As my time as IAPMO president winds down to its final weeks, I’ve taken time to reflect on my career in the trades and how these past two years have not only represented the pinnacle, but truly something I never dreamed would have been possible all those years ago. When I was 25, just getting into the trade, I could not imagine my life would turn to what it has. It’s been amazing, going far beyond my expectations.

It has been an honor and the privilege of my life to serve as IAPMO president. This historic association gives so much to so many, whether it’s the members, the industry as a whole or the millions of people protected worldwide by our codes and standards. To have had the opportunity to lead it is something I can’t adequately put into words.

We’ve accomplished so much these past two years, both here and abroad. IWSH completed life-changing projects in several rural communities in the Navajo Nation, bringing clean water and safe sanitation to Americans most in need. We also contributed to projects in Rwanda, South Africa, Indonesia and India to help communities in need respond to the pandemic. Further, IAPMO was integrally involved in the upgrade of toilet facilities at an orphanage in Kazan, Russia, at the conclusion of the WorldSkills 2019 competition.

Another accomplishment during my tenure that makes me very proud is IAPMO receiving the President’s “E” Award for Export Service at an event in Washington, D.C. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross presented the honor to IAPMO for our efforts in Indonesia, increasing total annualized U.S. exports to the country by 85 percent. 

Of course, half of my time as president has occurred under the cloud of COVID-19, the worst pandemic in 100 years. The challenges have been numerous and difficult to say the least, but IAPMO has not only persevered and stayed afloat; the association has continued to excel and find new ways to be essential to our industry and health and safety as a whole. It’s a tribute to the leadership we have in place here, from our CEO and executives to the Board of Directors. They’ve provided direction and IAPMO staff and our member volunteers have performed admirably despite the overwhelming changes necessitated by pandemic safety protocols. Bravo to the entire organization!

I would also like to thank my wife, Marie. For all the years I’ve been involved with IAPMO, she’s been patient with the amount of travel I’ve done and has always been so supportive. These last two years have been challenging, yet she is always there by my side. Marie, I love you more than anything.

Speaking of our CEO, I want to wish Russ Chaney all the best as he heads into a well-deserved retirement. I started with IAPMO around the same time Russ came on as executive director. A lot of people who are new to the association now don’t know the difficult times IAPMO was in when Russ took over. There were a lot of rumors going around that IAPMO was going to collapse. With Russ’ leadership and the Board of Directors’ putting it into action, IAPMO pulled itself out of trouble and look where we’re at now. It’s important for people to know what Russ has done. He came to the Board with great ideas and has made a long series of great decisions. It’s been wonderful.

He’s going to be truly missed in that capacity, but I know he’s going to be around to help keep things on track, and I know we’re going to be in great hands with Dave Viola taking over. I know Dave will continue all we’ve already accomplished and keep working to make IAPMO bigger and better.

Thank you for entrusting me with the greatest honor of my life. Here’s hoping 2021 brings us closer to normalcy while affording IAPMO more opportunities to grow, succeed and prove our worth ensuring health and safety across the globe.