St. John’s, NL — The Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) celebrated its 90-year anniversary during its annual business conference. Held from June 18 to 20, the conference offered more than 300 guests the chance to network, attend educational presentations, and, most importantly, celebrate the industry.
“Rock Solid after 90 Years” was the theme of this year’s event. From its inception in 1933, which saw CIPH founded by nine members, to 2023, with the association boasting 280 company members and 700 wholesalers, the two-day conference gave guests the chance to recognize how far the association and the industry have come.
Several past CIPH chair of the board presidents also reflected on their time with the association, submitting their thoughts into a video presented during the conference. This included Andrew Dyck, Sian Smith, Gord Becker, Paul McDonald and many others.
“A couple of things come to mind; the first is our association’s ability to connect membership, and the second is ensuring that we are the voice of the Canadian plumbing and heating industry,” said chair for 2022/2023 Matt Robinson, vice president with B.A Robinson.
During the conference, CIPH announced that David Hammond, vice president and general manager of Canada with A.O. Smith, will be its new national chair for 2023-24. Hammond will serve as the 76 chair and replaces Robinson.
During his speech, Hammond spoke on how he wants to continue collaborating with allied associations to present a strong, committed front regarding government advocacy positions around the harmonization of standards and codes with the U.S. and across Canada, as well as providing guidance in the nation’s pursuit of net zero goals for the built environment.
Reflection was a significant theme of the conference as the industry also reflected and celebrated the 35-year career of CIPH president Ralph Suppa, who will retire at the end of 2023.
“To all of our members from coast to coast to coast, thank you for your support and your investment in CIPH—without you CIPH does not exist. I am so happy to have served you and continue to serve you. Some of you have been my friends since I began in 1988 and I met some of you on Sunday for the first time, and you are all wonderful individuals, and I hope our relationships will continue as I go forward,” said Suppa.
Appointed president and general manager in 2002, Suppa has played a key role in developing CIPH programs and services since joining the association in 1988 as program manager. During his time with CIPH, Suppa continuously worked to help harmonize codes and standards and establish collaboration and unity throughout the industry.
While summing up a 35-year career is difficult, Suppa was given his flowers, gifts, and recognition. CIPH presented Suppa with the association’s highest distinction, its Honourary Life Member Award, to cap off the celebration.
Filling the shoes of Suppa won’t be an easy task, but the association stated it has 150 resumes to sort through and hope to announce the next president in late summer/early fall.
Education and the industry
Of course, a conference wouldn’t be a conference without some educational seminars and thoughtful discussions. Featured speakers at the conference included Mark McCarthy, who provided stories and the progression of Newfoundland through the years and its changes; Janice Gross Stein, who delivered her presentation on global issues; Canadian Olympic curler Brad Gushue presented on the roadmap to a rock-solid team; Jennifer Ménard-Shand presented on moving reconciliation forward, and keynote speaker Mary Walsh shared innovations and advancements made by the plumbing and heating industry professionals.
The conference also featured a hydronics luncheon hosted by the Canadian Hydronics Council (CHC). Featured speaker Rob LeForte, founder of First Lake Solutions, walked some industry members through the CHC’s vision and mission of promoting the hydronics industry and provided an update on the political climate.
The Golden Leaf Award was presented to Dahl Valve Limited, while the CHC’s Award of Merit was given to Lance MacNevin (Building and Construction of Plastics Pipe Institute).
While there was a lot of recognition and work to be had during the conference, guests could also thoroughly enjoy the Newfie way of life. CIPH hosted a “Rally in the Alley,” which saw conference guests get screeched in, learn traditional Irish dances, and sing along to some local Newfoundland songs.
The conference also had activities that included touring the Blackhead Trail and Bird Island, fishing, a tour of St. John’s and Cape Spear, and morning yoga. A formal banquet dinner and a golf tournament were also held.
The next CIPH annual business conference will take place in Kelowna, B.C., from June 16 to 18, 2024.