At the conclusion of the PHCC sponsored Industry Summit, it may have been apparent to the attendees that what they had explored was indeed a “summit” of expectations and lofty goals that will require a focused approach in the climb that faces them. That’s not to say it’s an uphill battle, “It was really meaningful to have representation from manufactures, suppliers and contractors at this meeting. The bottom line is that we all have to work together to succeed as an industry,” said Tom LeDuc, who attended the Summit in Chicago in September with 40 participants.

Some of the familiar supply brands such as Delta Faucet, In-Sink-Erator and Moen attended along with representatives from the City of New York Association of Contracting Plumbers, The American Supply Association and the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute. Twelve contractors attended and participated in roundtable discussions. The entire Summit group identified education, industry partnerships and technology as their key concerns and after a day of meetings and group interaction, the group agreed to form task forces to support four initiatives: 1) Develop a “Site of Sites” industry website with educational and informational content as an all-inclusive resource for the entire plumbing industry. 2) Address the product warranties and recall process. 3) Develop educational programs for new and inexperienced contractors. 4) Develop a concise educational and licensing guide for each state to enable manufacturers in providing educational offerings to contractors.

“The real key to the success of these programs will be participation. We need more contractors to become members of our trade associations. The majority of plumbing contractors in this country are the small shops and most of them are not members,” explains LeDuc. “We need to educate the small shops and new contractors to be business people.”

In the Education Task Force Draft it’s pointed out that “With less than 10% of all contractors belonging to any type of trade association and less than 25% of those who do belong, participating in Contractor educational focus groups, like QSC, CCA, UAC, C2000, etc., there exists a huge gap in our industry! Therein lies the greatest challenge that will affect all of the programs. The contractors must see the value in the educational programs that are forthcoming and then participate.”

Tom LeDuc summed up one example of the education process, “We have to convince the manufacturers and wholesalers to further educate the contractors about their products, it will help the contractors be more efficient and successful and that’s just good for business cycle.”