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A ribbon cutting for the opening reception, the official start of PHCCCONNECT 2023.

PHCCCONNECT 2023 Held in Cleveland

Oct. 27, 2023
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association held their annual conference Oct. 25-27th.

CLEVELAND, OH — For three short days in October, the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland was transformed into the nexus of the plumbing & heating industry as PHCC members and valued industry partners gathered for the association’s annual conference, PHCCCONNECT.

The event included an exhibit hall packed with the latest products, services, and technologies the industry has to offer. Just off the exhibit floor, the annual apprentice contest was held, giving a special highlight to the next generation entering the skilled trades.

More than 20 education sessions were offered on topics including workforce development, regulatory challenges, customer service and more. Networking opportunities abounded including the opening reception, the opening breakfast, Ohio Night—an evening of music and celebration at the House of Blues—and several manufacturer-sponsored events.

And of course, PHCC members gathered to conduct the important business of the association. Before the official start of the event the PHCC held their Executive Committee Meeting. The PHCC Educational Foundation held their Board Meeting and the PHCC National Auxiliary held their Business Meeting both on Wednesday. Friday saw the PHCC Annual Business Meeting, with voting held for national officers.

Here are some highlights from the show.

Focus on Government Regulation

Mark Valentini, PHCC-NA’s Director, Government Affairs and Charles White, PHCC’s VP, Regulatory Affairs, teamed up for two presentations at the conference.

The first, Government Affairs Update: The Chuck and Mark Show LIVE! was their annual review of the legislative and regulatory environment including the Inflation Reduction Act, gas bans, gas ban bans, and the market impact of regulatory proposals increasing energy efficiency in the products professionals install and service.

Continuing where the first session left off, the second, DOE Standards for Water Heating Products: What Contractors Need to Know was a panel discussion with Valentini as moderator, Steve Rossi of the American Supply Association as presenter, and with White joined on the panel by Robert Wolfer, Manager, Government Relations for Bradford White Corp. This session was more granular, discussing the latest government standards for water heaters, and what they might mean for contractors’ bottom line.

Women in the Industry

The Women in Industry Luncheon was a panel discussion that addressed the enormous potential for women in the plumbing and heating trades, with a focus on outreach, recruitment, retention, and fostering success.

The panel was moderated by Susan Frew, Co-Owner and President of Sunshine Home Services in Denver, CO, and a Founding Advisor of the Women in Plumbing & Piping organization. Speakers included Lara Beltz, co-owner of Beltz Home Service Co., an electrical, plumbing and HVAC company that has been serving the Northwest Ohio area for 22 years; Linda Hudek, Owner of LH Plumbing Services (and CONTRACTOR’s Contractor of the Year); Ashely Martin, Executive Vice President NIBCO; Cassie Pound, co-owner of Quality Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Tulsa, OK and the Co-Host of the Power Women of the Trades podcast; Angie Snow, Principal Industry Advisor at ServiceTitan; and Jacquelyn Lindsey Wynn, Senior Consultant for Lindsey Brothers, Inc. of Virginia.

The wide-ranging conversation covered topics such as recognizing barriers, adopting new practices, and finding ways to make individual organizations and the overall industry more welcoming, inclusive and successful.

Opening Breakfast

The opening breakfast was an opportunity to thank the conference sponsors, including (Diamond) Bradford White, Federated Insurance, InSinkErator, Kohler Co., Milwaukee Tool, (Platinum) Moen, Nibco, Rheem, (Gold) Adrian Steel, A. O. Smith, Delta Faucet, The Home Depot, International Code Council, Scorpion, (Silver) SupplyHouse.com, (Bronze) Hudson Technologies, Merit Brass, Oatey Co., RIDGID, Viega and Zoeller.

R. Bruce Carnevale, CEO for Bradford White gave a series of remarks that again addressed the extraordinary regulatory environment the industry is currently seeing. “We are engaged an involved,” Carnevale said, about the efforts of manufacturers to see reasonable policies put in place. He noted that, given the enormous amount of federal money driving their adoption, almost everyone in the trades owed it to themselves to learn more about heat pumps and how to maintain and install them.

Next came the Instructor of the Year awards, with Tim Rutledge of Sacramento, CA taking the honors on the plumbing side, and Brian Millard taking the award for HVAC/R.   

Then came the keynote speech from Coach Ken Carter, whose remarkable story was turned into a feature film in 2005 staring Samuel L. Jackson. Carter is now a motivational speaker and the founder of the Coach Carter Foundation, an organization working to improve the lives of young people through education, training and mentoring.

In a moving presentation laced with humor and audience participation, Carter talked about his life growing up in Macomb, MS, with seven sisters and an older brother he idolized. He talked about his family’s move to a rough neighborhood in California, and his early successes mentoring young people on and off the basketball court.

Carter offered his own formulas for success and happiness. One that he kept returning to was “reset your preset”—challenge your own, preconceived notions, look for a new perspective on work and on individuals. Leadership, he said, wasn’t always about the heavy hand, but instead about meeting people where they are, how they are, and being respectful.

He also spoke about the need to set goals, to constantly review those goals, and not be discouraged during the “Wintertime”—those moments of difficulty when our dreams seem unattainable. “Successful people,” he said, “will go from one failure to the next enthusiastically.”

At the time of this writing, PHCCCONNECT 2023 is in its final day. For a full list of new PHCC officers as well as attendance figures, please look to the next issue of CONTRACTOR.

About the Author

Steve Spaulding | Editor-inChief - CONTRACTOR

Steve Spaulding is Editor-in-Chief for CONTRACTOR Magazine. He has been with the magazine since 1996, and has contributed to Radiant Living, NATE Magazine, and other Endeavor Media properties.

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