Robert Jenkins: American Plumber Stories
How did you get started in the plumbing trade?
I actually got started in plumbing by taking the long way. I started out going to college and was/ am serving in the national guard here in Oregon to pay my way through school, when I just got fed up with it. I decided on a whim to quit and instead go to welding school because I liked working with my hands and I wanted something different than general construction. The Army didn't want to pay for that so I looked at which welders made the most money and it was pipe welders so I got certified as soon as possible. Did about 18 months as a pipe welder and realized I liked working with the piping systems more than I liked welding so I joined an apprenticeship for the plumbers. It was a little weird joining an apprenticeship and ending right back up in a classroom at 30 years old but 6 years later I got my license I'm starting my own company.
What do you like most about your work as a plumber?
Knowing I'm changing someone's day. Whether I'm replacing, servicing, or building it from the ground up I've got a valuable set of skills and someone is having a better day because of that.
What advice do you have for the younger generation entering the plumbing trade?
Get rid of the stigma you have of the trades and plumbing especially. It requires technical skills and high levels of knowledge just like if not more so than any degree you might pursue and you get paid really well to do it.
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