As I See It

IAPMO is exactly the right home for the new RPA

This is going to be great. After meeting with the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials executives and the new management of the Radiant Professionals Alliance, I’m convinced that this will work out better than I expected.

We were dismayed to see the decline of the previous iteration of RPA. We’ve known many of the board members of RPA for years and they are as much friends as colleagues. They also shared with us all of the unseemly details of what had happened.

When IAPMO stepped in to salvage what was left of the RPA, we were relieved especially since the words “plumbing and mechanical” are part of its name. Since William Levitt and Frank Lloyd Wright put radiant heat in their homes using steel pipe, radiant has been a hydronically-oriented technology.

(And lest our friends on the electric radiant side worry, there is a home for them in the new RPA. The RPA has always defined the radiant industry and its member contractors have mixed hydronic radiant, electric radiant and hydro air in configurations that best suit the needs of a structure.)

We were delighted to see many of those old friends and colleagues at IAPMO when we met with them in early March.

On March 2-3, the board met with the RPA staff to define its vision for RPA. Reformatting the bylaws was an integral part of this process. By reformatting the bylaws, the board believes it has created guidelines that will help bring on new qualified and invested board members as the terms of the current board members begin to expire. The board changed the terms of board members and how many consecutive years can be served.

The board feels that these changes will encourage talented members to apply for these positions that may have been discouraged by the commitment of a four-year term. In addition, committee membership rules have been changed so that interested general membership will now be able to apply for spots on specific committees on which they wish to serve (such as the Education Committee).

IAPMO brings just what the organization needs: management and technical expertise, and money. The investment that IAPMO has made in RPA already is huge and it’s just the beginning.

The new director, Kathleen Mihelich, is just the type of obsessively detailed person that any organization needs to run smoothly. She was previously IAPMO’s director of program development and has expertise in certification and training. The organization’s new director of technical services, Michael Geagan, has decades of experience. He’s a Chicago guy who went through his union apprenticeship and has been a plumbing contractor, worked for a major boiler manufacturer, and now runs his own manufacturer’s rep firm. After 30 years, Mike definitely knows what he’s talking about.

Education and training is the core of any successful trade association, so that fits well with Kathleen’s background. Moreover, IAPMO runs the Accredited Green Plumber Training and will issue the First Edition Green Plumbers Reference Manual this year.

A new code will be appearing too. IAPMO is know for its mechanical, plumbing, solar and green codes, and Dave Viola, IAPMO director of special services, tells us that the organization will begin work on an ANSI-accredited hydronic and radiant code.

We’re also delighted that RPA has chosen to co-locate its 2012 annual meeting with our own Mechanical Systems Week conference and show September 19-21 in Schaumburg, Ill. RPA will hold it annual meeting on Tuesday, September 18, where it will resurrect its annual System Showcase Awards program. Information for entering projects in the System Showcase should be on RPA’s website soon, if not already. We’re hoping that RPA members stay with us for the rest of the week for what is sure to be an extravaganza of education, new products and fun.

In addition, Mike Geagan will teach at the RPA meeting and then stay over and teach courses at Mechanical Systems Week. The same goes for CONTRACTOR magazine hydronics and controls expert Carol Fey who will teach at both RPA and at Mechanical Systems Week.

So we’re excited about the changes coming to RPA. This version is going to be better than ever.

Follow me on Twitter @bobmader

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.