How did you get started in the plumbing trade?
Initially, it was just by chance. I was looking for a career in my mid-20s after dabbling in some different things after high school, and friends of mine suggested I get into plumbing. At the time, I was mainly concerned with creating a pathway to making good money, and the guys I knew were doing really well. After doing more research, it seemed like the potential within the trade aligned well with where I wanted to be - so I went for it.
I was recruited by a large company in the area; from that point, I had the opportunity to apprentice under an amazing group of plumbers having many years of experience in different sectors of plumbing. This, is what truly kept me invested in the industry. I am forever grateful for the experience and wisdom that was continually passed along to me, as it was ultimately what allowed my progression to accelerate as quickly as it did.
What do you like most about your work as a plumber?
Problem-solving, for me, is something that has always felt very rewarding. I thoroughly enjoy learning to identify and decipher all pieces to a puzzle, as well as determine how they best fit together. I've found this concept applies to both hands-on work and interpersonal relationships with people we deal with; our predominant goal is to resolve plumbing problems, but along with that comes resolving emotional distress in the people who are experiencing them. All of this requires strategy, considering the complex range of situational and technical variables to deal with, in addition to varying communication styles and personality types had by those who we are in service to.
I've always viewed residential service plumbing, specifically, as being based half around skillset and half around the ability to create a personal connection with people. Our customers won’t commit to utilizing our services until they’ve been convinced they have found the right person, the right company, the right solution, the right time and the right price for the job. Likewise, people do business with people they like, and they like people that are like them. People are comfortable with people who understand their emotional needs. This is an ongoing and unique challenge - navigating the dynamics of communication and tailoring one's approach to the recipient, every single time. Sure, we can adhere to a blueprint or template; however, the actual approach in itself is continually needing individualized and personalized.
Having been given the opportunity to 'pay it forward' and the trust to coach to these relevant, best practices is equally rewarding to me. I am humbled to have a role in placing the building blocks which facilitate foundational understanding and growth, for the next generation coming into the industry.
What advice do you have for the younger generation entering the plumbing trade?
Dream big! There are so many different pathways within our industry to choose from - whether it be staying in the field and remaining a master of the craft for an employer, venturing into management and/or leadership to light the path for others, or going into business for ourselves and playing by our own rules - we are in full control of that decision, and ultimately our futures.
I was a wild kid growing up, not really having any direction or aspiration. Up until I was in my mid-20s, I had spent my life partying and getting into trouble - I got into some crazy stuff really young, and didn't even finish high school. Once I made the commitment to do something with myself and get involved with a career, the door to a Plumbing apprenticeship opened.
I bring this up because I've found many people can relate to it, many people have a similar story. Many of the people I'm referring to also believe they too can do big things, however many others do not have this same confidence.
We humans can and will achieve whatever it is we set our minds to; our repetitive and dominant thoughts will attract more of the same kinds of thoughts, which will, in-turn, continually work to highlight and build the reality we experience. What this means, is whatever ideas or feelings we choose to put our focus into, these will become the filtering mechanisms through which we experience life.
If we choose to be positively oriented and optimistic, the goals we focus on will feel very realistic and doable - we know we will achieve them, it's only a matter of building the pathway from 'Point A' to 'Point B.' If we choose to be negatively oriented and pessimistic, the goals we envision may seem unrealistic and far-fetched. We may feel like we don't have what it takes to construct the pathway to the dreams we envision, let alone achieve them.
What I can tell you, is we truly are capable of whatever we set our minds to. There may need to be some personal work that needs done along the way, necessary to support the journey. Sometimes, things will feel like they are really coming together; other times, things will feel like they are completely falling apart. The trick, is to know the end goal already exists - it's simply a matter of envisioning yourself in that place, as that person, describing what you and your life look like down to the smallest detail - then communicating as that person, back to yourself in the now, together designing the pathway of what it takes to get there.