Plumber Industry News: Kohler Inducted Into BALA Hall of Fame

Taco completes reorganization, Dwyer brands ranked among Franchise 500, ARS acquires Greenstar, Mansfield recognizes distributors
Plumber Industry News: Kohler Inducted Into BALA Hall of Fame
Herbert V. Kohler Jr., executive chairman of the Kohler Co., was inducted into the 2015 Best in American Living Awards (BALA) Hall of Fame.

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Herbert V. Kohler Jr., executive chairman of the Kohler Co., was inducted into the 2015 Best in American Living Awards (BALA) Hall of Fame during the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders Show in January. Kohler reflected on the highs and lows of the housing industry during his acceptance speech.

“We adapt to change, we work hard, we challenge the status quo and we bring passion to our work.”

The Hall of Fame awards recognize individuals and companies that have made significant impacts on residential design and construction. Kohler holds more than 200 design and utility patents for plumbing products.

Taco completes reorganization, changes name

Taco Inc. completed a major reorganization as it diversifies into new industries and market channels and changed its name to Taco Comfort Solutions.

Under the privately-held company’s new organizational structure, Taco Comfort Solutions will be part of the Taco Group that includes Hydroflo Pumps/Fluid Solutions of Fairview, Tennessee; Askoll/Taco Flow Solutions of Sandrigo, Italy; and Taco Trading/Supply Chain Solutins Ltd. of Kowloon, Hong Kong.

In addition to expanding its core business in heating and cooling through the recent acquisition of Askoll’s indoor heating business, Taco Comfort Solutions intends to pursue growth and diversification through additional partnerships and acquisitions in HVAC and non-HVAC markets and channels, including plumbing. Drought in the western U.S. has opened up new markets for smart, water-conserving plumbing products.

“This is a dynamic and exciting time for Taco,” says John Hazen White Jr., owner and chairman. “We are taking these actions from a position of strength and confidence to ensure Taco’s continuing success. As we do so, we will remain ever faithful and committed to the people and the core values that together have made Taco a great company. As Taco approaches its 100th anniversary in business, we are no longer an American company based in Rhode Island, but a global company based in the USA.”

Dwyer Group brands ranked on Franchise 500 list

After a record-breaking year of growth, Dwyer Group begins 2016 with nine service brands ranked on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Published annually in the January issue of Entrepreneur, the list ranks franchise concepts based on emerging trends and industries headed for growth in the coming year.

The brands include Molly Maids (97), The Grounds Guys (174), Mr. Appliance (220), Aire Serv (221), Five Star Painting (259), Mr. Rooter (380), Mr. Handyman (381), Glass Doctor (441) and Mr. Electric (473).

“We are incredibly honored to have nine of our service brands recognized by such a respected and prominent ranking,” says Mike Bidwell, president and CEO of Dwyer Group. “I credit our talented team members and outstanding franchisees who work extremely hard to boost job creation, deliver superior customer service and create a positive impact in every community. By working together across the system we have positioned our brands for a great year ahead.”

In 2015, the Dwyer Group expanded to 13 service brands and over 2,500 franchise locations in 10 countries. The brands account for over 3 million service calls and $1.3 billion in system-wide sales each year.

Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 is an annual ranking of the best franchises based on financial and statistical data listed in surveys completed by franchisors across the nation. All franchises are judged based on identical criteria regardless of size.

ARS acquires Greenstar Home Services

American Residential Services (ARS) of Memphis, Tennessee, provider of heating, air conditioning and plumbing services, acquired the assets of Greenstar Home Services. Greenstar, provider of plumbing and HVAC services, has locations in the City of Orange, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. The California location will retain the Greenstar brand and continue to operate as an independent service center. The Las Vegas location will be consolidated with the ARS brand, Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing.

Greenstar’s CEO Jeremy Prevost and COO Colin Martodam will continue to serve as the leadership team for the Southern California operation.

“We are excited to kick off the new year by adding Greenstar Home Services to our network,” says Don Karnes, CEO of ARS. “This acquisition will allow us to bring world-class service to more customers in markets where we are already operating. United by our national network, Greenstar will continue to provide exceptional service to their customers while growing in ways they wouldn’t have been able to on their own.”

Mansfield Plumbing distributors win trips

Sixteen plumbing product distributor locations across the country and one in Jamaica won grand prizes in Mansfield Plumbing’s fourth annual Take Five promotion. Each winning location receives an all-expense-paid, five-day trip for two to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

“Even though there were 17 different companies that qualified, some of those companies had exemplary sales efforts that qualify them for multiple prizes, so there are actually 23 trips for two being awarded,” says Gary Pember, vice president of marketing for Mansfield Plumbing.

To qualify for the prizes, companies had to meet specific sales goals for the Mansfield Pro-fit Builder Series and Showroom Series bathware products in 2015. Distribution of the trip prizes is at the discretion of each winning company, and recipients will enjoy five days at the all-inclusive Paradisus Punta Cana Resort in April.

Prize winners include Gray-Hodges Corp., Knoxville, Tennessee; Lewis-Smith Supply Corp., Dothan and Enterprise, Alabama; Anderson Electric & Plumbing Supplies, Springdale, Arkansas; Masters Supply, Danville, Kentucky; National Wholesale, Longview, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana; Peterson Plumbing Supply, Salt Lake City, Utah; Plumbers Supply Co., Lexington, Kentucky; South Midway Supply, Somerset, Kentucky; Southern Pipe, La Place, Lafayette and Monroe, Louisiana; Winnelson, Springdale, Arkansas; Tile City and Home Center Ltd., Kingston, Jamaica; VP Supply Corp., Rochester, New York; and Wholesale Plumbing Supply, St. Charles, Missouri.

Grundfos Americas director to leave company 

Duncan Cooper, Grundfos Pumps Corporation’s regional managing director and group senior vice president for the Americas, will leave the company during the summer of 2016. A replacement has not been named.

Since his appointment in 2013, Cooper has proved instrumental in improving company performance in the Americas region, most significantly in the area of financial stability.

“The financial turnaround has been exceptional, and our employees are to be applauded for what they do day in and day out for our customers,” Cooper says. “Grundfos has been a fantastic place to work, and whatever course the business takes now, it is set for an exciting period of high performance.”

ContiTech plans $7.2 million plant expansion

ContiTech will build a $7.2 million addition to its industrial hose plant in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Construction is scheduled to begin in the late first quarter of 2016 and be completed by the end of the year.

"We have plans to add 30,000 square feet to our plant, and that includes an additional production line that will increase our total floor area and our capacity by 20 percent,” says Rick Anderson, plant manager. “We anticipate that the expansion will enable us to add about 12 to 14 workers.”

Purchased in 1977, the plant employs about 200 workers.

Hydra-Flex names sales manager

Hydra-Flex named Joshua Pelovsky its national industrial sales manager. He will focus on hydroexcavation and industrial cleaning products and be based out of Hydra-Flex’s corporate headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota. 

Isuzu sets truck, parts sales record

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America set sales records in 2015 for sales of Isuzu  commercial trucks and parts. Isuzu dealers in the United States sold 20,725 Isuzu trucks in 2015, a 10.5 percent gain in Isuzu N-Series sales versus 2014. The company also sold 5.5 percent more parts in the U.S. than it did in 2014.

“After celebrating the 30th anniversary of Isuzu trucks here in 2014, what better way to start our fourth decade in the United States market than with record-breaking sales,” says Shaun C. Skinner, executive vice president and general manager of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America.

“Thanks to the strength of our product, the loyalty of our customers and the dedication of our dealers, we expect to be setting more records for many years to come.”

Jenny electric air compressors receive UL certification 

Electric air compressors by Jenny Products has been certified to UL 1450 and C22.2 No. 68-09 safety standards covering motor-operated air compressors, vacuum pumps and painting equipment for the United States and Canada. The requirements met for the certification were issued by CSA (Canadian Standards Association), which found that Jenny air compressors met the high safety standards of the UL 1450 code.

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