Derek Zeolla: American Plumber Stories

Read his American Plumber story!

How did you get started in the plumbing trade?

Wanted to be like my dad, brother, and older cousin. My father had his own shop through the 80s and 90s in Boston. Then he got out of it and more into real estate . Him and my mom got a divorce in 2005 and the properties went away . Me, my dad, and brother started Zeolla Plumbing around that time as I dropped out of high school and was going down a rough path. Plumbing was always there to feel good about myself as a contribution to society because on the other hand I wasn’t making the best decisions in my late teen years early 20s fast forward 12 years to about 2017 we built a pretty solid name in our area and it was really starting to show. In 2018 we hired a few more guys and a couple more trucks and my dad decided one day he wanted to pursue other things like personal training and semi-retire in Florida . Basically telling me and my brother good luck don’t crash the business . I got my wife involved with answering calls and scheduling and she has been a savior to us . My brother was a great plumber and battled with addiction. In 2020 during covid and with a lack of resources like sobriety meetings and socializing due to the pandemic I got a call one morning on my way to start our first huge commercial project. It was my mother screaming at me that he was gone . I lost my best friend that July and my world crashed . Me and Doug came up in the plumbing service trenches together all through the city of Boston working side by side . This was tough. Thanks to my wife and childhood friend Brian who works for us and a great crew they kept us in the game for a couple months while I grieved my brother's death I could barely look at a wrench. Long story short ever since this tough time I can feel him with me when I’m out on a call alone in a basement. We have been thriving as a company and we grow every year. Social media has taken off and my father flies in once a month to help me and my wife manage this company . We are all extremely grateful for this great trade .

What do you like most about your work as a plumber?

We do residential service , I like saving the day and seeing the word spread via social media. I love my work and solving problems and providing for my family.

What advice do you have for the younger generation entering the plumbing trade? 

Stick with it! Consistency is key! remain reachable and teachable the rewards will come in many different ways along the way


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