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This month marks the first contribution of “Steve & Tom on PVF,” a monthly column by Steve Letko and Tom Brown on the inner workings of the PVF Industry. Every month, the duo shares their insights through a lively Q&A format. There were several reasons as to how and why this column came to fruition, but the one that sticks out the most was the enormous desire to communicate some of the industry knowledge and insight both Letko and Brown have acquired over their joint 80 years in the industry. They aim to educate, enlighten and inform.
TMB: Steve, this is our kick-off issue and I must say I’m very excited about our collaboration, however before we get started, thank you for your past contributions to “The Wholesaler,” which have been educational, insightful and very well read. And also to your agreement to share your industry knowledge and expertise on a monthly basis. Last fall you attended many of the industry conventions and meetings, and I would like to get your opinions and feelings about these. Let’s start with the ASA meeting in New York last October.
SL: The ASA meeting in New York at The Waldorf Astoria was well attended and the choice of speakers was appropriate as the presidential election was following in a few weeks.
I was surprised that there was no scheduled meeting for the Vendor Member Division.
All-in-all, Network 2016 was successful; however, I believe some attention needs to taken to address improving The Wholesaler & Vendor Conference.
TMB: How was the IPD segment?
SL: The IPD Breakfast was well attended and complemented by an excellent presentation by Dana Perino. Although not an industry oriented presentation, Dana gave insight to the campaign, Donald Trump, plus an up lifting segment regarding wounded warriors.
TMB: I know you will agree that Ernie Coutermarsh receiving the 2016 IPD Award for Excellence was very well-deserved. Ernie is a great guy, a great industry citizen and so well respected.
SL: Tom, I agree whole-heartedly with your comments regarding Ernie. I have known him for a long time and have enjoyed having dinner with Diane and Ernie, gaining insight to a remarkable individual. Ernie has proven himself as an invaluable asset to F.W. Webb. His time in the service to his country has honed him into a disciplined, organized and an effective leader for not only F.W. Webb, but for the PVF industry as a whole.
TMB: The Fall PVF Roundtable meeting was another record setter, with more than 500 people in attendance. The momentum has been amazing.
SL: The members of the PVF Roundtable Board are extremely pleased at the turnout for our quarterly meetings. The networking events coupled with key speakers that address issues that are relevant and informative to the PVF industry make The PVF Roundtable meetings the place to be.
The next PVF Roundtable meeting is a full networking session scheduled for Jan. 31 at a new location. The meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m., and will be held at:
The Houston Marriott Westchase
2900 Briarpark Dr.
Houston, Texas 77042
TMB: I understand Morrie Beschloss’ 60 years of service to the PVF industry was recognized and was a major highlight at the meeting.
SL: We were fortunate to have the opportunity to celebrate with Morrie and his wife, Ruth, 60 years of service in an industry that is his life. Morrie’s address to the audience came directly from his heart, expressing his appreciation for the recognition received from his peers and the rewards he has gained from his service.
TMB: Morrie is a great friend of mine and a great friend of yours, and I am amazed at his 60 years of service — and his contributions to the roundtable.
SL: Morrie is amazing. His mind is as sharp as ever and he continues to contribute not only to the PVF Roundtable; Morrie also writes articles that address economic/geo-political issues that bring clarity to the issues addressing our markets.
TMB: On a sad note, Sheryl Michalak’s father passed away in October and we want to pass along our condolences.
SL: Sheryl has had a very difficult 2016, loosing her husband and now her father in the same year. We at Weldbend along with her peers in the industry pray for her well being and express our sympathy for her losses.
TMB: How was the speaker? Anything new from the board meeting that can be shared with our readership? How was the business mood?
SL: The speaker was informative and represented the academic benefactors of the PVF scholarship program. Two scholarships were awarded at the meeting. The PVF Roundtable recognizes the shortage of labor in the trades sector. In doing so, scholarships will be awarded to trade schools as well as to the universities.
TMB: Looking at the future and specifically 2017 in general, what are your predictions for the pipes, valves and fittings industry?
SL: The PVF industry in general will begin to move in a positive direction as the year progresses. The removal of the restrictions of the excessive regulations imposed on the energy sectors of our industry will be a welcome relief and have positive effects for projects moving forward. This will take time, however, the momentum will increase as the year progress.
TMB: Obviously the new Donald Trump administration will have an impact on the PVF industry because of his very pro-energy position. Even though it is early, would you care to comment?
SL: The election of Donald J. Trump has sent an upbeat message to a besieged energy industry. Mr. Trump takes office officially January 20, 2017, and will have to act decisively and quickly during his first 100 days in office to negate damage inflicted by the Obama administration.
The recovery will not be a fiat event. The first quarter of the year will continue to feel the effects of the depressed market. However, as the year progresses and Mr. Trump’s reforms regarding tax and regulation will put wind in the sails of the energy related markets.
Look for the approval of the Dakota Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline on an accelerated time frame.
TMB: Thanks, Steve. That winds it up for January. See you in Houston at the PVF Roundtable meeting!