As 2023 draws to a close, I’d like to take stock of IAPMO’s progress in 2023 and make sure you’re up to speed on the state of your association.
We now have a test lab located in Monterrey, Mexico. You may or may not be aware of it, but there’s a major concentration of plumbing product manufacturing just south of the U.S. border in Monterrey. Many of our customers and clients have business operations there and setting up a test lab makes perfect sense to support our clients by providing the service they need as close as possible to the facilities where they make the products. The lab is accredited and equipped to offer testing of fixtures and fixture fittings initially for the Mexican market, with hopes to grow that to service all of our markets around the world.
Before I share the next update, I’m going to reminisce a tiny bit because this story begins back in 2008 when IAPMO was putting together the Green Plumbing and Mechanical Supplement (today known as the Water Efficiency and Sanitation Standard – WE•Stand) and we needed to fill gaps with expertise we didn’t have on staff. We reached out to ARCSA and its president at the time, Bob Boulware, and invited them to be part of this work group. Back then, rainwater wasn’t even thought about in codes. Since then, ARCSA has been working with IAPMO to develop our water efficiency standard, and that standard has developed into provisions in the Uniform Plumbing Code that are now being adopted around the country. Our work together continued and flourished over the years. Fast forward to this year when the ARCSA membership voted to have ARCSA join The IAPMO Group. I couldn’t be more excited to welcome ARCSA International members to The IAPMO Group family!
The new name — ARCSA International — pays homage to the history and dedication to brand that exists with ARCSA and rainwater catchment around the United States, but it also enables us to look forward and talk about doing things beyond proper use and sustainability of rainwater and stormwater as resources; perhaps gray water and other sources, with technology and innovation coming down the pike.
I’m happy to report that membership has been stable at a time when membership organizations have a difficult time keeping members engaged. And we’ll be adding 500 more with the addition of ARCSA International’s members.
IAPMO has seen an amazing resurgence of activity within our local chapters. Jed Scheuermann has been working very well with our members up in Washington state to start a brand-new chapter, the Peninsula Chapter; six chapters in Southern California have all notably increased participation working with our partners at UA District Council 16 and Local 78 to reinvigorate activity; four chapters that had gone mostly dormant have been revived in Alabama, Michigan, New Mexico and Arizona.
As I evaluate what IWSH is doing from an impactful, long-term perspective, I start putting together a list of tools that are making an impact beyond just going in and doing good work for a homeowner. When you give the gift of clean water and sanitation it could be enough, but we should always strive for more — making sure an entire community has proper drinking water and sanitation so that when you leave you know the good will continue for the rest of people’s lives in that community.
I need to commend Randy Lorge and the Education and Training department for putting together essentially a three-semester plumbing class that prepares students who are interested in getting into the plumbing field and advance into an apprenticeship program. This program was launched at Navajo Technical University (NTU) on the Navajo Nation, a great way to cultivate the next generation of plumbers to do work in that community. We also developed a train-the-trainer program. Further, using IWSH funds we built a prototype wet lab at NTU to be used as the classroom for the plumbing certificate program. So, we’ve trained the teacher, we’ve got a group of students coming through and we’re going to have some graduates very soon, so we’re very proud of this work we are doing.
And finally, one of the most important ways we can measure the success of our work is a home plumbing survey, which we can use to assess the scale of challenges within a home or community, create a list of work to be done, and evaluate the impact. When you’re looking to present what you’re doing to prospective donors, you need to have a story that shows their contribution will leave a legacy of positive change for the long term.
Moving forward, our goal for IWSH is to adapt and deploy these tools around the world, including adding the role of inspector into these projects. Consider that IAPMO owes its existence to the inspector; we were born in Los Angeles when a group of inspectors got together to talk about better ways to protect public health and safety. IWSH is a beautiful tool that not only brings clean water and sanitation to those who need it most, but it also showcases the importance of plumbing and the skills of those in our industry. We also need to be showcasing how important the inspection community is, especially at a time when cities are cutting back on resources and systems are becoming more and more complex. It’s never been more important to have highly qualified people in this role and never more important to highlight their impact on our industry.
One last exciting bit of IWSH news: In November, IWSH was named the recipient of the PHCC Educational Foundation’s Chairman’s Award at PHCCCONNECT2023 in recognition of IWSH’s life-changing work. Congratulations to Sean Kearney, Robyn Fischer, Randy Lorge and the whole IWSH team. The honor is well deserved!
I’m happy to report the 2024 codes — the UPC, UMC and National Standard Plumbing Code — are available and I’m even happier to report that for the first time we’ve published the support materials and training programs along with them. In the past our technical team would get the codes out and then start work on the support materials. This time we’ve developed them in parallel so we’re able to offer the training when the codes are published. This is very important when jurisdictions begin looking at what’s changed from previous editions before they adopt a new code so they can make the most informed decision when considering our codes.
IAPMO remains very strong and financially stable. We experienced robust growth this year with a healthy foundation of reserves. We are ahead of budget when it comes to our reserves and revenue and tracking right on budget with our expenses, a huge accomplishment given the surge in cost of business this year. We remain well poised for sustained growth and navigating the uncertainties before us.
Thank you to IAPMO staff. You’re the lifeblood of IAPMO and the most valuable asset we have.
Before I sign off, I want to congratulate IAPMO Board of Directors member Kevin Tindall on being named the 2023 recipient of the Col. George D. Scott Award, PHCC’s highest honor. Kevin was the recipient of IAPMO’s 2012 Joseph Kneidinger Sustainability Professional of the Year award and became an invaluable member of our Board in 2019. Kevin, your impact extends industry wide, and this honor is certainly well deserved!
With that, I wish you all a very happy holiday season and extend my best wishes for the new year. I’ll talk to you again in 2024.
Dave Viola is the CEO of The IAPMO Group, a global non-profit membership-based organization focused on the development of codes that govern plumbing quality standards. He has more than 25 years of senior management experience within the plumbing and mechanical industry. He joined IAPMO in 2007 and, served as IAPMO’s chief operating officer with strategic and operational responsibility for the comprehensive array of IAPMO Group programs and services. Dave also serves as Deputy Chairman of the World Plumbing Council. Dave previously worked as Technical Director for the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute (PMI) from 1998 until 2007. He serves or has served on many industry committees and boards in the United States and Canada, including AWE, ASME, ANSI and ASHRAE.
Last modified: January 4, 2024