Summaries of Industry and Related Experience
Ray Murray, Inc.
Phil Briggs has been working in the hearth industry for 27+ years. Phil is currently the regional sales manager for Ray Murray, Inc and covers West Virginia, Kentucky Tennessee and Western Maryland.
Phil entered the hearth industry on the retail side in 1993, shortly after getting out of the US Army. He started as an installer and eventually moved up to partner 2 retail locations. He sold his shares in the retail locations in 2000 and worked as a purchasing agent for Persinger Supply. There Phil oversaw hearth products, tools, and mine safety equipment.
Phil graduated from Ohio University with a BA in Technical Applied Business Studies, and a minor in Marketing. He has served on the Huntington Parks and Recreation board for 4 years and is a member of the American Legion and local VFW.
Phil enjoys watching football, fishing, and spending time with his 5 grandkids. He is also a music buff especially for the times of 60s and 70s.
A lifelong Ohio resident, Bill Caldwell is a graduate of the University of Akron. His first involvement with the hearth industry was with a local dealer, installing fireplace doors and gas logs. This grew into a retail sales position and later store management. Looking for other challenges, Bill moved into distributor sales in 2005, taking a Territory Sales Manager position with L.B. Brunk & Sons. In 2015, he joined the sales office of Results Unlimited representing a wide variety of products and manufacturers throughout the Midwest.
Along with the personal and professional relationships Bill has developed, he is most excited about the product advancements our industry has seen over the years. From basic match-lit gas logs of the 80’s to today’s premium contemporary fireplaces controlled from a smart device, our industry has evolved into a unique mix of products that greatly enrich home life and family experiences.
Bill’s been proud to support MSHPBA and participate in Burn & Learn for a number of years. He strongly believes maintaining a robust trade association is vital to meeting the challenges our industry faces. These include promoting the variety of career opportunities our industry offers as well as developing resources to support all sales, service, and installation professionals.
Monsma Marketing Corporation
Grand Rapids, MI
David began his career at Monsma Marketing in 1986. He worked in the warehouse while attending college. He graduated and become a Product Specialist calling on architects and builders promoting many of Monsma’s products.
In 1993, he started working as an Outside Sales Representative for the Hearth Division of Monsma Marketing, representing and distributing some of the most well-known brands in the hearth industry.
Once he started working in the hearth industry, he knew he had found the perfect fit for his career. He is always looking for ways to learn more about his craft and the industry. He has led and attended countless seminars on products, training and industry matters. He has been actively involved in the HPBA and MidStates HPBA since he started in his hearth division role at Monsma.
Pat Counts started in the hearth industry in 1992 installing and servicing fireplaces. After 10+ years, Pat went into business for himself until 2005 when he merged with H2Oasis, a company that specialized in alternative heating. They are now one of the largest alternative heating companies in the state of Michigan with four locations selling a full line of gas products but specializing in wood, pellet and outdoor boilers.
Pat is versed in multiple types of products and brands as H2Oasis sells or have sold a great number of them including Travis, HHT, US Stove, St. Croix, RH Peterson, and many others.
Pat has now been in this industry for over 30 years and has obtained both his mechanical license and builder’s license in the state of Michigan as well as getting NFI MHP certified in all three areas, wood, pellet, and gas.
Evans Marketing, Inc.
Roger started in the Hearth business in 1979 at B&G Fireplace Distributors. Roger worked with one of the MSHPBA founders Bill Kiefer. After 20 years, in 1999, I went on my own, started Evans Marketing Inc. in 2005.
Roger and his step-son Mitch Paige are in business together and have been blessed with support from customers and manufactures alike.
Today, Evans Marketing Inc. is honored to be representative of these fine companies. R H Peterson Company Realfyre, Firemagic, AOG and American Fyre Design, AW Perkins, Modern Flames electric fireplaces, and Selkirk venting.
Roger has been a member of HPBA as a Distributor or Sales Representative from as far back as 1983 (WHA). Currently Roger is serving on the national board of HPBA for MSHPBA.
Regency Fireplace Products
Mount Vernon, Ohio
Eric began his career in the industry with more than 6 years of experience in the propane business. From there he moved on to manage the hearth department at Millstone Incorporated for 11 years. At Millstone he gained experience in sales, service, installation, inventory management, scheduling, and job costing. In 2008, Eric took the entrepreneurial route and started Rhino Chimney Service, which he owned and operated for 10 years. Eric has since sold Rhino Chimney Service and in June 2018 took a position at Regency Fireplace Products. Eric is currently an Account Executive for Regency covering the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Overall, Eric has over 30 years of experience in and around the hearth industry.
Driven by an obsession to learn and a determination to become one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, Eric has earned many certificates, awards, and certifications. Some of the most notable include: NFI Master Hearth Professional, CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, CCP Certified Master Chimney Technician, and CSST Certified Installer.
Eric has been a member of the HPBA for more than 20 years and has had the privilege of serving on the board of the MSHPBA for the past 15 years.
Robert Huta has sold, installed, maintained, designed and manufactured venting and hearth products since 1984. Having started in the industry as an installer’s assistant, he began learning its products and industry before he graduated from high school. Now with more than 30 years behind him in our industry, he continues to innovate, serve and lead with the goal of growing not only his company but the industry that has been such a large part of his life.
As Owner and President of RLH Industries, Inc., he has led his company through both prosperous and difficult times for our industry. Under his leadership RLH Industries, Inc. has strengthened, grown and diversified. He has transformed the company from a regional manufacturer to an industry leader in chimney lining products, specialty gas terminations and OEM services. He has personally designed four products which have awarded as Vesta finalists and holds multiple patents.
He has served the hearth and chimney industry through board, committee and leadership roles in the MSHPBA, CSIA, NCSG and HPBA for nearly two decades. Positions he has held include: CSIA Treasurer, NCSG Supplier Director, NCSG Convention Committee Chairman, member of the NCSG and CSIA Executive Committee, NCSG Governance Task Force Chairman, SCSA Supplier Representative, and MSHPBA Vice-President and MSHPBA President. He is also a graduate of the HPBA’s Government Affairs Academy.
Outside of the Hearth Industry, he has held leadership positions including an appointment by Governor Rick Snyder to serve the citizens of Michigan within is LARA division.
Robert is a graduate of the University of Michigan; double major in Economics and Political Science, and recently celebrated his 27th wedding anniversary to Lisa.