Here are some highlights from both shows.

Both the joint conference of the American Supply Association and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Con-tractors - National Association (Network '06) and the consolidated trade show for kitchen and bath, plumbing, PVF, heating and air conditioning, hydonics and radiant known as ISH North America met in Chicago in late September.


ASA and PHCC-NA teamed up again this year for Network '06, held at Chicago's historic Palmer House Hilton hotel. The event was held Sept. 26 to 30, overlapping with the biennial ISH North America trade show at Chicago's McCormick Place Sept. 28 to 30.

Network '06 Opening Reception

A gala opening reception for both ASA and PHCC was hosted by Elkay Manufacturing and In-Sink-Erator on Tuesday, Sept. 26, in Chicago.

Pictured here: (Left to right) Scott Franz, publisher of SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES, met with Ron Katz, Jack Krecek, Jack Edl, Stan Bandur and Bill Blaine of Elkay Manufacturing Co., at the opening reception for Network '06 in Chicago.

Kathy and Bob Higgason (pictured left) posed with their son, Mike, and his wife Kristin, at the opening re-ception. The Higgasons own National Plumbing & Heating Supply in Chicago, including a bath and kitchen showroom.

Keynote Speakers

James Bradley (pictured right), author of the book, “Flags Of Our Fathers,” was a keynote speaker at Network '06 in Chicago. Bradley's father was one of the six young Marines who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima. Their action was captured in an historic photo.

Oceanographer and explorer Dr. Robert Ballard (pictured left), who discovered and explored the wreck of the Ti-tanic, was the keynote speaker on Friday, Sept. 28, at Network '06. He spoke of his underwater ex-periences and discussed the JASON project, a nonprofit organization created to inspire students to pursue learning in science, math and technology.

ASA General Session

Rick Banner of Keyline Sales pictured here (left), current president of AIM/R, presented the 2006 Golden Eagle award to Allen Neher, national key accounts manager at Elkhart Products, at ASA's general session during Network '06 in Chicago. Neher, who joined Elkhart in 1964, was recognized for his continuous support of manufacturers reps and the value they add to the supply chain.

John E. Martin

John E. Martin of Anvil International was the fifth recipient of the Keenan Lifetime Achievement Award and the first member of the vendor community to be so honored. Don Maloney of Coburn Supply and Inge Calderon, executive vice president of ASA, presented the award. In their tribute speech, they pointed out that Martin, who retired from Anvil in 2003 but now serves as a consultant to the company, has been an advocate of education and training and has raised money for the Neu-pert Endowment Fund; promoted the importance of streamlining the wholesale channel and reducing costs; served on the ASA board and chaired the Vendor Member Division; and serves on the ASA executive committee.

Richard Karn

Hospitality Events

Richard Karn, who starred as Al Borland on the TV show “Home Improvement,” was the featured guest at the A.O. Smith and State Water Heaters event.

Globe Union's Gerber Plumbing Products and Danze hosted a hospitality event at the Palmer House Hilton during Network '06. Pictured here, left to right, Michael Werner, president/CEO of Globe Union Group, met with Linda Koenig, MIS director, Omni Corporate Services Ltd., Ila Lewis, chairman, Gerber Plumbing Products LLC; Robert Hoff, president, and Harvey Wasserman, director of mar-keting services, both with Omni Corporate Services Ltd.


The 2006 version of ISH North America held at Chicago's McCormick Place featured more than 550 exhibitors, of which about 180 were first-timers. The show floor was broken up into heating, commercial/industrial PVF, and bath & kitchen/plumbing. In addition to exhibits and demonstra-tions, ISH North America offered a full slate of seminars, covering business management, environ-mental issues, HVACR, plumbing and radiant heating.

ISH North America's New Product Showcase

Among the manufacturers to receive awards for best new product were the following.

Pictured here (L to R): Scott Franz, publisher of SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES; Marc Pommerening, Pommerening Armaturenwerk (PAW); Viktor Tchernikov and Bill McLean of Solarnetix; and Jean Eslick, regional sales manager of SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES. Pommerening Armaturenwerk and Solarnetix won first place in the hydronic heating category in the New Product Showcase at ISH North America in Chicago. Their entry was the PAW expandable multi-zone hydronic system.

Caleffi North America was awarded second place in the hydronic heating category with its discal solar air separator.

Gerber Plumbing Products LLC won first place for its new Wicker Park faucet collection, featuring contemporary, minimalist European styling.

Danze was awarded second place for its Sirius Collection of bath and kitchen plumbing products. The faucet spout has a distinctive ribbon-like shape for a sleek, sculptured look.

Uponor booth

On The Show Floor At ISH North America

The Uponor (formerly Wirsbo) booth at ISH North America drew visitors to see its PEX plumbing systems, Aquapex tubing and ProPEX fittings. The company showed a radiant heating system and a new software system.

Vincent J. McNeill (left) of Technical Concepts walked the show floor with Don Arnold, long-time SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES columnist and author of the “College of Product Knowledge” series. Arnold was one of the seminar speakers at ISH North America.

Canfield booth

Canfield Technologies' booth displayed its family of lead-free solders and fluxes. L to R: Ed & Phil Kornstein, Canfield's Mfg. Reps; Bob McIntire, President/General Manager; Ben Odom, Kaydon Group Controller; and Vinnie Kotowski, Sales Manager.

Navien America displayed a water distribution system that can be used with any heat source to heat space and domestic water at the same time.

Invited students

The American Supply Association invited students from five industrial distribution schools to attend Network '06 and ISH North America and meet with prospective employers in the PHCP industry. Pictured are students from the University of Nebraska Kearney, accompanied by Scott Jochum (far left), Department of Industrial Technology, Industrial Distribution, Student and Industry Relations.


The Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH)

Ralph Suppa, pictured here, (left) CIPH president and general manager, welcomed Messe Frankfurt executives to the Maple Leaf reception. Pictured are Jennifer Salvadori, show manager, ISH North America; David Audrain, president, and Daniel McKinnon, vice president, all with Messe Frankfurt.

Deschenes and Suppa

Martin Deschenes, pictured here, (left) of Canadian wholesale firm Groupe Deschenes, spoke with Ralph Suppa, president and general manager of CIPH, at the CIPH Maple Leaf reception.


The Radiant Panel Association held its annual business meeting and conference in conjunction with ISH North America for the first time this year.

Along with its well-rounded catalog of courses and seminars, and its annual System Showcase Awards, the organization also featured prominently on the show floor with its popular Radiant House, which was co-sponsored by Plumbing & Mechanical, SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES and PM Engineer.

From the start, RPA shed light on its main focus: education. Full-day Radiant Basics and Radiant Precision courses were offered on Sept. 28 and Sept. 30. On the morning of Sept. 29, after a breakfast buffet, four concurrent seminars instructed members on topics ranging from high-velocity and radiant cooling, to discussions on protecting yourself from liability as well as expanding your business to include green technology.

RPA followed the seminars with its annual business meeting, where it was announced that two members of its board of directors had resigned: Secretary Dan Chiles and Treasurer Tom Meyer. Attendees were informed that board member replacements would be voted on and announced soon.

Executive Director Larry Drake reiterated what RPA was all about: an association organized exclusively for educational purposes. He then highlighted the various learning opportunities and venues available to RPA members, including ROPES downloadable educational series, RPA certification courses, the RPA home study “survival kit,” and the new, which features live online seminars members can attend from their own computer.

Briefly, the group discussed next year's REX tradeshow and conference that will take place in Hartford, CT, in August.

On the ISH show floor, RPA's Radiant House featured live demonstrations from various industry vendors: Lochinvar Corp., Viega and Taco, as well as a few newcomers. EVH-Weidmann's ParaMax insulation was hoisted easily into the open ceiling studs, while Energy Saving Products Ltd.'s small-diameter high-velocity heating and cooling system went up rather quickly as well. New Product Showcase first-place winner in the Plumbing and Piping category, Sun Hydronics Inc., showed off its retrofit solar energy storage equipment.

- Katie Rotella

Katie Rotella is senior editor of Plumbing & Mechanical magazine, sister publication to SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES.


ISH North America show organizers Messe Frankfurt held a press conference Sept. 28 to talk about the upcoming ISH Frankfurt, which will open in Germany March 6-10 of next year. Iris Jeglitza-Moshage, Messe Frankfurt vice president of technical fairs, spoke about the show, which is held at the world's third-largest fairgrounds. ISH Frankfurt will encompass most of the grounds. At the 2005 show, there were roughly 2,350 exhibitors from 57 countries and nearly 200,000 visitors from 114 countries (about 80,000 from the trades).

Thirteen exhibitors from the United States were on hand in 2005 (three Canadian companies), down from the 18 in 2003. Almost 2,000 visitors from North America were at the 2005 show; about 1,500 in 2003.

ISH Frankfurt has three areas of interest: energy and building technology; air-conditioning and ventilation under the Aircontec brand (expanded to include fire protection (Fireprotec) and industrial cooling (IKK)); and The Bathroom Experience, which is more consumer- and designer-oriented. New in 2007 will be renewable energies, which will show that renewables combined with modern technology can result in increased energy efficiency and lower energy costs. Messe Frankfurt has found that manufacturers of these technologies are “highly interested” in reaching plumbing installers and incorporating these technologies in today's world.

Jeglitza-Moshage explained that in Germany and most of Europe, there is very little new construction going on - Europe is already “built up.” The primary need is to modernize and retrofit housing and commercial buildings, and this is what ISH Frankfurt focuses on.

She also unveiled a new program for European manufacturers - Messe Frankfurt Against Copying - to inform them about their rights regarding counterfeit products. European countries do not have copyright laws, so product copying is a big problem.

Also speaking was Andreas Lücke, managing director of BDH, the Federal Industrial Association of Germany for House, Energy and Environmental Technology. He discussed some of the reasons behind the renewable energies section of ISH Frankfurt and some of the technologies being used in Europe.

He said that for the last 50 years, Europe has had a very high cost of heating oil and gas, about four times as high as in the United States. And domestic heating accounts for most of the energy usage. So better, more efficient technologies had to be designed.

One product that we are starting to see in North America is condensing boilers. These boilers are dominating the market in some parts of Europe, Lücke said. When you add renewable energies, such as solar power, geothermal systems, and biofuels, the efficiencies go even higher.

- Kelly Faloon

Kelly Faloon is managing editor of Plumbing & Mechanical, a sister publication to SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES.