Mike Miazga 2014-06-09 22:20:46
AUS opens new Nebraska location Omaha, Neb.-based waterworks distributor American Underground Supply recently opened a new 4,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and 3 1/2-acre yard in South Sioux City, Neb. "It's nice to have that outdoor space for most of our pipe and fittings," AUS owner Drew Kneeland told Supply House Times. "We've been growing in that marketplace quite a bit. The new location presents a really good opportunity for us." Prior to opening the South Sioux City location, AUS' reach was a 75-mile radius from Omaha. "This allows us to go into Iowa, South Dakota and the northern part of Nebraska," Kneeland said. Kneeland started AUS in 2011 and has watched the 12-employee company make key strides in a short amount of time. "It's been a remarkable three years of growth - a lot better than anticipated," he said. "We're going to keep riding the wave and enter new markets. With the help of our manufacturers and employees, we're going to go out and push this new territory." -Mike Miazga Eastern Penn Supply Co. Honored for anniversary Eastern Penn Supply Co., recently held its 41st annual trade show at the Mohegan Sun Conference Center and Casino in Wilkes Barre, Pa. During the event, Legend Valve National Sales Manager Todd Cleary presented EPSCO President George Conyngham an award honoring the Wilkes Barre, Pa.-based distributor's 125th anniversary. Earlier, EPSCO held its 2014 Field Marketing Summit where it named Sioux Chief its Affiliated Distributor Most Valuable Partner Vendor. Also honored at the event was A. O. Smith as EPSCO MVP Vendor and Denny Desanto of CWA Associates (Ashton, Pa.) As the John Grothaus Memorial Award winner for most valuable manufacturers representative. The event featured 14 vendors and manufacturers representatives meeting with the Eastern Penn sales and management team. The three award-winners were recognized for their aggressive sales efforts through training, contractor calls, and participation in counter days, dinner meetings and EPSCO's annual Silver Dollar Days trade show. Their efforts along with the sales team of Eastern Penn resulted in sales growth with each EPSCO salesperson. George Conyngham and EPSCO Vice President of Sales and Marketing Don Conyngham made poignant remarks about their uncle, Jack Conyngham, who died earlier this year. Jack Conyngham was a Silver Star recipient and a World War II and Korean War veteran, and was known and respected at all levels of the profession. Jack Conyngham and his two brothers built EPSCO from a single branch to a 10-branch company covering all northeastern and central Pennsylvania. INDUSTRY NOTES Georgia-based Plumbing Distributors, Inc. recently was named one of the small businesses of the year in the 100-plus employee category by the Gwinnett (Ga.) Chamber. "I am humbled to receive the Pinnacle Award for Plumbing Distributors, Inc.," PDI owner Lyn Wright said. "I'd like to recognize our wonderful employees and customers. They are the biggest reason for our success. I am honored to carry on the legacy my father and brother, Glad and Sid Mealor, began more than 40 years ago." In an effort to recognize Gwinnett's small businesses and entrepreneurs as pivotal to America's economic growth and stability, the Gwinnett Chamber and presenting sponsor the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hosted the 2014 Pinnacle Awards in late April. Organizers of the 2014 Pacific Southwest Distributors Association's 2014 convention in Indian Wells, Calif., May 1-4 said more than 180 individuals registered, up from 168 last year. "We had 22 distributor companies and 71 distributor registrants participate this year, also exceeding last year's numbers," PSDA's Robert Bluth said. InSinkErator announced a $65 million expansion project that will include a manufacturing plant in Kenosha, Wis., and a renovation of its existing facility in Racine. In a ceremonial announcement May 22, attended by Gov. Scott Walker, the state and InSinkErator announced the company will open a new Kenosha manufacturing operation in a 160,000-sq.-ft. facility in the Business Park of Kenosha. InSinkErator will invest $43.7 milllion to purchase new equipment and make renovations for the Racine operation. InSinkErator President Tim Ferry said the company has committed to adding at least 165 jobs in the next four years in return for $15.5 million in state tax credits authorized by Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Solco Plumbing Supply opens downtown Brooklyn showroom Solco Plumbing Supply recently opened its 3,800-sq.-ft. Kitchen and Bath Gallery of Brooklyn showroom in a prime retail area in the borough's flourishing downtown district. "We chose the right time and the right place to move in there," Solco Director of Sales and Marketing Tom Acquavella told Supply House Times. "It's the hottest area in New York right now. It's the new Manhattan. A lot of people are choosing downtown Brooklyn." Kitchen and Bath Gallery of Brooklyn is located near the new Barclays Center arena and entertainment complex. "There are thousands of building permits out in that downtown area right now," Acquavella said. "This area of Brooklyn is in the middle of a major revitalization. We spent days going throughout the neighborhood to see how the retailers were and the design and looks of the shops. We were determined to design the showroom to fit the neighborhood. The result was a relaxed industrial feel that blends in perfectly. We have created a very comfortable place for clients to shop and find products suitable for every taste and budget." Acquavella noted that Kitchen and Bath Gallery of Brooklyn is the only Kohler Premier showroom in Brooklyn. This is Solco's first foray into the showroom side of the business (Solco has plumbing supply houses in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan). Acquavella said the company has plans in progress to open several more showrooms over the next few years. He added the downtown Brooklyn showroom is a place where homeowners, architects and designers can come and work with the showroom's selection center, while building owners and developers can work with the Commercial Project Division team that also is located at the new showroom. "You couldn't put a finger on the map and pick a better spot," Acquavella said. "It's not easy to find 4,000 sq. ft. In Brooklyn. It worked out perfectly for us." An official grand opening celebration will take place in late summer. Earlier in the month, the showroom partnered with the neighboring carpet and sliding door businesses to offer a continued education course and cocktail party for local design professionals. - Mike Miazga Industry associations develop programs to attract workers Workforce development, water efficiency and waterborne diseases were among the issues discussed April 22 during the third annual meeting of the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition in Washington. PILC brings together executives of industry groups such as the Plumbing-Heating- Cooling Contractors - National Association, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, American Supply Association, Plumbing Manufacturers International, American Society of Plumbing Engineers, United Association, International Code Council and International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. The shortage of employees caused by workers who have retired or left the industry during the recession - as well as competition from other industries - has raised concerns at all levels of the plumbing industry. Cindy Sheridan of PHCC and Mike Adelizzi of ASA presented a report on what associations are doing to attract more people to work in the plumbing industry. "At the current rate of retirement, it is estimated that by 2016 the industry will need 700,000 new workers," Adelizzi said. "Part of the challenge of filling these jobs is changing the image of the industry and letting students, counselors, parents and military veterans know about the lucrative career opportunities that are available." ASA has partnered with Industrial Career Pathways (www.industrialcareerpathways.org), a consortium of associations dedicated to educating high school, college and technical school students about careers in industrial distribution. ASA also has launched its own Women in Industry group and developed a career site (www.asa.net/careers). Following the PILC meeting, the group circulated a letter urging U.S. Senate members to support the WaterSense Efficiency, Conservation and Adaptation Act of 2014. The legislation seeks to improve water-use efficiency and promote smart water systems to conserve water and reduce costs. - Bob Miodonski
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