People in the News

Oatey Co., a leading manufacturer in the plumbing industry since 1916, recently named J&K Sales the top-performing manufacturer representative for its Wholesale Business Unit in 2021, recognizing the agency’s exceptional partnership and accomplishments in support of Oatey Co. and its companies. In addition, Oatey named Chase Freeman, Vice President, Spirit Group, the inaugural winner of Read more

Oatey Co., a leading manufacturer in the plumbing industry since 1916, recently named J&K Sales the top-performing manufacturer representative for its Wholesale Business Unit in 2021, recognizing the agency’s exceptional partnership and accomplishments in support of Oatey Co. and its companies. In addition, Oatey named Chase Freeman, Vice President, Spirit Group, the inaugural winner of its Bob Bender Legacy Award.

J&K Sales, whose partnership with Oatey spans nearly 20 years, earned the title of Wholesale Manufacturer Representative of the Year because of their exceptional work, perseverance and passion throughout 2021. They delivered exceptional sales results for the year, across budget targets, new-product sales and more. In addition, through consistent investments in their business – such as training, associate development and team growth – J&K has positioned themselves for ongoing success.

“Oatey’s manufacturer representatives are an extension of our team, and we are extremely grateful for their hard work and dedication,” said Patrick Aquino, Vice President, Wholesale Sales at Oatey Co. “J&K Sales has built a phenomenal team in the New England states. They are strong in all segments, and I see them only getting stronger. Congratulations to them on this well-deserved honor.”

Oatey also recognized Chase Freeman of Spirit Group as the inaugural winner of the Bob Bender Legacy Award. Prior to his death in 2018, Bender spent his 42-year career in sales at Oatey, during which time he forged indelible relationships with customers and industry partners. His legacy and contributions will continue to serve as an example and inspiration to Oatey team members and partners for years to come.

Freeman was selected for the Bob Bender Legacy Award because of his passion, creative energy and willingness to go above and beyond for Oatey in both the rough-plumbing and waterworks markets. His ability to think outside the box enables him to drive impressive sales results, and he consistently demonstrates perseverance in support of Oatey and its brand.

“Congratulations to Chase on being the well-deserved winner of the Bob Bender Legacy Award,” said Aquino. “His dedication, no-quit attitude and enthusiasm for this industry are a true reflection of Bob’s legacy, and I know Bob would be proud to see Chase receive this recognition. We are so appreciative of his contributions.”

Company Recognized for Industry Leadership and Product Development Rheem®, a leading global manufacturer of water heating and HVACR products, is being recognized for innovation and product design by the IoT Breakthrough Awards and the Good Design Awards. Rheem received “Overall Company of the Year” designation from the IoT Breakthrough Awards, which provides market intelligence and Read more

Company Recognized for Industry Leadership and Product Development

Rheem®, a leading global manufacturer of water heating and HVACR products, is being recognized for innovation and product design by the IoT Breakthrough Awards and the Good Design Awards.

Rheem received “Overall Company of the Year” designation from the IoT Breakthrough Awards, which provides market intelligence and recognition programs in technology such as Artificial Intelligence, CyberSecurity, Digital Health and FinTech, as well as IoT.

“The IoT awards programs spotlight the ‘breakthrough’ leaders in the world’s most competitive  categories of technology,” said Christopher Freeman, Senior Manager of Smart Products at Rheem. “This is an area that receives a high volume of nominations, which makes the honor particularly significant and rewarding for our team at Rheem.”

Rheem’s Global Air Division earned two Good Design Awards. Rheem Classic Plus® Series System won in the Building Materials category while Rheem Renaissance™ 3-6 Ton Commercial HVAC units received recognition in the Industrial category. The Rheem Classic Plus Series System units offer solutions for homeowner challenges such as small spaces, excess noise, and outdated energy use, ensuring access to high-quality air. Rheem Renaissance 3-6 Ton Commercial HVAC units offer heating and cooling solutions that suit customer’s business needs, design and application requirements.

“We are honored that the Good Design Awards included Rheem in its selection of best products,” said Chris Day, Vice President Product Strategy and Engineering, Rheem Air Division. “It is important recognition for our team members who work diligently to innovate and ensure that our products are leaders in the world marketplace.”

Additionally, Rheem’s Water Heating Division’s ProTerra® Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heater earned a Good Design Award in the Building Materials category. ProTerra combines unparalleled efficiency, first-of-its-kind innovations for the category, and easy serviceability features packed into an aesthetically pleasing design.

Uponor North America (Uponor) was recently named a 2022 Minnesota Manufacturer of the Year honoree in the Large Company category by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal (MSPBJ). The honor marks the first time Uponor has been named a top manufacturer by the MSPBJ, with a previous honor in their Manufacturing Sustainability category in 2020. This Read more

Uponor North America (Uponor) was recently named a 2022 Minnesota Manufacturer of the Year honoree in the Large Company category by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal (MSPBJ). The honor marks the first time Uponor has been named a top manufacturer by the MSPBJ, with a previous honor in their Manufacturing Sustainability category in 2020. This is the fifth year the publication has recognized organizations that are driving Minnesota’s economy, while also growing their companies.

The MSPBJ also selected Jennifer Hauschildt, chief human resources officer, Uponor Group, as an Emerging Leader honoree in the Twin Cities. Her contributions in developing the company’s People First strategic initiative, including the Flexible First working model, was a key driver in this recognition.

As part of the Manufacturer of the Year – Large Company honor, the MSPBJ recognized Jon Sillerud, vice president, Operations, Uponor North America, for his leadership during the pandemic and ability to pivot production capabilities during global supply chain challenges. Sillerud has overseen double-digit growth at Uponor, doubled production staff in the past six years, and was responsible for overseeing the company’s 12th and 13th expansions in North America since 1990. In 2021 alone, Uponor broke ground on more than 83,000 square feet of expanded production space at its Hutchinson and Lakeville, Minn., facilities.

“To have our leaders and company recognized as a Minnesota Manufacturer of the Year is a humbling honor. The manufacturing landscape across Minnesota yields so much incredible global innovation, and to know we are recognized as one of the top companies in the state is a direct reflection of the contribution of our employees here at Uponor,” noted John Reutter, interim president and vice president, Finance, Uponor North America.

The MSPBJ will be featuring Uponor, along with all of its honorees, in a July article. For details about all the honorees, refer to this MSPBJ announcement.

Danfoss VP Sales America Rick Sporrer to assume the role on July 1 following transition period  John Galyen, president of Danfoss North America since 2011, has announced his retirement from Danfoss later this summer. Rick Sporrer, VP Sales America for Danfoss Power Solutions, has been appointed to succeed Galyen. Over the next several months, Galyen Read more

Danfoss VP Sales America Rick Sporrer to assume the role on July 1 following transition period 

John Galyen, president of Danfoss North America since 2011, has announced his retirement from Danfoss later this summer. Rick Sporrer, VP Sales America for Danfoss Power Solutions, has been appointed to succeed Galyen. Over the next several months, Galyen and Sporrer will work together to ensure a successful transition, with Sporrer fully assuming the role on July 1.

Galyen joined Danfoss in 2001 and held various management-level positions prior to his appointment to his current role. During his 21+ year career with Danfoss, he has been very instrumental in leading the company’s continued regional growth in North America – from $100 million in annual sales to $3 billion – and made significant contributions to the success of the business.

With more than 40 years of overall industry experience, Galyen has been active in leadership capacities of various industry associations. In 2020, he was chairman of the Board of Directors of the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and he holds a seat on the Board of Governors at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). In addition, he has been an active thought leader and speaker on various influential panels addressing efficiency and sustainability topics.

“The past 21 years at Danfoss have been the most rewarding of my career,” said Galyen. “I’m proud of the strides we have made in growing our business and footprint in North America, which is now Danfoss’ largest region, and I’m especially proud of the industry leadership position we’ve taken – together with our customers – to meet the changing market requirements. Rick is well-positioned to help Danfoss North America continue its growth journey and innovation in sustainable solutions.”

Sporrer brings more than 30 years of customer and regional expertise and leadership to his new role. Prior to his current role, he was director Global Sales – Motors Business Unit. His strong leadership of the sales workstream activities proved invaluable in preparing for Danfoss’ successful merger with Eaton Hydraulics last year.

“John has provided exceptional leadership to Danfoss North America for the past 15 years,” said Sporrer. “I’m looking forward to working with our business units to continue our commitment to innovation and customer service as we engineer solutions for a more sustainable world.”

Robert (Bob) O’Brien has been named the Director of Education for the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA). With an extensive background in oilheat and HVAC installations and service, O’Brien will be responsible for NORA’s education and training initiatives, including NORA’s Bronze, Silver and Gold technician certifications and continuing education. O’Brien’s impressive resume includes in-field experience Read more

National Oilheat Research Alliance, NORA, Robert O'Brien, heating, heating and cooling, HVAC, Technical Heating LLCRobert (Bob) O’Brien has been named the Director of Education for the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA).
With an extensive background in oilheat and HVAC installations and service, O’Brien will be responsible for NORA’s education and training initiatives, including NORA’s Bronze, Silver and Gold technician certifications and continuing education.
O’Brien’s impressive resume includes in-field experience as an oilheat technician and service manager, owner and principal of Technical Heating LLC, Mt. Sinai, NY, instructor for Oilheat Comfort Corp. and Research & Technical Consultant for NORA.
Additionally, O’Brien is currently on the NFPA31 and BPI Technical Standards committees and serves as an officer with the National Association of Oil & Energy Service Professionals.
According to NORA’s President, Michael Devine, “Bob brings so much experience and knowledge to NORA and we are fortunate that he has moved into this position. He is intimately involved with the testing, evaluation and training with low carbon fuels, which is crucial as the industry continues to move to a zero-carbon future. As technician education and training are core to NORA’s mission, maintaining and improving our education program, with its tens of thousands of certified technicians, will allow the industry to continue to provide safe, efficient, and now, reduced carbon home comfort.”
O’Brien fills the position replacing previous director John Levey, who will remain with NORA as a technical consultant.