Every year Mechanical Hub is honored to sponsor a PHCC Plumbing Apprentice Contest contestant. For this year’s PHCC Connect—Oct 2-4, Indianapolis—the Hub is excited to support Jed Christner, Chesapeake, Va. by way of Akron, Ohio.
Christner was selected to compete in the PHCC competition by competing locally in Manassas Virginia. “I placed third, but due to unfortunate events, the winner could not make it; I was asked to represent the state of Virginia in nationals,” says Christner.
Christner is eager to go to PHCC CONNECT so he can learn from his peers to find better ways to possibly make the job easier, and to make great friends. “It also gives me a sense of excitement to compete against my peers, show and prove my own talents, which I have learned over the years from many plumbing mechanics, especially my teacher from VOTECH, Tony Bertolino,” says Christner.
Christner says he got started in the industry in a kind of a “non-typical” way. He transferred duty stations from Japan to Virginia Beach while in the Navy. Yet, after serving active duty in the Navy for almost 10 years, Christner was medically discharged.
Christner started a job driving a tow truck in Virginia Beach and, at the time, his neighbor was a plumbing manager for a company. “He asked me if I wanted better money and a way to earn a career. I didn’t ask any questions and said yes.”
Early on, “I rode with him in the morning to the office and he dropped me off at a job site and handed me a box of insulation and told me to get at it,” says Christner, “I picked it up naturally. Billy Batten became my mentor and I strived to be better than him, which probably will never happen, but it’s my own personal goal,” says Christner.
Christner is currently employed by JRC Mechanical, Chesapeake, Va., and works in the new construction division, which means he does everything from digging trenches to installing underground sanitary, storm, grease interceptor and water lines for new buildings. He installs above-ground domestic water, sanitary and mechanical piping systems for large commercial construction projects ranging from a few thousand to a few million dollars. He is also a plumbing supervisor/foreman.
In his spare time, Christner is an avid outdoorsman and he loves to hunt. “If I’m not hunting then I’m usually fishing or doing something outdoors. I also enjoy traveling with my wife and visiting new places or countries once a year,” says Christner.
Talking up the Trade
Plumbing trade highlights for Christner? He says he takes great pride in his work, especially after seeing the final product of his labor; The crew he works with; seeing different ways of performing the same task with the same end result; and learning every day.
When asked about any drawbacks, Christner says he doesn’t look at anything really as a drawback. “I look at them as a learning experience. The only and best way is to learn from your mistakes. Every day is a great day to be a plumber because we make money at being awesome!”
When giving advice to anyone contemplating the plumbing trade, or any trade at that, Christner says don’t question it and just pursue it. “Other than getting a big fancy diploma or degree, it is a great way to earn an amazing living while having fun. Just remember, everyone has to start at the bottom wherever you go. If you stick it out and prove your worth, you will go far and create a lifestyle that others will look up to and appreciate.”