support the trades

When he’s not competing in his bowling leagues, or spending time with his family, you can find Trey Young on Instagram @iplumbit documenting his residential plumbing work in new construction. And his Instagram success is not only in the work he shows off, but I have to think that it’s in the music he selects Read more

Trey Young, iplumbit, residential plumbing, plumbing, Plumbing Plus, Matt Baese, Eric Pruitt, St. Louis, trades, support the tradesWhen he’s not competing in his bowling leagues, or spending time with his family, you can find Trey Young on Instagram @iplumbit documenting his residential plumbing work in new construction.

And his Instagram success is not only in the work he shows off, but I have to think that it’s in the music he selects to accompany the posts. ”Some songs I pick for videos may be ‘trending’ sounds or songs on Instagram at the time, but most of the music comes from my personal catalog,” says Young. “I like to believe I have a good ear for music that adds something to the project I’m showing off.”

The Beginning

Young got his first taste of plumbing working for Plumbing Plus, St. Louis, during summer break of senior year of high school. “Plumbing Plus was performing a sewer repair for a rental property for one of my parents, so I approached owner Matt Baese and asked if they needed any help, and the rest was history,” says Young.

After a short stint in college for website development, Young started working for Plumbing Plus full time a few years after high school as a laborer, and earned an apprenticeship shortly after. “I dabbled in website development for a bit, and it just wasn’t paying what plumbing was paying, even at senior levels,” recalls Young.

After three to four years working side by side with master plumber Eric Pruitt, “I began working solo and eventually created an Instagram to document my work,” says Young.

Hard Work Pays

According to Young, both Baese and Pruitt have shown tremendous patience with him during his rookie years, imparting invaluable information to be proficient as a plumber. Moreover, “I consider myself an advocate for the trade, imparting need-to-know information to assist others in making an informed decision on whether the path of plumbing will best suit them,” says Young.

Trey Young, iplumbit, residential plumbing, plumbing, Plumbing Plus, Matt Baese, Eric Pruitt, St. Louis, trades, support the tradesYet, there is a misconception that trade work is repetitive, unforgiving manual labor for a meager salary. This misconception starts early with most kids, says Young, reinforced through unrealistic depictions on TV shows, movies and cartoons, etc. “It’s always been my opinion that the industry should focus on more outreach programs directed toward elementary school as much, if not more, than high schools to combat that misconception early,” says Young.

Work ethic is key to the trades, with traits such as dedication, integrity, punctuality and a willingness to learn mandatory. “’Hard work pays off’ may be a tad cliché in the year 2023, but it has always been the best intro to anyone considering a career in the trades,” says Young.

From a hornet’s nest inside a rehab home the size of a large yoga ball, to spiders the size of a small hand, “I’ve run across some pretty wild jobs,” says Young. But Young says he enjoys plumbing so much—being in different sites working on different jobs every single day. “Whereas with a corporate job, you are in the same cubicle, drinking the same cup of coffee, looking at the same computer, day in day out,” emphasizes Young.

Moreover, “the best reward is completing a job beyond expectations and bringing visible relief and or joy to someone who has been dealing a major plumbing issue for days, if not weeks.

Getting Connected

Social media, and Instagram in particular, has helped Young become a more versed plumber by introducing him to new products, tools and methods. “I’ve also had the opportunity to virtually meet hundreds of like-minded tradesmen, some even in person through company ambassador programs or people recognizing me at the local plumbing supply house,” says Young.

The Next Step

How does Young balance his quest for the ever-elusive perfect 300, family time and work? “Unfortunately, I find myself asking the same question because work takes up the majority of my time lately. After recently earning his Journeyman’s License, “setting the groundwork to eventually venture off on my own demands most of my leisure time,” says Young.

A Rolls Royce with a Veto Pro Pac tool bag in the trunk. Now that’s pretty drippy. For Moe Hirsch, Moes Consulting and Mechanical Services, Rockland County, N.Y., his bucket list item is a good representative mix of work and swaggy. Hirsch basically started off in the trades when he joined his cousins, who were plumbers Read more

Moe Hirsch, Moes CAMS, Moes Consulting and Mechanical Services, plumbing, heating, HVAC, hydronics, coolingA Rolls Royce with a Veto Pro Pac tool bag in the trunk. Now that’s pretty drippy. For Moe Hirsch, Moes Consulting and Mechanical Services, Rockland County, N.Y., his bucket list item is a good representative mix of work and swaggy.

Hirsch basically started off in the trades when he joined his cousins, who were plumbers, for a few days and he immediately loved the excitement. Eventually, when things began to slow down, “I went out on my own using the heating knowledge I had learned. I had the mentality that if someone was going to figure it out, it might as well be me.”

From there, Hirsch grew into a plumbing, heating and cooling company, and two years ago began distributing and installing Cummins generators. Currently, the company focuses on the mechanical trades but offers property services to its clients as well.

Moe Hirsch, Moes CAMS, Moes Consulting and Mechanical Services, plumbing, heating, HVAC, hydronics, cooling

Hirsch says he’s learned a lot from so many that narrowing it down would be impossible to credit everyone. Having said that, “The trade leaders for me were Dan Holohan, Mark Eatherton, Bob Hot Rod Rohr and John Siegenthaler. In the business world, Grant Cardone and Brandon Dawson have showed me what my true potential is. You really can learn something from everyone,” says Hirsch.

Moe Hirsch, Moes CAMS, Moes Consulting and Mechanical Services, plumbing, heating, HVAC, hydronics, cooling

In addition to meeting and helping so many people, another rewarding aspect of the trades is that it can be very profitable. And while you can be in the trenches working hands-on, says Hirsch, you can use your skills to be a great manager, assistant or other asset to a company. “It’s not all wrenching knowledge. Business to me is 33% knowing your trade, 33% knowing business management, fact finding and sales, and the other 33% is just being a genuine, kind person.”

Moe Hirsch, Moes CAMS, Moes Consulting and Mechanical Services, plumbing, heating, HVAC, hydronics, cooling

How can the PHVAC industry do a better job attracting people to the trades? Hirsch, you could say, practices what he preaches. As he prepares for every job, Hirsch makes sure he has his MacBook, latest smart phone, his personal CO detector and his loaded Veto bag, and says, “Make trades cool again; show kids the cool stuff. If they’re into muscle cars show them a tradesman driving his mustang to work. If they’re techy, show them someone performing a diagnostic using a computer.”

Moe Hirsch, Moes CAMS, Moes Consulting and Mechanical Services, plumbing, heating, HVAC, hydronics, coolingMoreover, social media, whose influence on young people can’t be denied, has opened many doors for tradespeople. “Social media is a free outlet to showcase your work—you can share your work, learn from others and link up with locals. Plus, social media can make the sale easier. The client feels they know you and is more willing put their trust in you,” says Hirsch.

As far as balancing work/leisure time, “I don’t balance them,” says Hirsch. “I try to do both to the max.” And that includes spending time with his wife and kids, training his new Golden Retriever, Marshmallow, and, of course, bumping into clients and seeing their happiness.

While he’s not busy with his day job working on hydronic heating systems, commercial and residential plumbing, backflow prevention and gas work, Chris Massaro (@nwo_plumber) loves playing guitar and recording music. Admiring the recent tattoo to commemorate his daughter’s birth, “I was in a bunch of bands throughout high school and recorded an album once Read more

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesWhile he’s not busy with his day job working on hydronic heating systems, commercial and residential plumbing, backflow prevention and gas work, Chris Massaro (@nwo_plumber) loves playing guitar and recording music. Admiring the recent tattoo to commemorate his daughter’s birth, “I was in a bunch of bands throughout high school and recorded an album once. I don’t get around to it as much as I used to or like to, but I’m definitely making more time for that now,” says Massaro, owner/lead tech at Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

 

I take that back. Massaro also enjoys hanging out with friends and family, golfing and mountain biking. And, he definitely needs to get that grill time in—grill, smoke, BBQ. “Sometimes in that order, in one cook. Most of the time I do use the smoker though. I’ve been on a pulled pork kick lately. My favorite is some nice pork shoulders on the Traeger. It’s the ultimate dad activity, in my opinion,” says Massaro.

The work\life balance has been a struggle for Massaro; he realized one day that when you are running your own small business sometimes there isn’t a balance. You have to make the time and prioritize it. “Do what’s important to you and make time for the people and activities you love. And most importantly, take care of yourself! Because you’re worth it. Time stands still for no one so spend it wisely,” says Massaro.

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesAnd that’s why staying physically fit and active is important to Massaro. “I’m always lifting, bending, up and down the stairs all day so it’s helpful to have a training regimen that supports that. And, it really helps to keep me in mental shape as well,” say Massaro.

Even more important is eating right, says Massaro. “We use a lot of energy in a day in the trades so we have to keep that fire fed. All of this allows me to stay energized all day and still have plenty of gas in the tank when I get home for family time,” continues Massaro.

Massaro’s foray into the trades started when he starting working for the family business as a plumbing apprentice at the age of 13. “Made best friends with my shovel and we went to work. Thankfully, I graduated from digging trenches and went on to start really learning about the ins and outs of the trade,” recalls Massaro.

Over the next few years, Massaro spent most days plumbing residential systems with a few commercial jobs sprinkled in here and there while working for my father. “It was nice to be doing a bit of everything and not just strictly one area of the trade, which I felt was important to be a well-rounded tech.

Once Massaro had a few years under his belt, he did a lot of remote northern work for fly-in communities. “Those big jobs we did up there really sharpened my time and material management skills,” says Massaro.

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesIn addition, the high school Massaro attended offered a cooperative education program where he was able to gain work experience hours toward his apprenticeship if he chose to stick with plumbing. “I would go to regular classes for the morning periods then co-op at Aqua North in the afternoon,” says Massaro.

As a side note, Massaro says that if your local high school offers a cooperative education program, he highly recommends getting involved. “It’s a really pressure-free way to get your feet wet in whatever trades the school offers,” says Massaro. “I always try to take on one co-op student per year and leave them with a positive experience in the trade. I feel that’s the best way for kids to feel out what they want to do. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions!”

Next, after getting all of his trade school and work hours complete, Massaro then wrote his exam for his certificate of qualification in plumbing. Shortly thereafter, Massaro bought the family business, and the rest is history.

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesAs fourth-generation plumber, Massaro has had some great mentors in his career, with plenty of help and guidance from his father and grandfather in learning new and old ways of plumbing. “If my great grandfather was around then I’m sure he would have some real old school stuff to show me.”

And while Massaro doesn’t consider himself a role model, he’s always willing and ready to help others to do their best at work, and life in general. “I’ve learned a lot over the years and sharing the experiences and knowledge with up-and-coming tradespeople is paramount,” says Massaro.

For Massaro, he loves building something from nothing and executing the job. “Sometimes just sitting back after the job is done and being like ‘damn we really did that.’”

Perception Change

The perception of the industry needs to change, says Massaro. “I think the wheels are turning on that as we speak but we’ve got a long way to go.”

Chris Massaro, Aqua North Plumbing and Heating Ltd., plumbing, heating, hydronics, boilers, HVAC, support the trades, tradesSocial media is that vehicle for the instrument of change as it’s an easy way to showcase contractor work, and connect with other professionals. “There’s a solid amount of tradespeople out there doing an amazing job. If we can show people that there’s more to plumbing than just plunging toilets, fixing leaks, and back-breaking work, then I think that’s a win,” says Massaro.

Whether it’s new and better tools, techniques, business knowledge, etc., Massaro has learned so much on social media. “It’s awesome that we can connect with people and have such a great community sharing tricks of the trade, meet-ups or even debate if it’s tape then dope—which it is—or dope then tape,” says Massaro.

In the end, as Massaro sets his sights on his career and further enriching his life, a good bucket list item to check off would be getting a recreational pilot’s license. “Always wanted to get into aviation in some way.”

The sky’s the limit.