RACINE, WI — InSinkErator®, a business unit of St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR) and the world’s leading manufacturer of food waste disposers for home and commercial use, has joined with the National Auxiliary of the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors (PHCC) to name Beverly Potts the 2016 PHCC Auxiliary Member of the Year.
Potts, of Deer Creek, Ill., was presented the 2016 Larry Dore Member of the Year Award during the PHCC national convention, CONNECT 2016, Oct. 19-21 in San Antonio. During that event, InSinkErator and the PHCC National Auxiliary also recognized five PHCC Auxiliaries for their achievements during the past year by presenting them with Robert M. Cox Humanitarian Awards. Those awards are given to state or local Auxiliaries that have made an impact on the industry or local community, and demonstrate cooperation between the Auxiliary and contractor association.
“It’s a wonderful thing when the qualifications of a nominee jump off of the page so loudly and clearly,” said Angie Westman, PHCC Auxiliary National President. “Beverly Potts is a third-generation plumbing contractor, who has made it her life’s work to promote the importance of women in our industry.” Westman noted.
Potts, who is on staff with the PHCC of Illinois, is also a licensed journeyman plumber active on seven boards and councils serving the plumbing industry, and was recently inducted into the Plumbing Contractors Association Midwest Hall of Fame.
The plumbing roots run deep in Potts’ family. Her grandfather operated his own firm, Delmer Potts & Son, before handing over control to her father in the 1950s. In 1980, Beverly Potts took over the operation and ran it until 1996, when she joined Illinois PHCC as a full-time employee.
Bev said she planned to take a more traditional, college-based route for a career, but as she puts it, “Everything led me back to the (plumbing) business.”
“What I appreciate most about working in plumbing is having the opportunity to help people,” she said. “There’s something rewarding about going into someone’s home and improving it from a health and safety standpoint.”
Potts said through the years she had received some resistance from customers because she is female – they did call Delmer Potts and “SON” after all. “There was the occasional guy who told me ‘You can’t do that,’” she said. “But, plumbing’s not all about brawn, it’s really about thinking things through and then finding a solution.”
Though there are more women in the trade today than when Potts first joined her father’s firm, the ratio of licensed plumbers is still heavily skewed male to female. In Potts’ home state of Illinois, for example, fewer than 100 women are registered as licensed plumbers out of about 9,000 total.
Potts believes that advances in tools and technologies make a career in plumbing more accessible to women. Because of that, Potts said she has made it part of her mission to recruit more women to the plumbing profession.
With its support of the 2016 PHCC convention, InSinkErator marked its 53rd consecutive year of support for PHCC and the National Auxiliary. During the convention InSinkErator presented Robert M. Cox Humanitarian Awards to five outstanding PHCC Auxiliaries.
Robert M. Cox Humanitarian Awards were presented in the categories of Image and Recruitment.
Two groups of awards were given, based on membership levels:
Robert M. Cox Humanitarian Award - Image:
First Place (3-20 members) – Illinois PHCC Auxiliary
Second Place (3-20 members) – PHCC of Lincoln Auxiliary
Honorable Mention (3-20 members) – Illinois PHCC Auxiliary
First Place (21-40 members) – Washington State PHCC
Second Place (21-40 members) – PHCC of Nebraska Auxiliary
Robert M. Cox Humanitarian Award – Recruitment:
First Place (3-20 members) – PHCC Auxiliary of Delaware
First place winners received a $1,000 cash award, second place winners were awarded $500 and those receiving honorable mention received a $400 cash award. The prizes were awarded during the 134rd PHCC annual convention, which took place in San Antonio, Texas.