Uponor Connections 2014, All in & Playing Full Out

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Uponor Connections 2014, Bellagio Resort Las Vegas, NV

Best Practices in Plumbing, Hydronics, HVAC and Fire Sprinklers were the main focus of Uponor’s eight bi-annual conference held at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas, NV. This was the first time I have attended the event and I have to say it was a great experience.

Bellagio Resort, Las Vegas NV

Bellagio Resort, Las Vegas NV


This year’s event drew more than 900 attendees. The guest list included contractors, engineers, wholesalers, manufacturer reps, media partners and other invited guests for a day-and-a-half of networking and excellent education opportunities. Kicking off the event were numerous Uponor executives who spoke during the general session. Uponor North America President Bill Gray addressed the massive crowd on where Uponor is now and what lies ahead as a new economy presents new opportunities for the PEX systems manufacturer.

Uponor’s "Mr Partly Sunny" Dale Stroud

Uponor’s “Mr Partly Sunny” Dale Stroud

Bringing down the house in laughter and enlightenment of the current economy was Uponor’s Dale Stroud presenting his economic analysis outfitted in a sunshine costume. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

The keynote speaker of the general session was none other than Building Knowledge Canada’s Gord Cooke. Mr. Cooke urged all in attendance to “Recalibrate, Retrain & Rethink” their approach to energy efficiency. His highly energetic presentation highlighted innovative manufacturers in the HVAC and building industry in North America who are pioneering technologies, methods and appliances that are meeting the needs of today’s high performing homes and buildings. Citing numerous projects all across the country and Canada where contractors are straying a little from the normal to retrain and recalibrate how they design and build communities to create efficient use of resources, all the while these contractors are blazing their way to the top in their industry because they chose to rethink the usual approach in making it in a tough economy. My hats off to Uponor for inviting Gord Cooke, he was very inspiring.

The “Expo”, located in the 12,000 sq ft “Tower Ballroom”, gave attendees an up-close look at many product displays and hands-on stations showcasing products from Taco, Milwaukee Tool, Grundfos, Thomasnet, Maximum Graphics and Uponor. From tools to software, social media to marketing Uponor covered all the basics and more. The highlight of the Expo was the over 30-foot display of commercial PEX piping systems showcasing new products and installation methods for all to see and touch. All of this and it was only the first day!

The commercial plumbing & hydronics mock-up showcases many of Uponor's latest innovations.

The commercial plumbing & hydronics mock-up showcases many of Uponor’s latest innovations.


Contractors connecting during morning breakout sessions

Starting off the second day were a variety of breakout sessions featuring industry professionals such as New Jersey contractor Derek Moore, D.C’s Dan Foley, numerous Uponor representatives, HealthyHeating.com’s Robert Bean, Mark Eatherton of the RPA and many more. Topics such as “Breaking the negative stereotypes: The importance of attracting skilled, young tradespeople into the plumbing and HVAC industry”, “Flex your PEX: Uponor plumbing logic”,  “Boosting your brand” and many more. I attended five sessions, each lasting only 50 minutes and packed full of great information and techniques to help me better promote and operate my own plumbing business. Each of the breakout session presenters did a wonderful job relaying their message and much participation by audience members was present.

Closing out the business side of the Connections 2014 event was Doug Hanson’s keynote address to the crowd titled “Playing Full Out”. Doug is a former national sales manager for Hewlett Packard. He is the owner of Doug Hanson Performance Group. Hanson’s message was filled with that of “positivity” citing all the negativity in the world today and the need for each of us to offer balance from the other end of the spectrum by challenging the crowd to “Play full out”.

Hanson’s challenge to all was to “Do something every day to brighten people’s lives.” Adding that when you play full out you have to do it all the time. He told of his personal struggles in life and marriage, citing how a change in attitude and way of life has brought him closer with his family and the industry around him.

Doug Hanson energizing the entire room of nearly 1000 attendants.

Doug Hanson energizing the entire room of nearly 1000 attendants.

“Each of us has our place in the universe where we can make a difference,” said Hanson. “When you change yourself for the best it transfers over to other parts of your life.”

“Amazing things happen when you play full out,” said Hanson. “This is about setting dreams and having goals. Most people won’t set goals to obtain their dreams because they are scared they won’t achieve them. You need to set audacious goals and play full out and not be afraid of failing.”

Hanson’s message brought the energy level in the already excited room to an all-new level. I can tell you as I sat there, somewhat tired from the previous day-and-a-half, I too were ready to “play full out”!

I will definitely plan to attend Uponor’s 2016 event if invited. The many new connections I made this time around have already made an impact in my business and here at The Hub. If you attended the Connections 2014 event please let me know. I would like to hear what you thought, what your favorite sessions were and what you took away from it.



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