Plumber Industry News: Isuzu Names Skinner President

PHCC offers $85,000 in scholarships; Dwyer Group celebrates anniversary
Plumber Industry News: Isuzu Names Skinner President
Shaun Skinner

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Isuzu Commercial Truck of America named Shaun C. Skinner company president. He replaces Hisao Sasaki, who returns to Isuzu Motors Limited in Japan.

“After a 29-year career with Isuzu and more than eight years as executive vice president and general manager of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America (ICTA), Mr. Skinner is being promoted to drive our relationship with our dealers and our customers even closer as we look to become more market- and customer-focused in the future,” says Shigeji Sugimoto, chairman of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America.

Skinner joined American Isuzu Motors in June 1987, and moved to the company’s commercial vehicle division in 2002. He was named ICTA’s executive vice president and general manager in January 2008. Skinner already serves as president of Isuzu Commercial Truck of Canada.

Last year, Isuzu dealers retailed 20,725 Isuzu-brand trucks to customers in 2015 — a record for Isuzu-brand trucks in the North American market.

In March, Skinner unveiled the 2018 Isuzu FTR, the company’s new entry in the Class 6 medium-duty truck segment, slated to go into production in the United States in mid-2017.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work more closely with our dealers and our customers as we come off a record sales year and as we look forward to launching the exciting new FTR next year,” Skinner says. 

PHCC Educational Foundation Scholarships available

Applications are being accepted for scholarships awarded through the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors – National Association (PHCC) Educational Foundation Scholarship Program. In 2016, up to 39 scholarships totaling $85,000 are available. The major scholarship award sponsors are A. O. Smith Water Heaters, Bradford White Corporation, Delta Faucet Company, RIDGID, State Water Heaters and the PHCC Educational Foundation Scholarship Fund. 

Applicants must be apprentices or college students pursuing a course of study directly related to the plumbing-heating-cooling industry. For complete information and application forms, students can visit or call the PHCC Educational Foundation at 800/533-7694. Applications and complete supporting materials are due no later than May 1. 

Dwyer Group celebrates anniversary

The Dwyer Group celebrated its 35th anniversary in March. Founded in 1981 by Don Dwyer Sr., Dwyer Group has grown to include 11 different commercial and residential franchise service brands, including Mr. Rooter. Today, these service brands account for more than $1.3 billion in annual system-wide sales.

“For the past 35 years, Dwyer Group has always tried to go beyond our goals to make a difference in the lives of people we touch all over the world,” says Mike Bidwell, president and CEO of Dwyer Group. “We have built a strong business focused on bringing trade services supported by our Code of Values into different communities. And today we can celebrate a fantastic milestone for the success of small businesses, job creation and the best network of service providers centered around services people need to maintain their homes and businesses.”

Grundfos sales, profits up for 2015 

With the release of its 2015 financial results, Danish pump manufacturer Grundfos saw sales increase 0.8 percent, despite stagnation in the global pump market.

“We are retaining or gaining market share in key strategic markets. And our strategy of focusing on our core business and improving customer relationships is working,” says CEO Mads Nipper.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were $303 million, compared to $130 million the year before. The Group’s profit after tax (PAT) will reach $2.2 billion, compared to $763 million in 2014.

A growing economy and close customer interaction boosted sales in North America by 12 percent relative to 2014 in an otherwise mature market. May 2015 also marked the company’s 70th anniversary.

Uponor increases investment in Upstream Technologies

Uponor completed a second-round investment in Upstream Technologies to support the launch of the company’s new Modified Philip Dunne (MPD) Infiltrometer, which measures the rate of water infiltration into soil. In August 2014, Uponor purchased a minority position in Upstream Technologies to support the SAFL Baffle, a storm water management product.

“We are pleased to see the progress being made in terms of market acceptance of the SAFL Baffle in storm water sediment removal applications,” says Bill Gray, president, Uponor North America. “We anticipate the launch of the new MPD Infiltrometer will be just as successful, and we are excited to support another innovation that benefits the environment and promotes water conservation.”

Ferguson gains market share

Ferguson’s parent company Wolseley plc, distributor of plumbing and heating products to professional contractors, announced its financial results for the first half of the 2016 fiscal year.

Ferguson reported overall growth of 6.5 percent, increasing its revenue 4.3 percent on a like-for-like basis, which measures growth of Ferguson’s existing stores or branches that have been open for at least one year. Acquisitions contributed 2.1 percent of additional revenue growth. The company’s trading margin was 7.9 percent, consistent with last year and trading profit was 5.5 percent ahead of last year.

“I’m pleased with our ability to outperform the market,” says Ferguson CEO Frank Roach. “Our associates are doing a great job working hard and growing sales, while still remaining focused on customer service.”

Ferguson gained market share in all of its major businesses. Residential and commercial markets, both new construction and renovation, maintenance and improvement, grew steadily in the first half. Blended Branches (locations serving both residential and commercial customers) grew across all regions from a combination of market growth and good market share gains. The B2C e-commerce business experienced strong growth, and Fire and Fabrication and HVAC both generated good growth with Waterworks growing more modestly against strong prior year comparatives.

Six acquisitions were completed in the first half of fiscal year 2016. They included three regional fire and fabrication businesses: Central Pipe and Supply, Action Fire and Fab and Atlantic American. Ferguson also acquired Living Direct, an online appliance business, Renwes, an appliance retailer based in Orange County, California, and PCS Industries, a Commercial MRO distributor based in Chicago, Illinois.

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