‘Future of Water’ is now

2015 PMI Conference to dive into latest water issues and trends  

Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) continues to position itself as an advocate working to communicate and harmonize regulatory and legislative issues on behalf of plumbing manufacturers. Working together for the greater good, PMI members promote water efficiency and focus on health and safety. Industry experts will address topics and present products that harness these motives at this year’s PMI Conference where attendees can expect nothing short of excellence.

The 2015 PMI Conference will be held October 26-29, at the Hotel Contessa on the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas. The conference snaps into action with a board of directors meeting (invitation only) followed by VIP and welcome receptions, as well as exhibits from conference sponsors. 

A featured highlight of the conference will be “The Future of Water: Wins, Woes and Worries,” panel discussion. The discussion will be moderated by Jerry Desmond, PMI California government affairs consultant, and will feature: Carole Baker, executive director of the Texas Water Foundation and chair emeritus of the Alliance for Water Efficiency; Eddie Wilcut, senior project manager at Alan Plummer Associates Inc.; Chris Piper, government relations at Denver Water; and Karen Guz, conservation director at San Antonio Water Systems.

On October 27, after an official welcome, attendees will hear from the Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee with reports from PMI government relations consultants, Stephanie Salmon and Jerry Desmond. Also, Dr. Marc Edwards will present “Achieving Water Conservation Without Pubic Health.” Edwards is an environmental engineer, biophysicist and professor at Virginia Tech. He is considered one of the world’s leading experts in water corrosion in home plumbing, and a nationally recognized expert on copper corrosion. In 2004, Time magazine named him as one of the most innovative scientists in the U.S.

Following Edwards will be Dr. Paul Sturman, a research engineer, industrial coordinator and professor at the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University, who will address “Biofilm Growth and Response to Antimicrobial Treatment.” Sturman has developed testing protocols for assessing antimicrobial products and surfaces as well as engineered systems for microbial process control. 

During the afternoon, the back-by-demand Dual Track Session splits up into Technical and Outreach/Communications groups. The Technical Track will feature an expanded presentation on biofilm by Dr. Sturman as well as a Plumbing Industry Research Coalition (PERC) update from Pete DeMarco. DeMarco is the senior vice president of advocacy and research at IAMPO. Christian Taylor-Hamlin, technical director of Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), will give the latest run-down on European Water Label issues. 

The Outreach/Communications Track will jumpstart with a presentation by Laura Marlow, senior director of business development and strategic partnerships at CMD Group, and Derek Guffey, senior director of enterprise solutions at CMD Group. The track will then shift gears with a panel discussion titled, “Social Media and the Digital Communications Strategies,” which will be moderated by Scott McDonald, vice president of marketing at Fluidmaster Inc. Panelists include: Ashlei Cooper, editorial director, PHC News and Plumbing Engineer magazines; Martha Sprague, social media manager at the National Association of Manufacturing; John Mesenbrink, president of Mechanical Hub; Wes Baerga, digital marketing strategist and client development at Vue Point Creative; Beth Livingston, brand manager of WaterSense at the Environmental Protection Agency; and Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of BMA. 

During the evening, attendees are invited to indulge in one of three of San Antonio’s restaurants in the historic downtown River Walk district as part of the “Dine Around San Antonio” event. There will be no additional fee, save for the cash bar. Restaurants to choose from include Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar, Boudro’s Texas Bistro, and Acenar.

Ross Shafer will be the keynote speaker on October 28. Shafer is a six-time Emmy Award winning comedian, writer and TV host of the shows “The Match Game, ” “Day’s End,” and “The Late Show." 

The afternoon will continue with reports from Dual Track Sessions and the Allied Member Committee, and will follow up with a General Membership Meeting where new officer elections, an award ceremony for outstanding PMI service and the 2016 budget approval will occur. The meeting will also include the ceremonious passing of the PMI president's gavel from Fernando Fernandez, of TOTO USA, to Paul Patton, of Delta Faucet. Patton will officially begin his presidency on January 1, 2016. Cocktails and dinner will follow the day’s events.

Karen Guz, conservation director at San Antonio Water Systems, will dive into the hurdles and breakthroughs of transitioning a city to WaterSense products. The highlighted panel discussion, “The Future of Water: Wins, Woes and Worries,” will polish off the conference.

Be sure to keep in mind the “Expanded Sponsorship Program,” where interested parties can discuss partaking in PMI and the values of its membership. PMI noted that reasons to consider this program include: receiving one-on-one attention from leading players from across the plumbing industry, building corporate image, and gaining insight into important industry issues. How does this measure in attendance? Note that 15 percent of conference attendees are executives, 35 percent are decision makers and influencers and 50 percent are technical decision makers and influencers. This program will be available for networking starting at the conference's welcome reception and following all the way through the end of the conference.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, fees, travel and hotel accommodations, exhibitors and sessions, visit www.safeplumbing.org/2015conference. 

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