Team USA – whose sponsors included IAPMO – may have won the competition at the inaugural Community Plumbing Challenge in Nashik, India, but the real winners were the 400 schoolchildren who now have proper sanitation facilities and a reliable water source.
The Community Plumbing Challenge, an initiative of The IAPMO Group and the World Plumbing Council, was hosted and facilitated by the Indian Plumbing Association and sponsored by the WorldSkills Foundation. The Nov. 2-5 competition was a follow-up to the Water Innovation Challenge of June 2014 and featured teams from Australia, Basque Country, India, and the United States.
With IAPMO acting as project coordinator, the teams worked together to build a new sanitation facility for Mukti Dham School No. 125, home to 400 students between the ages of 7 and 15. The school now has 25 working taps (up from four before) and hand wash drainage, two taps in toilet areas (none before), improved ventilation, better water pressure, and higher water tank storage capacity.
IAPMO was well represented at the event, as IAPMO Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Strategy Dave Viola; Senior Vice President of International Business Development Megan Lehtonen; Managers of International Projects Grant Stewart and Seán Kearney; and former Board Member Bill Erickson (who served as the U.S. Team Leader, as he did in the 2014 Water Innovation Challenge) attended the challenge.
“IAPMO has long recognized and valued the critical role that the WorldSkills Foundation has provided to bring together teams of young and creative individuals to address the health concerns related to access to safe water and enhanced sanitation conditions,” said IAPMO Group CEO GP Russ Chaney, former chairman of the World Plumbing Council.
Team USA consisted of plumber and mason Peter Hollmaier; plumber Adam Koenigs; designer Miya Preston; engineer Jill Vande Boom; and coaches Randy Lorge, Doug Nelson, and Judith Torres.
The next Community Plumbing Challenge is scheduled to be held in July 2016 in South Africa and followed up with a presentation in conjunction with the World Plumbing Conference.