This week we had an opportunity to visit with Kohler Co. to review our Corporate Partnership. While there, I had a chance to learn more about Kohler’s corporate history that dates back to 1873 with the purchase of a foundry in Wisconsin that produced a variety of cast-iron and steel products. Ten year later they added a product: the enameled cast-iron “horse trough/hog scalder,” which when outfitted with legs, could serve as a bathtub. Parenthetically, PHCC’s proud history with Kohler Co. dates back to 1919, when it received financial support from then-Kohler President Walter J. Kohler that led to the successful formation of the Trade Extension Bureau by the National Association of Master Plumbers (now PHCC). (A Heritage Unique: A History of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association (1999), page 38) Beyond our relationship, however, I learned something that I wanted to pass along.
It became clear to me as I walked Kohler’s Design Center and other buildings, that Kohler does not simply manufacture bath and kitchen fixtures and china (amongst many other diverse products), but rather, Kohler is in the lifestyle business as defined by their customers. This makes sense since they were the first to build a master planned community in what is now Kohler Village. They have not lost sight of their larger mission, which is to contribute to an environment of comfort- or what they refer to as “gracious living.” This got me thinking about PHCC’s larger mission- the “advancement and education of the plumbing and HVACR industry for the health, safety, and comfort of society and the protection of the environment.”
PHCC members are not simply professionally-trained installers of plumbing and gas infrastructure, bath and kitchen fixtures and china, and/or HVAC equipment, but actively contribute to a larger purpose: the comfort of society while protecting the health and safety of the nation. Sometimes in our daily routines, we can forget that we pursue a purpose that is much bigger than ourselves. This purpose permeates the entire Federation, which not only provides “access to code representation, protection from unfair utility competition, workforce development and legislative/regulatory representation protecting members’ interests” (Retrieved from the World Wide Web on Feb. 1, 2017: http://www.pmmag.com/articles/90285-phcc-helping-members-find-success), but also at a transcendental level, delivers greater value to society because of its partnerships with companies like Kohler (est. 1873), Bradford White (est. 1881), Federated Insurance (est. 1904), InSinkErator (est. 1927), Viega (est. 1899) and Milwaukee Tool (est. 1924), as well as other well-established industry partners.
The industry cannot remain progressive without the collaborative efforts between the p-h-c industry and the PHCC Federation (est. 1883) and its Enhanced Service Groups, the PHCC Educational Foundation (est. 1987), and the PHCC Auxiliary (est. 1918) and hence, advance the comfort of society and the protection of the environment. What we all do together is honorable and is worth a moment upon which to reflect and of which to be proud.