Industry News

Falls Church, Va. — The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association’s (PHCC) Educational Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the national plumbing and HVAC apprentice contests. The contests were held October 10th & 11th in Albuquerque, N.M. on the tradeshow floor during the PHCC—National Association’s CONNECT 2018 event. A total of nineteen plumbing and Read More

Plumbing Contest Winner James Houser with PHCC Educational Foundation Chair Craig Lewis and Plumbing Contest Committee Chair Jim Steinle.

Falls Church, Va. — The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association’s (PHCC) Educational Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the national plumbing and HVAC apprentice contests. The contests were held October 10th & 11th in Albuquerque, N.M. on the tradeshow floor during the PHCC—National Association’s CONNECT 2018 event. A total of nineteen plumbing and ten HVAC apprentices from across the nation took part in the contests.

HVAC Apprentice Contest Winners
· 1st Place: Josiah Tiegs, McDowall Comfort Management in Waite Park, Minn., Sponsored by Brasscraft Manufacturing
· 2nd: Daniel Deneve, GSM Services in Gastonia, N.C., Sponsored by NIBCO
· 3rd: Jeffrey Deuel, American Mechanical Services in Denver, Colo., Sponsored by Milwaukee Tool

Plumbing Apprentice Contest Winners

· 1st Place: James Houser, Local 27 in Pittsburgh, Pa., Sponsored by A. O. Smith
· 2nd: Kyle Mao, Lange Plumbing in Las Vegas, Nev., sponsored by AB&I Foundry
· 3rd: Steven Kroope, Deluxe Plumbing & Heating in Bethlehem, Pa., Sponsored by Reed Manufacturing

The HVAC competitors were required to complete a written test, demonstrate proper brazing techniques and perform a hands-on diagnostic on an HVAC package unit, with system errors created by the Foundation’s contractor volunteers for the competition. The competitors also had to perform a pressure and leak test, demonstrate proper refrigerant recovery procedures and the ability to accurately take a variety of instrument readings.

HVAC Contest Winner Josiah Tiegs with PHCC Educational Foundation Chair Craig Lewis and HVAC Contest Committee Chair Scott Balmer.

The plumbing apprentices were required rough-in a bathroom system. The set-up includes a toilet, sink and shower, complete with supply, waste and vent lines, plus cleanouts and extra features designed to test the contestants’ knowledge and skills. The test set-up includes a variety of pipe materials—cast iron, copper, PVC and PEX, and corresponding joining methods.

A dedicated team of contractor volunteers arrived two days before the competitions to assemble the competitor test benches, distribute the materials and supplies and setup the testing areas. They monitor the competitions, evaluate the apprentices’ work and provide constructive feedback on each competitor’s performance following the event.

The contests are made possible by the generous support of several industry sponsors who provide monetary support and in-kind material and tool donations. Sponsors for the 2018 competition include, with headline sponsors appearing in bold: AB&I Foundry; A. O. Smith; Bradford White Corp.; BrassCraft Manufacturing Co.; Copper Development Association, Inc.; Daikin; Delta Faucet Co.; Emerson; Fluke, IPS Corporation; KOHLER Company; Mechanical Hub Media; Milwaukee Tool; NATE; NIBCO INC.; Oatey; Reed Manufacturing Co.; RIDGID; State Water Heaters; Tyler Pipe & Coupling; Uponor; Viega, LLC; and Zoeller Pump Company.

Milwaukee Tool made a major contribution to the Plumbing Apprentice Contest this year by donating twenty of their M18 Force Logic Press Tools and jaw kits, with a retail value exceeding $60,000 total. This gift allowed the competitors to gain experience and prove their skill with making press connections during the plumbing competition and will be used in future competitions as well.

“These contests are an incredible demonstration of the opportunities that exist because of the Foundation,” reports Foundation Chair Craig Lewis. “You have these amazing apprentices from all over the country coming here to show off their skills. The sponsors are so generous with their support. And then our volunteer committee members and staff are pulling it all together in a new exhibit hall every year. It really is quite a thing to see and I’m very proud everyone involved with these competitions.”

Uponor North America hosted a ribbon-cutting and plant tour on Thursday, Oct. 11 to celebrate the grand opening of its newest expansion, a 237,000-square-foot facility located in Hutchinson, Minn. The plant was completed earlier this year, six months ahead of schedule, and has already produced more than 30 million feet of PEX tubing, while adding Read More

Uponor North America hosted a ribbon-cutting and plant tour on Thursday, Oct. 11 to celebrate the grand opening of its newest expansion, a 237,000-square-foot facility located in Hutchinson, Minn.

The plant was completed earlier this year, six months ahead of schedule, and has already produced more than 30 million feet of PEX tubing, while adding more than 40 jobs in the community.

Uponor Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony | October 11, 2018

“While this is our latest expansion, it is certainly not our last. We are grateful to Hutchinson and community leaders for their support. We look forward to remaining part of the community for years to come,” said Bill Gray, president of Uponor North America.

Uponor North America first announced the $6.35 million investment in Hutchinson in July 2017 to support the company’s growing U.S. manufacturing operations. Hutchinson was an attractive location as it provided access to a large manufacturing workforce and the community showed strong support for Uponor.

Hutchinson Mayor Gary Forcier said, “I would like to thank Uponor for choosing our town to come to. We feel fortunate to have an upstanding company like Uponor come and be part of our community. We’re excited about the employment opportunities this brings and are looking forward to working with Uponor to continue to improve our community.”

At Hutchinson High School, guests toured the newly completed Center for Technical Excellence (CTE). The CTE is part of TigerPath, a skilled-workforce training program funded by 28 community partners, including Uponor.

Robert Danneker, principal of Hutchinson High School, said, “The strength of TigerPath lies within the strong, collaborative partnerships Hutchinson High School builds, maintains, and sustains with our local businesses and industries. Today, we celebrate Uponor and thank them immensely for their generous donation to TigerPath.”

To further celebrate Manufacturing Month, Uponor organized several additional events:

Oct. 10, Uponor joined nearly 1,000 organizations to raise awareness about the value of water by participating in Imagine a Day Without Water on social media.

Oct. 12, from 8:45 to 11:30 a.m., Uponor welcomed 75 students from local schools to its Apple Valley facility. The students toured the plant and heard from a panel of experts on career opportunities in manufacturing.

Milwaukee — Women who enter the HVAC industry often face a unique set of challenges in what was previously a male-dominated field. Johnson Controls has worked to tear down those misconceptions by educating and empowering women in HVAC. That commitment was in action recently as Johnson Controls welcomed women from across North America for its Read More

Milwaukee — Women who enter the HVAC industry often face a unique set of challenges in what was previously a male-dominated field. Johnson Controls has worked to tear down those misconceptions by educating and empowering women in HVAC.

That commitment was in action recently as Johnson Controls welcomed women from across North America for its second Women in HVAC event of 2018. The inspirational two-day program provides educational and networking opportunities for contractors, distributors, service technicians, engineers and sales and marketing professionals.

Attendees gained first-hand experience in manufacturing, testing and servicing of residential and commercial equipment from the YORK®, Luxiare® and Coleman® brands. Training workshops included tours of Johnson Control’s Norman, Oklahoma and Wichita, Kansas plants. The biannual summit is a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Erin Reich, a recent mechanical engineering graduate and sales engineer at Johnstone Supply was among the women in attendance. “There is so much to learn and so much opportunity to grow within the industry.”

Johnson Controls has been at the forefront of recruiting women to pursue careers in HVAC. The company created a Women’s Resource Network nearly a decade ago, which has grown into a global organization with mentors and groups worldwide. The company established 10 business resource groups to support and empower a diverse workforce including veterans, the disabled and multicultural groups.

Haggerty added, “There are opportunities for both men and women alike to grow and advance within this industry, but we all must overcome the idea that this is a male-driven environment. One of our company goals is to not only supply women with the educational tools required to manage their jobs, but also provide peer support and mentorship – for both men and women – to help them excel in their careers.”

“The idea of inclusion is not only good for women, it’s good for our industry and is a value that is embraced throughout our company, said Liz Haggerty, vice president and general manager, Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. “A dynamic and diverse workforce brings unique perspectives that are essential for success. We’re proud to support this tremendous network of women and the diverse group that makes our industry incredible.”

In 2016, Johnson Controls launched several initiatives aimed at increasing representation, development, inclusion and advancement of women in STEM roles within the company and industry. This included its “Connect with the Coolest Women in the World,” an inspiring panel discussion and networking event held earlier this year at the AHR Expo.

Atlanta—ASHRAE and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing the organizations’ relationship. The MoU was signed by 2018-2019 ASHRAE President-Elect Darryl Boyce, ASHRAE Executive Vice President Jeff Littleton, 2016-2018 ASPE President Mitch Clemente, CPD, FASPE, and ASPE Executive Director/CEO Billy Smith, FASPE, on Oct. 1. The Read More

Atlanta—ASHRAE and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing the organizations’ relationship.

The MoU was signed by 2018-2019 ASHRAE President-Elect Darryl Boyce, ASHRAE Executive Vice President Jeff Littleton, 2016-2018 ASPE President Mitch Clemente, CPD, FASPE, and ASPE Executive Director/CEO Billy Smith, FASPE, on Oct. 1. The agreement defines parameters on how the two societies will collaborate more closely to continue furthering and promoting the advancements of a more sustainable built environment.

These include but are not limited to: general advocacy; research; technical committee coordination; joint conferences and meetings; training and education programs; publication distribution and chapter collaboration.

“We are excited about exploring collaborative ventures with ASPE,” says Sheila J. Hayter, 2018-2019 ASHRAE President. “Many ASHRAE members work in firms that provide a full spectrum of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) services. The water-energy nexus in buildings is becoming more pronounced as we push buildings to perform using integrated building design tools and techniques.”

“Working with other professional societies in the broader engineering community is critical in today’s fast-paced world of evolving technologies and engineering methods,” says Smith. “We look forward to working together with ASHRAE to promote ongoing education, best practices, networking and new technologies for a more sophisticated and sustainable indoor environment.”

Sacramento, Calif. — At last month’s EPIC2018 Conference, the EGIA Foundation announced its newly published industry study that provided the impetus of several national initiatives being launched to encourage and develop post-millennial interest and success in an HVAC career. Weldon Long, EGIA Foundation Trustee and New York Times bestselling author, unveiled Bridging the HVAC Employment Read More

Sacramento, Calif. — At last month’s EPIC2018 Conference, the EGIA Foundation announced its newly published industry study that provided the impetus of several national initiatives being launched to encourage and develop post-millennial interest and success in an HVAC career.

Weldon Long, EGIA Foundation Trustee and New York Times bestselling author, unveiled Bridging the HVAC Employment Gap to an enthusiastic crowd of industry leaders and businesses. “The EGIA Foundation is taking the lead in addressing one of the most serious threats to the industry: the labor shortage,” said Long. “Focused on promoting HVAC as a first-choice career through a unique coalition of industry stakeholders, this organization is devoted to building the workforce through initiatives including public outreach, mentorship programs, scholarships and employment opportunities. Through this work, the EGIA Foundation is ensuring the industry can meet labor demands well into the future. “

The EGIA Foundation’s first endeavor was to take a closer look into the awareness and perceptions plaguing the industry by commissioning a comprehensive study performed and analyzed by Decision Analyst. Bridging the HVAC Employment Gap takes up the subjects of awareness and familiarity of high school students and their parents about HVAC as an industry and as a career. This publication reports on the learning achieved from a broad-sweeping research study of contractors, educators, manufacturers, and distributors in addition to high school students and parents.

It is undeniable that the HVAC Industry is experiencing a considerable deficit of interested and suitable workers. By their own admission, 64% of high school students believe that HVAC is not a career that would make a parent proud. Unfortunately, often unjustly so, these careers are viewed as substandard or undervalued career choices.

It’s time to take on the challenge of reversing the misconceptions created by those outside the industry and develop a sustaining workforce made of each successive up-and-coming generation.

“The EGIA Foundation will help shine a light on the incredible, honorable, lifelong career opportunities the home service trades offer,” said Drew Cameron, EGIA Foundation Trustee and President of HVAC Sellutions. “An individual can enter the trade with less time spent on
education, no college debt, plus they can get a job immediately, and can earn as much as, if not more than, most college graduates.”

Download a pdf or request a printed copy of Bridging the HVAC Employment Gap at EGIAFoundation.org/report.