Rybacki's Thoughts while Showering: Industry Outlook
The effect of Covid-19 had hit manufacturing much worse than distribution as of June 1st. This is due to distribution tightening down on working capital. This was certainly to be expected as so much uncertainty has surrounded the economy and our industry.
With lockdowns in New York, New Jersey, New England, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, California, the Northwest, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, I'm amazed that we as a group are doing as well as we are. Municipal spend is still relatively healthy and that's without an infrastructure package. Private work continues to surprise on the upside as many so-called experts were calling for a major slowdown in housing due to the pandemic. Right now, inventory is low and demand is increasing so in the short term we should be OK.
The wild card is what happens this fall. Will there be a second round of Covid-19? Will the states that opened up first regret it? Will herd immunity along with a vaccine lead us back to the good old days, which was quarter one? I'm an optimist by nature so I'm betting that the worst is behind us and it's onward and upward from here!
We at SIGMA are extremely pleased that we have had very few cases of Covid-19 to deal with nationally. Social distancing, working remotely, and adhering to federal Covid-19 guidelines have certainly been the reasons so far and that will continue. From a business standpoint, after a terrific first quarter we encountered a slowdown in April and May, but May showed signs of improvement at the end of the month. Our Raven Product Line continues to outperform all other products as we are running well ahead of plan. The future for our domestically manufactured HDPE Meter Boxes looks very bright.
We thank all of you for your support and friendship during these unprecedented times and wish all of you good health and success in the coming months ahead.
Check out this Webb-site: American Iron and Steel Provision Here to Stay
American Iron and Steel Provision Here to Stay
Like many in our industry, I have been paying close attention to the AIS Provision and what it means to our customers, suppliers, and distributors. I recently attended a webinar that clarified the current implications of the American Iron and Steel (AIS) Provision with regard to the expiration of the National Product Waiver.
The AIS Provision requires Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) assistance recipients to use iron and steel products that are manufactured in the US. Until recently, there was a National Product Waiver in effect, which temporarily excused recipients from compliance, and permitted the use of imported Stainless Steel Nuts and Bolts. However, in 2018, the EPA conducted a study in which they concluded that there was sufficient capacity to fill AIS demand, and in response to this, the waiver was allowed to expire on February 24, 2020.
There are still some specific waivers that can be requested, and some interesting aspects to the current situation. Key takeaways from the webinar are as follows:
- All products purchased on or before February 24, 2020 are covered by the waiver.
- All products purchased after February 24, 2020 must comply with AIS.
- The Minor Components Waiver probably won't cover the stainless steel nuts and bolts, as they are typically greater than 5% of the materials cost of the product.
- The De Minimis Waiver likely won't cover these components as they are generally not incidental.
- If an AIS-compliant product cannot be sourced in a particular instance, the loan recipient can apply for a Project-Specific Waiver. Further information on the waiver request process is available here: https://www.epa.gov/cwsrf/american-iron-and-steel-requirement-waiver-request-process
I am pleased to confirm that SIGMA is in a position to supply AIS compliant stainless nuts and bolts for both mechanical joint and flange joint applications, and can also supply imported product if a waiver is procured.
SIGMA Corporation is proud to highlight the One-Lok Model SLCE wedge action restraint for 42" & 48" PVC pressure piping. The SIGMA One-Lok's unique design allows the product to serve as both a pipe restraint and as a gasket compression gland. Additionally, the restraining glands have been designed to minimize the assembly time required to install the joint. This feature differs from competitors' products, which require the use of an additional mechanical joint follower gland. As a further benefit, the same restraining gland can be used for both mechanical fitting joints and bell harness PVC joint assemblies.
Pipe Restraint Products Spotlight: Wedge Action Restraint for 42" and 48" C900 PVC Pi
SIGMA Engineering successfully tested its ONE LOK Model
SLCE on 48" AWWA C900 DR25 PVC Pipe in excess of twice the
rate pressure of the pipe classification
Features of the One-Lok Model SLCE wedge action restraint for 42" & 48" PVC pipes include:
- Fewer wedges and break-off bolts are required during installation when compared to the number of T-Bolt holes. This greatly reduces the installation time required for proper joint assembly.
- Additional extended lugs for the gasket bell OD, which can be used for bell harness PVC pipe joints.
- Same wedge & break off bolt for 42" & 48" sizes enable interchangeability between these sizes.
- Internally tested, approved and recommended on all classifications of 42" and 48" AWWA C900, including thin wall pipes.
- Restrainer glands are supplied with SIGMA CORR-SAFE, e-coated for enhanced corrosion protection.
- Supplied as a pack, which includes the standard T-bolts and nuts, as well as SIGMA's enhanced sealing capability with the SIGMASeal mechanical joint gasket.
- Product is available upon request with Stainless Steel or Fluorokote/Teflon T-bolts and nuts.
SIGMA remains the pipe restraint industry leader in North America. With the launch of these restraint sizes, SIGMA is the only manufacturer to offer a nominal size range of 3" through 60" gland replacement wedge action restraints for PVC pressure pipes. This unique design was made possible by Satheesh Chandrasekaran, Pipe Restraint Product Engineer. Pipe Restraint Product Manager Steve McDonald comments, "We pride ourselves on designing, developing, manufacturing and supplying products that meet or exceed end-user expectations. This is just one more example of SIGMA's commitment to innovation and quality."
For further information about the SIGMA Pipe Restraint Product Line, please contact Satheesh at
or Steve McDonald at
Save the Date: Rybacki Memorial Tournament September 11
This year, the 27th Annual Rybacki Memorial Golf Tournament will be held September 11 at the Haven Club in Boylston, MA.
Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Due to the generosity of sponsors, friends, and donors, last year's tournament raised over $83,000 for the Melanoma research of Drs. Buchbinder, Lin, and Yoon. This year, the funds will support the work of Dr. Jennifer Veneris, who is researching Gynecologic Cancer in adolescents and young women. This area was selected as this year's beneficiary in honor of a dear friend of the Rybacki family, who is currently fighting the disease.
For information on the tournament, or how to support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, please contact Cindy Dayotas at
Specialty & Plant Solutions Busy Through Pandemic
SIGMA's dedicated Specialty and Plant Solutions team has stayed busy throughout the pandemic. Deemed an essential business, SIGMA has remained open and operating while strictly adhering to safety protocols. Ingrid Sondag, Associate DBIA, National Specialty and Plant Solutions Manager, comments, "We have seen continued growth in our division and have not slowed down during this difficult time. Maintaining water and sewer infrastructure is a year-round necessity, and we have been working nonstop to meet the needs of our customers from coast to coast."
Projects in the South East, Central and West territories did not experience any slowdown and in some cases were put on a fast track. The increased demand for Protecto 401 material demonstrates that the need for services in this sector continues to grow. SIGMA's skilled team is ready to deliver product and provide project management services to ensure that water and sewer infrastructure is securely and completely maintained for the health and safety of all.
For information about SIGMA's Plant and Specialty Solutions, please contact Ingrid Sondag at
Employees Promoted in Western Regional Office
SIGMA congratulates Les Robinson, Daniel Diaz, and Juan Rodriquez on their promotions.
Change is afoot in the Western Regional Office. Les Robinson will be taking his talents back to SIGMA's Auburn, WA location, where he will serve as General Manager. Les has been with SIGMA in California for seven years, and is excited to return to his home in Washington. He has shown himself to be a proven leader, and will bring his infectious "can-do" attitude to Auburn. Daniel Diaz will be replacing Les as the Operations Manager at the Ontario facility. An 18-year veteran of SIGMA, Danny knows first hand what is needed in his new role. He has served as Warehouse Manager for the last several years and worked closely with Les, so he is a natural to succeed him. Juan Rodriguez will step into the role of Ontario Warehouse Manager. He has worked at SIGMA for 13 years, and is more than ready to assume a leadership role. Special thanks to Joel Wilmsmeyer for coming out of retirement to offer his assistance and guidance to make these transitions seamless. Joel hired many members of the warehouse and operations teams, so his help is always welcome.
Congratulations to Les, Daniel, and Juan, thank you for your excellent service to SIGMA, and best wishes in your new positions.
SIGMA-Raven Full Barrel Meter Pits Ready for Installation
This new batch of SIGMA-Raven's Full Barrel Meter Pits, made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), is being installed in a subdivision in Boise, Idaho. Domestically manufactured in Caldwell, Idaho and Alexander City, Alabama, these products provide an underground enclosure for water meter installation. Like the entire Raven-HDPE product line, they uphold SIGMA's industry-leading quality protocols, and adhere to all required specifications.
For information on these and other HDPE products, please contact Jessica Johnson at
MEET SIGMA: Jess Johnson, Raven Southeast Operations Manager/Project Specialist
Jessica Johnson, Raven Southeast Operations Manager/Project Specialist, just celebrated her 20th anniversary with SIGMA! A true team player, Jess refers to her coworkers as "family" and is emphatic in highlighting their commitment, their work ethic, their skill-not hers. Ever humble, she eschews the characterization that she is a "SIGMA Star", instead insisting, "My team members are the stars. I just get to manage them, and that is my privilege."
Jess has risen to a position of leadership in the company through an unwavering commitment to hard work. She began working with SIGMA on May 1, 2000 as a receptionist. Within months, she was moved to Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, and from there, to Shipping and Sales, where she learned the logistical aspects of the business-creating bills of lading, shipping product, negotiating trucking and carrier rates. Then she was moved to the OEM division, where she became the Assistant Plant Manager, and then the Plant Manager. She oversaw specialized manufacturing of high precision parts, and was so successful that the then-CEO tapped her to run both the OEM and main warehouses in Alabama.
SIGMA then branched out into HDPE Roto-molding, and Jess was asked to run the division. This required learning an entirely new manufacturing process with new equipment, but true to form, Jess led her team to success. She now oversees manufacturing in both Alabama and Idaho, and in addition to the day-to-day processes, she conducts high-level inventory forecasting to ensure sufficient product for customer needs at all times. The facilities are running 24 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week.
When she's not overseeing a major manufacturing operation, Jess is usually on a ball field. A devoted mom, she describes her family as "sports nuts". She was an athlete in her youth, and both of her kids followed in her footsteps. She and her husband of 22 years have 2 children. Their 20-year old daughter, a nursing student at Central Alabama Community College, played softball there, and their 17-year old son, a senior in high school, plays both football and baseball. Jess sees sports as a great life lesson: "I tell my kids to be team players. There's no such thing as failure if you work hard, persevere through the worst, and have a good attitude. I also tell them to work now so you can play later-because if you don't work hard now there's no playing later!"
SIGMA congratulates Jess on her 20 years with the company, thanks her for her excellent work, and wishes her and her team continued success.
SIGMA values our most important resource above all: our people. Our employees make the company a success every day with their skill, dedication, professionalism, and hard work. We know that without them, there is no SIGMA, so from the bottom of our hearts, we thank the following employees for their long service, congratulate them on these milestones, and wish them continued success:
Greg Fox, Vice President of Sales, based in the Southeast Regional Office
Kimberly Robinson, Inside Sales Representative, Southeast Region
Meena Singh, Customer Service Representative, Northeast Region
Gloria Lamborne, Inside Sales Representative, Southeast Region
Wanda Davis, National Invoicing Support Supervisor, Northeast Region
Ratnavalli Yerrmilli, Senior Finance Manager, Northeast Region
Anita Kavina, Office Manager, Southwest Region
Harry Bair, Territory Sales Manager, Northeast Region
Labrenkin Johnson, Raven Production Associate, Southeast Region
Kevin Flanagan, Territory Sales Manager, Northeast Region
Joseph Medina, Warehouse Associate, Northeast Region
Jessica Johnson, Raven Southeast Operations Manager and Project Specialist, Southeast Region
Aja Alejandra Garcia, Customer Service Representative, Western Region
Melissa Maness, Customer Service Representative, Southeast Region
Jeffrey Marlow, Territory Sales and Inventory Manager, Southeast Region
Sreenivasa Rao, Engineer, Northeast Region
Renee Cohen, Customer Service Representative, Northeast Region
Jessica Stohr, Territory Sales Manager, Southwest Region
Chris Pompillo, Warehouse Associate, Northeast Region
Jeff Gant, Internal Quality Control Associate, Northeast Region
Meredith Fodera, Receptionist, Northeast Region
Brian Martin, Inside Sales Representative, Midwest Region
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:
Congratulations to Kaitlyn Bartlett, Business Development Assistant - OEM, on the birth of her son Jackson Anthony Heupel. Jackson was born on May 6, weighed 6 lbs, 16 oz, and measured 20 inches long. Jackson and his parents are all doing well.
Congratulations to President Larry Rybacki, whose daughter Leanna graduated from Boston University with a degree in Environmental Law.
Congratulations to Executive Vice President Mitchell Rona, whose son Max graduated from Northeastern University with a BS in Data Sciences and a minor in Mathematics. Max plans to pursue a career in Data Sciences and currently resides in Boston.
Congratulations to Finance Manager Sandra Salins and Sourcing & Procurement Sean Salins, on their daughter Sarah's Academic Achievement awards this semester in AP Language and Composition and AP US History Seminar, at Notre Dame High School.
From the Southeast Region:
Congratulations to Vice President of Sales Greg Fox and his wife Margot on the marriage of their daughter Maggie. Maggie married Connor Dunn on June 13, 2020 in a beautiful ceremony on the shores of a lake near Alexander City, Alabama.
Congratulations to Customer Service Representative Kim Robinson on the birth of her grandson Caleb Lee Myers Jr. Caleb was born on July 2nd, weighed 5 lbs, 2 oz, and measured 17 inches long. Caleb, his parents Paige and Mike, and big sister Nora are all doing well.
From the Southwest Region:
Congratulations to Office Manager Anita Kavina, whose daughter Rhea graduated from the University of Houston with a Masters degree in Social Work. Although the graduation was virtual, Anita made it memorable by coming home from work in the middle of the day and surprising Rhea with balloons and flowers so they could watch the ceremony and celebrate together.