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Supplier & Product Update

A. O. Smith Acquires Giant Factories Inc.

A. O. Smith Corp. recently announced that it has acquired Giant Factories Inc., a Canada-based manufacturer of residential and commercial water heaters.

A family-owned business founded in 1945, Giant markets its water heaters under the Giant brand and employs more than 300 people, primarily in Canada. Giant manufactures water heaters at two facilities in Montreal and sells water heating products across Canada.

The addition of Giant to A. O. Smith’s existing water heater operations enlarges the company’s presence in the Canada water heater market, which is characterized by a high percentage of replacement demand.

The acquisition of Giant also supports A. O. Smith’s decarbonization efforts by increasing the amount of water heating products in its portfolio that are supplied by a renewable energy grid as Giant’s end markets are mainly served by a grid that is primarily hydro-sourced and non-carbon intensive.

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Pittsburgh Quarterback Wins 2021 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award

Kenny Pickett has won the 2021 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation Inc. and A. O. Smith Corp. to the nation’s top quarterback who best exemplifies character, scholastic and athletic achievement. Pickett is the first Pittsburgh Panther to win this prestigious award.

Through 13 games, Pickett has completed 67.2% of his passes (334 of 497) for 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, including his five rushing scores. The New Jersey native has totaled 47 touchdowns this season, his passing yardage, passing touchdowns, total TDs and completions are all Pitt records. He also set an ACC season record for touchdown passes, eclipsing the prior mark of 41.

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Liberty Pumps Breaks Ground on Materials Center

Liberty Pumps hosted a ground-breaking celebration at the site of its upcoming Materials Center. State and local partners as well as Liberty employees attended the event. The 107,00-square-foot expansion will provide additional warehousing and added manufacturing space. It is anticipated to support 30 additional jobs at the family- and employee-owned manufacturer.

“Our growth continues to be very strong, and we are simply running out of space once again,” said Randall Waldron, vice president of sales and marketing. “This expansion will provide more efficient material storage, as well as provide additional manufacturing space to accommodate our continued strong growth. The added capacity to our facilities will put us in a position to better support our customers.”

The project breaking ground will be the third expansion by Liberty Pumps since 2000. Upon completion, Liberty Pumps will have approximately 350,000 square feet of facilities at its corporate campus in Bergen, New York.

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Matco-Norca Supports Plumbers Without Borders

Matco-Norca supports Plumbers Without Borders (PWB) and its mission “to increase access to safe water and sanitation by mobilizing and connecting volunteer plumbers and industry resources with organizations and projects dedicated to improving health in all communities worldwide.”

With so many options for charitable donations, finding the one that aligns well with Matco-Norca took some time. “For us, it was more than just donating once or twice to a cause. We wanted to partner with an organization so we could roll up our sleeves and make a difference beyond simply writing a check,” said Amy Zucchi, director of marketing. “When you work with PWB, you get to have input into the initiative you are supporting,” adds Zucchi. PWB is a growing organization and by empowering sponsors and supporters to contribute ideas to their causes, more can get done faster.

Domenico DiGregorio, co-founder of PWB, credits plumbers around the world: “The generosity of plumbers, everywhere, is astounding…with so many wanting to contribute their skills and time to help where needed most. Our quest is finding projects that can best utilize and leverage the value of professional plumbers.”

Matco-Norca’s sponsorship will support an important industry initiative to bridge gender-parity in the trades and close the skills gap worldwide. “We will work with PWB on a detailed strategy that includes digital, traditional and event marketing to reach a larger, more targeted audience. Our employees are looking forward to rolling up their sleeves and getting involved on multiple levels,” said Zucchi.

Matco-Norca has long-standing business relationships that it can share PWB’s mission with. A main priority is relief efforts for those impacted by the Tornadoes in Kentucky and surrounding states. “In addition to our long-term plans, we will use our social platforms to help make the industry aware of PWB’s Tornadoes USA Fund,” said Jack McDonald, president of Matco-Norca. With distribution centers, rep agencies and customers throughout the United States (and aboard), Matco-Norca can reach thousands of companies equipped to support PWB’s efforts.

For more information about PWB, to donate or to volunteer, visit For more information about Matco-Norca, visit

Midland Industries Acquires Century Brass

Midland Industries recently announced the acquisition of Century Brass Products, a distributor of primarily machined brass fittings and valves to the plumbing industry across the United States.

“The acquisition of Century Brass strengthens our team and product offering while expanding our customer base and footprint in the plumbing wholesale space,” said John Gerber, CEO of Midland. “We welcome Terry Klein and his team to the Midland family and look forward to learning from their years of history and deep product knowledge, enabling us to continue providing our customers a distinct advantage in the marketplace.”

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PRIER Honored with Sustainability Award

PRIER Products was honored with a Sustainability Award for its efforts to reduce unnecessary waste and implement ways to protect the planet. Each year Kansas City Industrial Council (KCIC) recognizes local businesses.

“We work hard to reduce waste and take necessary steps to create a cleaner and more sustainable company,” said Vice President of Manufacturing Brady Poskin. “Our team and partners identified ways we could make a significant impact. We began implementing changes and quickly realized the results from our efforts.”

Efforts that led to the award include:

  • PRIER installed solar panels on each of its buildings allowing PRIER to significantly cut its carbon footprint. Motion-detected LED lighting is used throughout the warehouse and offices to further reduce energy costs. PRIER saves more than 330,000 kilowatt hours per year; enough to power 30 houses for more than a year.
  • In the past year, PRIER recycled more than 150 tons of brass, six tons of copper and other metals and 25,000 cubic feet of cardboard. PRIER’s products are manufactured in the heartland of the United States, reducing the transportation costs and minimizing environmental factors associated with shipping, especially from manufactures based outside the United States.
  • All of PRIER’s products are designed to the highest standards developed by the American Society for Sanitary Engineers. Through engineering and design modifications, PRIER reduced the number of SKUs stocked by customers by more than 50%.

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T&S Debuts Sensor-Operated bubbler for touch-free water fountains

T&S Brass and Bronze Works has introduced the industry’s first sensor-operated water fountain bubbler.

The sensor bubbler is designed to easily retrofit onto existing water fountain bases, using the standard hole size, to offer a hands-free operation solution.

The bubbler is easily activated when a user’s face comes within range of the sensor, which is located just below the dispensing nozzle. The sensor bubbler can be plugged into a nearby power outlet or powered by battery if an outlet is not available.

Featuring a chrome-plated body and rubber mouthpiece, the bubbler includes a variety of adjustable settings, including a flow control valve to set the appropriate water stream for the application. An optional water filtration kit is also available.

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T&S Brass Completes First Phase of $10M Project

T&S Brass and Bronze Works has completed phase one of the two-part expansion and renovation of its headquarters and plant in Travelers Rest, South Carolina.

The project’s initial phase, which kicked off in late 2020, added 53,000 square feet of space to the facility, creating new distribution space, as well as a training room, additional offices and other facility enhancements.

Phase two of the project, which is currently ongoing, will convert the former shipping and receiving dock area into additional manufacturing space to increase capacity, as well as adding new signage, fencing and campus wayfinding markers.

The projects are part of a $10.3 million improvement project, first announced in September 2019. The construction

project’s start was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic but is expected to meet its original completion date of fall 2024.

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