Family is life. Robert Broccolo Jr. (@prodrains), owner/operator of Professional Drain Services of Southern New England, LLC, Westerly, R.I., has much to be thankful for. He’ll be the first to tell you that he has the most amazing fiancée, Tiffani, whom he can’t wait to marry, and he gushes over his beautiful five-year-old daughter Isabella Read more
Family is life. Robert Broccolo Jr. (@prodrains), owner/operator of Professional Drain Services of Southern New England, LLC, Westerly, R.I., has much to be thankful for. He’ll be the first to tell you that he has the most amazing fiancée, Tiffani, whom he can’t wait to marry, and he gushes over his beautiful five-year-old daughter Isabella. Oh, and he is expecting a baby boy—Robert Broccolo III—this May.
But that’s what it’s about, right? Hard work and long days to pay the bills to carve more time with family, and to leave them in a better place financially. It’s that work/leisure balance that is so important. “It’s hard to do so but it all depends on your personal goals. My goal is to leave my kids’ grandkids an empire, but that requires tons of hard work and time each day,” says Broccolo. “I try to balance the work day so I’m home by the end of the day before the kids go to bed, spend time on weekends, and plan vacations throughout the year. As much as I’d love to be home more, I want to build for my family and future.”
Broccolo recalls his journey into the industry when he applied for a job with a local plumbing contractor who was hiring workers for a big project. “Also, I had an interest in plumbing as my father is a real estate investor and always had a very good understanding of plumbing and heating. It was one of the skills he mastered over the years so I wanted to learn and make him proud, build some value to myself, and be able to help my him in his real estate ventures. I got the job and shortly thereafter, became an apprentice plumber for that company, learning lot of different aspects of the trade,” says Broccolo.
Broccolo started off with a basic pickup truck and enclosed trailer; he acquired the basics needed to attempt a drain cleaning company. Subsequently, hard work and dedication to customer service has allowed Broccolo to grow his business by utilizing his social and networking skills he believes he gained from the many years— since the age of 10—working as a caddy at a few private golf courses. “It helped me spread the word of who I was and what I offered. I believe networking can be a very valuable tool if used properly.”
Broccolo has been in the plumbing industry for a little more than 10 years now, as he worked as a plumber for a local plumbing and mechanical contractor for years. It was around this time working with other contractors that Broccolo was given an opportunity to show what he could offer. He decided to move forward with starting his company in 2017. Specializing in sewers and septic, underground rehab, excavations and cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) lining, Broccolo’s certifications include CT P7 Plumber, RI Underground Utility Contractor, CT Septic Installer, RI Septic Installer, RI and CT Septic Pumper, and RI Registered Septic Inspector. “From there, the growth hasn’t stopped. We now have the ability to do anything when it comes to sewer and septic,” says Broccolo.
Going into year six with great success, Broccolo continues to expand the underground rehab side of the company. “My love for plumbing has been primarily focused on sewers since the start of my company. I’m constantly learning, going to trainings, trade shows, expos, etc., to gather as much info to continue to grow the company and services we offer,” says Broccolo. “
Broccolo has had a few mentors in his plumbing journey, with his father being his hero and No. 1 mentor. “He’s always guided me in the right direction and given solid advice,” says Broccolo.
There are others, too. “My old boss Mike Loffler and Steve Antoch, and an amazing man I would caddy for each weekend at the golf course,” says Broccolo.
Each person in some way helped guide Broccolo and mentor him in different ways, sometimes not even knowing they were doing so. “So, paying it forward, I try to be my best self to help others in the industry; I believe if we all work together, we can all grow learn and do better, and that in turns makes the industry better,” says Broccolo.
Promote the Trades
According to Broccolo, the trades have been given a negative image for a long time, and that there are great jobs pay and opportunity in all aspects of the trades. His message to those kids thinking of entering the trades would be—give it a chance! “Don’t be fooled with the have-to-go-to-college mentality. I was caught in that mentality when in high school; you were considered a failure if you didn’t go to college. In fact, I went to college and it just wasn’t for me. I wish I had the ability to get my hands in the trades sooner,” says Broccolo.
What message should we be sending then? “The industry could do better by working alongside the schools,” says Broccolo. “Same as a college fair or a military recruit booth, it would be amazing if there was a ‘Trade Day’ where different trades had the ability to be at each school once a year—featuring one-on-one time, the ability to answer and ask questions, and see the reality of the jobs vs. the perception of it,” says Broccolo.
Broccolo says that a local company could sign students for jobs the same as a college signs a student. Companies could then work apprenticeships with students and implement classes to help students see if the trades are for them vs. college. “Just like most things in life, you need to experience it in some way to know if it’s for you,” says Brocoolo.
Listen, some of the most challenging jobs for Broccolo are the underground rehab projects and CIPP installs, but working on pipes without digging and solving problems is very rewarding. “Nothing is more satisfying than getting the job done that most can’t and knowing you did it without being invasive to the property,” says Broccolo.
Indianapolis — Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transport (WWETT), the world’s largest annual trade show for wastewater and environmental service professionals, today unveils its conference program. The event takes place February 20-23, 2023 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. Register to attend here. Marc Acampora, VP & Market Leader of the WWETT Show Read more
Indianapolis — Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transport (WWETT), the world’s largest annual trade show for wastewater and environmental service professionals, today unveils its conference program. The event takes place February 20-23, 2023 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. Register to attend here.
Marc Acampora, VP & Market Leader of the WWETT Show, said, “We are delighted to bring wastewater and environmental service professionals together with the leading minds in the industry to help drive their businesses forward. There will be a tremendous amount of learning, exploring, networking, and fun to be had this winter in Indianapolis.”
The WWETT accredited conference program delivers unparalleled education including nearly 100 sessions across 21 tracks targeted to municipalities, plumbers, portable sanitation professionals, septic contractors, sewer contractors and wastewater professionals.
Chad Williams, resilience speaker, bestselling author and Navy SEAL, will deliver the keynote address. Williams draws from his experience in military to provide a Navy SEAL’s perspective on issues related to effective leadership, resilience, teamwork, overcoming adversity and motivation.
Conference program highlights:
- Seven national associations leading education
- Two Technical Tours
- Women in the Industry Networking event
- New to the industry networking event
- New Diversity Track
- Four-hour Confined Space Entry Training
- Two workshops on Management/Leadership
- Eight-hour certification classes led by National Association of Wastewater Technicians and Portable Sanitation Association International
Many sessions count toward fulfilling required continuing educational units (CEUs) and professional development hours (PDHs). Learn more here.
In addition, the Expo Hall will showcase new and innovative products from 500+ exhibitors such as Federal Signal, Environmental Solutions Group, Satellite Industries, Vac-Con, Inc and CUES, Inc.
Additional event highlights:
- The NAWT Shootout brings awareness to the updated Federal Regulations regarding Pre-Trip inspections. It also gives individuals who will be testing soon for their CDLs an opportunity to practice their Pre-Trip Inspections and those that already have their CDLs an opportunity to learn what the new regulations cover and how to respond to road-side inspections. The top four individuals with the most correctly identified problems will be named winners.
- The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) will be conducting the National Backhoe ROE-D-HOE® Championship Competition. The three-day open event allows attendees who are skilled backhoe operators compete by using the backhoe bucket to skillfully and smoothly move small objects such as a golf ball or bowling pin in an extreme race against time. The competition is timed and will culminate with the contestants with the top three times winning belt buckles in addition to up to $1,000 in cash prizes.
- WWETT Talks Live is a new interview series that will feature bite-sized insights from the wastewater industry’s most innovative leaders. It will cover the state of the industry, which trends to adopt and which ones to avoid, leadership and roles in company structures, becoming a multi-dimensional operation, trials and tribulations of expanding and the importance of your work and community impact.
- Operators Without Borders provides certified, volunteer water and wastewater operators who can support utilities in developing countries following emergency and disaster situations to ensure that safe drinking water and wastewater management services are resumed. On February 21 at 4:00 p.m., a special Happy Hour General Session will be hosted at booth #2149 in the Expo Hall to discuss the current situation of water and wastewater utilities in Ukraine and how we can help.
- WWETT will show the documentary Sh*t Saves the World, which provides an intriguing and humorous glimpse into our species’ impact on the Earth by exploring how one of the most simple and obvious solutions to aid the environment may lie in what we often look down upon as waste.
- IndyHumane has been committed to helping central Indiana’s pets in need since 1905. The organization’s locations collectively support an average of 10,000 animals each year, roughly 90 percent of which are adopted. In booth #5935 in the Expo Hall there will be dogs and kittens to meet, play with and adopt.
- The Welcome Party takes place February 21 at 5:00 p.m. at The Grand Hall @ Downtown Union Station.
These days have been pretty busy for Bulldog Contractors. “When COVID first appeared, there wasn’t enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. And once stimulus checks hit, there was a huge spike in work flow. We have been very blessed and fortunate to be working through the pandemic,” says Jeff Keller. A licensed Read more
These days have been pretty busy for Bulldog Contractors. “When COVID first appeared, there wasn’t enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. And once stimulus checks hit, there was a huge spike in work flow. We have been very blessed and fortunate to be working through the pandemic,” says Jeff Keller.
A licensed master plumber, Keller works for his father in running Bulldog Contractors in northeast Texas. Bulldog Contractors is a well-rounded company that strives to provide a one-stop shop for its customers, and that’s why Keller specializes in service work for plumbing, electrical and septic, and carries multiple licenses in electrical and septic as well.
Yet, the career path for Keller wasn’t always defined early on. When Keller was in high school, he wanted to be a veterinarian based on his love for pets and animals. “I honestly didn’t have the grades for it, so if I had to guess, I would be in the oil field chasing that dollar,” says Keller.
But watching his father succeed in business—and life—was huge for Keller. “I honestly never thought of following in his footsteps growing up. But as I got older, and needed a summer job, I fell in love with the overall variation of different types of jobs and people I encountered on a day-to-day basis,” says Keller.
To Keller, his father was his biggest motivator. “He put me on a higher pedestal than I would have liked growing up as a kid, but in the end, it turned out very well and it kept my mindset on track. Also, some very deep guidance was from my grandfather—on my mother’s side—as well. The advice, stories, and memories that I have retained has been priceless. If I could be half the man my grandfather was …. they just don’t make them like they used to!” says Keller.
Keller has never looked back as his love for the trades has grown over the years. “In the service industry, you just never know what you are getting yourself into that day,” he says. “I like the uncertainty. The jobs are never identical. It keeps you on your toes and the mind busy,” says Keller. Oh, and as for Keller’s love for animals? “With my current career, I get to see multiple houses a day and their pets; I bond with them and that’s a cool small aspect of my day.”
Moving the Trades Forward
Concerning to Keller about the trades, though, is the quality of work and labor. “With the trades dying, so does the manpower to get projects completed. So, it’s a rat race to get in and out and onto the next one. Years or even sometimes months down the road we are fixing issues that could have been resolved if some time and quality was put into a job,” says Keller.
One of the biggest concerns for the trades overall is to infuse young, skilled labor into the trades. “It’s all about advertising and education; they go hand-in-hand. We really need to be getting into the school systems and reaching out to the youngsters. With the way this world is going at this moment, this will be a never-ending battle and a hard one to tackle. ANYTHING is possible, though!”
And when those recruits are ready, Keller suggests not going to school—unless required—to learn the trades, especially if you are going into the service industry. “What a service technician knows and understands isn’t taught in a book. Get into the trade, get your eyes and ears in the field, and become a sponge. Learn everything you can,” says Keller.
Work/Life Tilt & Spare Time
Balancing family time and work is often tough to navigate. Keller’s family understands that sometimes the phone rings and he has to take the call, yet he will always make time for them. There will be work and money to be made, regardless, says Keller and his family is the most important thing that he has and cherishes.
“Some days I make a lighter work load to pick the kids up from school and take them on a field trip, or doctor appointments. I took my middle girl, Elyse, out to ice cream the other day, just us. The little things are what they will hold onto and remember for years to come. My father did the same for me and I plan to pass that onto my family, as well. You must make time for your family because the kids will be grown and gone before you know it,” says Keller.
For Keller, though, it’s hard for him to sit still so you’ll normally find him in the shop tinkering around mostly cleaning and keeping it organized, and playing with the kids. “The same with my yard, I’ll go mow dirt if I have time! It’s my quiet place if you know what I mean. On the weekends, I enjoy my main hobby, which is fishing—mainly night fishing so the wife and kids sleep through most of it while I’m gone,” says Keller.
Social media has opened many doors for Keller that he would have never imagined. “If someone told me 10 years ago, I would be traveling all over the country—anything from factory tours to trade shows to attending early tool/product releases, I wouldn’t have believed them. I appreciate all the new friends and connections I have made. It’s a true honor.”
What people may not know about Keller is, “I’m a nerd when it comes to numbers and efficiency of my house. During a day I might check the water pressure of my house 2-3 times. Same goes for my current water heater temp—digital display on heat pump unit. And my solar input and output. I keep a close eye on efficiency.”
The last time Jeff Keller said “today is a great day”? “I took off work super early, surprised my wife and we went out and about for the day, no schedule at all.”
From February 17-20, 2020, the WWETT Show – Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show, will take over the Indiana Convention Center for the world’s largest annual trade show within the wastewater & environmental services industry. With new dates for 2020, the four-day trade show packs over 100 world-class education sessions, business opportunities, collaboration Read more
From February 17-20, 2020, the WWETT Show – Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show, will take over the Indiana Convention Center for the world’s largest annual trade show within the wastewater & environmental services industry. With new dates for 2020, the four-day trade show packs over 100 world-class education sessions, business opportunities, collaboration with industry professionals, a slate of live demonstrations, exposure to cutting-edge technology trends and the latest product launches across multiple industry segments.
“Over the years, the WWETT Show continues to demonstrate why it is the number one trade show event within the wastewater & environmental services industry,” said Douglas Lugo, director of the WWETT Show. “We recognize the importance of providing a space where professionals can connect and grow their business, as well as sharpen their skills all in one place. Knowing that people walk away from our show with new ideas, connections and equipment, lets us know the WWETT Show is making an impact in the industry.”
Known as the premier global wastewater event of the year, the WWETT Show is home to municipalities, plumbers, portable sanitation professionals, septic contractors, sewer contractors and wastewater professionals. Connecting manufacturers with representatives, highlights the importance of seeking ideas and solutions from respected leaders in the industry, and creates a customized trade show experience all under one roof.
WWETT Show 2020 Key Highlights
Smart Wastewater Initiative
In a time where shrinking water sources and massive flooding are affecting us globally, it is important to discuss how crucial this is to our future’s sustainability. Oliver Grievson, chairman of Wastewater Education 501(c)3, will explore the topic of the smart wastewater industry in three action packed sessions.
The WWETT Show Marketplace will feature over 600 exhibitors, 50 of which are new, looking to expand their business and maximize their buying potential. 6 in 10 attendees place purchase orders at the show and two-thirds of attendees will purchase within the year. On the expo floor, attendees will find thousands of products on display, meet directly with product representatives, as well as see, touch, and feel products and equipment. Top exhibitors to see include:
- Federal Signal Environmental Solutions Group
- Satellite Industries
- Super Products, LLC
Sewer Equipment Co. of America
- Imperial Industries, Inc.
- Hi-Vac Corporation
- Spartan Tool, LLC
- GapVax, Inc.
- Vermeer Corporation
- JAG Mobile Solutions, Inc.
- PolyJohn Enterprises, Inc.
The WWETT Show offers an unparalleled, best-in-value education program led by top industry experts and professionals from respected associations, businesses, and manufacturers. Choose from an array of sessions, obtain continuing education units (CEUs) from approved states, provinces and organizations, or just up your game to gain knowledge on the latest industry trends. With a Full Education Package (FEP), attendees will have access to all sessions listed on the WWETT Show website.
The WWETT Show provides up close and personal experiences through live demos. Show attendees can watch leading industry manufacturers in action as they show off their latest products and equipment. Held in Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, WWETT Live! creates a fun and engaging experience everyone will enjoy. Companies to see include: GapVax, Inc., Hammerhead® Trenchless and NozzTeq® Inc.
Industry Appreciation Party
New to 2020, show attendees will have the opportunity to participate in the WWETT Show Industry Appreciation Party powered by Spartan Tool and Picote. The event will feature live entertainment from Cornfield Mafia and an opportunity for photos with the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders. Admission is free to all attendees with a registration badge.
To learn more about the WWETT Show and to register, visit www.wwettshow.com.