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Proving the value of constructive collaboration, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association (PHCC) leaders and the association's industry partners and major sponsors exchanged ideas and solutions for mutual benefit during PHCC's Industry Summit in Dallas last month. The Summit – a chance to make a meaningful impact on issues and opportunities facing plumbing and HVACR contractors and the industry – was hosted by Rheem Manufacturing, a PHCC Corporate Partner.
"I learned early on that constructive collaboration was essential for success," PHCC—National President Dave Frame told attendees at the Summit. "By exchanging ideas, learning from each other, and establishing new relationships, we can further our mission of advancing the industry not only for our own organizations but also to protect public health, safety, and the environment."
Indeed, the group of industry leaders spent the day exploring ways to better collaborate on crucial industry initiatives, namely regulatory issues, advocacy, workforce development, education and training, and sustainability.
Regulatory updates – particularly trends in decarbonization/electrification – were a key takeaway for Summit participants. PHCC—National Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chuck White led a discussion on how PHCC and its industry partners can work together to ensure that contractors and their employees have the information they need to effectively advocate for reasonable regulatory mandates and prepare for upcoming changes.
"The complexity of regulations impacting our industry amplifies the need for collaboration on advocacy efforts and to establish effective communication channels to keep industry professionals informed to ensure compliance," he said.
During the Summit, attendees discussed how to set contractors up with financing options for customers interested in purchasing new HVAC equipment. Other topics addressed included how manufacturers can help develop information on heat pump water heaters (the benefits of new products, when to expect return on investment, etc.) for contractors to pass on to customers, as well as how they can improve hands-on training opportunities through PHCC state and local chapters.
In the area of workforce development, several PHCC partners and sponsors shared some transformative efforts, including supporting an apprentice program for at-risk female high school students, working directly with school guidance counselors to promote the trades, and more.
"While workforce challenges are not new to this industry, it remains the number one concern for PHCC members," said PHCC Vice President of Business Development Elicia Magruder. "PHCC and the PHCC Educational Foundation have numerous resources available to help our chapters and members promote careers in the trades, but we still need to do more to ensure a continuous pipeline of skilled workers."
Of the event, Rheem Vice President of Residential AC Randy Roberts said, "Manufacturers can't be successful unless we hear and respond to the challenges and needs of our customers. PHCC's Industry Summit took that up a level, allowing us to engage with contractors, suppliers, and other manufacturers to focus on the current issues our customer base is experiencing and identify how we can all help each other to support and advance our industry."
PHCC already is building on the energy and commitment exhibited during the Summit, moving to implement many of the solutions discussed as well as making arrangements for its next Industry Summit.
"The ideas shared serve as a strong foundation for future collaboration among PHCC, the PHCC Educational Foundation, and our industry partners," Frame said. "By working together, we can address industry challenges, foster growth, and ensure a prosperous future for the plumbing and HVACR industry."