By Staff Writer, PHCC-National Association
“It’s so good to be back together again … and to reconnect and celebrate our successes,” said 2020-2021 PHCC—National Association President Hunter Botto. This sentiment was shared by 2021-2022 PHCC President Joel Long, who added, “People want to be united!”.
And united we were at PHCC’s 139th annual conference and technology showcase – PHCCCONNECT2021, Oct. 20-22 in Kansas City, Missouri – where hundreds of plumbing and HVAC contractors and industry partners were excited to move on from 19 months of COVID-related challenges, celebrate together, and prepare their businesses for what’s next.
“People are thrilled to be here and there’s a buzz,” added Long of the event, where business and economic experts, industry leaders, and contractors’ own peers led a comprehensive program of educational sessions and networking events.
Behind the Scenes at Sioux Chief
The buzz started from the moment early arrivals took a tour of Sioux Chief’s 660,000-square-foot Kansas City headquarters, witnessing firsthand how the manufacturer makes rough plumbing installation easier and more efficient. Check out the live video here!
“Culture is Everything”
During his much-anticipated keynote address, author and leadership expert Jon Gordon encouraged attendees to be more positive. “Being positive doesn’t just make you better, it makes everyone around you better,” he said. He also shifted the mindset on culture. “Culture is not just one thing; culture is everything,” he shared. “Meet with your team and get their buy-in on culture. Talk about principles and values moving forward.”
Speaking of moving forward, economist Connor Lokar made some of his own predictions during a second keynote address at PHCCCONNECT2021. While the supply chain issues may improve next year, the p-h-c labor market will not, he said. Attendees were grateful to have this expert forecaster from ITR Economics help them understand the changes from the last year and their impact to the p-h-c markets moving forward.
Looking Back to Prepare the Way Forward
Some of the industry’s top leaders came together during a special roundtable to address supply chain issues, new technology, skilled trades shortages and their impact on p-h-c contractors. Moderated by John Mesenbrink of Mechanical Hub, the panelists included Bruce Carnevale of Bradford White Corporation, Randy Roberts of Rheem Manufacturing, Elisabeth Sutton of KOHLER, and Scott Teson of Milwaukee Tool. “My projection is the supply chain will come into some degree of balance in the next 6-9 months,” said Carnevale. “Experts say at least two years.” Teson recommended that p-h-c contractors “sit down with their partners and have a conversation about what 2022 is going to look like for your business and how you can work together.”
The Boot Camp Buzz!
Among the more than 20 educational sessions at PHCCCONNECT2021 was the launch of PHCC’s Finance Boot Camp. PHCC partnered with nationally recognized industry consultant and profitability master Ruth King to unveil the first two modules – “Understanding a Profit and Loss Statement” and “Understanding a Balance Sheet” – of its nine-module program. By late winter, the complete program will be available to PHCC members at phccweb.org/education. Stay tuned!
Quality Time at the Product & Technology Showcase
As always, PHCCCONNECT2021 attendees valued the quality time they had with more than 110 sponsors and exhibitors at the Product & Technology Showcase.
A Celebration 100 Years in the Making!
The PHCC—National Auxiliary culminated the celebration of its 100th Anniversary during PHCCCONNECT2021 with a luncheon honoring its p-h-c industry partnership through cooperation, communication and education. During CONNECT, the Auxiliary highlighted accomplishments throughout its history, as well as unveiled anniversary videos, a new PHCC membership recruitment video and an updated p-h-c careers video. Cheers to 100 years and the next century of volunteerism!
“Positive leaders drive positive results.”
During PHCCCONNECT2021, new PHCC—National President Joel Long kicked off his tenure with gratitude for the opportunity to reconnect, encouraging the crowd to “… leave PHCC a little better than we are today. If we do this, we will have continued the legacy of our storied history and all those who led us these past years.”
Building on the positive leadership principles introduced by keynoter Jon Gordon, Long – who also is president of GSM Services in Gastonia, North Carolina – reinforced that “positive leaders drive positive results.” He later challenged members to “set expectations high and deliver on them throughout the year in all you attempt.”
During the Annual Business Meeting, PHCC members elected Joe Cornetta, co-owner of Cornetta Bros. Inc. Plumbing & Heating in Elmont, New York, as PHCC—National Vice President. In addition to Long and Cornetta, the 2021-2022 PHCC Executive Committee includes President-elect Dave Frame, Secretary Rick Whitaker and CEO Mark Ingrao.
“This is a family.”
Passing the CEO Baton
With grateful hearts, PHCC members and staff celebrated the dedication and service of CEO Michael Copp (top row, second from left), who officially retires in December. During the Annual Business Meeting at PHCCCONNECT2021, members got a glimpse into Copp’s “Six Years of Firsts,” from 2015 to 2021. “I cannot express all that is in my heart, but my heart is full as I transition from my PHCC family to spend a bit more time with my own family,” Copp later shared with PHCC leadership. “The reality is that no one stood behind me but always beside me, and hence, we built something special together,” he said of PHCC’s past accomplishments. “It’s time to go big and build on the past successes to position PHCC as the voice of the industry for another 139 years.”
Ready to lead the charge is new PHCC CEO Mark Ingrao, who officially assumed duties at PHCCCONNECT2021. During a Plumbing & Mechanical podcast, Ingrao said he believes his role at PHCC is to be “connector in chief,” helping the association address “some headwinds,” such as the workforce shortage and a changing regulatory environment. With a passion for the trades (as the son of a carpenter,” I come by it naturally”) and as a veteran association executive having direct experience with important small business issues and the construction industry, Ingrao is poised to help members be the best contractors in the country. “This is a family,” he told P&M. As you can see from the photo above, the PHCC—National staff, with Ingrao (bottom row, third from left) at the helm, is excited to be involved in the next chapter in PHCC’s family history!
First-Ever Female Winner!
Perhaps the biggest excitement during PHCCCONNECT2021 came in watching the industry’s future compete in the PHCC Educational Foundation’s Apprentice Contests. This year’s competition welcomed 16 plumbing and 7 HVAC contestants, all vying to be named the nation’s best. Congratulations to all the participants, including the winner of the plumbing competition, Garrett Boylan of Wolff’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc. in Spearfish, South Dakota, and our first-ever female HVAC winner, Karin Dahlin of Northland Mechanical in New Hope, Minnesota.
Celebrating the Very Best of 2021
The 2021 National Awards Ceremony, sponsored by InSinkErator, not only honored the best contractors, students and instructors in the industry, but also celebrated a year filled with resilience, achievement and success.
PHCC—National presented its highest honor – the Col. George D. Scott Award – to Bill Jones of Raven Mechanical in Houston, Texas, recognizing his decades of dedicated service and leadership within PHCC and the p-h-c industry.
Click here for a complete list of all our award winners. Congratulations to all!
Investing in the Future
Scholarship and Fundraiser Results
Invested in the next generation of industry leaders, the PHCC Educational Foundation and the PHCC National Auxiliary announced scholarship awards totaling $189,815 this year: the Auxiliary Scholarship Committee awarded just under $40,000 to 18 deserving students (full list here), and the Foundation and its industry partners awarded $150,000 to 55 apprentices and college students (full list here).
Also during PHCCCONNECT2021, the Foundation announced that it raised more than $230,000 through its Invest in Your Future Campaign. With matching funds from InSinkErator, Ferguson, Moen and NIBCO, plus A. O. Smith, Bradford White, Federated Insurance, the International Code Council, Milwaukee Tool, Rheem, Scorpion Home Services and Viega, the Foundation surpassed its $185,000 goal for this year’s campaign. These valued partners make what we do possible!
QSC: Loud and Proud at PHCCCONNECT2021
As always, CONNECT offered plenty of networking and educational opportunities for QSC and PHCC members.
QSC’s first-ever axe-throwing event sponsored by Rheem kicked off PHCCCONNECT2021 for QSC members. The QSC Community Corner was sponsored by A. O. Smith and featured giveaways and boxed lunches, and a “magical” Service and Repair Contractors reception was sponsored by Bradford White. QSC Business Coaches provided information during the Product & Technology Showcase and compelling and vital education sessions. Thanks to all who took advantage of these beneficial opportunities!
The PAC is BACK!
Our annual PAC event was better than ever this year, with attendance matching our last in-person event in Indianapolis in 2019. PHCC of Ohio won the National Grassroots Award for its work on legislation promoting statewide residential licensure, and PHCC of Texas won the National Legislative Award for getting legislation passed in Texas that preserves the state’s licensing board for years to come. We also had a record-breaking fundraising drive for PHCC PAC, with attendees generously contributing a combined $23,470 toward our advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. It was a night to remember!
Thank You to Our Sponsors!
We’ve received so much positive feedback about the educational content at PHCCCONNECT2021, but the truth is that none of it would happen without the generous support of our sponsors. Be sure to keep them in mind for your business needs!
Next Stop: Charlotte, North Carolina
Mark Your Calendars Now!
Building on the momentum of a successful conference this year, PHCC’s new leaders already have their wheels turning on content for PHCCCONNECT2022, Oct. 5-7, in Charlotte, North Carolina. This business and financial hub will be the perfect place to reconnect next year. Charlotte offers something for everyone – from a dynamic culinary scene to the NASCAR Hall of Fame – and October is considered the best time to visit, with mild temps and shoulder season prices! Stay tuned to phccweb.org/connect for details.
Staff Writer , PHCC-National Association