2013 May-June

After successfully navigating the choppy currents of the past few years, Marsh & Moore is sailing into smoother waters as a new generation takes over. While industry veterans Mark Marsh and Richard Bohl continue to play active roles in the statewide manufacturer’s representative firm, day-to-day operations are now handled by Jennifer Marsh Rodriguez, daughter of Read More

After successfully navigating the choppy currents of the past few years, Marsh & Moore is sailing into smoother waters as a new generation takes over.

While industry veterans Mark Marsh and Richard Bohl continue to play active roles in the statewide manufacturer’s representative firm, day-to-day operations are now handled by Jennifer Marsh Rodriguez, daughter of founder Mark Marsh, and Garrett Bohl, son of co-owner Richard Bohl.  Both are corporate officers of the firm.

“One of the ways that we vary from other rep agencies is we have implemented a succession plan in place with a younger generation quickly coming up in the ranks.” said Rodriguez in an interview with Plumbing Perspective .  “We want our manufacturer’s to feel at ease knowing that they can continue with Marsh & Moore, Inc. as their manufacturer’s representative for years to come.”  Alongside of Rodriguez and Bohl, Jennifer Austin leads the sales team as Inside Sales Manager and Jonathan Marsh, son of Mark Marsh has also recently joined the company and is working outside sales in the North Florida and Southern Georgia territories.

Based in St. Augustine, Marsh & Moore was founded in 1972 by Mark Marsh.  Then in 1974, David Moore joined Marsh & Moore as Mark’s business partner. As the business began to grow over the years, Richard Bohl joined the company as a third principal in the early 1990’s, and in 2006 David Moore retired.  Since then, Mark Marsh and Richard Bohl have been managing the company, and in 2011 brought on Garrett Bohl and Jennifer Marsh Rodriguez as company officers.

Strategic Moves

With the slogan, “not your ordinary plumbing manufacturer’s representative,” Marsh & Moore has taken the approach of branching off into separate divisions: irrigation, underground and onsite as well as plumbing. Serving a wide range of sectors has helped the firm maintain a strong presence in Florida during the “great recession,” and now provides a solid foundation for future growth.

“Diversifying our company was an excellent strategic move that helped carry us through the bad times,” said Garrett Bohl, noting that there were no layoffs at the firm. “We are truly a multifaceted agency, with strong lines in the plumbing, irrigation, onsite and underground markets.”

Marsh & Moore had to change focus by representing more commercial plumbing lines when the residential market began to fall off, according to Rodriguez. “Now, we’re seeing an upturn in multifamily residential construction, as well as healthcare, hospitality and other commercial sectors,” she said. “One of the real advantages we bring to the market is the ability to handle not just the plumbing, but multiple aspects of new construction projects. We can do the site preparation and stormwater aspects, as well as putting in an irrigation system for the landscaping.”

“The industry has changed dramatically in the past decade,” said Richard Bohl. “I used to know every company owner in the state, but today it takes a team approach to be an effective manufacturer’s rep firm. It’s certainly a different sales environment from the past, where you could show a contractor and wholesaler the latest products, shake hands on a deal and go out to lunch.”

Over the past few years, Marsh & Moore has played a key role in the construction of many landmark Florida projects, including Four Seasons, Grand Palisades, Poinciana Hospital, Streamsong Resort, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Adena Beef “Happy Cow,” Jacksonville VA Hospital, Embassy Suites & Convention Center in Kissimmee and The Terraces Assisted Living in Bonita Springs.
“Today, we are quoting on new commercial and residential projects throughout the state, from Miami to Jacksonville, Tampa and Orlando,” said Garrett Bohl. “We expect 2013 to be much better for our industry than the past few years.”

New leadership

Last year, Marsh & Moore celebrated its 40th anniversary, and continued its gradual transition into a new generation of leadership. “Mark and I have been partners for almost 20 years, and we’re excited about this succession at our firm,” said Richard Bohl, who oversees South Florida sales and operations.  Based in Bonita Springs, Bohl has 30 years of industry experience, including 25 years as vice president of operations for a plastics manufacturer.

Mark Marsh is the president of the firm, and handles the North Florida territory for all major accounts.
 He earned his marketing degree from the University of West Florida, and is a member of the Florida Association of Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors and ASPE. “One of the major reasons that Marsh & Moore has been so successful for 40 years is our solid relationships with our customers.  This is such an important value to have in our industry.  Not only do we have business relationships with our customers but also personal.” said Mark Marsh.

As Marsh & Moore’s operations manager, Rodriguez is following in her father’s footsteps, working closely with the firm’s inside and outside sales teams, as well as handling all aspects of marketing and advertising. She began working part-time at Marsh & Moore in 2002, where she handled Oatey customer service and order entry.

Rodriguez is a graduate of the University of North Florida with a degree in communications, giving her a solid background in advertising, product promotions and other marketing fields.  She also has completed the Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Representative Program, earning the CPMR designation.

Garrett Bohl joined the firm’s inside sales team in 2001, after working for a large plumbing wholesaler during college. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in economics and a minor in computer science, and has also earned the CPMR designation

Garrett Bohl now leads the Marsh & Moore water, sewer and irrigation divisions and has doubled sales since taking charge of those lines.

 

Serving the Florida market

Marsh & Moore’s award-winning sales team combines solid knowledge of the industry, proven sales methods, superb contacts and advanced information technology to serve the Florida market.

The firm’s outside sales force is strategically located throughout the entire state, and the Marsh & Moore’s company plane makes any location in our territory accessible within 90 minutes. “Manufacturers working with us can visit wholesalers in multiple cities in a single day,” said Bohl. “That’s a great convenience, both for the manufacturers we represent and the wholesalers we service.”

Rodriguez notes that the firm’s sales team carefully studies market trends and conducts a thorough sales analysis of each territory, factory and item. “Our inside sales team is noted for excellent customer service,” she said. “We have the latest technology that allows our sales team to keep customers abreast on price increases, product promotions and specials.” “We stay current on the new products and technologies, so we can provide excellent service to the wholesalers, contractors, and engineers” she said.

Marsh & Moore currently represents multiple manufacturers (see list) and has been the Oatey manufacturer’s rep since the 1980s.  “We provide cohesive, convenient single-source management of multiple product lines, says Garrett Bohl. “We also offer a number of packages that provide greater convenience for the contractor and work closely with our customer base when developing bids for new construction and renovation projects.”

Rodriguez adds that the firm conducts job-site demonstrations, lunch-and-learns and other training events to educate wholesalers and contractors about new products. For instance, Marsh & Moore provides training and certifications for contractors on the proper installation techniques of their products.  “We also keep the industry up to date about new regulations, such as the no-lead laws,” she said.

Both generations of leadership are looking forward to a renewal of Florida’s growth and believe the Sunshine State has a bright future.  “As the construction industry recovers and we move into the ‘new normal,'” Rodriguez said, “Marsh & Moore is ready to service our industry for years to come.”

 

Marsh & Moore’s lines in its various market sectors include:

• Aquatic Bath

• Centoco

• CTS Flange

• Florestone

• Froet

• Holdrite/Hydroflame

• Josam

• KBI

• Lasco Fittings

• Liberty Pumps

• Milwaukee Tools

• Multi Fittings

• NAPAC

• Norwesco

• Niagara

• OateySCS

• Sanderson Pipe

• Seisco

• SJE Rhombus

• Uponor

by Rich Grimes Welcome back to another article! We will answer some questions about basic components in a hot water system. Some of these items are for Plumbing (open loop) and others are common to Hydronic Heating (closed loop). What is a Vacuum Relief Valve and how is it used with a water heater? A Read More

by Rich Grimes

Welcome back to another article! We will answer some questions about basic components in a hot water system. Some of these items are for Plumbing (open loop) and others are common to Hydronic Heating (closed loop).

What is a Vacuum Relief Valve and how is it used with a water heater?

A Vacuum Relief Valve is a simple device that prevents back-siphonage of a water heater or storage tank. It is typically used on water heaters with cold water connections located near the bottom of the tank. If the building’s water line were shut down, the system can back-siphon the cold water line. The Vacuum Relief Valve is located above the water heater and will open to atmosphere when a back-siphon (vacuum) occurs. This allows air to enter at the vacuum relief valve and the heater/tank will not be drained down. This protects heaters from dry-firing the elements or burner.

Vacuum Relief Valves are also used on radiators to prevent losing water within the radiators if the system loses pressure or has been drained down.

Why are Vacuum Relief Valves not used much on top-feed water heaters?

Water heaters that have top connections will use a Dip-Tube that forces cold water to the bottom of the tank. A top-connect water heater is subject to a back-siphon vacuum but this is easily prevented by having a siphon hole located near the top of the dip tube. This hole will only allow water to back-siphon until the vacuum reaches the hole. Once the vacuum reaches the hole, it will draw air through the hole and the tank will not drain down. This “anti-siphon” feature is standard on top-fed water heaters and is typically located just a few inches from the top of the tank.

How does a Pressure Vacuum Breaker differ from a Vacuum Relief Valve?

A vacuum relief allows air to enter into the piping to prevent back-siphonage. In contrast, a Pressure Vacuum Breaker is designed to relieve a backflow of contaminated water and also function as an anti-siphon device. As the water begins to backflow, the Pressure Vacuum Breaker will open to create an anti-siphon point and discharge the backflow water from its relief port.

Can you please explain a Combination Pressure Reducing/Automatic Fill Valve for a closed loop system?

A closed loop heating system is typically operated at a system pressure that ranges from 20 – 30 PSI. Since incoming cold water supplies will have 40 PSI or greater, a pressure reducing valve must be used to regulate down to approximately 25 PSI. An Automatic Fill Valve will open when pressure drops below the set pressure. When incoming water refills the system (higher pressure injects water into the closed loop), the Fill Valve will close once the pressure setting is reached.

A Combination Valve will have all of these features built in. It is either a single or dual valve assembly that will regulate system pressure and provide automatic water fill. Most fill valves have a manual lever for quick-filling the system.

It is important to note that closed loop systems use treated water that is heated over and over. A closed loop system will experience certain issues if too much fresh water is entered into the system. Fresh water dilutes the boiler chemical treatment and brings in more calcium and minerals with each fill. This can cause scaling and corrosion of components. A closed loop system that keeps refilling usually has a leak in the pressurized piping that must be addressed.

How much condensate can a high efficiency water heater or boiler actually produce?

A condensing appliance can generate approximately 1 gallon of condensate per 100,000 BTU per hour. If you are installing a 500,000 BTU heater, it can generate up to 5 gallons per hour! Make sure you have provided for proper drainage of this combustion by-product.

Is condensate that is generated by a gas-fired appliance safe to dispose of down any drain? Or through a wall and directly dumped on the ground?

Combustion condensate is very acidic and should be neutralized before entering a cast iron drainage system or storm drain system. It is toxic and should not be discharged directly on to the earth either.

How is condensate “neutralized” prior to entering a drain?

Most manufacturers offer a version of a condensate neutralizer. They either use limestone chips or a block of calcium carbonate to offset the low pH, acidic condensate. These neutralizer assemblies can be for individual or multiple appliances and usually have a PVC housing or inline fitting.

How does a Pressure Relief Valve and Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Relief Valve differ?

A Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Relief Valve is typically used on a water heater producing 180°F or less. It has a high pressure spring normally rated at 125 or 150 PSI. It also has a temperature probe that will lift the seat at approximately 210°F (just before boiling).

Boilers operate at lower pressures and can generate temperatures over 210°F so they employ a Pressure-only Relief Valve. The pressure relief valve will typically be rated at 30 PSI but they are offered in many different PSI settings.

A couple of areas where these relief valves can be used interchangeably are on Pool heaters and Storage Tanks. Some manufacturers provide Pressure-only valves and others ship their heaters with T&P valves. Tankless heaters use a Pressure-only valve (no probe) but they also would be proper to use a T&P valve. It is hard to immerse the probe of a T&P valve in piping so the Pressure-only relief valve is mainly used.

 

by Dave Duren, North Star A long time ago, around the ripe old age of 24 I had joined my father as a manufacturer’s representative. It was the summer of 1986 on a day when I was making a sales call to a wholesaler called Peerless Supply in Clearwater, Fl. There in the purchasing chair Read More

by Dave Duren, North Star

A long time ago, around the ripe old age of 24 I had joined my father as a manufacturer’s representative. It was the summer of 1986 on a day when I was making a sales call to a wholesaler called Peerless Supply in Clearwater, Fl. There in the purchasing chair was a gentleman named Ray Alger. After general sales stuff conversation, Ray asked me if we’d be interested in a new line. Being young and new to the business this sounded great and I equated a “new line” with tons of tons of money. Of course I said “YES”, then said…oh by the way, what kind of line? He said a water softener line called Bruner, out of Milwaukee, WI. I said OK but was does a water softener do? …and from there, as they say, the rest is history. So from that day on, I attribute my entry into the wonderful world of water, to Ray Alger.  Ray had come from Connecticut to Florida and had a business as a plumbing and water treatment contractor. He always brought a world of hands-on knowledge to the industry and always loved to share his past experiences with others. He truly was a great spokesperson for the industry and I believe Ray’s ultimate goal in life, is to teach others to be successful.

In the early years, Ray taught me all about softeners. How they worked, installation, troubleshooting and about the water treatment industry in general and how it fit into the plumbing wholesale world. He always said the plumbing contractor had a huge advantage in selling a water treatment system as he was already in the house and dealing with the water & waste system. He and I would sit together and try to figure out new ways we could get the contractor to add this segment of the business back into his everyday mix of plumbing services that he offered. Many times we both sat there dumbstruck as we tried to figure out why so many were “afraid” of water softeners and water treatment in general.  But I guess we are both alike in that we have never stopped pitching the concept. It wasn’t that Ray just wanted a guy to get into the business for the sake of it, but the truth was Ray was trying to show contractors the major profitability of this segment, water treatment. I understood exactly what he was saying. I remember long ago standing at a wholesaler account of mine, waiting to see the owner when the following happened. A plumber was at the counter picking up some supplies when he got a call on his cell phone. I could understand what he was talking about as he said something to the effect of “I can beat his price on the heater installation by X dollars…” and went on conversing with the potential customer who had called him “for a price”.  In my “new in the business” young mind, I was wondering why they fight over these installations when I could show them how they could make 5 times the profit from selling and installing a water softener! The old adage it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks seemed to have some merit.

Ray went on and kept pitching the products regardless of the reception and never got disheartened long enough to slow him down. And due to our friendship and knowing that we were both headed in the same direction together, we met much business success along the way. Partners in this industry are like a blueprint for success. One thing I do know for sure, when your water treatment business has a “champion” driving the sales, training the troops, offering assistance, and simply leading this segment of your business, your sales will start to take off. But without anyone leading and without a point person, don’t plan on your water softener and treatment business to go very far. I’ve seen it time and time again. Even with our good wholesale accounts currently in place, if I don’t have some good quality reps out there to assist them and help them learn to sell water treatment and if they themselves have not put a person in place to “own” this segment within their company, they will eventually find themselves out of this PROFITABLE segment of the plumbing industry.

As for my good friend and water softener mentor in this business, I’m sure Ray Alger will not just kick up his feet and call it quits. He has a wonderful wife and family around him that he’ll be spending time with, and enjoying those grand kids day in and day out. But I can see it now, one of the family members or maybe a neighbor or even a past business associate will call him and ask what the heck is wrong with my softener or say “I have terrible water so what can I do…?” and Ray will pause only momentarily until he jumps in his car and heads off to help one more person learn something they didn’t know before about the wonderful world of water treatment. To you Ray, I say thank you. So how about you? Do you have a mentor? Do you have a mentor within your company for your employees who can train and lead your team? Who can ever forget a mentor, they can change lives.