Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2016 Conference Sponsors

Saturday Night Banquet Sponsors

Friday Luncheon Sponsor
Lanyard Sponsor

Key Card Sponsor

Breakfast Sponsors

Bar Sponsors

Become a Member - Dealer

DPHA Dealer members are
  • Privately held companies whose primary business are the sale of premium and luxury decorative plumbing and/or hardware to the consumer public or specifying trade. 
  • Operators of at least one retail showroom with a minimum of 1,000 square feet of showroom space or at least 2/3 of the showroom space exclusively dedicated to premium and luxury decorative plumbing and/or hardware merchandise.

Download a DPHA Dealer membership application.

DPHA benefits provide competitive advantages for members by
  • Improving business operations
  • Enhancing staff performance
  • Giving a voice to advance the industry
  • A community where like-minded professionals come together to share solutions and ideas for making DPH businesses more competitive and successful

Program and publications that improve business operations
  • Newsleak. DPHA's magazine is published twice a year.  Each issue features association and industry news, solutions to common problems and issues in our industry and other information to help you succeed in DPH.
  • Connections. DPHA's weekly e-newsletter is the leading source of new product information for the decorative plumbing and hardware industry.  Published 50 times ayear, each issue features association and industry news, solutions to common problems and issues in our industry and other information to help you succeed in DPH.
  • DPHA Members-Only Web Site. Features model employee manuals, job descriptions, information exchanges and chat areas addressing the leading issues of the day.
  • DPHA Consumer Message Brochures. A series of educational electronic brochures for showroom customers that explain why independent showrooms should be the destination of choice for DPH purchases.
  • Message Brochures for DPH Allied Professionals. Brochures for designers, architects, builders, contractors and installers that explain the value of working with a DPHA member showroom.  The installer message brochure is available in English and Spanish.
  • Door Take-Off System. An easy-to-use door take-off system to help you use the best process for our project and avoid common problems.

Programs and publications that improve staff performance
  • DPHA Education Program. DPHA's signature offering.  The 22-volume modular education program combines technical training, product knowledge, style guides and sales guidance for selling in a premium and luxury showroom.
  • DPHA Recognition Program. DPHA's optional program which rewards DPH showroom professionals for their product knowledge and sales expertise.  The program is available only to DPHA members.  The series of exams are based on information contained in the DPHA Education Program manuals, and each exam relates to an individual product category (i.e., lavatory faucets, tubs, cabinet hardware, etc.).  To be recognized in each category, participants must answer 100% of the questions correctly.  DPHA issues electronically certificates to those participants who successfully pass all of the plumbing, hardware and general knowledge programs.
  • Connections. A weekly e-letter for showroom sales staff, operation personnel, customer service specialists and other team members top improve their skill sets.  Topics covered include responding to customers who claim they can purchase products cheaper on the Internet to responding to angry customers.
  • Employee Assessment Program. Consists of tools to help you find and hire top-flight staff for your company.
  • Employee Assistance Program. Allows you to provide your employees with assistance in a cost-effective manner covering areas generally beyond the reach of small businesses.
A voice that advances and protects the independent DPH channel
  • "DPH Perspectives" Column in Kitchen & Bath Design News. Widely acclaimed quarterly column providing a voice for our industry in the leading magazine for the kitchen and bath industry.
  • DPHA Awards Program. Generates public recognition of outstanding products, individuals and performance in decorative plumbing and hardware.  Winners are announced in publications ranging from Kitchen and Bath Design News to Wall Street Journal.

A community where the like-minded professional come together to share solutions and ideas for making DPH businesses more competitive and successful
  • Annual DPHA ConferenceThe must-attend event for the independent channel.  The largest gathering of premium and luxury DPHA professionals in North America, featuring industry experts, hands-on workshops, roundtable discussions and unparalleled networking opportunities.
  • Annual Product Showcase. The largest exhibit of luxury and premium decorative plumbing and hardware products in North America.  Spotlights new products and design concepts from leading manufacturers.
  • Networking Opportunities. Membership in a network of leading showrooms, manufacturers and representative agencies passionately committee to advancing the independent DPH channel.
  • Committee Service Opportunities. Chance to build and expand upon peer network by serving on one of DPHA's committees and having a say in the future of your industry.

Become a Member - Testimonial

A few years ago I was working on a project, everything was going nice and easy and then we hit a wall.  The customer needed unlacquered brass, which is a standard finish for us, however the product that they were using in the staff bathrooms were unfortunately also unlacquered brass and that company suddenly decided to discontinue the unlacquered brass finish.  This somehow became my problem (doesn't it always).  Now my part of the order was very large (8 complete bathrooms, 2 kitchens, the Spa, etc.) so I was getting a little worried and then I had a great idea, I'd call the company directly.

The company was Newport Brass (they are making unlacquered brass again, I'm glad to say).  I called Jonathan Wood, now there is no reason for me to know Jonathan well enough to call, he is a fellow manufacturer, and without the DPHA I'm not sure we would have ever met, let alone know each other well enough for me to call him for help.  Jonathan and Newport Brass were amazing, they bailed me out and made sure that the parts were made for my customer.  I saved a very nice order, which I can directly credit my membership to DPHA for saving (ably assisted by Newport Brass).

I have called different manufacturers over the years and have borrowed a stone tub from Stone Forest for a KBIS show, BainUltra has made us a tub for a party we threw at a House of Blues Hotel, and Sonoma Stone made me the wonderful top for our display at the conference this year.

The connections we make through the DPHA are priceless, it's not just networking with your customers or getting new customers, it's also about the connections between people of the same segment of the industry.  Showrooms help each other, reps cross notes, and manufacturers help out other manufacturers.  Joining the DPHA was one of the best things I ever did as you never know when you will need a helping hand.

  • Sarah Jenkinson, Barber Wilson/Sterlingham

When we started TCB Sales as an independent rep agency we joined DPHA because it was the best way to access manufacturers.  Through DPHA networking opportunities, we landed our first lines and have continued to grow our business.  We also use DPHA to hire and train employees and stay informed with what is going on in the industry.

  • Dennis Mezzapesa, TCB Sales, Hewlett, NY

DPHA membership means much more than belonging to an industry organization.  I have developed professional and personal relationships with the three critical partners in the supply chain: manufacturers, representatives and showrooms.  DPHA offers a format for continual growth enabling the organization and our company to evolve.

  • Debbie Miller, Miller's Elegant Hardware, Boca Raton, FL

The following reasons are why I joined DPHA:

- Candid conversations with customers
- A sounding board for existing and proposed policies and practices
- Ideas for new products
- Relationships that improve our company's reputation and bottom line

  • Jamie Gregg, Colonial Bronze, Torrington, CT

For 20 years, I have been a part of the industry as an independent manufacturer rep.  For almost all of these years, I was allowed to participate silently, but not to join.  DPHA was the first organization that not only allowed me to join, but encouraged and welcomed my participation and opinions.  It is the fist organization to actually believe that there are three equal parts of our industry - distributor/dealer, manufacturer and manufacturer representative.  To be viewed and treated as an equal has been a wonderfully refreshing experience.  It has recharged my batteries, and once again raised my enthusiasm and appreciation for the industry in which I live and work.

  • Jim Babbitt, formerly of Hot2Cold, Northfield, IL (now DPHA Executive Director)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dealers Choice Award Voting Begins February 1

As we told you all last summer during the Product of the Year award nominations, the Awards Committee added a new Dealer's Choice Award that provides another opportunity for manufacturers to promote their products as award-worthy in front of the staffs of every DPHA dealer.

Every product submitted for the 2016 Product of the Year is eligible to win the Dealer's Choice Award.  Voting will take place from February 1 to March 15.  All dealer showroom staff members who have a DPHA login will be eligible to vote. One vote per person (unless you live in Chicago - just kidding!).  And in case you don't know your login information to the members-only side of the website, contact Jim Babbitt at 224-999-0434, or via email at jbabbitt@dpha.net.  The winner will be announced during the opening session of the 2017 Conference.

Participating in the Dealers Choice Product of the Year Award voting is easy. Look for the voting tab on the members-only side of the web site on Wednesday, February 1.  And if you would like to get a head start on looking at the eligible products, just click here to download a copy of the 2016 Product of the Year Guide.

Thank You, DPHA Leaders!

The DPHA Board of Directors met Tuesday, January 24th, in Dallas, TX. The goal of the Board meeting was to finalize action plans for committee activities in 2017. Among the goals for the year are:

  • Updating education program manuals to help assure they reflect current industry practices and customer experience expectations.
  • Improving the Recognition Program to reward and recognize showroom sales professionals for their product knowledge and sales skills.
  • Leverage the success of the 2016 Annual Conference and Product Showcase to continue providing compelling content that improves DPHA member businesses and provides the industry's most effective venue to showcase new products.
  • More effectively communicate that DPHA provides a tremendous return on members' dues investments.
  • Provide multiple opportunities to recognize outstanding individuals, companies and products.
  • Deliver compelling content weekly that offers business practice guidance, sales training and industry updates that allow DPHA members to keep their fingers on the pulse of their industry.

DPHA again wants to recognize and thank those who dedicate their time and expertise to better the association and industry by serving on the 2017 DPHA Board of Directors:


  • President: Cynthia Carter (Next Generation Marketing, and pictured)
  • President-Elect: Gary Erickson (Renaissance Design Studio)
  • Immediate Past President: Kate Brady (General Plumbing Supply)
  • Secretary: Ryan Paul (ThermaSol)
  • Treasurer: Cary Hergenrother (LIXIL Brands)

At-Large Executive Committee Members (subsequently elected by the 2017 Board of Directors):
  • Richard Campbell (Belmont Hardware)
  • Traci D'Antoni (D'Antoni Sales Group)
  • Eric Phelps (Victoria + Albert Baths)

  • Stan Artman (Native Trails)
  • Erin Bittner (Pierce Hardware)
  • Oliver Bleich (Keuco)
  • Tony Carter (Carter Hardware)
  • David Crossley (Baci by Remcraft/Colonial Bronze)
  • Robert Foster (Foster Companies)
  • Phil Hotarek (Lutz Kitchen & Bath)
  • Sarah Jenkinson (Barber Wilson/Sterlingham)
  • Antonio Musso (ITALBRASS Group)
  • Michael Pechar (Mountain Plumbing Products)
  • John Smithman (The Plumbing Place)
  • Debby Stehr (Stehr Enterprises)
  • Steve Weinberg (California Faucets)

Thanks again to all of you for your continued service in leading the association in 2017!     

The January 2017 Showroom Spotlight is on Walter Bunda of Astro Design Centre (written by an Education Committee Member)

Walter Bunda, of Astro Design Centre in Ottawa Canada, got his start in this industry in a most unusual way. Walter had been traveling around the world for two years straight out of college after earning a degree in interior design, but needed to find employment when he returned home. He contacted an old school mate who mentioned to him there was a job opening for a design and sales position at a design center that was making a mark in the city and suggested he apply for the position. Walter followed his friend's recommendation, and he has been at the same job now for more than three years.

When Walter started at Astro Design Centre, he was surprised by the number of manufacturers and brands from which to choose. He would say, "How many brands of faucets do we need to have? Now I understand each manufacturer brings something unique and different to the table whether it would be finishes, styles, or technology."

And learning about all these products was no easy feat. "I think the most challenging aspect of this industry is keeping up on product knowledge. With all the information on the internet these days, your clients often may know more about the products they are inquiring about than yourself. You need to be on the ball and always willing to learn more," Walter says.  

When Walter began his learning, he did most of it online. He has not participated yet in the DPHA Recognition Program, but he has set that as a goal for 2017.

Because of Walter's design background, he really has a passion for selling lighting. "We no longer see people's homes with only just recessed and florescent bar lighting. They want accent lighting, decorative lighting and they want it to make a statement," he said.

When not working, Walter likes to travel. Skiing and diving are his biggest passions, and he was lucky enough to spend two weeks last winter diving in Belize and living on the beach.

Locally, his activities vary with the seasons. During the winter, it's snowshoeing and skiing, and in the summer you will find him hiking, on a beach or participating in water sports. In his downtime, Walter enjoys reading, photography and spending time with friends. His bucket list includes one day attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. And let's not forget his wish to one day sit on the VIP terrace of the Monaco Grand Prix.

All this energy takes food of which Italian, Asian (especially Thai) and Indian food (lamb kofta with mint yogurt and flat-breads) are among his favorites.

Trying to get everything accomplished he wants to can sometimes be a challenge because Walter admits he's not a morning person. How does he do it? "With large amounts of coffee and tea each day", he replied.

Friday, January 20, 2017

In Case You Missed It a Few Weeks Ago - DPHA Heads Back to the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass for the 2017 Annual Conference & Product Showcase

In case you missed the announcement in the January 6th issue of Connections, and now that the holidays are over and hopefully everyone is caught up on their emails and other work that may have accumulated during that time, we thought this piece of news warranted repeating.  The 2017 Annual DPHA Conference returns to the beautiful Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, AZ October 11-14, 2017 (20 minutes from the Phoenix Airport). DPHA members that participated in the 2013 conference will recall that the resort is located in the Sonoran Desert on an expanse of rugged Arizona landscape where the ancient vistas, mountains and roaming wild horses remain untouched. The first-class amenities include two 18-hole golf courses, the 17,500 square foot Aji spa, complimentary guest room wireless Internet access, 7 restaurants (including the only five-star restaurant in Phoenix) and 4 bars.

It's a first-class resort in every way except the room price. DPHA members will enjoy a $179 per night (plus tax) rate during the DPHA Conference.
Additional details will be forthcoming in the next several weeks, but if you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to email jbabbitt@dpha.net with any questions.

The Benefits of Committee Service

There was a lot of enthusiasm at the DPHA Annual Conference in Nashville, TN last October and none more so than at DPHA committee meetings. Committees are "where the rubber meets the road" and value is created. DPHA committee service is a stepping stone to becoming an industry leader because serving on a DPHA committee offers skills, training and experiences needed to grow personally and professionally.

Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to give back? Do you want to lead? Consider joining a DPHA committee. Here are few of the returns on investment that you will receive from contributing your time to DPHA committee service.

  • An opportunity for meaningful involvement in the premier association serving the decorative plumbing and hardware industry.
  • The ability to help direct DPHA activities and programs.
  • Leadership skills that enable you to advance your career and demonstrate to owners, corporate executives and others that you possess the qualifications and experience to accept increased levels of responsibility.
  • Delegation skills that enhance staff productivity and improve performance.
  • Public speaking and presentation skills that are easily transferable for new account presentations.
  • Budgeting skills that save time and money.
  • Strategic planning capabilities.
  • Performance monitoring skills that enable you to better direct staff and oversee day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Media relations skills.
  • Entrepreneurial skills that position individuals to accept leadership positions.
  • Access to an unprecedented source of decorative plumbing and hardware industry and business information.
  • Life-long friendships!

DPHA is looking for a few committed volunteers who can help guide the association and give back to their industry while enhancing their individual skill sets and network. If you would like to volunteer for the Awards, Education, Marketing or Program & Showcase Committees, send an email to jbabbitt@dpha.net.

A Friendly Reminder - 2017 Annual Dues are Due

If you have not paid your 2017 DPHA dues, what are you waiting for? Our annual dues remain the same as they were in 2016, and are only $715 per year. This is an incredible value given the benefits that the association offers its members. Second notices will be issued in the next few weeks to those who may have missed the opportunity to pay on time.  If you are unsure as whether or not your 2017 dues have been taken care of, please don't hesitate to contact Jim Babbitt at 224-999-0434 or via email at jbabbitt@dpha.net.