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The Official Magazine of The Maryland Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association

The Advocate Within Us Experience the Vision of Our Nation PHCC Legislative Conference May 21-22, 2014



MD PHCC - NEW MEMBERS........ Thomas Reed Reed and Son Services, LLC Mt. Airy, MD

Gary Eklof Harry Eklof & Associates Landover, MD


Spring 2014

Chris Saffer Saffer Plumbing & Heating, Inc. Baltimore, MD

ADVERTISER SUPPORT..... American Apartment Owners Page 13 Bradford White 15 Cummins-Wagner 13 FastEst 12 Interline 7

Senior Editor - Diane P. Kastner Maryland PHCC Contractor Magazine is the official magazine of The Maryland Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors and is published four times annually. The Maryland PHCC does not necessarily endorse any of the companies advertising in this publication or the views of its writers.

Liberty Pumps 16 Parts Unlimited 2 Quality Service Contractors 9 Saniflo 5 T&S Brass 9

CONTENTS ..........

Maryland PHCC Contractor Magazine is designed and published by Blue Water Publishers, LLC. Articles and information published in this magazine may not be reproduced without written consent of The Maryland PHCC or Blue Water Publishers, LLC. The publisher cannot assume responsibility for claims made by advertisers and is not responsible for the opinions expressed by contributing authors.

Stay a Step Ahead with PHCC - Gerry Kennedy, PHCC National Ex VP 4 The Advocate Within All of Us - Mark Riso, PHCC National, Director of Government Relations 6 Listen Up!

For more information on advertising, contact Jim Aitkins Blue Water Publishers, LLC 22727 - 161st Avenue SE, Monroe, WA 98272 360-805-6474 / fax: 360-805-6475 jima@bluewaterpublishers.com


Maryland PHCC New Introductory Membership Information


Maryland PHCC Membership Application


Hiring the Right People


Plumbing Apprenticeship Program Open Enrollment & Skip Test Information


OFFICERS 2014 ................... PRESIDENT THOMAS KELLER ELLICOTT CITY, MD (410) 203-1741 (410) 203-2638 FAX

DIRECTORS BRUCE J. SOLOMON REISTERSTOWN, MD (410) 833- 2188 (410) 833-9023 FAX


JIM BERNDT BALTIMORE, MD (410) 254-7473 (410) 256-4787 FAX




RONALD LLOYD COLUMBIA, MD 21046 (410)-203-2720 (410) 203-1866 FAX EDGAR W. ZEPP, IV CLARKSVILLE, MD (410) 531-6712 (410) 531-5812 FAX

JIM BERNDT BALTIMORE, MD (410) 254-7373 (410) 256-4787 FAX








Spring 2014 | Maryland PHCC Contractor


Stay a Step Ahead with PHCC


o help you thrive in today’s challenging business environment, PHCC—National Association focuses on providing you with the tools you need to not only survive, but actually keep your business a step ahead of the competition. These resources are developed through the strategic direction of the PHCC Board of Directors, which is leading PHCC through many progressive changes that will contribute to your business’s success and move the industry forward. There is much progress underway, including: Benefits That Work. PHCC continually is personalizing its communications tools and developing benefits that will work for you. As an example, through PHCC’s brand awareness campaign, a collection of new marketing templates, which support PHCC’s tagline – Best People. Best Practices.™ - are being posted to the “Samples & Templates” section of the PHCC website as they are finalized. Also, there are two new member benefits that can help you increase your profitability. The first is PayAnywhere Mobile Credit Card Processing, in which you can increase sales by turning your smartphone or tablet into a powerful credit card processing terminal. Secondly, through PHCC’s new partnership with Market Hardware, you’ll receive social media tips and sample posts that you can customize for company newsletters, websites and other social media platforms. Speaking of which, be sure to follow PHCC on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page. We’re sharing more and more industry news and tips for you and your customers every week. And, traffic shows that those consumers are constantly finding us at www.phccweb.org. Become part of our social media network so that they can find you, too! Safety Tools. To stay up to date with today’s safety and risk management challenges, there is a full library of risk management tools to help you mitigate risk and create of culture of safety in your business. Sample topics include distracted driving, data compromise and cyber liability, OSHA Hazard Communication changes and the Affordable Care Act. Check out the information sheets at www.phccweb.org. All can be downloaded and used as a resource for safety meetings. A Strong Legislative Voice. PHCC is advocating for you and your business on several crucial issues, including changes to the health care reform law, overly burdensome regulations for small businesses, objections to the expansion of the lead paint [4]

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Spring 2014

rule to commercial and public buildings, continued dangers of alternate refrigerants, and current activity on refrigerants on By Gerry Kennedy PHCC National Association a global scale. Our Government Executive Vice President Relations team also is working to ensure all PHCC members receive the information they need to make sound decisions for the 2014 Congressional election cycle. PHCC is busy planning the PHCC Legislative Conference, May 21-22, on Capitol Hill. I encourage you to attend so that you can voice your concerns or support issues impacting the p-h-c industry. It’s just a short trip for most of you—come on out and join us! Emerging Technologies. Prior to the Legislative Conference, PHCC will be co-convener of another important industry event in Washington, D.C.: the April 23-24 International Emerging Technology Symposium, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va. This will be a very informative conference held at a convenient nearby location that is just a short drive away for most of you. We hope you can make it! All year long, the association’s technical department is representing your interests on many important industry matters related to energy and water efficiency. Samples are green construction trends, emerging refrigerant products and drainline carry studies. Don’t forget that PHCC can provide you with assistance on code issues and interpretations through our free member techline (techline@naphcc.org). Proposed changes are being accepted in preparation of the 2015 National Standard Plumbing Code to be published later this year. CONNECT 2014: New Strategies. New Opportunities. New Orleans. PHCC is tailoring CONNECT 2014 in New Orleans to bring you best practices and strategies sure to boost your bottom line … and your energy! Save the date: Oct. 8-10! Now is the Time! Make this spring season of renewal your time to better your business and to stay a step ahead. If you’re already a member, now is the time to spring forward, get more involved, and maximize your investment. If you haven’t joined yet, partner with PHCC today and start putting us to work for you. Contact us at (800) 533-7694, naphcc@naphcc.org or www .phccweb.org

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By Mark Riso Director of Government Relations PHCC National Association


The Advocate Within All of Us

n seven months, I’ll become an “empty-nester.” I’ve worked to raise three wonderful sons whose departure (the first two have already gone, the youngest is getting ready) marks the most profound sense of pride and sadness I can imagine. Like many of you who have gone through this experience, I wonder – • is the world/democracy that my sons are headed into, better or worse than the world/democracy I headed into when my parents became empty-nesters? • have I helped to provide my sons with the skill sets necessary to succeed? • Have I been able to convey to my sons, the critical importance of always being active in public policy? (whether they make it their profession or not, as an American citizen…we are all advocates-always) and, • will they visit for the holidays and will they ever stop asking for money? I thought about it over this past holiday and I was able to answer the first two questions (the other questions will have to be answered at another time). As long as this nation continues to honor its original commitment as a nation “of the people,” my sons will be fine. As long as this nation continues a commitment to being a nation of “ideas,” my sons will be fine. As long as this nation continues to provide an avenue whereby “the people” have a “voice” in the decisions of the nation, my sons will be fine. Sounds simple…but nothing about governing a nation is simple. I also spent time over the holiday looking into why some aspects of public policy (at the local, state, and federal levels) have failed…and succeeded. What I found was not stunning, and could really be viewed as common sense. In a nation where “the people” should be the main ingredient for success, a policy succeeded as long as the purest form of a democracy (as intended by our forefathers) was respected. A policy failed when the purest form of democracy (as intended by our forefathers) was denied. So that we are on the same page…we live with countless legislative measures and regulations that are not the direct result of the purest form of a democracy. [6]

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Spring 2014

But what I also found to be true was that public policy only succeeded when “the people” exercised their responsibility as American citizens. A policy only succeeded when “the people” were active and made their voice heard – instead of waiting to be asked what they thought. The greatest advocacy organizations all have one dynamic in common – they are all proactive. They are well structured and go to Capitol Hill to demand that their voice be heard. Yes, we elect leaders to represent us…however, do you really believe that a majority of Members of Congress understand your business…your industry? It is up to you to tell them how what they do impacts you, your family, your business, and your industry. Washington, DC – Capitol Hill…is the absolute fulfillment of a vision created over two hundred years ago, the vision and commitment of which, created the greatest nation on earth. A vision where the “people” are the main ingredient to greatness. A vision that has led men and women to give their lives to ensure its success. In May (2014), you have the opportunity to walk the halls of Congress…to enter into the heart-beat of the most powerful nation on earth. And by the way, you’ve been blessed to live in a nation where you can do this. The PHCC Legislative Conference (May 21-22, 2014) is a ticket to experience the vision of our nation, to practice the wisdom of a democracy, and help to advance your industry. The political pendulum will always swing back and forth. There will always be political factions popping-up-then fading away. There will always be issues that will take the focus of the nation in all sorts of different directions, then evaporate... HOWEVER...”the people” never goes away. As Ma Joad said at the end of the American classic, The Grapes of Wrath, “…but we keep a’comin’. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out; they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever…’cause we’re the people.”


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Spring 2014 | Maryland PHCC Contractor


Listen Up!


ow can you tell if you’re losing your hearing? You probably can’t. Hearing loss is an insidious process that creeps up on you with little or no warning. As sound reception becomes fainter, you may try to compensate without even realizing it—by turning the TV or radio up louder, by asking others to repeat themselves, or even by leaning closer to the source. Prolonged exposure to loud noises on and off the job accumulates over years and can eventually cause permanent hearing impairment or deafness. By the time you realize you have a problem, the condition is very likely irreversible. Don’t wait until it is too late. Start wearing your hearing protection devices right away. You are ultimately responsible for consistent and proper use of your protective equipment.

like new shoes or glasses, they do need a period of adjustment. If the discomfort persists, it could be a sizing problem or you may need a different type of protector. Let us know and we can work together to find the fight device for you. To make sure that we all do our part in hearing conservation, it is important that we receive cooperation from everyone. Besides openly discussing your concerns, you can make a difference by doing the following: • Follow all precautions, procedures, and practices for your machinery and your hearing devices to minimize excessive exposure to noise. • Watch for warning signs that are posted in areas where high noise levels exist and make sure you wear your protectors in those areas. • Let us know of any operation or condition that presents a noise hazard that we may be unaware of. • It doesn’t help to follow hearing precautions at work if you are exposed to high noise levels at home. Make sure you minimize noise exposure in all aspects of your life. Protect your children’s hearing, too, by explaining the dangers of blasting rock music—and set an example for them. Above all, wear your hearing protection regularly - it does work!

Arguments and Answers I know some of you have concerns and difficulties about wearing your hearing protections, so let’s review some of them. • You are used to the noise and it doesn’t bother you. This may be true, but exposure to noise does not “toughen up” your ears. The reason it doesn’t bother you may be because you have already begun to lose your hearing. If you’ve already lost some hearing, why wear the protectors now? Just because you’ve lost some of your hearing doesn’t mean you can’t lose more or all of it. Early hearing loss is concentrated in the higher Hearing frequencies. As it progresses, it spreads to the lower frequencies and affects comprehension of normal speech. Although protection devices cannot restore a noise-induced hearing loss, they can prevent additional losses. • Your machine sounds different with the protectors on. Yes, it does sound different, and over time you will adjust to the differences and be able to monitor the sounds effectively. • With hearing protection you can’t hear your coworkers. Without protectors, the high noise level causes overload for your hearing. Reducing overall sound levels allows the ear to operate more effectively, just as sunglasses provide improved vision in high glare conditions, although it may take a little getting used to. Then you should be able to hear whatever you need to. • Why do the protectors have to be so uncomfortable? They shouldn’t be, although [8]

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Spring 2014

Protection Do’s and Don’ts Checklist

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With new national lead-free legislation, there’s been a lot of talk about making the switch. Here’s the truth: T&S was the first fixture, faucet and fitting manufacturer to convert its entire line to lead-free alloys back in 2010. So when you purchase a T&S faucet, the peace of mind that comes with lead-free compliance is built right in. No worries. No hassle. Visit tsbrass.com/literature to download a free brochure about our lead-free products, or contact your local T&S rep for more information.

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Spring 2014 | Maryland PHCC Contractor


10176 Baltimore National Pike, Suite 205 Ellicott City, Maryland 20142 410-461-5977 | phccmd@aol.com [ 10 ]

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Spring 2014

Spring 2014 | Maryland PHCC Contractor

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By Bob Losyk



s we advance into the this century, there are less people entering the workforce and it will become increasingly difficult to find good employees. Competition will increase for the best workers. Preventing costly turnover will become one of your highest priorities. Consequently, you will have to get better interviewing and hiring employees. Here are some tips to help you make better hiring decisions: CHECK APPLICATIONS Applications give us information we need to know. Check the application for lack of information, inconsistencies, or phony companies. CHECK REFERENCES Personnel or human resource departments often do not give you any useful information on a former worker because they try to avoid lawsuits. Ask your candidate for the name of the managers or owners they worked for directly. Get written authorization from the applicant to call that person. Have the candidate call the references and ask them to talk with you. CREATE A WARM INQUIRY SYSTEM Talk with employees who will be answering the phone or greeting walk-in candidates about how you want inquiries to be handled in case a supervisor is not available. You don’t want to lose a candidate due to lack of knowledge or rudeness. PRE-SCREEN BY PHONE Use the phone as a method to pre-screen, and eliminate unqualified people. Delegate this responsibility to one of your staff. You want to spend your valuable time interviewing only the best candidates. Be sure to have them ask certain “knockout questions” early on that may automatically eliminate applicants. CREATE THE ATMOSPHERE Create a warm, favorable interview climate. The room should be comfortable, quiet, and free from interruptions. Have your telephone calls held until you are finished. This plays an important role in the success of the interview. EXPLAIN THE INTERVIEW PROCESS Give the candidate an explanation of the entire interview process. Tell them that you are going to ask the questions for the majority of the interview. Explain to them that they will have an opportunity to ask questions at the end. CREATING GOOD QUESTIONS Create a written list of good questions. The candidate must be very clear about what you want to know. The questions should be easy for the candidate to answer, and questions should progress in a logical order. Concentrate on the [ 12 ]

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Spring 2014

areas of education, past job experiences, past on-the-job skills and behaviors. By having candidates discuss past situations and behaviors on previous jobs, you can better predict what their behaviors will be on the new job. The answers that candidates give you about what they have done before are a good indicator of what they will do in that situation again. When finished questioning the candidate, discuss all the aspects of the job that are necessary. Create a clear picture of what the job is like. Answer all their questions and be friendly to the end. Explain the next step in the process. If they are definitely not a candidate, you still want to maintain good will for your company. In all cases, thank them, and walk them out. Make your decision based on: can they do what you must have them do, will they perform up to the standards you have set, and do they fit into your organization? With proper preparation beforehand, and some analysis afterwards, you will greatly increase your success ratio of hiring the right people. This information is brought to you by the PHCC Educational Foundation.

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Spring 2014 | Maryland PHCC Contractor

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Spring 2014 | Maryland PHCC Contractor

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Profile for Blue Water Publishers, LLC

Maryland PHCC Contractor, Spring 2014  


Maryland PHCC Contractor, Spring 2014