Mike Miazga 2016-04-06 00:21:27
EMBASSY GROUP CELEBRATES 25 YEARS Embassy Group shareholders, preferred vendors and guests celebrated the buying group's 25th anniversary during its annual meeting in mid-March at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix. Started in 1992 as a cooperative of 13 shareholders and 14 vendors, the group, which now features plumbing, HVAC and waterworks divisions, has grown to 71 shareholders and 106 preferred vendors. "Twenty-five years is quite a commitment from our shareholders and vendors," Embassy Group President Mike Lepley told Supply House Times in Phoenix. "We've gone from 13 to 71 members, which is a big accomplishment. We're excited about the growth. Our goal is to continue to grow and thrive as a group and bring continued value to our manufacturers and to our shareholder earnings." Lepley said Embassy shareholders as a group enjoyed an increase in volume last year, but like others in the industry, pointed to commodities volatility as a restraint on volume and monetary growth. "In 2015 we were up marginally as an organization," he said. "It could have been more, but depressed commodity prices made a difference with purchases and earnings. Everybody felt the same thing." Lepley noted 2016 is off to a better start for the group. "We're cautiously optimistic moving forward," he said. "January started off very well for us. The vibe we are getting is things are starting to get in a good position. People are a lot more optimistic this year." During the group's anniversary dinner gala, attendees were treated to a "Cirque du Plomberie" theme that featured performances by a local group of aerial dancers and music from Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Urban Electra, a female electric string quartet. Embassy holds its shareholders meeting in August at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., and heads back to San Antonio and the JW Marriott Hill Country for its 2017 annual meeting. To read Editor Mike Miazga's profile on Embassy's 25 years, visit www.supplyht.com/embassy-group-celebrates-25th-anniversary. — Mike Miazg WINSUPPLY HONORS VENDORS, LOCAL COMPANIES AT MEETING Winsupply celebrated the 60th anniversary of the organization's founding with its Annual Meetings and Vendor Showcase March 13-16 in Kissimmee, Fla. The event marked the first companywide meeting since the rebranding effort last fall when WinWholesale became Winsupply. "The events in branding in 2015 have led to changes in how we handle marketing," Maury Williams, corporate communications, told members of the trade press March 15 during a session with company executives. "We're taking an approach that this is a national and cohesive brand, and more of our companies have taken on the Winsupply name. We see this as an opportunity to grow our brand throughout the United States to meet our strategic objectives, one of which is to grow the company." Winsupply, whose fiscal year ended Jan. 31, is coming off a year of record sales and earnings, he said. Williams characterized Winsupply's percentage growth in the middle to upper single digits in 2015 when 5,200 employees in 45 states earned $2.7 billion in consolidated sales for the organization. Two acquisitions in 2015 brought the number of locations to 578 of which 199 now carry the Winsupply name. Along with its annual meetings, the organization produces a Vendor Showcase every two years. The 2016 event featured 205 vendor booths along with 3,800 one-on-one meetings between Winsupply local companies and vendors. At an awards dinner, Winsupply named the following vendors of the year in different product categories: American Standard, plumbing; Delta Faucet, plumbing showrooms; Liberty Pumps, pumps; Milwaukee Tool, tools; Uponor, hydronics; Spears Manufacturing, industrial; Victaulic, fire protection; JCI Unitary Products Group, HVAC; and Rain Bird, turf irrigation. Also honored at the dinner were local companies for their 2015 achievements. Kansas City Winwater was the overall company of the year. Winsupply named companies of the year in each of its major industry categories: Kansas City Winwater, President Scott Wilson, waterworks; Central Oklahoma Winnelson, President Keith Jones, plumbing; Portland (Conn.), Winair, President Keith Kruysman, HVAC; Baltimore Windustrial, President Vince Brown, industrial; Midland (Texas) Winpump, President Stan Bippen, specialty industry; and Bend (Ore.) Winsupply, President Jeff Kroeker, turf irrigation. Winsupply presented Lew Johnston, president of Orange County (Calif.) Windustrial, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. — Bob Miodonski FERGUSON REPORTS FIRST-HALF FISCAL YEAR SALES GROWTH Ferguson's parent company Wolseley plc recently released its financial results for the first half of the 2016 fiscal year. Ferguson reported overall growth of 6.5%, increasing its revenue 4.3% on a like-for-like basis, which measures growth of Ferguson's existing stores or branches that have been open for at least one year. Acquisitions contributed 2.1% of additional revenue growth. The company's trading margin was 7.9%, consistent with 2015. Trading profit was 5.5% ahead of last year. "I'm pleased with our ability to outperform the market," Ferguson CEO Frank Roach said. "Our associates are doing a great job working hard and growing sales while still remaining focused on customer service." Ferguson reported it gained market share in all its major businesses. Residential and commercial markets, both new construction and renovation, as well as maintenance and improvement, grew steadily in the first half, while blended branches (locations serving both residential and commercial customers) grew across all regions from a combination of market growth and good market-share gains, the company noted. Ferguson said its B2C e-commerce business experienced strong growth, while fire and fabrication, and HVAC both generated good growth with waterworks growing more modestly against strong prior-year comparatives. Ferguson made six acquisitions in the first half of fiscal 2016, including regional fire and fabrication businesses Central Pipe and Supply, Action Fire and Fab and Atlantic American. Ferguson also acquired online appliance business Living Direct, California appliance retailer Renwes and Chicago-based commercial MRO distributor PCS Industries. WINSUPPLY OPENS FIVE NEW COMPANIES IN TEXAS AND DENVER Winsupply recently announced it has opened five new locations, four in Texas that serve HVAC contractors and one in Denver that focuses on fire protection systems. The new companies include: Winsupply of Austin HVAC, President Denise Corbin; Winsupply of Dallas HVAC, President Troy Drinkard; Winsupply of Houston HVAC, President Jason Greagrey; Winsupply of San Antonio HVAC, President Carlton Hooper; and Winsupply of Denver Fire Protection, President Fred Apodaca. The four presidents of the Texas companies recently joined Winsupply with many years of collective product knowledge and distribution experience in the HVAC industry. At Winsupply of Denver, Apodaca has many years of experience in fire protection and plumbing at other Winsupply locations in Colorado. "We're very fortunate to have the caliber of expertise and industry knowledge in the five individuals who are opening these locations," said Monte Salsman, chief operating officer of Winsupply. "Texas is a highly attractive market and the addition of these companies represents a greatly increased presence for Winsupply in HVAC. Similarly, the Colorado market is a target for us with the recent code changes requiring all single-family residential structures to have fire sprinkler systems installed. There are significant growth opportunities in both states. "We're starting 2016 with a lot of momentum with these new locations — a reflection of our commitment to growing the business and building customer relationships." VP SUPPLY MOVES SYRACUSE LOCATION Rochester, N.Y.-based VP Supply Corp. recently moved its Syracuse, N.Y., branch to a new location at 6166 East Molloy Rd. in East Syracuse. The branch's retail kitchen and bath showroom, called Innovations by VP, currently remains at its 5775 Bridge St. location in East Syracuse. Plans to move the showroom to the new location are in the early stages. "Our Syracuse branch was spread across four separate buildings, including our main location, two warehouse facilities and one retail showroom," VP Supply Vice President Gary Perkins noted. After consolidating to one facility our customers are experiencing added convenience and deliveries are more efficient." The new location features 75,000 sq. ft. Of space, including a 4,000-sq.-ft. self-serve floor and counter. "We have room to grow, more product on-hand and a fresh, new look to welcome our customers," Assistant Branch Manager Lynn Beckley said. ASA MEMBER DISTRIBUTORS REPORT 8% MEDIAN SALES GROWTH American Supply Association distributor members reported a median sales growth of 8% for the month ending Feb. 29, 2016 vs. February 2015, according to the group's Monthly Pulse Report. For the calendar year-to-date, respondents reported a median sales growth of 5.9% and a median increase in sales of 5.2% for the trailing 12 months ending Feb. 29, 2016. Respondents reported inventories rose 3.1% for February 2016 vs. 2015. The median three-month average days sales outstanding fell to 44 days for February. Nearly 44% of survey participants reported an increase in gross margin percentages for February 2016 vs. 2015, while company year-to-date profit before tax increased for 53% of respondents. More than half of respondents (57%) reported having more full-time equivalent employees vs. a year ago. HARDI DISTRIBUTORS REPORT JANUARY REVENUE INCREASE HARDI's monthly TRENDS Report shows average sales for HARDI distributor members increased by 3.7% in January. The annualized growth for the 12 months through January 2016 was 5.7%. This was the third consecutive month the annual growth rate has been near this pace, HARDI noted. "The weather this January was comparable to the prior year, but we had one less billing day than January 2016," HARDI Market Research and Benchmarking Analyst Brian Loftus said. "Once again, all seven regions reported positive growth for the month, but there was a wide divergence from the slowest to the busiest regions." HARDI Senior Economist Connor Lokar added: "The weak start to the year is further confirmation of the slower growth we expect during the first half of this year. Retail sales in January grew 0.1 % vs. January 2015, the slowest month-over-month growth in nearly three years, while housing starts for the month improved by only 0.8% vs. the period a year ago." The days sales outstanding, a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills, is 47.8. "DSO increased this month, but not enough to indicate any change to the economic landscape," Loftus said. "The increase is consistent with the annual pattern, and the result is better than the previous three years at this time." GENERAL PIPE CLEANERS HONORS CARRHILL CO. Southern California-based Carrhill Co., was awarded the Bob Gelman Outstanding Sales Representative Award at the 2016 International Builders Show in Las Vegas by David Silverman, executive vice president global sales, and Andy Zelazny, national sales manager of McKees Rocks, Pa.-based General Pipe Cleaners. The award was accepted by Phil Harrigan and Ed Calvosa. Carrhill Co. Has represented General Pipe Cleaners, a division of General Wire Spring Co., in Southern California and Las Vegas for 17 years. The Outstanding Sales Representative Award is named in honor of Bob Gelman, former sales manager of General Pipe Cleaners for 27 years until his passing in April 2001. RPA AND PM LIVE HONOR DAN HOLOHAN AT AHR EXPO The Radiant Professionals Alliance and PM LIVE honored longtime Supply House Times columnist Dan Holohan Jan. 25 at a special reception during the 2016 AHR Expo in Orlando, Fla. Earlier in the day, Holohan had made the last live presentation of his career during PM LIVE, a day-long educational event that also featured Supply House Times columnist John Siegenthaler. Holohan will continue to write his popular monthly Heating Help column in Supply House Times, but has retired from making live presentations to contractors and other industry professionals. Over the last 30 years or so, he has educated thousands of people about hydronic and steam heating in his entertaining, storytelling style. RPA Executive Director Mark Eatherton and Chairman Mark Chaffee of Taco paid tribute during the reception to Holohan for his contributions to the industry. RPA member Colin Wunder of South Dakota attended the event in Western wear and presented Holohan with the "retirement spurs" from his cowboy boots. Sponsors of RPA's event were: PM LIVE, Caleffi, Taco, Uponor, Grundfos, Federated Insurance, REHAU, Plastics Pipe Institute and UPS. Sponsors of PM LIVE were: Uponor, platinum sponsorship; Caleffi and Taco, gold; Aquatherm and SpacePak/Mestek, silver; and RPA, supporting. In front of a record crowd of PM LIVE attendees earlier in the day, Holohan's topic was "What Hydronics Taught Holohan." He recounted the lessons he has learned during his 40-plus years in the heating business, which have led him to write 17 books and hundreds of magazine articles. Siegenthaler spoke on "Hydronic Heat Pump Systems: The Latest Design Concepts." Next year's PM LIVE will take place Jan, 31, 2017, during the AHR Expo in Las Vegas — Bob Miodonski VIEGA ANNOUNCES 2016 FIRST-HALF TRAINING SCHEDULE Viega has announced the schedule for the first half of its 2016 training programs at the Viega Educational Facility in Nashua, N.H. The programs aim to bring plumbing and heating professionals up to speed with the latest technologies in the industry. Some of the major programs offered for early 2016 include press technology courses for carbon steel, copper, gas fitters and stainless steel, which demonstrate through practical examples and hands-on instruction the advantages of press pipe-joining technology over traditional methods, and press systems' ability to increase installation efficiency and decrease downtime. Other training on the schedule includes: Radiant Week, LoopCAD, NFPA 13D fire sprinkler, snow and ice melting, geothermal and solar and Hydronics 101. The training programs cover a wide variety of subjects and courses may be purchased in one-, two- or three-day, as well as weeklong packages. Each package price includes meals, and other options include hotel, airfare and tool access in addition to the training. Customized training programs can be designed for specific needs. Viega also recently announced a series of water-quality seminars. The training course on reducing the risk of microbial growth in commercial plumbing systems will be offered in three locations, including Boston (June 23) and Nashville (Oct. 6). For more information on Viega training, visit www.viega.us/training. BELL & GOSSETT RELEASES LITTLE RED SCHOOLHOUSE SCHEDULE Pump manufacturer Bell & Gossett released the Q2 schedule for its Little Red Schoolhouse in Morton Grove, Ill. Classes are geared for engineers, contractors and installers in the commercial plumbing and hydronic heating/cooling industries where attendees can earn credits toward green building certification. The Q2 schedule is as follows: • May 16-18: Service & Maintenance of Water Based HVAC Systems seminar; • May 23-25: Modern Hydronic Heating Systems Basic seminar*; • June 6-8: Design & Application of Water Based HVAC Systems seminar*; and • June 13-15: Large Chilled Water System Design seminar*. indicates seminar is approved by Green Business Certification to provide credit toward the credential maintenance requirements of the LEED Associate and LEED AP certifications. ALTEPETER OPENS MANUFACTURERS REP AGENCY IN TENNESSEE Effective March 1, A. 0. Smith Regional Vice President John Altepeter transitioned from his position to run his new venture A6 Sales - an independent manufacturers representative agency to serve Tennessee. A6 Sales will represent the A. 0. Smith brand. The two companies plan to work together and leverage relationships to further develop the Tennessee market. "We're thrilled for John's new business venture and that he will continue representing the A. 0. Smith family" said Jim Margoni, A. 0. Smith's senior vice president of sales. ""A. O. Smith could not ask for a manufacturing representative with more product knowledge or a stronger commitment to customer service than John, and we know under his leadership A6 will be a successful endeavor." With more than a decade of industry experience, Altepeter said he sees opportunity for growth in Tennessee. "There's a real opportunity in this market for a representative agency that is aggressive in its approach and highly customer-driven," he said. "My passion always has been working hands-on with contractors to show the benefits and value of the product and this is the perfect way to get back out in the field. A. O. Smith is a great company and I look forward to continuing my relationship with them in this new capacity." CARLSON-HOLOHAN INDUSTRY AWARD HAS NEW RECIPIENT, PERMANENT HOME The Carlson-Holohan Industry Award of Excellence has a new recipient and a new home. Canadian engineer John Goshulak will hold the award for the next two years. The building of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York will be the award's permanent home. Presented every two years, the award recognizes an American or Canadian citizen who is dedicated to teaching, mentoring, and raising funds for philanthropic causes on behalf of the steam and hydronic industry. These are the same character traits shared by Gil Carlson, a mechanical engineer and inventor of the Bell & Gossett System Syzer, and his protege Dan Holohan, a Supply House Times columnist, author, educator, humanitarian and member of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen. Goshulak received the award Jan. 26 during a reception to honor Holohan at the AHR Expo in Orlando, Fla. The award is a framed System Syzer. The Society was founded on Nov. 17, 1785, to provide cultural, educational and social services to families of skilled craftsmen. Today, it is the oldest privately endowed tuition-free technical school in New York City with thousands of alumni. Its building is located across the street from the Harvard Club of New York and was funded by notable members such as Andrew Carnegie. "It is only fitting that this award has now found a permanent home inside this prestigious institution," award chairman Robert Bean said. "It brings me immense pleasure as a founder of this award to see, 'Gil's wheel' and these two great men permanently positioned in the halls of North American history." Other recipients of the award include Dave Yates, Mark Eatherton, Ken Webster, John Barba and John Siegenthaler. For more information on the award, visit www.healthyheating.com/Carlson_Holohan.htm. — Bob Miodonski
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