PVF ROUNDTABLE CONTINUES TO GAIN POSITIVE MOMENTUM While the venue may have been new, the news coming out of the winter PVF Roundtable meeting was the same. The industrial PVF networking group is stronger than ever with 240 active members and some 15 new companies joining since the first of the year. “As word continues to get out about the value, we continue to gain new members,” PVF Roundtable President Joe Pro (Penn Machine) told Supply House Times during the late January meeting at the event’s new home at the Bell Tower on 34th in Houston. “You can’t compare this to what it would cost you to travel and meet all these people. To be able to see this many people in one spot and network and gain introductions is a big plus in our industry. You can knock on a door for months trying to meet somebody and you come here and you can make it happen. A friend introduces you to that person and all of a sudden the door has a crack in it and you get a chance to have a conversation and it takes off from there.” Pro noted the roundtable’s scholarship arm continues to gain momentum after awarding a record $150,000 in monies last year, which brings the program’s grand total to $525,000. “It was a milestone for us that none of us could have seen coming when you think of where this started fighting over $12,500 in a board room,” he said. “We awarded $150,000 in one night. And to hear schools such as Lee College and San Jacinto College tell us we have impacted more than 450 students with that money — that’s life-changing. It has inspired us to go back out and double our efforts and see how much further we can go.” Pro said some positive changes to the scholarship fund are in the offing. “We’re not going to get locked in on a value of dollars and cents,” he said. “That will give us a chance to open it up to more schools and trade schools and maybe even some outside Houston. There are folks who would like to see us get over to the west Texas area and Beaumont and Baton Rouge. The committee is going to grow and look for more opportunities to make an even greater impact.” Pro added Lee and San Jacinto used their scholarship money to purchase welding supplies and textbooks for individuals enrolled in welding and pipe-fitting classes. “It’s an inspiring story,” he said. “The students only had to deal with tuition. That’s enormous.” In terms of the current market climate, Pro is hearing positives from the membership. “There is a positive vibe in the room where everybody believes there is a tremendous pent-up demand that will carry the next 12-15-18 months, easily,” he explained. “There also is a lot of discussion on the impact these countervailing and anti-dumping suits may have on the market, which may mask where the demand level really is for a short time, but clearly there has been talk in the room on what impacts it will have on supply.” The PVF Roundtable Young Professionals group also continues to explode in popularity. The group hosted a clay shoot in February that attracted more than 150 attendees. Funds from that event will be earmarked toward the PVF Roundtable Scholarship Fund. “It’s amazing the amount of people we are reaching,” said industry veteran Jeannie Ludwig, who spearheads the Young Professionals division of the roundtable. “This is a great way for younger people to get involved in the industry and in this group. We’re tapping into the energy these young people have.” Ludwig noted the group’s quarterly social held this past November was a major success as well with $600 raised and a host of toys donated to the local Toys for Tots program. “That helped the victims of Hurricane Harvey and the kids from the surrounding areas that may not have had a good Christmas,” she said. The PVF Roundtable also welcomed three new board members in Jamie Meade (Alco Valves), Kim Shelton-Brown (MRC Global) and Bryan DeLong (Maintenance Metals). The Roundtable returns to the Bell Tower on May 8 a day after the annual Don Caffee Memorial Golf Tournament is held. — Mike Miazga
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