Even though our company’s roots are more than 140 years old, it was July of 1992 when Bradford White reaffirmed its commitment to American manufacturing and declared allegiance to the wholesale distribution and professional installation of our products.

According to then-CEO Bob Carnevale, upon reflection of establishing such commitments, “Many didn’t believe there was enough distributor loyalty to support this philosophy — some predicted the new company wouldn't last 18 months.”

Now, 30 years into this commitment, we have never looked back. Proudly, Bradford White remains wholesale only and For the Pro®, and we’ve been able to do so because of our ongoing commitment to serving our customers, distributor and contractor loyalty, and alliances with influential industry organizations such as the American Supply Association. As ASA and Bradford White look toward the next 30 years for our industry, the future in promising, but certainly not without its challenges.

One challenge in particular, workforce development, concerns both ASA and Bradford White for our industry at large.

In the fall of 2019, ASA formally launched Building One Future, an overarching theme for initiatives such as TALENT, D.NEXT and VITALITY. From these efforts, one of the three critical issues that emerged for ASA as a significant threat to its members and the industry was human capital.

According to ASA, over the next decade, 60,000 to 100,000 employees with the appropriate competencies will be needed to ensure successful leadership succession and a reliable pipeline of qualified candidates to fill jobs, as anticipated workforce retirements threaten to gut the industry.

To address these issues within the supplier sector, ASA also created Supply Industry Careers, a website to help its members bolster employee recruitment efforts and reach. To date, more than 700 unique jobs have been posted by member companies. This website, along with ASA member access to the Recruiter Toolbox, a robust resource filled with a variety of helpful material to drive interest in supplier career opportunities, helps address the current and projected shortfalls in securing new employees.

With equal concern for recruiting and building industry talent, this year Bradford White announced its launch of Industry Forward, a charitable initiative to advance public awareness of the importance and value of the plumbing and HVAC industry, including skilled trades, manufacturing and distribution.

The central point of this initiative is that all of us — manufacturers, reps, suppliers, contractors and more — are affected by the challenge of bringing on new talent. We believe there are many qualified people out there who are available to join the great people already making a difference in our industry, but they simply are not aware of the wonderful opportunities that exist in this industry that is so vital to the health, safety, sanitation, comfort and infrastructure of our society.

ASA and its members, and Bradford White, are among the leaders who are stepping up to the plate to improve the well-being and future viability of our industry as a whole — for everybody. Those of us who have weathered the various storms of past and recent years know we could not have done it without one another. The interdependencies within our industry for mutual success are many and that trend will continue. Thank you to ASA and all its supplier, representative and manufacturer members who contribute their resources for the overall enrichment of the plumbing and HVAC industry.

We are doing a lot of wonderful things, but the job is far from over!