PHCC Connect

Mechanical hub is proud to support and sponsor another apprentice in the annual PHCC CONNECT national plumbing apprenticeship contest in Milwaukee, Wis. Just weeks away from testing for his Journeyman’s license, apprentice plumber Joe Pilachowski has worked four years at Midwestern Mechanical, Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D., a commercial plumbing and heating, fire protection, HVAC and Read More

Mechanical hub is proud to support and sponsor another apprentice in the annual PHCC CONNECT national plumbing apprenticeship contest in Milwaukee, Wis. Just weeks away from testing for his Journeyman’s license, apprentice plumber Joe Pilachowski has worked four years at Midwestern Mechanical, Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D., a commercial plumbing and heating, fire protection, HVAC and service company with four locations that spans two states: Sioux Falls, S.D.; Rapid City, S.D.; Spencer, Iowa; and Sioux City, Iowa.


After high school Joe was working two jobs, one in a hospital kitchen, and also as a loader for UPS. It just so happened that Midwestern Mechanical had in-house plumbers at the hospital; he talked with a few of them about their job and the kind of training needed to become successful.

Pilachowski contemplated the idea and then talked to a co-worker at UPS, who happened to be the daughter of then VP of Midwestern Mechanical, and decided to apply. “I chose plumbing because I always knew I would end up working a manual labor job, and I had been hunting for one for quite awhile before I applied. I looked into trade schools that I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford, and when I found out I could be paid to learn the trade rather than paying for it, I jumped right in,” says Pilachowski.

Pilachowski enjoys learning new things and the challenge of the plumbing trade, as well as the rapidly changing workplace. “I go to work in the morning knowing that I’ll have to figure out solutions to problems, and that those problems will not be the same everyday. I’m fortunate enough to work on smaller more specialized projects for Midwest Mechanical. It keeps me sharp and always allows me to experience and learn new things everyday,” says Pilachowski.

Entering the national apprenticeship contest in Milwaukee is important to Pilachowski to prove he hasn’t wasted the past four years of his life learning a trade, and winning the state PHCC competition proved that. Moving onto the national PHCC creates validation and helps not only prove to his foreman and his company, but to himself that he hasn’t wasted anyone’s time.

“I’ve worked hard these four years going to classes—even the extra training that was not required—to be the best at my trade that I could be. I applied myself to make myself better at a career I enjoy and now I can try my skills against others like me who strive to have excellence in all the work they do,” says Pilachowski.

Oh yeah, the only downside of the trade that Pilachowski sees? As any fellow plumber can attest—the smells and waste. “I don’t have a weak stomach, but no one likes having to cut into a live sewer line, or replace a used sewage ejection pump. It’s gross,” says Pilachowski.

But for those who are willing to put the time in to be successful in plumbing, Pilachowski says go for it. That’s been his mantra for anyone considering the trades, “Just jump into it, listen to the ones teaching you, and work hard at learning everything you can.”

 

  With a program chock full of heavy hitting seminars, a straight-from-the-heart keynote and a trade show floor that featured some of the newest products and services, it was the plumbing apprenticeship contest that turned heads at this year’s PHCC-National Association’s Connect show in Hollywood, Fla. Some of the future’s brightest competed for bragging rights—and Read More

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With a program chock full of heavy hitting seminars, a straight-from-the-heart keynote and a trade show floor that featured some of the newest products and services, it was the plumbing apprenticeship contest that turned heads at this year’s PHCC-National Association’s Connect show in Hollywood, Fla.

Some of the future’s brightest competed for bragging rights—and a ginormous set of tools—while only three could stake a claim at the winnings. Three top plumbing apprentices received awards in the annual Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors–National Association (PHCC) Educational Foundation’s National Plumbing Apprentice Contest.

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The Foundation’s Plumbing Apprentice and Journeyman Training Committee members were on hand to set up and judge the contest, which was a highlight of the PHCC–National Association’s CONNECT 2015 Product & Technology Showcase.

This year’s awards went to:

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James Peterson

  • 1st Place – James Peterson, John J. Maurer, Inc., Cataumet, Mass. – sponsored by A. O. Smith
  • 2nd Place – Jared Beninati, Evan Hibbs Plumbing, Portsmouth, Va. – sponsored by Milwaukee Tool
  • 3rd Place – David Spaeth, Harty Mechanical, Austin, Minn. – sponsored by Uponor

Foundation volunteers operating this year’s event included:

 

  • Bob Carpenter, SharkBite/Cash Acme, Reliance Worldwide Corp., Atlanta, Ga.
  • J. Daniel Crigler, III, L & D Associates, Inc., Aroda, Va.
  • Tom Gent, France Mechanical Corp., Edwardsville, Ill.
  • Victor Hatcher, Tyler Pipe & Coupling, Tyler, Tex.
  • Andrew Kireta, Jr., Copper Development Association, New York, N.Y.
  • Harold Moret, Copper Development Association, Sarasota, Fla.
  • Vic Poma, Universal Plumbing & Heating Co., Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Patrick Sheridan, SharkBite/Cash Acme, Reliance Worldwide Corp., Atlanta, Ga.
  • Jim Steinle, Atomic Plumbing, Virginia Beach, Va.
  • James Walls, Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute, Garland, Tex.
  • Luke Westman, Westman Plumbing, Inc., Aitkin, Minn.

The CONNECT Show

IMG_0219The Show’s keynote was an authentic, gripping story of a bartender done good. Doc Hendley’s epiphany about bringing people together at the local “watering hole” gave him a brand new mission in life to provide clean water to some of the worst places on the planet — security and sanitation-wise. His wine to water organization has put a spotlight on the need for clean water and has him nominated as one of CNN’s Heroes.

The trade show floor featured some of the best products and services out there — from plumbing and heating services to fleet and service management software.

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Dan Lucy, Rothenberger, shows off the Kibosh emergency temporary pipe repair product at the National PHCC Show.

 

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The boys from Bradford White enjoy a laugh with a contractor during the show.

 

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After four months and hundreds of stops across the country, the Avalanche Performance Tour came to an end. Gerber announced that Wade Sammons, Sammons Plumbing, Oshkosh, Wis., won the grand prize of a Harley-Davidson Fat Bob motorcycle.

 

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Speaking of giveaways, the Hub and industry friend Milwaukee Tool partnered to give four lucky winners a set of four hand tools. The Hub’s Eric Aune gives the thumbs up with with on the winners.