Industry ‘Wetheads' Gather In Baltimore

Mark Hunt (left) makes a point during a discussion about carbon monoxide poisoning.
BALTIMORE - They are often referred to as "Wallies," but they are also known in the hydronic heating industry as "wetheads." Call them what you will, a group of 150 plumbing and heating contractors and technicians gathered this spring for the fourth edition of "Wetstock" at the BWI Airport Holiday Inn in Baltimore.

Wetstock is a semi-regular gathering of people who have formed a solid bond of friendship through their contributions to "The Wall," a popular feature of the Web site, a gathering portal for hydronic heating professionals. The site is the brainchild of industry expert Dan Holohan, a popular lecturer, teacher, and author.

Holohan and his staff hosted the informal event, which took place in one day in one large conference room at the hotel. The concept of Wetstock is to bring together businesspeople to informally discuss issues and topics important to them. A number of different round tables are set up with placards denoting particular topics. Attendees are invited to sit down and talk about the subject on the placard. There are no moderators, and people have the option of leaving one table and sitting down at another to discuss a different topic whenever they choose.

This year, the topics included:

  • Marketing hydronics.

  • Control strategies.

  • Boilers: old and new.

  • Pricing strategies.

  • Radiant controls.

  • Steam heating.

  • Overcoming price objections.

  • System piping.

  • Work vehicles.

    Robert Bean (left) is interviewed for taped segments to be broadcast on

    Passionate Debate

    One discussion focused on contractor-wholesaler relationships. Participants said that the key ingredients in the relationship include price, availability, and service. One attendee said, "There is a lack of qualified people on the wholesale level, people who know what they are talking about, people you can build a relationship with."

    Robert Bean anchored a discussion on industry trends, noting the increasing number of new commercial buildings and the decreasing number of service technicians who can maintain building systems.

    He predicted that the systems built today will someday be "outdated with no one to service them."

    Another discussion centered on do-it-yourselfers. Participants discussed what to charge homeowners who buy their own equipment or if a contractor should even install equipment that the customer purchased from someone else.

    A lively discussion on carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning was highlighted by comments from Mark Hunt, a contractor who is very passionate about the topic. Hunt said, "If you call me complaining of CO symptoms and you aren't calling me from outside your home, it means the CO has killed you or I have killed you. I'm not trying to rock the boat. I'm trying to capsize it."

    Cindy Rea, Christy Farver, Dan Holohan, and Alex Marx hosted Wetstock IV.

    Cindy's Walk

    In addition to the discussions, attendees were asked to bid on silent auction items and purchase 50/50 raffle tickets. All proceeds went to Cindy's Walk, an event to raise money for breast cancer research.

    The raffle and silent auction raised $5,270 during the one-day event. Raffle winner James Eliott donated the $1,050 he won back to Cindy's Walk.

    Plans are already under way for Wetstock V in Providence, R.I., in the fall of 2004.

    For more information, visit

    Publication date: 05/24/2004

  • Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

    Recent Articles by John Hall

    You must login or register in order to post a comment.



    Image Galleries

    2015 ACCA Conference

    Images from the 2015 ACCA Conference in Grapevine, Texas. Posted on April 8, 2015.


    NEWSMakers: Mark Crockett
    Mark Crockett vice president, Crockett Facilities Services, explains the importance of technician training, the value of being a top minority-owned company in the U.S., current projects the company is managing, and much more. Posted on April 24.
    More Podcasts


    NEWS 04-20-15 cover

    2015 April 20

    Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

    Table Of Contents Subscribe

    Global Warming

    Do you believe in man-made global warming?
    View Results Poll Archive


    2015 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

    Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

    More Products

    Clear Seas Research


    Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


    Magazine image
    Register today for complete access to Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.


    facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con