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Supplier & Product Update

Hinkley Announces Two-Phase Infrastructure Plan

Hinkley recently announced plans to build a 130,000-square-foot expansion to its headquarters and Central Distribution Center. The announcement coincides with Hinkley’s 100th anniversary, marking a significant investment that underscores its long-term commitment to prioritize service and quality in the global supply chain era. The expansion, the first part of a two-phase infrastructure investment plan, allows Hinkley to increase stocking inventory levels and speed up fulfillment and special-order processing.

“This investment allows us to increase inventory while expanding our warehouse and production capacity, in addition to adding light automation capabilities,” said Hinkley President Jess Wiedemer of the expansion, noting that it will support distribution partners as well as employees. “We’ll have increased product availability and ship it quickly to keep pace with heightened demand and consumer expectations.”

The second part of its infrastructure plan includes creating a 20,000-square-foot customer experience and research and development center to support product development, engineering and brand experience activities. According to Hinkley Vice President Eric Wiedemer, this phase emphasizes an ongoing dedication to product innovation and quality.

“Through this new R&D space, our partners will be able to see and impact the products coming to market while enjoying a more connected and cohesive brand experience,” he said.

Construction on the first phase is expected to begin this spring.

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Oatey Co. Names Wholesale Manufacturer Rep of the Year

Oatey Co. recently named J&K Sales the top-performing manufacturer representative for its Wholesale Business Unit in 2021, recognizing the agency’s exceptional partnership and accomplishments in support of Oatey Co. and its companies. In addition, Oatey named Chase Freeman, vice president, Spirit Group, the inaugural winner of its Bob Bender Legacy Award.

J&K Sales, whose partnership with Oatey spans nearly 20 years, earned the title of Wholesale Manufacturer Representative of the Year because of their exceptional work, perseverance and passion throughout 2021. They delivered exceptional sales results for the year, across budget targets, new-product sales and more. In addition, through consistent investments in their business, such as training, associate development and team growth, J&K has positioned themselves for ongoing success.

“Oatey’s manufacturer representatives are an extension of our team, and we are extremely grateful for their hard work and dedication,” said Patrick Aquino, vice president, Wholesale Sales at Oatey Co. “J&K Sales has built a phenomenal team in the New England states. They are strong in all segments, and I see them only getting stronger. Congratulations to them on this well-deserved honor.”

Oatey also recognized Freeman as the inaugural winner of the Bob Bender Legacy Award. Prior to his death in 2018, Bender spent his 42-year career in sales at Oatey, during which time he forged indelible relationships with customers and industry partners. His legacy and contributions will continue to serve as an example and inspiration to Oatey team members and partners for years to come.

Freeman was selected for the Bob Bender Legacy Award because of his passion, creative energy and willingness to go above and beyond for Oatey in both the rough-plumbing and waterworks markets. His ability to think outside the box enables him to drive impressive sales results, and he consistently demonstrates perseverance in support of Oatey and its brand.

“Congratulations to Chase on being the well-deserved winner of the Bob Bender Legacy Award,” said Aquino. “His dedication, no-quit attitude and enthusiasm for this industry are a true reflection of Bob’s legacy, and I know Bob would be proud to see Chase receive this recognition. We are so appreciative of his contributions.”

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A. O. Smith’s Jim Stern Named Water Quality Association President

A. O. Smith Corp. announces Jim Stern, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, as the new president of the Water Quality Association (WQA). Stern will help the association grow through its new strategic plan, which includes advancing the knowledge and professionalism of industry participants, increasing advocacy and driving public awareness and knowledge.

“I can think of no industry or membership more poised to have a major impact on public health and safety than the water treatment industry and WQA,” Stern said. “We can work together on public awareness, product standards, certifications, and policing bad practices to advance the cause of the industry. We all have a similar goal: We want to make water better for people.”

In 2010, Stern played a key role in helping A. O. Smith enter the water treatment industry. Since 2016, he led the acquisitions of six North American water treatment companies, including Aquasana, Water-Right, Hague Quality Water and Master Water Conditioning Corp., all manufacturing and distributing point-of-use and point-of-entry water treatment products.

Stern earned his BA from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. He also completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Badger Meter Inc. Stern has served four years on the WQA Board of Directors, two of them on the Board of Governors.

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Suzanne Chreene Receives ASA Alice A. Martin Woman of the Year Award

The American Supply Association’s Alice A. Martin Woman of the Year Award was presented to Delta Faucet Co. Senior Director, National Trade Sales Suzanne Chreene at the recent ASA Women in Industry ELEVATE2022 spring conference in Louisville. The Alice A. Martin Woman of the Year Award recognizes women in the PHCP/PVF industry who have a record of significant accomplishment within the industry and embody the character of the late Alice Martin. Examples of this include embracing education and encouraging inventive ideas, promoting women within the industry, inspiring others through work and example and being a bold leader that others emulate. Alice Martin had been with NIBCO since 1984, serving in a variety of roles. She was the president and cofounder of the Rex and Alice A. Martin Foundation, a charitable foundation headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, which donates to major projects for children. Throughout the years, Martin was honored many times for her leadership and philanthropy. As a champion for women’s rights, she founded the Women’s Leadership Group at NIBCO and was also active in ASA’s Women in Industry division dating back to its inception.

Chreene, current vice chairwoman of the ASA Women in Industry Advisory Group, has served the industry for more than 35 years, including for the last 20 years at Delta Faucet where she has held various positions within the company’s sales organization. Chreene also serves on the national board for HomeAid America and has served multiple years in a leadership role with ASA’s Women in Industry division.

Chreene said winning the award goes beyond the individual recognition. “For those who know me well, being recognized with an award is somewhat uncomfortable for me,” she explained. “I much prefer to be supporting and influencing other women in their careers vs. being out in front getting recognition. Winning this award means so much to me that those women and men that I have supported, encouraged and mentored along the way believe that I helped them enough on their journey that they took the time to nominate and write some heartfelt messages about the impact I have been able to make in their careers. That is what makes this award so special to me. I feel like I am walking that path that Alice Martin set out for us all advocating for women in our industry.”

Brenda Cashdollar of rep firm Synergy Sales NW and Emily McDonald of rep firm Southwest Sales in nominated Chreene for the honor and said she is “a champion for women, always encouraging them to ‘go for it’ in their careers and ignore gender barriers.”

“Her mentorship, leadership and teaching the importance of women in industry has created multiple groups of women that meet regularly to build each other up, network and grow in their careers,” Cashdollar and McDonald said in their nomination comments. “She has created an understanding of the importance of growth and encouragement of diversity in the workplace and the importance of having women at every proverbial table.”

Current ASA Women in Industry Advisory Group Chairwoman Kala McDonald (The Collins Companies) and Past Chairwoman Rebecca Falish (InSinkErator) said Chreene’s contributions to ASA’s Women in Industry Division have been critically important. “Suzanne is extremely thoughtful and judicious about everything Women in Industry puts our name on,” they said. “She believes that our division has a responsibility to bring and encourage the future leaders and she makes sure that we never fall short of that mission. She is always encouraging and willing to contribute her time and effort.”

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Noritz Offers Wireless On-Demand Push Button Kit to Complement NRCR Series

With Noritz’s NRCR Residential Condensing Tankless Water Heater, introduced in 2019, hot-water distribution throughout the home is virtually instantaneous, providing hot water on demand using its built-in recirculation pump. More recently, Noritz has taken its innovative NRCR one step further with the new Wireless On-Demand Push Button Kit.

The kit, sold separately as an add-on accessory, brings the convenience of readily accessible hot water with a simple touch of a button, converting the NRCR to a push-button operation. The kit includes a wireless receiver, two wireless transmitters to start and stop the on-demand recirculation mode, batteries, a wire connector, and the additional accessories needed to complete the installation.

The receiver is wired to the water heater, so that when the transmitter button is pressed, the recirculation pump activates, providing water to prime the line. This technology reduces system and recirculation pump runtime, providing energy savings.

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Jomar Valve Unveils New Thermostatic Balancing Valve

Jomar Valve recently announced an addition to its balancing valve product line—the RecircSetter™.

The RecircSetter™ is a field-adjustable thermostatic balancing valve for hot water recirculation system applications. Made of corrosion resistant lead-free alloy, it utilizes a thermostatic balancing cartridge that eliminates the need for pressure ports and allows the valve to balance on temperature rather than pressure or flow. It is certified to NSF 61 and NSF 371 for use in potable hot water systems.

The RecircSetter™ comes standard with a thermostatic balancing cartridge and drywell thermometer with a desired balancing temperature range from 95°F to 140°F, and can be equipped with an optional thermostatic disinfection cartridge for thermal disinfection treatment at a fixed temperature of 160°F. It’s a balancing solution to achieve uniform hot water at all fixtures regardless of branch location.

The RecircSetter™ is available in six different models with various configurations. Options include:

  • Disinfection cartridges
  • Axial valves
  • Actuators for a building maintenance system
  • Check valves
  • Dual isolation with integral check valves

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Cut it Out with REED Guillotine Pipe Cutters

Joining the slimmed-down line of Guillotine Pipe Cutters is the updated REED HPC4+ model. Weighing in at a trim 11 pounds, this tool cuts square on medium and high-density PE pipe used by water and gas utilities.

Manual cutters slice smoothly through PE. Accurate cuts from REED Guillotine Cutters mean no facing is needed for electrofusion and only minimal facing for butt fusion joints. All aluminum construction results in lighter tool weight and greater rigidity. HPC4+ cuts through 1-1/2” through 4” HDPE, both DIPS and IPS. Aluminum rails and crosshead with hard anodized finish reduce wear on sliding surfaces.

Durable, U.S.-made, coated blade produces many square cuts with no chips to clog valves and small openings. Slight taper on blade allows an unchallenging start to the cut and holds form for an impressive, straight cut. Blades are straightforward to sharpen or replace.

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New Dielectric Union Products from Nibco

Pro-Pal® Dielectric Union Ball™ and Dielectric Union Ball Drain simplify installations with integrated FIP dielectric unions that mitigate the risk of galvanic corrosion and satisfy local code requirements.

The Webstone press dielectric union is also now available in new 1¼” to 2” sizes. All products feature lead-free dezincification-resistant brass and press products are compatible with popular press tools.

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Dearborn® True Blue® Bath-Waste Kits Now Available in Brass Material

Dearborn®, a part of the Oatey family of companies, recently announced that its True Blue® Bath Waste Kits are now available in brass material, further expanding its already extensive offering of bath-waste kits.

Designed with the plumber in mind, the True Blue line is made with integrated locking features that reduce the number of tools needed for installation, saving time and eliminating frustration.

Dearborn® True Blue® Brass is ideal for markets where brass installations are required for commercial and residential applications. It is suitable for standard tub depths up to 16” and whirlpool depths up to 24”.

Dearborn® True Blue® Brass is available in rough and full kits with solder and slip joint connections. The full kit includes a test kit, chrome trim kit, overflow assembly, waste shoe assembly and a solder, or slip joint tee.

Constructed of brass, the True Blue Drain Spud is built for durability and longevity. Featuring two heavy-duty crossbars, it provides a greater flow rate than standard, four-crossbar designs. The Drain Spud can accept the trim veneer for easy finish change and replacement and is compatible with all existing True Blue components.

True Blue Bath Waste is available in full, half, rough and trim kits with options for ABS or PVC and touch toe, uni-lift and push n’ pull stopper choices. The trim kits come in designer finishes, including matte black, chrome, white, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze and brushed gold. Brass options are available with a standard slip-joint tee, NY tee, solder tee and female outlet tee.

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T&S Launches Stainless-Steel Line EverSteel

T&S Brass and Bronze Works recently launched EverSteel, a new line of stainless-steel products.

EverSteel products are lead-free, designed to meet all global certification requirements and crafted from premium stainless steel. The new line comes with a five-year warranty.

EverSteel pre-rinse units feature T&S’ new stainless steel spray valve, a patented design with the highest cleaning power and durability of any spray valve on the market.

EverSteel options are available in several product categories, including manual faucets, pre-rinse units, spray valves, glass fillers and accessories.

In North America, EverSteel meets the following compliance/certifications: ASME A112.18.1 / CSA B125.1, NSF 61, and NSF 372.

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