Plumber Industry News: Kinetico Co-Founder Passes Away

Ferguson associates assist Flint residents; Dwyer celebrates VetFran anniversary
Plumber Industry News: Kinetico Co-Founder Passes Away
William Prior

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William C. Prior, 85, co-founder of Kinetico home water treatment systems, passed away Feb. 28. In addition to his work with Kinetico, Prior was active in the Water Quality Association (WQA).

He was director of the WQA and served on the Ethics Committee, the International Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee. Prior was a founder and charter member of the World Assembly Division of WQA, including past chairman of the division’s Executive Committee, and continuing on the division’s Advisory Board of Directors. He also served as chairman of the Small Systems Committee and was longtime member of the AWWA/WQA Liaison Committee.

Prior was inducted into the WQA Hall of Fame in 1991, and received the Lifetime Membership Award in 1999. He served as director of the Greater Bay Area Foundation, The Great Lakes Basin Conservancy and the Pointe au Baril Islander’s Association. For the Georgian Bay Association, he served on various committees and consulted on water quality issues. He was also a past trustee of Proctor Academy, a private high school in Andover, New Hampshire.

“Words cannot describe Bill’s impact on us all and on the industry he helped shape and transform,” says Toby Thomas, president and CEO of Kinetico.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to have worked alongside Bill. I take comfort in knowing Bill’s tenacious spirit and deep legacy will live on in the impactful deeds and in the important work we all lead.” 

Prior graduated from Case Institute of Technology in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and business and served in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. He spent the last eight years of his career at Tangent Company, a business he founded with the express vision of engineering a perpetual supply of safe, clean water. 

“I am an engineer who lost my job, and unexpectedly found myself making water softeners,” he once said. “But people love soft, clean water. They love good drinking water, and how rewarding for us to be part of an industry that actually makes people’s lives better. More than that, the world I found in this industry was so exciting, so fun, and the sales folks so passionate that every day has been an adventure. I’m proud to be part of an industry alive with brilliant new technologies, providing benefits to a broader and broader circle of markets, and with the capability to make the world a better place in significant ways.”

Ferguson assists Flint residents

Teamwork makes the dream work. It’s a mantra we all live by at Ferguson. It’s why associates in the Detroit, Michigan, area went the extra mile to help their neighbors in Flint, who are struggling with contaminated water, including the thousands of children exposed to lead and potentially devastating health issues. It all started with donating water to the American Red Cross, Ferguson’s disaster relief partner.

“Flint is only about an hour from where we live,” says Andrew Sunstrum, who volunteered to make the 50-mile journey north to deliver the clean drinking water. “We were more than happy to help our neighbors, because it was the right thing to do.”

Ferguson is working alongside the Red Cross and many other organizations pitching in to help. While the residents wait for repairs to the water infrastructure, the State of Michigan is providing water filters to its citizens. However, the provided filters won’t work with outdated faucets.

This is where Great Lakes District Manager Casey Bradley got involved. Bradley was contacted by Flint’s Plumber Pipefitter Union Local 370 and asked to donate faucets for citizens who weren’t able to use the filters or purchase a new faucet.

“Our building is functioning more like a warehouse than a training center,” says Kevin Gaby, training coordinator for the Plumbers Local 370. “Our members are loading up their vehicles in the morning with cases of water, filters and new faucets to deliver and install for the residents of Flint. The effort has been ongoing since October. Everyone is giving of their own time and resources — it’s amazing to see the team effort. And volunteers are overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude from the community. None of this would be possible without the generous donation of fixtures for us to install. I want to thank Ferguson for its generosity from all of us at UA Local 370, and on behalf of the residents of Flint — thank you.”

Ferguson donated 210 kitchen faucets through a team effort. Sunstrum volunteered to make the delivery to Flint on a very cold and snowy morning, ensuring the faucets would arrive as soon as possible.

“I’m glad the Flint Plumber Pipefitter Union Local 370 reached out to us, and we were able to support their effort,” Bradley says.

“A lot of great plumbers are going door to door installing filters and helping the community on their own time. This is a real natural disaster, in the scope of a tornado, hurricane or earthquake. It’s going to be a long journey to recover, but help is pouring in from all directions.”

Dwyer celebrates VetFran anniversary

Dwyer Group is celebrating the 25th anniversary of VetFran, a program started by the company’s late founder Don Dwyer Sr. as a pathway to business ownership and civilian life for military veterans.

To date, the organization has awarded over $2 million in discounts to 374 veterans who have become franchise owners of a Dwyer Group service brand through VetFran since it began keeping records in 2003.

“Don was a true visionary,” says Mike Bidwell, president and CEO of Dwyer Group. “During the Persian Gulf War, he asked the very important question, ‘What are we doing to thank the men and women who are protecting our country and the free enterprise system under which we operate?’ His answer was to thank them with VetFran, offering our best financial discounts to veterans who want to own a franchise.”

The success of the program that was adopted by the International Franchise Association in Washington, D.C., now includes more than 650 franchisors across the country that have helped more than 6,000 military veterans acquire a franchise business.

Dwyer, an Air Force veteran, recognized the exemplary training of U.S. military men and women as a great skill set to translate into franchised businesses. Both utilize leadership skills, hard work and the mindset to follow a proven system.

Grundfos names VP of domestic building services 

Grundfos Pumps Corp. appointed Nathan Olds Vice President of Domestic Building Services (DBS) Trade for the United States. He will manage wholesale distribution for the company’s heating and plumbing products.

Olds has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Iowa and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, Chicago. He most recently served as vice president and general manager for the Specialty Safety Business at Honeywell International.

ServiceTitan partners with ReviewBuzz

ServiceTitan, a cloud-based mobile platform operations management software for field service technicians in the home services industry, has partnered with ReviewBuzz, creator of a management system for service businesses. The integration between ReviewBuzz’s online review generation technology and ServiceTitan’s operations management platform is expected to help drive sales, revenue and customers for home services businesses by making it easy for businesses to generate more 5-star reviews across the Internet.

“The integration with ReviewBuzz is the easiest way to obtain customer reviews automatically with ServiceTitan,” says Ara Mahdessian, CEO and co-founder of ServiceTitan. “Now our clients can seamlessly integrate customer reviews into their workflow and reap the benefits that come with great reviews, all without having to leave the ServiceTitan platform.”

Ranger Design launches buyer’s guide 

Ranger Design launched a buyer’s guide that includes over 1,000 Ranger products, including 16 new trade packages and approximately 30 new products for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Metris. A Buyer Experience assists end-users through the planning, selecting and ordering of equipment and accessories for commercial vans. This guide can be viewed online, downloaded as a PDF or requested as a hard copy.

The buyer’s guide also contains listings for safety partitions for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (made from heavy-gauge steel and available in several models), as well as the Max View Clear Top Polycarbonate safety partition. All Ranger Design safety partitions are engineered to resist maximum impact and ensure occupant safety. These rattle-free partitions can increase cabin comfort by maintaining climate control, reducing noise and allowing maximum seat travel.

Draincables Direct names sales representative

Draincables Direct of Ohio named Mark Lincoln territory sales representative Dallas, Texas. He has over 25 years experience in drain industry sales.

Ultrafine cementitious grouts receive NSF certification

US Grout’s Ultrafine SD and Ultrafine ND cementitious grouts, distributed by Avanti, received NSF International certification as conforming to the requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61 – Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects for use in contact with potable water.

US Grout’s cementitious grouts are American-made, strengthened and made with the same pumice-based Pozzolan technology the Romans used in their concrete over 2,000 years ago. Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Ultrafine is composed of a finely ground mixture of Portland cement, pumice and dispersant to penetrate fractures as small as 6 microns and as deep as 3 meters.

Send us your plumber industry news: Email personnel, business acquisitions and related plumbing news, photos and videos to Plumber at edw@colepublishing.


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