a member who can be an integral part of this important movement to protect professionalism. As Joel Long of GSM Services in Gastonia, North Carolina, and new PHCC National Vice President proclaimed “PHCC has the best opportunity to change the future … so let’s go make a difference!” There is power and influence in numbers, and the bigger that the PHCC organization grows, the more meaningful our movement becomes. We encourage members like you to “tell your story” and enlist others to proactively protect this great industry and the health and safety of the nation.

Sources:

1 Kennedy, G., PhD., Mader, R. A Heritage Unique: A History of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association. Falls Church, VA: PHCC National Association; 2019.

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