How long have you been in the PHCP-PVF industry?
JS: I have indirectly been in the industry my entire life. My grandfather was a master electrician, one of my uncles took over his business when he passed away, and another uncle of mine is a master plumber. I have spent many years sitting on a wholesaler’s stool, drinking juice and eating donuts while they loaded their trucks and got ready for the day. I started with Niagara a little over four years ago, and I have loved every minute of it.
What drew you into the industry?
JS: The honest answer — complete accident! But I have chosen to stay because I love the work and the people. Everyone I meet in this industry makes work more than a job — it’s a mission, and it’s fun! We are solving problems and we are selling a product that everyone needs — all while saving water.
What is the most rewarding aspect of working in the industry?
JS: I love manufacturing, distribution and logistics. At Niagara, I have the opportunity to work with some of the best in the business, and I continue to gain knowledge and experience from all of my colleagues. In most industries, I would be siloed into just marketing activities as vice president of marketing, and I wouldn’t have the chance to explore other aspects of our business.
What is one thing you wish more people knew/understood about the PHCP-PVF industry?
JS: How fun the industry is! Plumbing is fun and interesting! There are new studies all of the time, so my team and I have the opportunity to constantly find new ways to innovate our products to better serve plumbers and contractors.
What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
JS: The proudest moment in my career has been at Niagara. Last year, we launched an entire product line dedicated to the pros that was designed for the installer as much as it was the end user. For example, we’ve upgraded tank components, added a 15-year warranty, designed extra large footprints, and made sure we had pre-assembled tanks for faster service calls
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
JS: I love Rod Stewart and have seen him in concert six times! I grew up listening to his music with my mom and it will always be a sentimental memory for me.
Why she was chosen as a Next Gen All Star Top 20 Under 40 winner:
“In four years, Jenni Steele has led her team to efficiently launch several product lines, earn Niagara EPA awards including Greenbuild’s Innovator of the Year, modernize integration, automate marketing activities, while strengthening retail and events. Jenni has reorganized Niagara’s process, where leads are nurtured and customer experience is improved. This has led to an increase in direct revenue through lead generation and optimization of programs across the business units by over 35% while decreasing expenses by 50%.
“Jenni embodies Niagara’s mission and is unanimously valued by her team for her leadership. She recently was named the winner of a Bronze Stevie Award in the Female Executive of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor women executives, entrepreneurs, employees, and the companies they run – worldwide. These accolades combined with her forward-thinking have made Jenni an incredible force within the plumbing industry. With her guidance, Niagara products saved over one billion gallons of water in 2021. As climate change and record droughts present strain on water supply, Niagara, coupled with Jenni’s expertise, is more obsessed than ever to bring their solutions and messaging to the marketplace.
“In 2021, under Jenni’s lead, Niagara listened closely to the plumbing pros who install, repair, and specify toilets to learn what details are important to them when installing toilets in homes. Using that knowledge, Jenni and the Niagara team developed a full lineup of products for pros to choose from that not only delivers advanced technology but powerful performance and easy installation. This new suite of products is dedicated to the traditional wholesale channel and designed specifically with features and benefits for plumbing professionals. The new product lineup is the first in the industry to carry a 15-year warranty.
“Jenni was also an integral member of the team to launch Niagara’s new wholesaler program. Working with the sales leadership, she has developed programs to drive a national distribution of wholesalers in under one year to ensure product availability across the country. Over the past year and a half, Niagara expanded its rep network nationwide, with more than 20 rep agencies. In addition, Niagara signed agreements with over 50 new wholesalers to distribute their products. Jenni also assisted the creation of an online portal specific to Niagara’s partners and rep agencies.
“The campaign resulted in more than 50 media stories to date gaining more than 1.4 billion impressions. As part of the multi-channel strategy, Jenni oversaw the launch of a new website geared directly at professional plumbers to promote the line, an inventive idea, complete with integrated PPC and display ad campaigns. Her leadership has innovated the way Niagara runs its marketing efforts and can be utilized as the blueprint for all businesses in the plumbing industry, leading to a more efficient and sustainable future,” says Jordan Callahan.