The Hydronics Institute celebrated its Centennial with a three-day event at the Seaview Hotel & Golf Club resort in Galloway, N.J.
A group of nearly 100 attended the event that featured a keynote address from Dan Holohan, pme columnist, after a breakfast. Holohan told “the stories you might not know” about how the HI group and the hydronics industry came to be.
Holohan received nearly 30 rounds of laughter from the captivated audience during his speech. He stressed that the hydronics – and the plumbing – industry is “telling our stories wrong.”
Holohan spoke to the group about how in early 20th century literature, someone who provided heat and comfort was described as a magician. As he read books that were published later, the stories about heat providers basically went away. Worse yet, when an author tried to describe a heating system it was often printed incorrectly.
“We, as an industry, became invisible,” he said. “That’s because we did our job so well. Seventy-two degrees is not a right in life. We’ve stopped telling that story. We need to tell stories.”
After Holohan’s address, many attendees partook in a round of golf at the resort’s course where many presidents have played, including Dwight D. Eisenhower. In the evening, people gathered for drinks followed by a sit-down dinner. Many of the attendees hailed from the Northeast, where the bulk of hydronics business is conducted, so competitors sat down and enjoyed dinner together.
Ron Passafaro, the current chairman of HI and ECR International President and CEO, who was attending his 27th event, said that despite the competition between companies, there is a real camaraderie amongst members to grow the common cause.
“The most overwhelming aspect of this group is even though we’re competitors there is a real congenial feel to it,” Passafaro said. “That comes from the fact we are a smaller industry and we’ve been around a long time. Many of the companies started as family-run and have gone from generation to generation.
“These are genuinely good people in this room. I think everyone has an acute understanding that we deal with products that if not applied properly can hurt people. So there is goodwill to each other to make sure for society, as well as the industry, that we all put forth our best effort. No one wishes anyone any ill will. I can guarantee you that.”