I have recently returned from ISH in Frankfurt, Germany, and am excited to update you on this tradeshow and IAPMO’s expanded role at this important industry event.
We were really nervous about whether or not ISH was going to be able to bounce back after such a long stretch; the last show was pre-pandemic in 2019. That’s 200,000 people and thousands of exhibitors not coming together. Manufacturers still needed to sell their products during this time and the uncertainty coming into this event was palpable. Needless to say, it was a huge relief to see ISH return strong. While the numbers weren’t fully back to normal — many Chinese manufacturers were unable to participate with lockdowns there only recently having been lifted — I anticipate ISH is going to be back even better in 2025, especially with what IAPMO, IWSH and the World Plumbing Council are bringing to the table.
The Plumbing Champions program was incredible! What better way to showcase how amazing our industry is than to tap into our future, bringing together young plumbing superstars from around the world and creating positive change in a community of need? We added a dimension ISH has never seen before, connecting the manufacturers and the skill aspect of our industry, young plumbers demonstrating their expertise, and then extending the output of their work to a local community center that serves local youth and keeps them active. That’s never happened before at ISH.We’re looking forward to building upon that success at future ISH shows, bringing more participation from other parts of the world, finding new locations where our community impact can be felt, and getting more sponsorship and involvement from organizations around our industry. We’ve built some serious momentum and I can’t wait to see what new opportunities arise.
I couldn’t be prouder of how the IAPMO, IWSH and World Plumbing Council teams rallied to make everything successful. I want to commend Sean Kearney, Grant Stewart and Elmar Esser for their vital contributions developing and flawlessly executing all of our programing at the show. We also continued to put a spotlight on women in plumbing, which is another important element we intend to build in and expand over and over again with every event we showcase.
Equally important is the fact we had our first face-to-face general meeting of the World Plumbing Council since 2019. I am thrilled that it worked so well as a hybrid meeting, giving us the ability to demonstrate how we can connect the world in this manner moving forward. We held two meetings — the WPC Executive Board and a general membership meeting.
It was great to see three former World Plumbing Council leaders — Stuart Henry and Russ Chaney, who were able to join us in Germany, and Robert Burgon, who joined us virtually. I extend immense gratitude to the World Plumbing Council for its strong support of the Plumbing Champions program, which wouldn’t have been possible without the WPC’s generosity. The WPC will hold its triannual conference from October 17-20 in Shanghai. I will update you all on this event in a future column.
Switching gears, on behalf of IAPMO staff, I welcome Jeremy Diaz to the IAPMO Board of Directors. Jeremy is an ally of IAPMO through his leadership at longtime IAPMO partner UA Local 78 in Los Angeles. I also wish outgoing board member Ray Boyd well in his new role as director of Training for the United Association. We look forward to our continued work with Ray on the many projects for which IAPMO and the UA partner.
I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly offer congratulations to Cindy Sheridan, recently appointed CEO of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling-Contractors (PHCC) National Association (PHCC-NA). IAPMO has had many years of productive partnership while Cindy was heading the PHCC Educational Foundation and I’m confident she’ll provide steady leadership in her new role at PHCC.
In May, the 2024 editions of the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) were released, completing our most recent three-year development cycle. It’s sometimes easy to take for granted the efficiency with which IAPMO, our technical committees and our voting members create the consensus necessary to achieve the designation of American National Standard for these codes — after all, this is the eighth time we’ve done this using our procedures accredited by ANSI — but the release of an update is always cause for congratulations to all involved and recognition of a job well done.
Speaking of the UPC, despite continued efforts by another code development organization to distort facts about United States Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) guidance documents pertaining to disaster funding, using mistruths and disinformation to try and block adoptions of the Uniform Plumbing Code, IAPMO is pleased to have won a victory on behalf of the more than 100,000 residents of Beaumont, Texas, whose city council voted to switch to the 2021 UPC following two decades on a less protective plumbing code. Kudos to our Field Services and Government Relations teams on their hard-fought victory, but the clearest winner is the city of Beaumont.
At the time of this writing, I’m looking forward to gathering with our industry colleagues during the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition meeting in May, to be hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Washington, D.C. A renewed emphasis on plumbing safety and research makes the time and place of this meeting especially exciting. I look forward to sharing an update from this meeting with you in my next column.
Before I close, I want to offer my sympathies to family, friends and countless industry associates mourning the passing of Gerry Kennedy, former executive director of PHCC-NA and executive director of the PHCC Educational Foundation. You truly could not find a better guy, who always had the plumbing industry’s best interests at heart. Rest well, my friend.
Wrapping things up, I want to remind everybody to make their travel plans to attend IAPMO’s 94th annual Education and Business Conference, Sept. 24-28, in San Antonio, co-located this year with ASSE International’s annual meeting. We are also thrilled to welcome industry friend the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) to join us onsite. You can register now online at iapmo.org. I look forward to seeing you there!
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: June 14, 2023