Joint Venture: SIGMA Fire Protection Business Unit and Unique Industrial Group
SIGMA Corporation is proud to announce a joint venture between its Fire Protection Business Unit and Unique Industrial Group ("UIG"). The SIGMA Fire Protection and UIG joint venture, called SIGMA Piping Products ("SPP"), will serve the national pipe, valve & fittings distributors and OEM markets.
SPP will operate with four business units, to grow on the strength of proven brands created, developed, and nurtured by Unique Industrial Group:
- Elite Components (Mechanical & Electrical Fastening, Fire Protection & Plumbing)
- Chem Oil (Engineered products for the Energy and Industrial Field)
- UniqueFlo (OEM, Industrial, and Oil & Gas Equipment)
- SUN Drainage Products (Floor, Roof, and Channel Drain)
This new venture provides SIGMA an expanded product range enabling growth in current markets as well as an opportunity to reach into new, adjacent markets. SIGMA's Chairman and CEO, Victor Pais, explains the move: "This joint venture delivers a synergy that will benefit all of our customers. It makes us the only supplier in North America serving distributors in such a broad range of industries -- waterworks, fire protection, plumbing, drainage, oil and gas, industrial, and OEM. Unique is a value-added, sophisticated operation and makes a strong complement to SIGMA's existing business groups. This joint venture will springboard SIGMA into diversified markets, all of which are united in that they relate to moving liquids and controlling flow."
With over 35 years of customer satisfaction driven by close personal relationships at national, regional, and local levels serving national, group, and independent distributors in the Water and Sewer industry, SIGMA is poised for growth. During the last 20 years, Unique Industrial has excelled in developing a broad product range from a proven and versatile global sourcing footprint that extends beyond China to include India, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, and other countries. UIG has successfully served diverse industries through their entrepreneurial spirit and passion for quality and has delivered its products to customers throughout the Southwest, Southeast, and Western Pacific markets. SIGMA plans to leverage SPP's expanded product range throughout its national marketing, sales and distribution footprint, covering all of the USA and Canada, led by Larry Rybacki, SIGMA's President.
SIGMA strategically sought out UIG as a partner in this venture because of its company culture as well as its complementary market sectors. Both companies share a people-centric business ethos, a loyal base of customers, suppliers and employee teams, a commitment to innovation and an unwavering devotion to quality and service. And both companies serve diverse, yet adjacent industries that relate to moving liquids and controlling flow.
Following a smooth transition, day-to-day operations of these newly combined business units will remain headquartered in Texas, under the umbrella of SPP. All the operating divisions will continue to function independently with oversight from the Board of Managers drawn from both SIGMA and UIG. Jay Malani, the entrepreneurial founder of the UIG, will manage SPP as CEO. Nimish Sheth, UIG's longtime Global Supply Director and CEO of UniqueFlo and Chem Oil, will serve as the COO. Don Muller, SIGMA's Controller, who led the due diligence for SIGMA and the groundwork for SPP will be SPP's CFO. The management team will be assisted and guided by Pradeep Gupta, co-founder of UIG as an advisor; Pankaj Malani, CEO of Unique Industrial, as Director; Mitchell Rona, SIGMA's Executive Vice President, as Director; and Victor Pais, CEO of SIGMA, as Chairman.
With this strategic merger, SPP will become the premier supplier of piping products in North America serving distributors in a broad range of industries - from Waterworks to Fire Protection to Plumbing to Drainage to Oil & Gas to Industrial to OEM.
How the Rybacki Memorial Funds Are Spent
Part II in a series of interviews with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.
Dr. Philipe Armand, Director of Clinical Research for Lymphoma at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is an expert in Lymphoma research and especially immunotherapy for lymphoma. At the request of the Rybacki family, funds raised from the 2018 Rybacki Golf Memorial Tournament were allocated to lymphoma research. In the following article, we interview Dr. Armand about his clinical research program at Dana-Farber to get a basic overview of how immunotherapy is being applied to cancer treatment programs and ultimately, to patients.
Over the last decade, Immunotherapy has been heralded as a breakthrough treatment in the world of oncology. A branch of immunotherapy is the concept of checkpoint blockade therapy. Checkpoint blockade therapy regulates the immune responses so that the tumors can't use these pathways to protect themselves and hide; the system doesn't go into overdrive and instead responds appropriately to the threat.
"This therapy is revolutionary, because it uses the fact that the immune system can recognize cancer cells as different from healthy cells, which allows it to attack the cancer cells directly," said Dr. Armand. "Treatment is largely based on antibody drugs that target pathways used by cancer cells to hide from the immune system. By targeting those pathways these drugs improve the immune response against the cancer."
Immune checkpoints are critical in the body's self-defense system. Dana-Farber physician-scientists such as Dr. Gordon Freeman and Dr. Stephen Hodi recognized that cancer cells were outsmarting the patient's auto-immune system, by disguising themselves in order to hide in the body. If the immune system is unable to identify the tumors, then the body can't fight back.
In talking about the benefits of immunotherapy, Dr. Armand said "this therapy is very different from chemotherapy, which kills cells directly, usually by interfering with cell division. Checkpoint blockade therapy in contrast has an overall safer toxicity profile. However, while it doesn't have the same side effects as chemotherapy, it can be associated with autoimmune side effects which must be recognized and treated."
Checkpoint blockade therapy has now moved beyond the first wave of clinical trials and oncologists have found it to be particularly effective in Hodgkin's Lymphoma and one subset of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It is now FDA-approved for routine clinical care, thanks in part to the work of researchers at Dana-Farber.
Dr. Armand signs off, "I am extremely privileged to work at Dana-Farber for a number of reasons. First, it feels like place where the mission is lived. The mission of helping patients feels palpable to all the staff, researchers and to the patients themselves. Second, being in Boston we have the privilege of being surrounded by outstanding resources and colleagues, with wide access to top-notch research universities and institutes, hospitals and the biotech world. This makes Boston an outstanding place in which to try to advance the field of oncology."
Thanks to everyone who has been involved in the Rybacki Memorial Golf Tournament. This year marks its 26th anniversary. We hope to see you at the 2019 Tournament, which takes place on September 27th at The Haven Country Club in Boylston, Mass. For further information about the tournament, contact
SIGMA OEM Expands Global Sourcing Portfolio in Indonesia.
SIGMA has recently expanded our presence in Indonesia. With the new facilities, we will offer a wider array of parts, services, and material grades. SIGMA has been successfully sourcing in Indonesia for the past decade, dating back to the acquisition of the fire protection business in 2009. The fire protection product line included black and galvanized malleable iron screw fittings, which were, and still are, manufactured in Indonesia.
Recently, the Indonesian strategic supplier partner commissioned a ductile iron plant to complement their malleable iron unit. This unit is now up and running, and SIGMA has already begun expanding our collaboration with them on OEM customer projects, which will commence regular production and delivery this fall.
The foundry's primary molding process is a vertically parted Disamatic molding machine with a targeted total mold weight of approximately 25 lbs. The present single shift capacity is about 7000-8000 MT per year. This is an ideal fit for smaller parts with higher volumes.
Indonesia presents a bright possibility for companies searching for a sourcing alternative to China as global supply chain executives clamor for alternatives as the continued tariffs strangle overall costing models. Many are migrating to India, but without the proper partners, they are experiencing a steep learning curve, and many other barriers to entry.
SIGMA OEM and our Indonesian supplier partner are eager to explore new business opportunities. We are poised to complement existing sourcing plans or work to replace a faltering supply chain.
ACE19 in Denver presented a wonderful opportunity for SIGMA to connect with customers and industry friends from all over the world. The show was well attended, and thousands of waterworks professionals gathered to discuss the show's theme, Innovating the Future of Water.
SIGMA sends a big thanks and a shout out to the following team members, who went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure a successful AWWA show:
- Satheesh Chandrasekaran, Engineer, for leading his team to create the displays and construct custom crating.
- Earl Young, Internal Quality Control Associate, for helping with display construction and ensuring that all materials were crated so that the materials would arrive in Denver in pristine condition.
- Donna Jones, Sales and Marketing Support Associate, for overseeing all aspects of the booth logistics, display shipments, onsite coordination, assembly and breakdown of the booth.
- Lori Grant-Peters, Engineering Assistant, for helping with onsite booth assembly, running errands in Denver for last minute needs, and helping with breakdown of the booth.
- Dave Brugger, TSM, for helping with with the set-up and assembly before the show, and breakdown of the booth when it ended.
- Jim Stohr, Southwest Regional Manager, for helping to dismantle the booth from the time the show ended at 2pm, until the last crate was screwed shut around 7:30.
- Kane Connor, TSM, for helping break down the booth.
- Al Richardson, Southeast Regional Manager, for helping break down the booth.
- Jim Carr, Operations Manager, Northeast Region, for arranging freight for shipments to Denver.
- Les Robinson, Operations Manager, Western Region, for arranging shipments to and from Denver.
SIGMA is already looking forward to ACE20 in Orlando!
SIGMA Expands Custom HDPE Product Line
As the SIGMA Raven HDPE product line has grown, many municipalities have requested custom elements to meet their specifications. Because SIGMA has fabrication facilities in both Idaho and Alabama, with fully trained roto-molding technical experts, they are able to manufacture HDPE meter enclosures to custom specifications.
Territory Sales Manager Wayne Pederson explains, "Different municipalities and different climates have different needs, and we are able to accommodate all of these considerations. Places that have long, cold, snowy winters need a deeper meter pit or stacking meter boxes to deal with snow and ground frost, whereas warmer climates warrant non-stacking meter boxes. We have done a lot of work for the Cities of Tacoma, Washington, and Long Beach, California, resulting in their standardizing most of their meter boxes to SIGMA, and using the non stacking model." In addition to weather issues, advancing technology has an affect on this product line. Wayne continues: "Metering has changed; in the past, people would manually remove the lids and read the meters. Now this is largely done digitally with a signal sent from the meter to a radio tower. In the past, the lids were made of ductile iron, but that interferes with the radio signal, so these all have to be changed to HDPE. SIGMA manufactures a complete HDPE lid and box combination, which is really revolutionizing the industry. These sets are H20 traffic rated, and have been very well received in the market place."
SIGMA, REPCO Mark 25 Years in Partnership
SIGMA and REPCO are celebrating their silver anniversary! For 25 years, REPCO has served as SIGMA's Quebec regional office, and the partnership has been overwhelmingly productive. Canada Regional Manager Dave Pietryga explains, "REPCO is a big part of what we do in Canada. Without them, we could not function in Quebec. Jean Boucher, our Sales Manager, does a terrific job leading the team, and everyone there is so dedicated, capable, and professional. Jean-Francois Lampron was a great addition, and the partnership has progressed and grown over the years. They handle communication with customers, logistics, warehousing, really just about everything. And because Quebec is French speaking, we would not be able to transact business there without help."
As a representative of SIGMA, REPCO has built tremendous trust over the years. Dave continues, "REPCO is truly an extension of SIGMA here in Quebec. This is an invaluable relationship; they share the SIGMA approach to quality and service, and they ensure that we are well represented here in Canada. We value this partnership tremendously, and look forward to continuing it for another 25 years and beyond."
SIGMA recognizes and thanks the entire REPCO Team: Dany Rivard, Marie-Soliel, Mathieu Provencher, Caryne Dubois, Maxime Boucher, Jean Boucher, Christian Jeffrey, and Jean-Francois Lampron.
Congratulations to SIGMA Canada and REPCO on this milestone.
Meet SIGMA: Jesse Roberts, Inside Sales Representative
Jesse Roberts became a member of the SIGMA family 14 years ago through a corporate acquisition; SIGMA purchased PCI, Jesse's former employer. At that time, Jesse already had six years in the industry under his belt-but his career didn't start in waterworks: "I had been working in a medical company and I got really tired of dealing with death all the time. A friend tipped me off about a job in the warehouse where he worked, and I got it. After three months, they moved me to inside sales, and that's where I've been ever since."
Jesse's approach to customers is individual: "Every customer is different, with different needs and different challenges. I recognize that, and I try to put myself in their shoes every day." The self-described "Loud One," Jesse claims to be the most vocal member of his team on all matters, "I'm shouting, in a good way, whether we are joking around about sports or pushing a deadline for a customer. In terms of the SIGMA culture, it's all about the people, there are no strangers here." Colleagues describe Jesse as "The big, loud teddy bear," and that seems to fit.
A born and bred Houstonian, Jesse took a brief hiatus to attend Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, where he majored in Interpersonal Communication and played running back and corner back on the football team. Both pursuits remain essential to Jesse's daily life: "It's all about communication. I know the names of every member of the warehouse team. I greet them by name, and that means something. That connection establishes a rapport, and they are going to stop what they are doing to say hello, and also to help me out when my customer needs something." As for football, Jesse confesses to being a bit obsessed with Madden PlayStation: "I play every day." With his remaining free time, he admits to being a terrible golfer and has just started playing paint ball.
We salute Jesse for his productive and spirited tenure at SIGMA and wish him continued success.
SIGMA congratulates the following employees on their milestone anniversaries with the company:
- Felix Sanchez, Shipping and Receiving Loader (Western Regional Office)
- Mike Walsh, Northeast Regional Manager (Northeast Regional Office)
- Donna Jones, Sales and Marketing Support Associate (Northeast)
- Sean Salins, Supply Chain Manager (Northeast)
- Mauricio Guerrero, Inside Sales Rep (West)
- Troy Weal, Inside Sales Rep (Northeast)
- Patricia Velazquez, Accounts Payable Associate (Northeast)
- Marie Moskowitz, Supply Chain Associate (Northeast)
- Sunil Handa, Supply Chain Associate (Northeast)
- Satheesh Manicka Chandrasekaran, Engineer (Northeast)
We thank these dedicated professionals for their service to SIGMA and wish them many more happy, prosperous years with us.
SW Region Hosts 6th Annual Customer Appreciation Day
The Southwest Regional Office hosted its 6th annual customer appreciation day on May 3. The event featured music, raffles, a crawfish boil, fajitas, a cash vault, prizes, and other festivities. Held at the Houston office, guests enjoyed the celebration and SIGMA was pleased to have the opportunity to thank our customers for their loyalty.
We at SIGMA place tremendous value on our SIGMA family. With that in mind, we celebrate the joy and success of our employees and their loved ones, and we share their good news...
From the Northeast Region:
Double congratulations to Customer Service Representative Julie Bell! Firstly, Julie has been valiantly battling breast cancer, and completed her chemotherapy treatment in May. Julie, her husband Mike, and son Mason participated in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Race on May 11 to honor cancer survivors as well as those who have lost their lives to cancer. Julie expressed gratitude for her SIGMA Family: "I am so grateful to work for SIGMA. Everyone has been so understanding during this time. Luckily, I was able to work through most of my treatment, leaving early for doctor's appointments, test, and chemotherapy every Friday. It has been a very long road but I am battling back as hard as I can. All ladies, just a reminder, please: Mammograms save lives! Early detection is key for a good prognosis."
Secondly, Congratulations to the Bell family on Mason's graduation from New Egypt High School. Before graduation, Mason worked part time at SIGMA scanning invoices, and he has a full time job lined up with an electrician upon graduation. Mason spent part of his junior and senior years at Ocean County Vocational School learning the electrical trade, and will be attending night school going forward to become a licensed electrician. Julie adds: "I can't believe that my baby, who turned one the day after I began working at SIGMA, will be graduating high school!"
Congratulations to Finance Associate Sandra Salins and Supply Chain Manager Sean Salins on the scholastic success of their daughter, Sasha. Sasha received the Fitzpatrick Family Merit Scholarship and will start her freshman year at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, NJ this fall. This four year, full tuition academic merit scholarship is newly established, and Sasha is the first recipient. The criteria are based on the student's performance on the high school placement exam, written essays, and interviews. In addition to receiving this prestigious scholarship, Sasha's Odyssey of the Mind team reached the World Finals in East Lansing, MI, and placed 6th in their division out of 70 international teams. Prior to the final competition, they had won first place at regional, state, and national tournaments.
Congratulations to Kathy Mulligan, Business Development Associate, OEM, on her May 18 wedding to Scott P. Searles. Joined by their friends and family, they married at the Old Manahawkin Baptist Church, followed by a festive reception at Captain's Inn in Forked River. Scott's nephew, Stephen Searles, performed the ceremony, and the happy couple now heads a combined family of nine: Kathy's son Matthew Francis, daughter-in-law Sarah, grandchildren Madison and Carson, and daughter Meagan Francis; and Scott's sons Lucas and Jude Searles. Best wishes and much happiness to all!
Congratulations to OEM Business Development Assistant Kaitlyn Bartlett on her engagement to Martin Heupel. The happy couple met at the Hamilton Dog Park, and now reside with their beloved canines Misty, Nala, and Freddie.
A September 19, 2021 wedding is planned.
Congratulations to Karen Barone, Accounts Payable Manager, whose daughter Jenny graduated from Ramapo College with a degree in Criminology. Former NFL star
Tiki Barber was the commencement speaker, and he delivered a moving speech. Jenny, a huge Barber fan, ran to him, shook his hand, thanked him for coming, and then approached the President of Ramapo for the official handshake. Jenny was only one of two students who shook Barber's hand and thanked him for coming while on stage. Jenny is currently working in the SIGMA sales department and she's applying to school for her masters where she plans to study family counseling. The Barone family sends a shout out to the sales department for showing Jenny the ropes and special thanks to Inside Sales Rep Susan Van Hook for being a great mentor.
Congratulations to Michelle Hacker, Imports/Compliance Associate, on her daughter Brandi's high school graduation. Brandi will be attending Rowan University in the fall and plans to study General Science.
Congratulations to Patty Velazquez, Accounts Payable - Imports Associate, on the graduation of her son Alex from Rowan University. Alex graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice and AS in Psychology. He plans to work in the field providing services to individuals with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities and those in need of neurological rehabilitation.
Congratulations to Victoria Ruffino, Accounts Payable Associate, on her granddaughter Gianna's graduation from 5th grade. Gianna received the President's Achievement Award, having earned straight A's throughout the school year. She will be attending middle school in Edison this fall.
On Friday, May 31, Nona Chamberlain, Inventory Control Associate, organized the 3rd Bi-Annual Painting Party. Participants enjoyed pizza, appetizers and desserts while creating beautiful beach-themed canvases. Nona will shortly begin planning the next painting party, scheduled for the fall.
From the Southeast Region:
Jessica Johnson, Lori Baker, Ann Powell, Jessica Gandy, Terry James, Demetrious Stowe, Albert Whetstone, Jessie Browning and David Adams of Team Sigma at the United Way School Clean up day at Jim Pearson Elementary in Alex City.
From the Southwest Region:
Anita Kavina's daughter Rhea works as a therapist for kids on the Autism Spectrum. She is passionate about her job at Spectrum of Hope but will be leaving next month to study full time. Rhea Kavina will be attending University of Houston this fall to pursue her Masters in Social Work in a fast track one and a half year program due to receiving her bachelors in social work earlier.
Throughout her undergraduate years, Rhea always worked with elementary school aged children, but this fall she has a graduate internship as a ninth grade counselor at a high school. Her goal is to ultimately work in low income housing communities with underprivileged kids making a difference one child at a time.
From the Midwest Region:
Congratulations to Brett Trout, Midwest Utility Sales Representative, on the graduation of his daughter Olivia. Olivia graduated 5th in her class on June 6 from Concord High School, and will attend Indiana University in Bloomington this fall.
From the Western Canada Region:
SIGMA Canada was pleased to support the "Henry vs. Leukemia" Campaign, to help the family of a nine year old boy who is beginning a 6 month course of chemotherapy at Vancouver Children's Hospital. Because the hospital is 250 miles from his home, Henry's mother has taken a leave of absence from her job and relocated to be with her son. This caused a financial hardship for the family. The community has organized several fundraisers and a GoFundMe campaign to help the family with ongoing expenses. At press time, nearly $6000 had been raised, and efforts will continue to support Henry and his mom. To donate to Henry vs. Leukemia, please visit:
SIGMA sends condolences to the family of John Boyce, Western Regional Manager for SPP, who passed away suddenly on June 14. John was an important part of the SPP team for the past three years, and brought much industry knowledge and expertise to the SPP sales force. SIGMA mourns the loss of John, and sends deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and colleagues.