By Staff Writer, PHCC-National Association
Cleveland, Ohio, delivered a hometown welcome to an energetic group of p-h-c professionals as they gathered for PHCCCONNECT2023 in late October to make real progress on their plumbing and HVACR businesses … and to secure a strong future for the industry.
The passion of PHCC’s people was on full display throughout the three-day event, reinforcing this year’s conference theme of “People. Passion. Purpose.” PHCC honored several people during the conference’s opening session. “As we recognize these individuals today – with the support of our industry partners – I am reminded of how valuable solid relationships are,” said PHCC—National President Dave Frame. “These people share a passion for improving society, making a difference, contributing to their communities, mentoring the next generation, and advancing the industry.”
PHCC members and other attendees took to their feet to acknowledge veteran PHCC Member Herman Bohinc of Ohio (above, right), who was presented with a resolution from the PHCC Board of Directors for his distinguished service to the Ohio state chapter and for lasting contributions to the association and its mission. As an instructor and mentor to many, Bohinc has inspired others in the profession to strive for excellence.
From the start, PHCC of Ohio President John Milburn (left) encouraged attendees to discover the spirit of Cleveland – “an inviting city … that seamlessly weaves its rich history with an eager embrace of the future” – for themselves. And that they did, right through to the closing event at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where some PHCC members took the mic and made their own music!
The keynote session, “Growth Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone,” once again had attendees on their feet for a standing ovation for Coach Ken Carter (right), a highly successful author, business owner, and educator. Many claimed that Carter – who mixed hard-hitting advice (“Discipline lasts you a lifetime.”) with a need for compassion (“Great people meet people where they are.”) – was the best speaker they ever heard. Among his other messages: be respectful; write down goals and carry them with you every day; and “reset your preset,” reinforcing the need to adjust quickly in certain situations.
Economist Connor Lokar
“Look at 2024 as an opportunity,” said the event’s second keynoter, Connor Lokar of ITR Economics. While inflation and rising prices are not going away anytime soon, he advised that contractors “look at areas of your business that could be opportunities … things that you didn’t have time to do before, like training, technology, and software transitions.” He warned of very tough economic times in 2030 and advised attendees on how to steer their businesses now in preparation.
Product and Technology Showcase
CONNECT’s welcoming atmosphere continued on the Product & Technology Showcase floor, which this year featured “Cleveland Park” for a taste of hometown hospitality. There was lots of shared enthusiasm in the Showcase arena, with attendees learning about new tools of the trade, listening in to live podcast interviews, and checking out product demonstrations.
In addition to more than 20 educational sessions this year, PHCCCONNECT2023 introduced expo education on the tradeshow floor – interactive presentations of innovative products, unique takes on the latest technologies, and business management solutions. These “Knowledge Hubs” tackled topics such as the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), the refrigerant landscape, next generation garbage disposals, hybrid heat pump technology, and more.
Also on the tradeshow floor, Beth Dobkin of PHCC’s Quality Service Contractors (QSC) engaged attendees with her “QSC Talks,” unlocking insights on several topics, including the power of emotional intelligence.
And PHCC’s Union-Affiliated Contractors (UAC) hosted events geared toward signatory contractors, including sessions presented by attorney Christina Wernick (Laner-Muchin) on trust fund audits and on trustee responsibilities. A wide-ranging contractor forum moderated by S.J. Peters featured United Association officials (Director of Plumbing Tom Bigley, Training Director Ray Boyd, and Special Representative Joe Fernandez) as well as Dave Frame (2023-2024 UAC chairman) and Brian Rich (ITF representative and UAC past chairman).
Rising Leaders Summit
The 2023 Rising Leaders Summit featured keynoters Jeremy Wall of GoalMakers and Steve Acho, a human and business performance coach, both of whom shared methods for harnessing leadership and management skills. Plus, a panel of top industry leaders inspired the future generation with real-world situations from their own shops.
Panel on Strengthening Supplier-Contractor Relationships
During this popular roundtable discussion, industry leaders, suppliers, and contractors came together to explore the power of collaboration and discuss effective strategies for strengthening relationships. The panelists discussed emerging trends, technologies, and solutions that are benefiting the industry. “Everything is moving quicker,” one panelist noted of the impact of AI and real-time data analysis on the industry. Common themes were that communication, loyalty, and an understanding of each other’s perspectives are key to effective relationships.
The Truth About the Trades
Moderator Amy Hart of Continental Plumbing led an effective workforce panel on the tremendous opportunities for skilled trades. Together with Chris Boyd of A1 Sewer & Drain, Larry Betlejewski of Beetle’s Plumbing Solutions, and Jed Scheuermann from IAPMO, these panelists debunked some common misconceptions about the industry and offered ways to promote the truth about the profession. With the help of SupplyHouse.com, PHCC is offering this video to help contractors encourage future generations to embark on a career in the trades!
Women in Industry Luncheon
Led by moderator Susan Few of Sunshine Home Services, a panel of seven individuals involved in Women in Plumbing & Piping shared insights on how PHCC members can attract more women into the trades and the benefits not just to their companies but to the industry as a whole. They discussed recruiting tactics and timing (“plant the seeds as early as possible”), company culture, and the evaluation of all roles in a business.
It takes a village of contractor volunteers and industry sponsors to support and set up the PHCC Educational Foundation’s National Apprentice Contests … and the contest area was buzzing as 21 plumbing and 11 HVAC apprentices from across the nation tested their skills, knowledge, and accuracy. Congratulations to all our competitors and finalists; read more here.
Investing in the Next Generation
Scholarships totaling $190,000 were announced by the PHCC Educational Foundation and PHCC National Auxiliary at CONNECT. The Auxiliary awarded 14 scholarships totaling $51,000 (full list here). The Foundation awarded $139,000 to 57 plumbing and HVAC apprentices, trade school students, and college students pursuing studies directly related to the p-h-c industry (read more here).
During CONNECT, attendees donated generously to the Foundation’s Invest in Your Future campaign, pushing the annual total raised past $257,000. Matching funds from InSinkErator, Ferguson, NIBCO, and SupplyHouse.com, plus A. O. Smith, Bradford White, Federated Insurance, Rheem, and Scorpion Home Services, helped to boost the fundraising total to this level. These valued partners make what we do possible!
Celebrating the Foundation’s ‘Spooktacular’ Year
Celebrating the PHCC Educational Foundation’s top donors just a few days before Halloween, the Foundation set the lighting to “spooky” and had a live band play Halloween hits during its Donor Appreciation Reception. At the event, Foundation Chair Kevin Tindall presented IAPMO CEO David Viola with a Chairman’s Award to recognize the work of the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH). In addition, Tindall presented a Chairman’s Award to Rob Grim and Joe Dillon of InSinkErator to recognize the company’s 35 years of support to the Foundation’s educational mission. The Foundation also welcomed Joe Sullivan and Jacqueline Piret as the newest additions to its Board of Governors family.
Honoring the Best of 2023
The 2023 PHCC Awards Luncheon “celebrates the very best in 2023,” announced PHCC—National Auxiliary President Ann Rivers. “It also illustrates our faith in the future as we continue to work together for the success of our association and our industry.”
The association’s highest honor – the Col. George D. Scott Award – went to Kevin Tindall of Tindall & Ranson in Windsor, New Jersey. A past PHCC—National president and the current chairman of the PHCC Educational Foundation, Tindall has been paying his appreciation for PHCC forward for nearly two decades with selfless service to the association, the industry, his community, and future generations; read more here.
Click here for a complete list of award winners, including chapter awards, Auxiliary awards, and scholarship winners. Congratulations to all those honored this year!
Annual Business Meeting
At PHCC’s Annual Business Meeting, outgoing PHCC—National President Frame recapped the impact of the association’s accomplishments over the past year. He reminded members that the “more you get involved, the better we all are, because making our industry better makes our businesses better.” You can watch Frame’s remarks by clicking the video player above.
He then passed the baton to PHCC’s incoming president, Joe Cornetta of Cornetta Bros. Plumbing and Heating in Elmont, New York.
PHCC also welcomed the incoming president-elect, Dan Callies of Oak Creek Plumbing in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, as well as voted in Jason Pritchard of PriCor Technologies in Seattle, Washington, as vice president. Membership also approved eight housekeeping bylaws changes.
Long Live Rock!
Attendees celebrated a fabulous conference, welcomed PHCC’s incoming 2023-2024 officers, and rocked out among the exhibits of rock legends at the closing event at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!
Thank You to Our Sponsors!
As President Frame reminded attendees during the opening session at PHCCCONNECT2023, “many of the resources and programs that you have access to would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors.” We thank our industry partners and sponsors for their support of CONNECT and other PHCC activities. The PHCCCONNECT2023 sponsors are listed here.
LET’S GO TO BIRMINGHAM!
PHCC is already building off this year’s momentum and planning for PHCCCONNECT2024 in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama! Save the date – Oct. 7-9 – and plan to connect with your professional peers as well as experience Birmingham’s southern hospitality. We’ll kick things off with an event at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum … recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest motorcycle collection, plus home to other rare and unusual cars. Let’s go!