Uponor plays full out at Connections 2014

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There were a variety of sessions for attendees to pick from. My favorite topics were issues that are near and dear to me personally, such as attracting the younger generations into wanting a career in plumbing and/or HVAC industries and how to install and profit by installing residential fire sprinklers.

I am going on my sixth year at www.contractormag.com and CONTRACTOR magazine, and this year I had the opportunity to attend the Uponor Convention, Connections 2014, is Las Vegas for the first time.

The convention started April 23 and ended the following day at a cocktail reception at the Cosmopolitan hotel and casino. The past 48 hours have been packed full of best practices, networking, and connecting with industry experts on the topics and issues that matter most to the mechanical contracting industry.  

There were a variety of sessions for attendees to pick from. My favorite topics were issues that are near and dear to me personally, such as attracting the younger generations into wanting a career in plumbing and/or HVAC industries and how to install and profit by installing residential fire sprinklers. I also really enjoyed attending Matt Michel’s presentation on brand marketing.

In the session, Breaking the Negative Stereotypes: The Importance of Attracting Skilled Trades People Into the Plumbing and HVAC Market Place, a variety of issues were brought up by the panel experts, which included members of the media, Steve Swanson, customer trainer at Uponor, and Mark Eatherton, who is RPA’s executive director and one of CONTRACTOR’s most popular monthly columnists.

“We need to get into the public policy arena regarding education,” said Eatherton. “It’s all about perception. We need to start earlier than high school, we need to start talking about a career in these trades as early as in sixth grade. We need to tell younger generations that you will have a good job and a good life with this career. We also need to increase the amount of money people are paid in the trades.”

It’s no wonder finding ways to promote careers in the plumbing and HVAC industries is such an issue these days when you consider the statistics: in 2012 the average tradesperson was 56 years old, and only one in three persons would consider telling their children to have a career in the trades, according to Suresh Parmachand, senior marketing manager at Uponor.

During the session, AquaSAFE 101: How to Install and Profit From Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems, Dan Hubbard, design services supervisor of fire safety at Uponor, discussed the basics of fire safety and why fire sprinklers should be installed. Robert Kleinheinz, fire prevention specialist of Lake Zurich, Ill., also joined the presentation and discussed the importance of contractors knowing their AHJ and how to speak their language and understand their role.

Matt Michel, CONTRACTOR’s monthly marketing columnist, presented the session Boost Your Brand; Boost Your Bottom Line. Michel discussed the history of branding. Believe it or not, branding started 8,000 years ago!

According to Michel, we brand because it gives us order, simplifies processes, makes decisions easier, simplifies communication and implies a promise (an implied process).

Michel said that the main thing contractors should do is talk to their customers and find out what makes their company different. Find out why your brand matters to customers!

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