This original history by Paul C. King. Compiled from the minutes of the VPIA meeting April 14, 1962
A small group of Virginia plumbing inspectors met in 1959 following a seminar at VPIA in Blacksburg. The group discussed the possibility of forming a statewide association for the purpose of dissemination of information touching on new methods, materials and testing procedures used in the plumbing and heating profession.
Following the three-day seminar the inspectors returned to their respective jobs. Being dedicated to their profession, these men contacted individual members of the Virginia State Master Plumbers Association meeting. Cards were mailed asking the inspectors if they were interested in forming such an association.
The first meeting of the group, which would be called The Virginia Plumbing Inspectors Association, took place April 14, 1962 at the Hotel John Marshall in Richmond. Attending were fourteen plumbing inspectors and three associate members. (These names are published as Charter Members.) The first order of business for the group was to name a temporary chairman, Mr. Mannion, followed by nomination and election of officers.
Officers elected were: President, Charles E. Mannion, Richmond; Vice President, Paul C. King, County of Fairfax; Secretary, John B. Mason, Henrico County; Treasurer, James B. Jones, Jr., Martinsville; and Sgt. At Arms, E. R. Carr, Winchester. Board of Directors named included: U.E. Allen, Jr., Portsmouth; Frank B. Bosman, County of Arlington; and Gordon Dameron, Danville.
A committee consisting of inspectors King, Chairman, Carr and Cooper was appointed and instructed to draw up the proposed by-laws for the association. A general discussion followed covering the aims and purposes of the organization. A date was set for the next meeting and the group adjourned its meeting to join the Master Plumbers Association, which was in session at this time.
VPIA met November 3, 1962 at 1014 East Broad Street, Richmond. The By-Laws Committee presented its report, which was duly adopted. Article II of those by-laws set forth the purpose of the organization:
A. Cooperate in the formulation of Virginia Plumbing Code Standards.
B. Promote uniform understanding and application of all city, town and county plumbing codes.
C. Secure and promote uniform administrative ordinances and inspection methods.
D. Promote closer cooperation between inspectors, inspection departments, health departments, plumbing contractors and the public.
E. Promote and improve the standards of the profession of plumbing inspectors.
F. To institute and maintain a central organization to properly test new materials and methods to be used in this Commonwealth.
School of Instruction
The Association embarked on a program when Paul C. King served as proxy which has proven to be well accepted by those men serving in all phases of the plumbing industry. Known as “School of Instruction and Conference,” the program owes its success to D. Paul Jack, Hampton. Through his efforts, almost single-handedly, Mr. Jack managed to obtain speakers from Texas, across the south, and as far west as Wisconsin. The first annual School of Instruction and Conference was held in Hampton on April 17 and 18, 1964 and was a huge success. Each succeeding year has found the meeting generating more interest in the plumbing profession.
Inspectors have found that the annual school and conference has given us the opportunity to carry out some of the aims of VPIA, namely: “the dissemination of new methods and materials” on a state-wide basis. Our speakers are not only considered experts in their fields but they also present facts which help to generate enthusiasm among those association members interested in promoting the plumbing profession.
In 1969 the Board of Directors appointed an Executive Secretary with the responsibilities to direct the school for Qualified Plumbing Inspectors and to publish a newsletter for the purpose of keeping inspectors abreast with the workings of the association and other related items of interest that inspectors in Virginia and the southeastern states should be concerned with. Thus far the newsletter has accomplished its purpose and its present circulation includes eighteen states.
We are proud to be members of VPIA. The knowledge we have gained during the past years has made it possible for us to be cognizant that the plumbing profession is indeed one of the leading ‘trades’ in the building industry.
In 1986, the Board of Directors instructed the committee on bylaws to update and revise the by-laws to meet and comply with the present day regulations. President John W. Thurston appointed Edward J. Baldwin, Jr., Chairman and D. Paul Jack as part of a two-member committee to study and propose the needed changes.
On April 1988, at the Twenty-Fifth Annual School of Instruction as the yearly conference had now come to be known, after two years of study and consideration by the committee and board of directors, the amended by-laws were approved and adopted by the voting membership of the Virginia Plumbing Inspectors Association.
On July 21, 1990, at the Association’s summer meeting, the voting membership of the Virginia Plumbing Inspectors Association voted unanimously to change the name of the Association to the Virginia Plumbing and Mechanical Inspectors Association. The change was felt necessary because of the number of jurisdictions within the Commonwealth of Virginia having separate mechanical inspection divisions whose inspectors were seeking educational opportunity. It was the feeling of the membership that this Association could provide that opportunity of educational instruction.
In-as-much as there were some other concerns regarding the by-laws, the Committee on By-Laws, consisting of Edward J. Baldwin, Jr., Chairman, Kenneth R. Snyder, Sr. and D. Paul Jack, Vice Chairmen, William F. Hines, Dennis W. McNaughton, Thomas C. Roberts and Paul M. Adams, Executive Secretary, was directed by President Robert M. Broome to study and submit amendments to the by-laws reflecting the name change and other necessary changes needed to include the mechanical personnel. Through the course of the study, an executive board, four regional director’s positions and specific duties of the presidential appointed chairpersons were incorporated. The amended by-laws were approved by the committee on September 6, 1990 by the board of directors on October 6, 1990 and by the general membership in December 1, 1990. After a period of working under the executive board, which consisted of the elected officers and the four regional directors, the board of directors instructed the Committee on By-Laws to once again review and recommend any needed changes deemed necessary. This resulted in more changes being proposed, the most significant being a change in the fundamental membership and voting rules. The system used since the beginning of the Association was that of jurisdictional membership with a limit of one vote per jurisdiction. The proposed amendments included a change to individual membership with one vote per active member (associate members must remain without a vote in order to protect chapter membership in building officials and code administrations international).
The progress of these amendments, of the proposals and counter proposals, spanned the terms of three presidents and three by-laws committees. The first action of the general membership, which resulted in a change, was made on March 26, 1994 at the conclusion of the Thirty-First Annual School of Instruction. That change eliminated the executive board and dictated meeting schedules. Action was taken on June 25, 1994 which clarified the responsibilities of various officers and both board and presidential appointments. The action which resulted in the current by-laws was taken at the winter meeting on December 3, 1994.
During the course of the by-laws change process, another transition for our Association was under way. In the spirit of promoting closer cooperation between inspectors, inspection departments and plumbing contractors, the membership decided to hold the Twenty-Eighth Annual School of Instruction in Norfolk. The dates were April 11, 12, and 13, 1991 and this coincided with the annual meeting of The Virginia Cross Connection Control Association, The Virginia Association of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors, and the Richmond Chapter of The American Society of Plumbing Engineers. Although the various associations involved held their own separate educational and business meetings, the trade exposition, where new products and materials could be analyzed and evaluated in a “hands-on” manner, was a central focal point. This cooperation has proven to be a successful format and continues with most of the same organizations being involved.
The Virginia Plumbing and Mechanical Inspectors Association was founded for the purpose of education and communication. As further evidence of this commitment, the annual summer meeting was expanded, beginning in 1994, to include a day of technical training. With the consolidation of BOCA, ICBO and SBCCI into the International Code Council and subsequent adoption of the International Codes in Virginia, the potential for growth has expanded and we have taken up the challenge. We continue to be a leader in the support of education and code development. In 2002 we received the BOCA Chapter of the Year Award for excel-ling in educational opportunities, membership and participation in BOCA activities. In 2004, we received the Directors Award from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development in recognition of our members’ participation in the development and delivery of plumbing and mechanical code educational modules for the Virginia Building Code Academy as well as conducting statewide training in plumbing, mechanical and fuel gas code requirements and service on the Building Code Academy Advisory Committee. In 2005 the Association was honored to accept a Chapter Merit Award from the International Code Council.
Closer ties with our partners in code development and administration both within Virginia and throughout the country have developed. VPMIA, along with the Virginia Building and Code Officials Association and the Virginia Fire Prevention Association came together in October of 2005 for the first ever joint conference. The educational seminar lasted for four days with duel tracks offering a wide variety of training from Legal Aspects of Code Enforcement to Hydrogen Refueling Station installations. We have strengthened our Association by focusing on our responsibilities and purpose. Our foundation now consists of a vision, a mission and a strategic plan to further our goals. Thus we go onward, not knowing what challenges are to be faced tomorrow, but confident that through our dedication to learning today, we will be prepared.
The VPMIA, VBCOA, VFPA Joint Conference
On October 21, 2005 the Virginia Plumbing and Mechanical Inspectors Association together with the Virginia Building Officials Association and the Virginia Fire Prevention Association held the first ever Joint Code Conference in Hampton, Virginia at Hampton’s brand new Conference Center. The conference was a four day event that offered training in all areas of code enforcement. The Conference gave the participants an opportunity to network with each other, develop code knowledge, and earn valued continuing education credits towards certification maintenance. The training, which included everything from Legal Aspects of Code Enforcement to Kitchen Exhaust Installations, was the center piece of the conference utilizing top trainers from around the country.
ICC CEO, James Lee Witt, former FEMA Director and ICC President Henry L. Green were on hand to install Officers and speak to the members. They spoke about the International Code Council Foundation that is helping the Gulf Region Code Officials that were devastated by the hurricanes last summer, get back on their feet. They also spoke regarding ICC’s efforts to provide uniform codes for users nationwide. Mr. Witt is spearheading an effort called HEROS. It helps wounded war veterans retrofit their homes for handicapped accessibility as they return from war with devastating handicaps.
A table-top show, with manufacturers of building materials, computer systems and organizations such as ICC and UL were on hand to discuss their products and services. Several of the table-top vendors also taught classes in their specialized areas. The ICC delivered a whole day class on the legal aspects of code enforcement which generated many questions from the class participants.
The social events were a big hit and well attended. On Saturday evening participants were treated to a buffet dinner and casino night at the Air and Space Museum, in Hampton. Everyone had a great time at the casino night and enjoyed the flight simulators. The next morning you had your choice of a golf outing or a fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay. Although there weren’t any hole in ones and very few fish were caught, everyone had a good time and took advantage of the opportunity to network.
Plans are being made for another joint conference in the future so be prepared to find yourself among the finest code enforcement officials in the state when we do it again.