Mark Crawford: American Plumber Stories
Read his American Plumber story!
How did you get started in the plumbing trade?
I was hired by the owner of Fulmer (Dave Carson) to run the fledgling plumbing division in AUG-2021. Dave hired our first plumber in MAR-2021. As an established HVAC company (since 1985) now offering plumbing services, the plumbing division took off quickly and Dave could not keep up.
Dave and I have known each other for nearly 20 years and this was a perfect fit for my technical background and leadership experience. We have grown to 7 plumbers and our 8th will start in mid-MAY-2023 and we are looking to hire more. We are also expanding into adjacent markets.
One of the things that makes the plumbing division at Fulmer unique is the age of our team. Excluding myself, the average age of our plumbers is less than 24 years old - that is not a typo. (see attached team photo)
We have worked diligently to build a culture that is attractive to young talented people. We hire for attitude, work ethic, emotional maturity, soft skills and aptitude. We can and do train them to be plumbers. There is so much more to our story and I would welcome the opportunity to tell it.
What do you like most about your work as a plumber?
I am the plumbing division director and my day-to-day activities are more involved with strategic and tactical planning, execution and providing leadership to the team.
I get my hands dirty with the team periodically, but our team of talented plumbers is what makes the plumbing division successful.
My plumbers would have great stories about what they like most about their work.
What advice do you have for the younger generation entering the plumbing trade?
Hard skills: the trade specific skills that make someone a valuable member of the given trade.
Soft skills: these skills mostly revolve around leadership, reliability, emotional maturity, interpersonal relationship skills, client interactions, internal team and hierarchy interactions, professionalism, constantly learning, humility, flexibility, initiative, etc.
You learn the hard skills to get by in the job. You learn the soft skills to excel in the job.
The trades (and plumbing is no exception) are loaded with highly skilled people who are really good at their chosen trade, but lack the skills to excel and grow because they have not mastered the soft skills.
There is no way to escape the trade skills – we have to be experts, but the people that separate themselves are the skilled tradespeople with rockstar soft skills – and they are rare.
Therefore – you want to excel? Crush the trade specific skills and develop unparalleled soft skills.
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