Week in Review: PHCC CONNECT, Legionella, Women in Construction, Skilled Trades

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The Week in Review is a recap of the week — what’s trending, what’s breaking the internet on social, and what we’ve been up to. We’ll try our best to keep you up to date with the industry, social media and our travels.

Week in Review: PHCC CONNECT, Legionella, Women in Construction, Skilled Trades

Jed Christner during the Plumbing Apprentice Contest at PHCC CONNECT.

It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks for the Mechanical Hub team. The boys headed down to Indianapolis last week (Oct. 1-3) for the PHCC CONNECT Show. I have to say there was a nice buzz to the show, and every trade show booth we visited, we heard the same positive feedback. It’s always nice to see our friend from PHCC and other industry reps. We were also there to support our plumbing apprentice contestant, Jed Christener, from JRC Mechanical, Chesapeake, Va. This is something we are very passionate about—supporting the skilled trades push!

Week in Review: PHCC CONNECT, Legionella, Women in Construction, Skilled Trades

A plumbing apprentice contestant.

• To start the week, the Hub’s John Mesenbrink was in Boston for the 2nd Healthcare Symposium, hosted by Watts Water Technologies. The day was packed with critical information on the topic of opportunistic pathogens in water, especially Legionella. Shatha Salah, Environmental Manager at UAB Medicine, talked about the journey from recovering from a Legionella outbreak to developing a Water Safety Plan. Her experience includes four years of managing and implementing the ASHRAE 188 compliant water safety program that covers 19 healthcare buildings. “It’s important to get plumbers involved in a water safety plan since they are on the “front lines.” “The plumber’s role is important in protecting patients from water borne illnesses,” said Salah.

Week in Review: PHCC CONNECT, Legionella, Women in Construction, Skilled Trades

Shatha Salah

Other keynotes highlighted were Frank Sidari, Chief Consulting Engineer, Special Pathogens Lab, who cited a NASEM report that states, “Stronger policies are needed to protect the public against Legionnaires’ Disease.” Why the heck do cases continue to rise?

Dr. William Rhoads, Research Scientist, Va. Tech, touched on the idea of unintended consequences, when he said that sustainability in buildings may increase water age, which is the Distribution System Water Age + Premise Plumbing System Water Age, which can lead to more waterborne pathogens.

Finally, the Symposium featured Aaron Bock, PE, Plumbing & Fire Protection Discipline Leader Cannon Design, who says it is imperative to “educate building owners during the design phase.”

What’s interesting in all of this is why not be proactive and create the water safety plan instead of reactive when the damage is already done? Lives are at stake, potential lawsuits loom, and the overall negative press your facility might endure after the fact. It’s worth the proper investment to help mitigate against potential harmful water borne pathogens.

Week in Review: PHCC CONNECT, Legionella, Women in Construction, Skilled Trades

A look inside Navien’s live fire training lab at their headquarters in Irvine, Calif.

• Mid-week, the Hub’s Eric Aune headed out to SoCal to visit our friends at Navien. The attendees had a great time learning about a couple new products coming soon from Navien and touring their headquarters training center. “Navien had us out this week to their North American headquarters in Irvine, Calif., for the unveiling of two new products. We can’t say much more than that yet but watch our site and social channels on Monday for what’s new in tankless,” says Aune.

They have some interesting new things up their sleeves, but we can’t tell you until next week. Evidently, tankless will never be the same. What a tease!

• From the awesome department, Friday, October 4 through Sunday, October 6, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) successfully convened its ninth international Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference, the largest gathering of its kind in the world. More than 2800 tradeswomen representing 48 states and 10 provinces gathered in Minnesota to share experiences and best practices with fellow tradeswomen, to learn about new programs and opportunities in the industry, and to engage with top leaders from government, industry and the biggest fifteen international building trades unions.

The three-day conference, held over the weekend, featured a day of service with Haven House Ascension Place and Second Harvest Heartland, formal plenary sessions and over 25 workshops on a range of topics addressing unique and critical issues of tradeswomen.

Week in Review: PHCC CONNECT, Legionella, Women in Construction, Skilled Trades

Photo Credit: @UnitedSparkies

“This conference grows exponentially every year, and the impact is phenomenal,” said NABTU President Sean McGarvey. “NABTU is committed to empowering current and future tradeswomen as we increase opportunities for and retention rates of women in fulfilling union trade careers. Every day, we recruit more women into great union construction apprenticeships and careers, and these trailblazing tradeswomen are moving up in the top ranks of leadership. This conference is a celebration of these trailblazers and a testament to the growth of tradeswomen among our ranks.

Last Saturday afternoon, participants took to the streets of downtown Minneapolis for a parade and rally. The conference concluded on Sunday with a keynote speech by UA union International President Mark McManus and a panel on pathways to apprenticeship led by Arlene Dunn, Canada’s Building Trades Unions’ Director. For info, www.nabtu.org

• This week, AHR Expo announced its 2020 Innovation Award Winners. Danfoss, LG, Fresh-Aire IV were among some of the big winners. Check here for more, https://mechanical-hub.com/ahr-expo-announces-2020-innovation-award-winners/

• Finally, I’ve noticed a story shared on social media that is making headway. PBS shared a story titled, “After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople. (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/decades-pushing-bachelors-degrees-u-s-needs-tradespeople?fbclid=IwAR3NVI0nFrF4hdrc0EItmmeqj7YcAur1eF4Ia9hxE9uv70LaPT9PviVLyjI).

We are delighted to see that more “mainstream” media types are giving this important issue the coverage it deserves. Good on them. But it also reminds me that we at Mechanical Hub have been preaching this for the past 10 years!

Here is something I wrote five years ago, which, I think, still holds water.


So … continue to preach the good word of the trades!