Meet 10 more women who are making positive impacts in the PHCP-PVF industry. 


Name: Christen (Congleton) Allen

Company:Elkay Mfg.(Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.)

Years with company:5

Position:National Residential Development Manager

What do you like about working for Elkay?:I am one of the lucky ones who honestly can say I love my job. I travel across the country and meet with reps, showrooms and designers to educate them on our products and programs. I’m a people person so sharing in the excitement of learning new things and creating opportunities is very rewarding. One of my favorite things is meeting with our customers and swapping fun stories about the showroom. I also am privileged to work for a company that has as one of its core values, “Our strength is in our people.” Elkay very seriously upholds that value.


Name: Karen Bruggenthies

Company:Kelly Pipe(Santa Fe Springs, Calif.)

Years with company:11

Position:Denver (Colo.) Branch Manager

What do you like about working at Kelly Pipe?:The people I work with are, without question, my favorite part of the job. The steel pipe industry has friendly, knowledgeable and genuinely interesting people from top to bottom. I also appreciate the confidence Kelly Pipe puts in its people. They understand our business is not a “one size fits all” proposition and give us the freedom to tailor our business to fit our clientele. It’s wonderful to work for a company that both trusts and empowers its employees. Kelly Pipe also does a great job allowing people to advance within the company. It’s nice to know if you work hard and have a desire to grow, you have opportunities open to you.


Name: Mary G. Burke

Company:Burke Agency(Commerce Township, Mich.)

Years with company:20

What made you get involved in the industry?:I spent the first 13 years of my career in the telecommunications industry. While on leave with my third child, John and Brian Burke presented an opportunity that would enable me to initially work part-time and grow in responsibility and hours in my position as my family grew older and more independent. Coming from a large corporate environment, it was refreshing to see how nimble a smaller organization could be. Moving from high tech to plumbing was a bit of a transition but the truth is this industry is exploding with innovative life-improving products and dynamic gifted people.


Name: Diane Early

Company:American Pipe & Supply(Birmingham, Ala.)

Years with company:4


What made you get involved in the industry?:I didn’t want my career as an accountant to be limited to auditing, tax or financial statement preparation. My idea of a career was to be more involved in a company than just debits and credits. As an employee of a supply house, my role as controller extends into operations of the business allowing me to interact with all the departments of our company. Gaining knowledge of how our company operates from top to bottom not only allows me to do my job better, it allows me the opportunity to better support our company as a whole.


Name: Stephanie Ewing

Company:Watts Water Technologies(North Andover, Mass.)

Years with company:15

Position:Director, Strategic Partnerships

Your sales pitch to a young woman who might be considering a career in the industry?:Business is business. If you can open your mind to the possibilities, you can be very successful in this industry. While not glamorous, our industry is necessary and very welcoming. Many have been paving the path for you, so climb aboard. I promise you it will be a great experience.


Name: Rebecca Falish

Company:InSinkErator(Racine, Wis.)

Years with company:10

Position:Director, East

What made you get involved in the industry? My grandfather and great-grandfather were plumbers, so it was in my blood. After working inside sales, I quickly realized I wanted more from this industry. I knew it would be a challenge since there were so few women. Therefore, I quit my inside position, put myself through college and came back with a mission — a mission I still am on and enjoying every day.


Name: Melanie Felladore

Company:Torrco(Waterbury, Conn.)

Years with company:17

Position:Human Resources, Benefits and Safety Manager

Your sales pitch to a young woman who might be considering a career in the industry?:Women have made significant strides in the past couple decades in our industry. They have pushed past the barriers they had faced and have proven they can perform and succeed in any position in our industry. As the years have passed, I have witnessed the shift in women’s roles. Women are now accepted and respected in our industry and hold positions in all facets of our business. Our industry is progressive and ever-evolving. When the economy weakens, people always will need the services that we provide from manufacturing to distribution to installation.


Name: Jill Brock Hurd

Company:All-Tex Pipe and Supply(Dallas)

Years with company:33


Your sales pitch to a young woman who might be considering a career in the industry?:My pitch is gender-neutral. I have read the staggering statistic that one in every two people in our industry will be eligible to retire within five years. What an opportunity for new talent looking for an industry with a career path of accelerated advancement and responsibilities at an earlier age. Growing companies are looking for you and your talents. We want every brain in the game. To women specifically, don’t assume it’s a battle. Bring your competency, your perspective and come to work.


Name: Vickie Johnson

Company:WinWholesale(Dayton, Ohio)

Years with company:22

Position:Director of Support and Training

Your sales pitch to a young woman who might be considering a career in the industry?:I would ask the young woman if she wants and ordinary career or a career that makes a real difference both personally and professionally. At WinWholesale we have extremely accomplished and successful women who possess careers as varied as running local wholesale companies, distribution sales, operations management, vendor relations, computer programming, payroll, accounts payable/receivable, credit and marketing that make an important difference not only for the company but the wholesale industry as well. In wholesaling there is no limit to the opportunity if she is willing to work hard.


Name: Stacey M. McCaughey

Company:MKS Pipe & Valve Co.(Kansas City, Kan.)

Years with company:2

Position:Purchasing & Inventory Manager

Your sales pitch to a young woman who might be considering a career in the industry?:Be enthusiastic, motivated and most of all have passion. Don’t be afraid to ask “why” or “how.” Be confident in what you know and what you don’t know. Have a mentor that also acts as a sponsor — someone who will help guide and teach you as well as promote you to others. Volunteer when opportunities are presented and network, network, network!