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Yes, I’m back and although it has been a bit longer spell than I thought or wanted it to be, I’m hopeful that you’ll start seeing some interesting stories and industry input from me again in “Martin’s Corner” on a pretty routine time table. I’m going to throw in some interesting “wine” stories a few times a year also! Please feel free to let me know as we move forward in the “Corner” again if you like the product that I am producing. It really is important to me.
Speaking of important, I have many many friends in the industry, and my friends are very important to me. They have served as a great resource for me, and over the years we have bounced industry insight and knowledge off each other. Recently, my friends at the Equity Group, headquartered in Boston, referenced industry education online at opus.mcerf.org to their members several months ago. OPUS stands for Online Piping & Usage Specification and provides a free resource for professionals and students in the industry seeking information on piping applications, materials and the manufacturers and suppliers. I had given them some information on the subject, so they indeed went to the street for their membership.
In this issue I want to reveal information I feel is going to be important to every phase of our industry as we go forward together. My friends at MCAA (Mechanical Contractors Association of America) use OPUS and continuously stay on top of the educational needs in this country for all of your companies to be able to add value to all industry levels from manufacturer to wholesaler to the contractor/end-user customer.
Technology and the many things that are offered online these days are amazing. Mike Adelizzi and all the people that he is responsible for at the American Supply Association (ASA) are doing an incredible job with the Karl Neupert Education Foundation. ASA and its foundation have come so far at being relevant in many areas of training for your wholesale business. I am so pleased with it, and while I’m sure that most of you reading this article know exactly how to reach ASA and utilize its educational tools you desire, I would like to provide you additional information on another area of importance to companies – your customers – and what your association HQ is doing to provide what is needed.
Thanks to Bob Snyder & Ted Havel from Equity for wanting to publish this information to their independent wholesaler membership early on. I appreciate our agreement for me to expand on the topic and give you a double shot of education.
Now, before saying anything else I must tell you that I am referencing on behalf of the union mechanical contractors in this country (MCAA). This group is dedicated to the non-union contractors and their education needs. I have spent a lot of time and effort helping and supporting MCAA over the past several years. I’m sure you also know another important group NAPHCC, or the National Association of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors of our great country as well.
Anvil International has made cash pledges to both MCAA and NAPHCC just as they did with the Karl Neupert Foundation within ASA. Those pledges were made several years ago, but when all of the M&A action was happening in the late 1980s and 1990s that gave Anvil International its current name, the company never failed to carry the pledge honors to all three associations on a forward going basis. This was because it was easy to see the associations’ great strides in education, and what they were providing for future to their industry were real and paying off in spades.
MCERF (Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation) and OPUS are two operating units of MCAA, and both have the mission to further the education and knowledge of the industry they honor and serve. The foundations’ function is to produce educational products and tools that the industry contractors ask for and need. The corpus of the endowment is sustained and supported by the union contractor members and the vendor and supplier members.
Anvil and yours truly not only have a keen interest in our industry and the ones that we all serve, but we also have a very focused interest in always making the effort to support any agenda to help you gain market share on a day-to-day basis. To us, that means staying on top of solid piping specs and applications. We collectively believe that a better understanding of educational tools for piping systems, how they come together and products for the job (online) will help you break a tie and help the end user customer in need of solid advice on issues that arise.
Who produced the OPUS tool?
Opus is a one-stop-shop location on “where to go” to get answers that you need. This online resource will also allow any user to educate themselves about the dynamic combinations of pipe types, materials, applications and joining methods for a piping system. At the click of a button, OPUS certainly gives you all that, and more. Now, I want to address how OPUS came to be and for what reason:
The MCERF developed OPUS with an $11 million+ corpus that was/is totally funded and supported by a combination of the union mechanical contractor member companies and members of its Manufacturer Supplier Council (M/SC).
It is important for me to point out that a lot of member vendors from the working committee who collaborated together on this effort. Some include: Anvil International, A.O. Smith, Delta Faucet, Mission Rubber, NIBCO, Sloan, Watts, Victaulic, Wheatland, Apollo Valve and ERICO.
The long arm of the MCAA as an association now reaches into some 49 college/university student chapter sponsorships with solid education programs invested in the future of this industry.
When a group of MCCA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council collectively developed OPUS, they geared a design toward new users and those in need of knowledge, technology upgrade or spec change in the industry. There are so many uses of OPUS. When you get online, give it a look over. I bet you will find an area that you will want to share with your people and customers.
The OPUS Button is a visual marketing tool also to show users a company’s support of this valuable industry-developed resource. You are encouraged to use the OPUS Button on your company literature, business cards, newsletters and websites showing your support of a key industry education resource like OPUS as a “valued added” resource that you can promote to your customers.
Note: MCERF is also currently working on the development of the OPUS app, which will be very mobile-friendly and work on all iOS and Android mobile devices, which is more and more the way the world really works these days. We will let you know as soon as MCERF finishes the app.
You can reach OPUS in various ways and through several websites. Here are some notable ones:
I am starting to work with other industry buying groups (for the benefit of their members) on the idea of getting involved in the “value added” piece of this resource for their management companies as well.
A very good friend of mine, Mr. Dennis Langley, at the MCAA corporate office (301-869-5800 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org) is director of the foundation and education efforts. He is available to assist you on more information about this incredible educational tool or just to answer any questions you might have. You certainly can give me a call also (303-588-9806 and/or email@example.com) as I’d love to talk to you about one of my favorite subjects – our industry!
I hope you'll give OPUS a try.
Blessings to you all,
John E Martin