Joining Plumbing Manufacturers International at the start of 2022, Uponor North America is set to work alongside other PMI members to meet challenges relating to labor, supply chain, sustainability, and more.
“We are constantly looking for new employees in our offices and factories, as well as providing our customers with solutions and support as they compete for labor in these challenging times,” said Kate Olinger, Director of Industry and Regulatory Affairs at Uponor. “Supply chain issues are also a concern, from sourcing raw materials, trucking and freight issues, as well as upholding our part in the supply chain of supporting our customers.”
Olinger spoke about the intersection of workforce and sustainability, which is a key strategic initiative for Uponor. “When we’re interviewing candidates, they want to understand our commitment to sustainability—our commitment to people, planet, and profit and having all of those in balance. We are actively working to improve our planet and reduce our footprint while planning for the long-term future of our company for our customers, employees and partners.”
“Uponor is an outstanding addition to PMI’s roster of members, which produce 90 percent of the nation’s plumbing products,” said PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole. “PMI priorities, particularly those relating to workforce development and climate change, support the strategic focus of Uponor on these and other issues.”
The primary product offering of Uponor is cross-linked polyethylene—or PEX-a—plumbing and heating systems with residential and commercial applications, Olinger explained. Recently, Uponor has started offering PP-RCT, a large-diameter mechanical piping solution that works seamlessly with PEX systems. “We offer the pipe, fittings, valves, and accessories for these systems, creating a complete polymer solution. Our products are often ‘behind the wall,’ supplying the water to fixtures and equipment in a project,” she added. With its global headquarters in Vantaa, Finland, Uponor has its North American headquarters in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
As a new PMI member, Uponor is looking to augment its memberships in the Plastics Pipe Institute, Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association, and other organizations, Olinger stated. “PMIs commitment to monitoring and influencing codes on a local, state, and national level is of interest. Also, the work that PMI is doing from a government affairs standpoint is also going to be important; there will be more and more opportunities on a national and local government stage to help drive sustainability forward and have a seat at the table,” she explained.
Uponor staff who will be actively participating in PMI in addition to Olinger are Doug Fulton, Vice President, New Venture Development; Kevin Wong, Canadian Codes Manager; and staff working in codes management, she said.
Olinger mentioned research and development being done by the National Institute of Standards and Testing and IAPMO’s WE•Stand group, as well as potential updates to Hunter’s Curve to make water supply lines more water efficient, as technical work requiring input from companies and associations throughout the plumbing industry. “Not only can we spread around some of the work that needs to be done,” she explained, “we can make sure it’s done in a cohesive way.”