Annual Meeting

Knowledge and Networking

The Largest Gathering of PVC Pipe and Fitting Manufacturers in the World

Each year the Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association members gather for our Annual Meeting – the largest gathering of PVC pipe and fitting manufacturers in the world.

Presentations cover topics ranging from market assessments for PVC pipe, vinyl resin and related chemicals, to sustainability, technology, legislative affairs and product certification. Participants come from around the world, and their ranks include pipe and fitting manufacturers, resin and additive providers, equipment manufacturers, affiliated associations, and non-profit certification agencies. Speakers include academics, business analysts, engineers, municipal officials, taxpayer advocates, public affairs specialists, etc.

2018 Annual Meeting


46th Annual Meeting

March 12-14, 2018
Casa Marina Resort
Key West, FL

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PVC Pipe: At The Forefront As New Headwinds Reshape The Municipal Pipe Market

PVC pipe stands to gain the largest share of utility spending as new headwinds reshape the municipal pipe market. Financial pressures along with water quality and reliability issues associated with iron piping will continue to drive local decision makers to consider safer, more cost-effective and more durable PVC pipe, for both new and rehabilitation projects. A significant decrease in federal funding for water utilities – which has fallen from $16 billion in 1976 to $4 billion in 2016 – passes the burden onto states, municipalities, and finally ratepayers. Though water and sewer rates have increased 5.7 percent annually over the past five years, outpacing average annual inflation of 1.9 percent, their impact is expected to continue falling short of infrastructure needs – so utilities will increasingly be forced to look for ways to save more money.

Staying ahead of 1.2 million miles of water pipes across the country and an equal span of sewer pipelines, much of which are nearing or have reached the end of their lifespans, represents the most significant financial challenge facing America’s utilities today. The cost to replace these pipes is estimated at $2 trillion over the next 20–25 years. To ensure best value for taxpayer dollars, all piping materials which meet current standards and technical specifications should be included in bids for underground infrastructure projects, which will provide more options, spur innovation, and lower costs.

Efforts by the PVC Pipe Association and its partners to educate federal, state and local lawmakers on the benefits of competitive bidding are paying off. Open bidding continues to gain ground. Regrettably, some localities continue to adhere to old specifications that prevent many pipe materials from competing. However, the headwinds clearly favor PVC. Its cost-effectiveness, longevity and superior environmental attributes continue to propel PVC pipe to the forefront of the marketplace.

PVC Pipe is the Sustainable Choice

To reduce GHGs and make pipelines more sustainable transparent data is needed. This will also help with asset management and life cycle cost assessments for underground piping, enabling design engineers to make fully informed decisions. A new benchmark study provides the first comprehensive environmental and performance review of drinking water and sewer pipes in North America. The report used life cycle assessment methodology to evaluate the cradle-to-grave sustainability of commonly used underground pipe materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), concrete, ductile iron, and high density polyethylene pipes over a 100-year service period.

PVC pipe was shown to be the lowest initial cost option while providing long-term savings for pipeline systems because of its superior pumping efficiency and corrosion resistance. The energy required to pump water through PVC pipe remains constant because its smooth walls do not roughen over time. This generates overall life cycle cost savings compared to old technology ductile iron and concrete pipes that require more pumping energy over time due to corrosion, leaks and internal degradation. Recycled material is also shown to be only a single attribute of a pipe’s life cycle environmental impacts. For example, more energy is required to process the recycled metals to manufacture ductile iron pipe than the energy used in PVC pipe production. As well, producing iron pipe with recycled scrap iron emits more toxins than pipe made from virgin iron ore.

Of the competing pipe materials the report shows that PVC pipe is the most favorable alternative when considering energy consumption and carbon footprint from cradle-to-grave in a public water system. Sixty-six percent of water supply pipes in the U.S. are 8-inches or smaller. Nationally, using PVC instead of ductile iron pipe in this size range could save $21 billion in pumping costs over 100 years. If PVC were used instead of HDPE pipe, $37 billion could be saved.

Water utilities aren’t sacrificing safety, longevity, or system performance when they choose PVC pipe—in fact, they are getting the biggest bang for their buck when they do. Join us as we explore the new headwinds reshaping the North American municipal pipe market and how PVC pipe is poised to capture the greatest share of utility spending in North America.


Sunday, March 11
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM Pre-Meeting Reception - Grand Ballroom Patio
Monday, March 12
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM Breakfast - Keys Ballroom Patio
8:30 AM - 12:00 PM Joint Member Meeting/Presentations - Big Pine Key/Conch Key/Duck Key Ballrooms
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM Spousal Orientation - TBD
12:00 PM - 12:30 PM Meeting of the Associate, International & Certification/Testing Member Committee - Big Pine Key/ Conch Key/ Duck Key Ballrooms
Free Afternoon
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Welcome & Networking Reception - East Beach
Tuesday, March 13
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM Breakfast - Keys Ballroom Patio
8:30 AM - 12:00 PM Presentations - Big Pine Key/Conch Key/Duck Key Ballrooms
1:00 PM - 6:00 PM Uni-Bell Golf Tournament - Key West Golf Club
Free Evening
Wednesday, March 14
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM Breakfast - Keys Ballroom Patio
8:30 AM - 12:00 PM Association Reports/Presentations - Big Pine Key/Conch Key/Duck Key Ballrooms
12:30 PM - 4:00 PM Board of Directors' Meeting and Luncheon - TBD

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Closing/Wrap-Up Reception - Casa Marina Boating Pier: Sunset Sail

Note: Attire is business casual/slacks unless specified otherwise. Badges must be worn at all social events and presentations.


Among the topics our speakers will address are the following:

  • The latest on PVC resin and pipe markets in North America and Europe;
  • A review of the durability and reliability of large diameter HDPE and PVC pipes;
  • How open competition for water and sewer piping has benefited the City of Gulfport, MS;
  • Exposing the increased costs of closed bidding processes for water and sewer piping;
  • Understanding the $532 billion water and sewer pipe market and the opportunities for PVC pipe;
  • A look at America’s water crisis and what to do about it;
  • Addressing misinformation from the fiberglass pipe industry;
  • How self-cleaning pipe networks are safer and more cost-effective;
  • Update on the remarkable reductions in VCM vinyl chloride levels in PVC resins; and much more…

See you in Key West, FL, March 12-14, 2018 at the spectacular Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria Resort!


Day 1 - Monday March 12

PVC: Key Drivers and Trends, Feedstock’s Outlook and Worldwide Economic Factors
Chuck Carr, Global Business Director, Chlor-Alkali/Vinyls, Chemical Market Services, IHS Chemical
A look at capacity and demand in the global and North American thermoplastics marketplace.

Update from the European Plastic Pipe Market
André Nijland, Area Manager Technology Licensing, Asia-Pacific and North America, Wavin Technology & Innovation
Status and outlook on PVC pipe in Europe, an update from the European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association (TEPPFA), and new developments in PVC.

Results of a Water Research Foundation (WRF) Research Project on Durability and Reliability of Large Diameter HDPE Pipes and Comparison with PVC
Dr. Mohammad Najafi, Director, Center for Underground Infrastructure Research and Education (CUIRE)
A review of a Water Research Foundation (WRF) study on the durability and reliability of large diameter HDPE and PVC pipes, which includes an introduction and background to the project, details on the industry workshops and survey of utilities, how fatigue testing was undertaken, and the results and recommendations for HDPE and PVC pipe.

How Safe, Cost-Effective and Environmentally Friendly PVC Pipe Benefits the City of Gulfport, Mississippi
Mayor Billy Hewes, City of Gulfport, MS and Wayne E. Miller, P.E., Director of Public Works, Gulfport, MS
Competitive procurement policies for water and sewer piping have been in place in the City of Gulfport, MS for many years now. As a result, Gulfport has been able to include safe, cost-effective and sustainable PVC pipe, which has a service life in excess of 100 years and outlasts all other pipe materials, in the renewal of its underground infrastructure. Gulfport is currently utilizing its inflow and infiltration crew to undertake smoke tests, dye testing and videos of the older parts of the City’s underground infrastructure, enabling it to assess the condition of its existing pipes and to determine if they need replacing. The City issued a $20 million bond in 2013 to help fund the replacement of its deteriorating underground pipelines and to provide new pipes for unserved service areas. Gulfport’s Public Works Department is nationally accredited by the American Public Works Association (APWA) and is the118th accredited agency (and the only municipality in Mississippi) to receive this designation from APWA.

Chuck Carr
André Nijland Dr. Mohammad Najafi Mayor Billy Hewes Wayne E. Miller

Day 2 - Tuesday March 13

Keynote Speaker
America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It

Robert Glennon, Professor of Law and Public Policy, Internationally Renowned Water Resource Expert, Best-Selling Author
America’s water crisis is self-inflicted. Throughout the United States, even in places that are not particularly dry or hot, communities, farmers, and factories are struggling to find water, and even running out altogether. Our water woes will get worse before they get better because we are slow to change our ways, and because water is the overlooked resource. From the Vegas Strip to faux snow in Atlanta, from mega-farms to Washington’s love affair with biofuels, heady extravagances and everyday waste are sucking the nation dry. We cannot engineer our way out of the problem with the usual fixes or zany schemes. America must make hard choices, and Glennon’s answer is a provocative market-based system that values water as a commodity and a fundamental human right.

Large Diameter Sanitary Sewer: Addressing Misinformation from the Fiberglass Pipe Industry
Dennis E. Bauer, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Diamond Plastics Corporation
In the large diameter sanitary sewer pipe market fiberglass (FRP) has had more than twenty years to build and expand its relationships and establish a defensive perimeter. They have spread misinformation about PVC’s technical attributes and developed a biased specifications strategy to thwart PVC pipe’s growth. Pipe specifications which misrepresent PVC pipe’s performance and FRP’s longstanding relationships have made it challenging in some cases for PVC to compete. Find out how a targeted, cohesive strategy can help PVC pipe prevail.

The Future of Water and Sewer Infrastructure: Emerging Trends and Opportunities
Reese Tisdale, President, Bluefield Research
Increasing financial pressures on municipalities, coupled with the emergence of new technologies and solutions, are reshaping the water and sewer sector. Over the next decade, bottom-up analysis of U.S. municipal utility capital improvement plans indicate more than $532 billion in capital expenditures are proposed to address deteriorating piping networks, combined sewer overflows, and rising population demands for new water supplies. Looking forward, understanding the size of the market and where the opportunities are for innovative solutions, including material selection, condition assessment, and improved analytics will prove to be critical in the evolution of municipal and industrial water.

Self-Cleaning Networks: An Innovative Concept Leading to More Cost-Effective Pipe Networks Without Water Quality Problems
Mirjam Blokker, PhD, Principal Scientist - Water Infrastructure, KWR Watercycle Research Institute
In the Netherlands 50% of the installed drinking water network is PVC pipe. All new pipelines are constructed according to the self-cleaning concept: branched towards the end with pipe diameters that ensure enough pressure and regularly high enough shear stresses to prevent material accumulation in the network. The results are shorter pipe lengths, a significant reduction in discolouration complaints and no need for flushing of the network. These pipeline systems provide both supply security to customers and the pressure needed for required fire flow demands.

Robert Glennon Dennis Bauer Reese Tisdale Mirjam Blokker

Day 3 - Wednesday March 14

Special Guest Speaker
How The Trump Administration’s Economic Platform Will Stimulate The U.S. Economy And What It Means For Infrastructure
Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, Internationally Renowned Economist, Political Advisor, Best-Selling Author
Dr. Laffer’s influence in triggering a world-wide tax-cutting movement in the 1980s have earned him the distinction as “The Father of Supply-Side Economics.” He was a member of President Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board from1981–89 and also advised Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on fiscal policy in the UK during the 1980s. Dr. Laffer was involved in advising Donald Trump's successful 2016 campaign for the presidency of the United States. In his presentation he will both summarize and forecast the state of the U.S. economy with an aim towards informing your business and investment decisions, drawing upon his decades of experience in economic research and politics to add context to today’s narrative. He will discuss some the current Administration’s proposals and their implications for the general economy as well as for our nation’s infrastructure, specifically. Dr. Laffer will also address the importance of competition in achieving the best economic outcomes, whether this competition plays out between competing countries, states or companies vying for projects through a bidding process. Lastly, he may even share a few Reagan stories.

The Open Government Movement: How Posting Public Spending Online Is Transforming U.S. Politics & Public Policy
Adam Andrzejewski, Founder & Chief Executive Officer,
The Freedom of Information Act and Internet make it possible to post online all spending at the federal, state and local levels. To date, has captured $4 billion in government spending records, including nearly all disclosed federal spending since 2000; 48 of 50 state checkbooks; and expenditures in 60,000 localities across America. Posting the costs of water and sewer infrastructure projects and the piping used in these projects will help expose the increased expenses related to closed bidding practices.

The Remarkable Reductions in Residual VCM Vinyl Chloride Levels in PVC Resins
Bob Paradis, Consultant, Formosa Plastics Corp.
In the early 1970's PVC resin producers faced issues with vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) levels which affected PVC polymerization reactor workers. Vinyl chloride is a chemical intermediate, not a final product. Stricter quality and safety controls coupled with remarkable reductions in VCM levels in the PVC resin industry have enabled PVC to continue to expand its use in construction and infrastructure. This presentation will review the history of VCMs in PVC resin production and how VCM levels continue to be lowered to this day.

Breaking Barriers to Plastic Pipes in Europe
Zoran Davidovski, Vice President, Marketing & Innovation, Pipelife Group, Member of the Management Committee
The European Plastics Pipes and Fittings Association (TEPPFA) initiated a new project in 2016 to improve communication and promotion of TEPPFA and its initiatives. The project was divided into two phases, with market research in Phase I through a qualitative survey targeting industry experts in various countries via focus groups and individual in-depth interviews, with the aim of understanding the main barriers and drivers of plastic pipe products. The outcome was that many key characteristics of plastic pipes like lifespan of PVC and PE, chemical degradation of plastics, physical ageing of plastics, jetting, performance of the materials, performance of flexible vs. rigid pipes, deflection of pipes and frequency of defects are not fully understood. The second phase was initiated in September 2017 with “Discover Plastics” which provides a different and more focused approach to promotion and answers the questions and issues raised in the survey.

Dr. Arthur B. Laffer Adam Andrzejewski Bob Paradis Zoran Davidovski

2017 Annual Meeting


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2017 Annual Meeting Program

2016 Annual Meeting


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February 22-24, 2016
Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort
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2016 Annual Meeting Program

2015 Annual Meeting

43rd Annual Meeting
February 23 - 25, 2015
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2015 Annual Meeting Program

2014 Annual Meeting

42nd Annual Meeting
March 10-12, 2014
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2014 Annual Meeting Program

2013 Annual Meeting

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41st Annual Meeting
April 22-24, 2013
The Resort at Pelican Hill
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2013 Annual Meeting Program

2012 Annual Meeting

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40th Annual Meeting
April 23-25, 2012
Marriott Key West Beachside Hotel
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2012 Annual Meeting Program

2011 Annual Meeting

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39th Annual Meeting
April 18-20, 2011
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
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2011 Annual Meeting Program

2010 Annual Meeting

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38th Annual Meeting
April 19-21, 2010
Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa
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