Barbara C. Higgens, Plumbing Manufacturers International’s (PMI’s) executive director, will be recognized with a Crystal Vision “Robert T. Atkins Life Time Achievement Award.” World Vision will present the award during the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show on April 26 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Higgens will be the third person ever to receive the Life Time Achievement Award. The award honors individual dedication to World Vision’s mission of "working with children, families and their worldwide communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.”
For more than 10 years, Higgens has championed The Storehouse of World Vision, which addresses the needs of Americans suffering from disaster, personal crisis or economic hardship by providing families with supplies, including building products and materials. Companies donate excess inventory or produced-to-give products to The Storehouse’s warehouses. The Storehouse, in turn, partners with other nonprofit organizations to install these much-needed products and materials in homes, shelters, rehabilitation facilities, schools, daycares, churches, and other community centers.
Member companies of PMI’s voluntary, not-for-profit, international, industry association represent 95 percent of North America’s plumbing manufacturers and produce a substantial quantity of the world’s plumbing products. World Vision estimates that more than $80 million worth of plumbing products have been donated during the past five years.
“Barbara has been involved since The Storehouse’s beginnings and is one of the early pioneers of the program. The Life Time Achievement Award was introduced last year, during our 10th anniversary celebration, to honor those with extraordinary commitment to the program, while they are still active and involved,” says Efrain Perez, Jr., World Vision’s corporate relations director-kitchen and bath.
“It's been my pleasure to serve as a volunteer and ambassador for The Storehouse of World Vision. The program is the ultimate win/win: The Storehouse provides manufacturers with an efficient channel for repurposing their excess inventory in the most wonderful way,” says Higgens. “PMI members’ and other manufacturers’ donations through this program truly improve people’s lives. Having clean, safe drinking water; a decent kitchen to prepare food and gather together; working, water-efficient lavatories - these are things most of us take for granted. It’s been a joy to help connect those who have products to donate with those who need them most.”
“We have been graced and blessed with Barbara’s support, advice and encouragement, which has made our Storehouse initiative so successful and so impactful,” adds Perez. “She is always recommending us to companies and networking on our behalf. We absolutely love her.”
“Barbara has been a strong, supportive voice helping connect PMI’s members with The Storehouse product donation program. The program offers companies a fast, efficient and responsible business solution to donate products to assist those in need,” says PMI Board of Directors President Jack Krecek, vice president and general manager of commercial channels for Elkay Manufacturing Company. In 2006, Elkay was honored with a Crystal Vision Award. The contributions of PMI members’ Kohler, Moen, MASCO and Globe Union also have been recognized with this award. Home Depot received the 2008 Crystal Vision Award at a celebration where Higgens served as the event’s master of ceremonies.
The 2010 Crystal Vision “Robert T. Atkins Life Time Achievement Awards” were presented to Dave Gerali, president of Gerali Designs, and Russ Diamond, president and CEO of Snyder Diamond. In addition to joining Gerali and Diamond as a Life Time Achievement Award-recipients, Higgens has earned many professional, academic and community service accolades.
A respected industry leader, Higgens is known for her work in harmonizing legislation and forging worldwide coalitions. She is a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Advisory Committee ITAC/9 and the World Plumbing Council; a past member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency Committee; a past member of the National Association of Manufacturers’ board of directors and past chair of the Council of Manufacturing; a planning committee member of the Electronic Industries Association; and a charter member of Alliance for Water Efficiency.
A graduate of Northern Illinois University in journalism and advertising, Higgens shares her marketing communications knowledge and skills. She has served as publicity chair of the Northern Illinois Arts Council and of the local chapter of the American Heart Association; community relations chair for the local United Way; an advisor for the Junior Achievement Program; and as a member of her church’s stewardship committee and community relations committee. She also is a past member of the American Marketing Association, the American Society of Association Executives, the Business Marketing Association, the National Honor Society, and currently the Palatine (IL) Rotary Club where she participates in fundraising and outreach.