OCTOBER 2019

IN THIS ISSUE:

      
Larry Rybacki Reflects on 40 years in the Waterworks Industry 

The waterworks industry has changed dramatically since I started in May of 1977. I've only ever had two jobs in my career, but I've been in the waterworks industry the whole time and have witnessed a lot of changes as distribution has become more prevalent and stronger in every place in the United States. In order to take care of distribution you've had to open full warehouses across the country. Our dream at SIGMA was to be able to service every waterworks customer within 48 hours. We've since changed that whereby we can ship every waterworks distributor in North America certainly within 48 hours, but the vast majority within 24.
 
So we have distribution sites all the way from Ontario, California and Seattle, Washington, we have a satellite in Sacramento, offices in Chicago, Alabama, we're in New Jersey and we have a warehouse in Massachusetts. We have two to three places in Canada North of Toronto to Quebec to Edmonton in Alberta. We offer just in time inventory, maintaining a lot of stock in locations throughout North America. This has been key to our success and growth, and that's the number one change in the industry. It used to be that we quoted anywhere from 4-6 weeks on plant work and 12-16 weeks and up to 24 weeks but those days are long gone now.
 
Our customers expect us to have ample inventory in most locations and we do, so we're able to deliver just in time for a distributor's inventory. This enables to help out a municipality if there's an emergency or if something is needed very quickly. The same thing applies for a contractor when he has a break in the line or a problem with building a sub-division or some other project. SIGMA is there to help the local distributor and take care of that problem. Basically time, and how quickly we get our product to the end user through distribution has been the key change in the industry in my 40-plus years in waterworks.
      
Ingrid Sondag Earns DBIA Cert, Ramps Up Linings, Coatings, Plant Work Expertise 


SIGMA is pleased to announce that Ingrid Sondag, National Plant and Specialty Solutions Manager, has attained a DBIA Certification! Ingrid explains her motivation: "Plant work is an ever growing and expanding market. Each individual project is unique, with specific requirements and characteristics. We saw a need for design-build services with start-to-finish support, and by earning the DBIA certification, I can now offer this comprehensive project management to our customers."
 
Coatings and linings are also a key focus area for this sector. In response to growing market requirements, SIGMA's leadership team has made a firm commitment to maintaining an extensive inventory of bare, P401, and zinc fittings in all warehouses so that customer needs are met quickly and efficiently.   Ingrid has provided valuable leadership and expertise in training the SIGMA team on various specifications. She continues: "the bare fittings enable SIGMA to meet any and all coatings requirements. We are committed to working closely with our customers to understand and define their specific treatment plant needs, and we pride ourselves on using that knowledge to advance their projects professionally, safely, and efficiently. We know that may mean taking extra steps, but we remain focused from beginning-to-end for a successful completion on every project."
 
Starting soon, Ingrid will be blogging about Trends in Treatment Plant, the Latest from the Coatings and Linings market, and related service and product innovations from SIGMA. Stay tuned!
 
Congratulations to Ingrid on the DBIA Certification, and keep up the good work!
 
Ingrid can be reached at is3@sigmaco.com or 602 320-8533 and the Plant Team can be reached at SIGMAPlant@sigmaco.com .
      
SIGMA's 54" Wedge Action Restraint Put to the Test     

In August 2019, SIGMA Corporation was invited by a large southeast Water Authority to put SIGMA's 54" Wedge Action Restraint for ductile iron through a stringent technical test. SIGMA hosted five prominent members from the Water Authority at SIGMA's headquarters to devise a restrained joint solution for their in-ground 54" ductile iron pipe, which had been manufactured to an outside diameter (OD) that had a different dimension to today's industry standard OD. SIGMA's Engineering Department for restrained joint products, headed by Satheesh Chandrasekaran, carefully investigated the situation and came up with a novel solution for the Water Authority using the existing products which included the restraint, gasket & sleeve to join both diameter pipes.
 
Preparations for the test were challenging as SIGMA had to incorporate a break-off top actuating bolt to accommodate the smaller OD of the ductile iron pipe. As the joint assembly would be used for a standard mechanical joint 54" outlet, the SIGMA team had to design a modified mechanical joint sealing gasket in order to ensure proper joint compression and a leak-free assembly. With Authority members in attendance, the modified joint assembly was pressurized to 300 psi for 30 minutes without any joint separation or leakage. This engineering test was a total success.
 
SIGMA is the industry leader in providing Pipe Restraint Products. The company offers the largest nominal size range in the waterworks industry for ductile iron pipes, 3" through 64", and PVC pipes 3" through 60". The company's engineering team has deep expertise in restrained joint technology. To learn how SIGMA can help troubleshoot restrained joint applications, please contact Satheesh Chandrasekaran @ mcs@sigmaco.com, or Steve McDonald @ smcdonald@sigmaco.com. For product literature please contact Donna Jones @ djones@sigmaco.com .
      
Rybacki Memorial Tournament Wrap-up


It was 100% sunny at this year's Rybacki Memorial Golf Tournament, for a change. The temperature hit the mid 70s every day, and the course stayed dry throughout the tournament - much to the delight of Larry and other competitors. "This is the best ever tournament in terms of fundraising," says Larry. "We netted over 70k and generated around 60k in sponsorship from individual and corporate sponsorship. So a big THANK YOU to my family and everyone in the industry who played, sponsored or cheered us on from the sidelines."

This year's Memorial took place on September 27th at the Haven Country Club in Boylston, MA. Next year the tournament will again rotate back to The International. Last year, funds raised were given to Lymphoma research at the Dana-Farber Institute in Boston. This year, funds are being allocated to Melanoma research at Dana-Farber. As Larry explains: "We know at least three people who are currently battling skin cancer and so we wanted to target the funds at this area of research. We love pairing with Dana-Farber because they are one of the finest Cancer Research centers in the world and have a holistic approach to patient treatment".

When asked to spill the beans about what went on at the Tournament, Larry shared but a single story: "On the second day, we heard strange noises coming from within the trees. It sounded like a wounded animal. I followed the noise and found *&!@ snoring in the undergrowth. Wild horses couldn't make me divulge the name of that particularly Sleeping Beauty."

Next year's Memorial Tournament will take place two weeks earlier than usual. The tournament is slated currently for September 11th. Mark your calendar please!
      
SIGMA HYDROTEC MAXI 100 Enhances Streetscape in Kissimmee FL      

When a residential area in Kissimmee, Florida underwent a streetscape redevelopment, they contacted SIGMA's Trench Drain Team to address their drainage issues. The old asphalt was milled up and replaced with clay brick. The project also involved a new sidewalk along the waterfront across the street from residents' homes, and encompassed a city park located at the end of the street. The design and engineering team had to account for pedestrians, vehicular traffic, overall safety, functionality and aesthetic factors as they devised their drainage plan.

The Ductile Iron Heel Safe Maxi 100 with Load Class C was the ideal solution for this application. The crew installed three runs of trench drain totaling 350 linear feet along the sidewalk, and this met all specifications and requirements.

For more information about this and other trench drain solutions, please contact Todd Amerson at tamerson@sigmaco.com.
      
Welcome to SIGMA, Eric Clayton and Josh Sullivan 
     
Eric Clayton, Western Sales Support Manager
SIGMA is pleased to welcome Eric Clayton as Western Sales Support Manager. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Eric will manage a number of sales initiatives, including an expansion of SIGMA's casting business with Precast Concrete producers, advancing our Municipal Construction Castings (MCC) business, furthering our position in the Trench Drain market, and supporting our Territory Sales Managers.
 
He brings nearly three decades of professional experience in waterworks and adjacent industries, having started in the early 1990s in the underground construction field. Eric worked for a contractor in the sewer and water sector, then moved to the municipal side, became an inspector, and after 11 years there, received the catastrophic news that he had stage 4 melanoma. Eric explains: "I was given 6 weeks to live. That was 17 years ago. They cut eight inches out of my back, and after a few weeks at home, I knew I needed to get back to work, but I couldn't be an inspector any more-too much time in the sun. I moved to project management, and found my way to a sales position in waterworks. Going through a life threatening experience also taught me that you really have to do what you love and I love the waterworks industry. I had a lot of friends in the industry from my previous jobs, so I have been able to find great opportunities throughout my career."
 
He landed at SIGMA through a similar avenue. Arizona-based TSM Kane Connor, a long time industry friend, invited Eric to a meeting with SIGMA Chairman and CEO Victor Pais to discuss Precast sales. Eric comments, "I had this amazing meeting with Victor. We sat down, and four hours later we were still talking about castings. We totally hit it off and here I am!"
 
When he's not selling waterworks products, Eric has some interesting hobbies. A former Ultimate Fighting "King of the Ring" and Jiu Jitsu combatant, he now competes with his family in rodeos. They own eight horses, and Eric and his 23 year old son compete in sorting and team pinning events. His wife and 18 year old daughter also participate in rodeo competitions; it's a true family affair.
 
Eric can be reached at eclayton@sigmaco.com or 480 329 4589.
 
Josh Sullivan, Territory Sales Manager in the Northeast Region
SIGMA also introduces Josh Sullivan as Territory Sales Manager in the Northeast Region, covering the Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland markets. Josh comes to SIGMA with an established 15-year career in waterworks sales management and representation. His approach to the business fits well with SIGMA's ethos: "Taking care of customers is the number one focus. I strive to be the resource, I want to be the customers' first call when they need something. Providing prompt responses, accurate information, and reliable service is the key."
 
An alumnus of Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Josh settled in the Richmond area, where he lives with his wife Anna, and four year old son, Tucker. The couple is expecting their second baby later this fall. In his leisure time, Josh enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.
 
Josh can be reached at jsullivan@sigmaco.com or 540 815 5674.
 
SIGMA extends a warm welcome to both Eric and Josh and wishes them both much success!
      
Meet SIGMA:  Patty Velasquez, Import Logistics & Compliance Manager
     
Patty Velazquez joined the SIGMA team 20 years ago. Initially, she handled billing for all of the SIGMA warehouses. Within a year, she had worked her way up to Accounts Receivable, and then moved to Accounts Payable in the Imports Division, where she spent the next 18 years. Recently, Patty was promoted to Import, Logistics, & Compliance Manager, which in a company like SIGMA is a huge responsibility. Patty takes it in stride: "I am used to a heavy workload. My number one objective is to keep SIGMA's best interest in the forefront, and that means looking at everything-I am focused on the pipeline from start to finish. SIGMA must meet our deadlines in order to maintain customer satisfaction. I am constantly monitoring and managing--when did the shipment hit the water, when is it expected to arrive in port. When does the customer need it? What does the sales team require?"
 
Patty's experience is invaluable to both customers and to SIGMA, and her work ethic is unparalleled, "Because I work in imports, I am always responding to emails at night. The integrity of SIGMA, and our adherence to compliance regulations are critically important, and I work hard to ensure that we are always compliant. We have to balance freight costs, supplier costs, and prompt delivery and service for our customers, and that all factors into what I manage daily. Recently, the tariffs have made things a bit more complicated, but we are managing."
 
When Patty talks about being a member of the SIGMA family, she means it literally-at one point, there were five members of her family-her husband, two sisters-in-law, and two brothers--working at SIGMA.  When she is not handling import logistics and compliance for SIGMA, she and her husband often visit New York City. They are movie buffs, and also amusement park enthusiasts; "It keeps us young," she says with a smile. They also make an effort to visit family who live out of state a couple of times a year-"we aim for winter trips because they live in warm climates!"
 
Patty can be reached at pv1@sigmaco.com or 609 241 7483.
 
We congratulate Patty on her promotion and thank her for 20 years of service. Best wishes for continued success!
      
Spotlight on SIGMA 

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 Nona Chamberlain, Inventory Control Associate, on the graduation of her granddaughter Alexis Lerche. Alexis graduated from Toms River South High School, and is now attending Ocean County College, where she will pursue an associate degree in biology. Congratulations are also due to both Nona and Alexis on their 4H Club's success. Nona serves as leader of the club, the Rutgers Burlington County Barnyard Bandits, and this year, Alexis won a $1000 scholarship for being named "Best in Show" for both her hamster and her skinny pig. The club also won trophies and ribbons for "best theme" and "best overall".

From the Southeast Region:

Congratulations to Vice President of Sales Greg Fox and his wife Margot on becoming grandparents! Their granddaughter, Hannah Lee Harris was born on July 17.



 

From the Canada Region:


 


 

Congratulations to Territory Sales Manager Dennis Loughead and his wife Sue on the birth of their granddaughter Rose Margaret Hunter Loughead. Rose Margaret was born on August 9 to her proud parents, Blair and Lindsey Loughead.

 


 

 

Congratulations to Territory Sales Manager Robert Matchett and his wife Kim on the birth of their granddaughter. Robert's daughter Rebecca and her husband Chris welcomed their bundle of joy on September 19.