Dalton Henning: American Plumber Story
Meet Dalton Henning from UA Local 85 - Plumbers, Steamfitters & HVACR Service Tech's.
Read his American Plumber story!
How did you get started in the plumbing trade?
When I was a junior in high school I got into the building trades program. When the plumbers showed up for underground drain waste and vent I was amazed. Then they got inside when we had the shell up and started rough in. I fell in love with sweating copper. It was an art to me and a skill that I picked up. It was something that after I got out of high school I went back by the houses we built and plumbed and I remembered and bragged I did that house. I ended up going to college for a few years and got an associate degree in renewable energy HVAC and renewable energy plumbing. I was suppose to be in the big ticket renewable energy but never kicked off. So I worked at Meijer for 4 years and decided to finally get back into the trades. Plumbing, I wanted to be a plumber I applied at every company in Traverse City, MI. I didn't care if I had to push a broom in the shop or be a parts guy to start. I wanted to get into the skilled trades. I then got a call from Moore Mechanical in Honor, MI and got my apprenticeship going there. I learned a lot and I was mostly on copper. Once they knew and trusted me with sweating copper, I was the copper guy. I did mostly residential projects for when they would have copper mains and water lines and would send me. After a year and a half, I decided to take my talents to UA Local 85, a local union out of Saginaw, MI. I wasn't learning the same things that I am now with the 85. Through their apprenticeship program, I've learned everything about plumbing, pipe fitting, welding, steam systems and HVAC. Through the 85, I have became a journeyman plumber,. I am back flow certified, have the poly fusion welding certification and am a steamfitter. I'm currently waiting until after the first of the year to get into a med gas class and get that certification as well.
What do you like most about your work as a plumber?
Knowing that I will always be needed. I am a skilled blue collar tradesman. I protect the health of the nation. Without plumbers everyone would be sick! I am proud of what I do I want to pass it on to my sons!
What advice do you have for the younger generation entering the plumbing trade?
To absorb all the knowledge they can. When an apprentice is with me, I want him trained by me to be better than me.