RIDGID® introduces its most powerful drum machine, the K-4310 FXP™ Drum Machine with a new cable counter that provides real-time, in-pipe cable distance for faster locating and diagnostics. Ideal for residential and commercial plumbing and drain cleaning projects, its powerful Brushless DCMotor spins at 230 RPM and provides long-lasting runtime, with less required maintenance.Clearing3″to 10″lines Read more
support the trades
RIDGID® introduces its most powerful drum machine, the K-4310 FXP™ Drum Machine with a new cable counter that provides real-time, in-pipe cable distance for faster locating and diagnostics. Ideal for residential and commercial plumbing and drain cleaning projects, its powerful Brushless DCMotor spins at 230 RPM and provides long-lasting runtime, with less required maintenance.Clearing3″to 10″lines, the K-4310FXPis powered by RIDGID’s new FXP Technology Platform that lets users switch between battery and power adapter (in development) for maximum versatility.
The CableCounter feature helps professionals know where the cable is in the line as they are clearing blockages. The cable distance tracking feature allows professionals to always know where their equipment is located within the line, simplifying cleaning. The unit’s enclosed quick-change drum is easily removed, allowing for easier setup and transport, while the rotating inner drum efficiently dispenses cable and reduces the chance of cable flip over. Integrated AUTOFEED® Technology advances and retrieves cable up to 28 feet per minute with zero tools required for setup.
To purchase or learn more about theK-4310 and the entire line of drain cleaning solutions, visit RIDGID.com
Pfister® Faucets, a trusted leader in the plumbing industry since 1910, is kicking off Season 4 of American Plumber Stories, a popular docuseries that features the lives of plumbers throughout the U.S. A new generation is seeing the plumbing trades with new eyes. Now, in its fourth season, the wildly successful American Plumber Stories docuseries Read more
Pfister® Faucets, a trusted leader in the plumbing industry since 1910, is kicking off Season 4 of American Plumber Stories, a popular docuseries that features the lives of plumbers throughout the U.S. A new generation is seeing the plumbing trades with new eyes. Now, in its fourth season, the wildly successful American Plumber Stories docuseries will highlight stories of building the workforce, told by young plumbers whose lives are being changed in phenomenal ways by the plumbing trade.
American Plumber Stories aims to promote the plumbing trade to the next generation of professionals. The show highlights the stories of plumbers around the nation including how they got started in the plumbing trade and the passion they have for their profession. These stories show how they built a career that allows them to lead financially rewarding and fulfilling lives.
Over the past year, the docuseries built up a large following in the plumbing industry who passionately supports the mission that Pfister® Faucets, the creator of the docuseries, is pursuing. From plumbing businesses, plumbing product manufacturers to industry associations, many were inspired to join forces to turn American Plumber Stories into the movement it has become today.
RIDGID, who has been instrumental as a partner since Season 2, will be joined by four new partners in Season 4, manufacturing leaders Oatey, Cintas, A. O. Smith, and State Water Heaters. These partnerships provide a tremendous footprint to distribute American Plumber Stories episodes on their high-reach social media platforms and to promote the docuseries at their trade show booths across the country.
“RIDGID is celebrating our 100-year anniversary this year, and we’ve had a lot of fun sharing stories with plumbers from the past, present and future. American Plumber Stories, and the work Pfister® Faucets is doing with this program, have helped a wider audience hear stories like these, and get to know and appreciate the hard work that goes into this profession. We’re excited to continue to support this show and its mission,” says Becky Brotherton, Director of Brand & Engagement Marketing, RIDGID.
Mechanical Hub, the largest independent plumbing-focused online resource platform, is collaborating with Pfister®Faucets to distribute American Plumber Stories episodes through its media platforms to nearly 1M social and digital media followers. Plumbers who are featured in the episodes will also appear on the Appetite for Construction podcasts that go into more depth about each of the inspiring stories in Season 4.
“After hearing the feedback from our listeners, as well as from our digital and social media audiences, we highly anticipate another year of partnering with Pfister® in supporting the American Plumber Stories docuseries on YouTube. We’ve seen in recent years just how important and essential the men and women that make up our plumbing family are to the health of the country,” says John Mesenbrink, President, Mechanical Hub.
“We feel that the American Plumber Stories series highlights and shines a bright light on the plumbers and organizations who help build the backbone of our nation, while encouraging the next generation of workers to join the trades,” says Mesenbrink.
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association (PHCC), the premier trade organization for plumbing and HVAC professionals, has teamed up with American Plumber Stories and supports its message on a national level to its members, as well as in state and local chapters throughout the country.
One of the most visible faces of American Plumber Stories is its host, Craig Morgan. The country music icon is a TV personality (Beyond the Edge on CBS and others), celebrated outdoorsman, member of the Grand Ole Opry and Army veteran. Morgan has charted more than 25 songs on Billboard Top 100.
While Season 1 entertained with a look into the lives of ordinary plumbers with sometimes extraordinary lifestyles, Season 2 emphasized education in the trade and the opportunity this rewarding profession has to offer. Season 3 highlighted some of the most inspiring stories, told by plumbers whose lives were changed forever by the trade and Season 4 will share the stories of job creation, workforce development and solutions for those getting into the trade.
Season 4 Episode Release Week, Title and Participants
- September 5th, Young Guns, Fulmer Heating, Plumbing & Cooling (South Carolina)
- September 25th, Plumb Market, Petri Plumbing (New York)
- October 16th, Roping the Future, Big Sky Plumbing (Utah)
- November 6th, Royal Flush, Universal Plumbing (Nevada)
- November 27th, Influence-HER, Deluxe Plumbing (Pennsylvania)
- December 18th, Plumbing to Perform, Louisville Plumbing Company (Kentucky)
New episodes of American Plumber Stories can now be watched on www.AmericanPlumberStories.com.
Interested plumbers who would like to share their own story can do so here: https://www.americanplumberstories.com/pages/i-am-an-american-plumber
As far back as he can remember, Derek Zeolla, general manager and licensed plumber at Zeolla Plumbing & Heating Corp., was running plumbing jobs with his father in downtown Boston as early as seven years old. Derek’s dad was a Boston service plumber that ran a 1- to 2-man shop. “It’s not like this was Read more
As far back as he can remember, Derek Zeolla, general manager and licensed plumber at Zeolla Plumbing & Heating Corp., was running plumbing jobs with his father in downtown Boston as early as seven years old. Derek’s dad was a Boston service plumber that ran a 1- to 2-man shop. “It’s not like this was common, I was just growing up around it,” says Zeolla (@zeollaplumbing).
Derek’s father eventually stopped working as a plumber in the late ’90s. Around this time, while still a teenager, Derek dropped out of school had a baby at the age of 18. Moving forward, “My brother, Doug, and I convinced our dad—also named Doug—to get back into the trade, but before we worked as a family, he sent us off to get experience elsewhere,” recalls Zeolla.
According to Zeolla, they worked all over the city and jumped around recklessly from company to company, some jobs together, some not. “We always found a way of getting together with a new employer, one of us would talk up the other,” says Zeolla. “It’s funny looking back on that thinking how little we knew back then. My parents were coming off of a divorce and my father was starting to take on some service stuff in our new town Stoughton, Mass. where we grew up and went to high school. Eventually, he had enough work for both of us and we stayed pretty busy,” says Zeolla.
And that’s how Zeolla Plumbing & Heating Corp.—residential service plumbing, drain cleaning, heating, and boiler installation—came to be. “We have built a solid reputation in our area through more than a decade of answering the phone and showing up. Man, we have come a long way since then,” says Zeolla.
The Family Dynamic
Working with his father, brother and one of his cousins most of the time were the best memories in the field for Zeolla. “I can’t explain it, but something about sharing the bond of working together, figuring out problems together, feeling the pride was the best, and I hope to share that with my two boys one day,” says Zeolla.
But with life, things change. “As many know, my brother passed away. This was tough, and even before that, my father took a step back from the business and went to Florida (but still flies back to Boston from time to time to help out). Add to that, my cousin and I haven’t talked in years so it’s not the same out here anymore,” says Zeolla.
Zeolla says he is blessed that his wife Arlene has filled a void. “She is the savior in the office, and I have a great team.”
Derek also hired his younger cousin Justin last year and he has been phenomenal. “I was out with him today clearing drains on a Sunday and it brought back that feeling again of working with family. Working with a Zeolla,” says Derek nostalgically.
And while Derek puts his father center on the Mount Rushmore of mentors, there were some other people outside the family that were strong influences on Derek. For Zeolla, one of the best was a Greek guy named Alex, who, when Derek was looking for work, took him on for a couple of years. “He taught me how to get shit done; he taught me how to move.”
Alex was a great mentor yet has since passed away. “Which brings me to, am I a role model? I don’t know, but Alex has two sons. One has come to me looking for mentorship, and it’s just so crazy how things come full circle because now he works with me and he is already just like his father when it comes to plumbing skill.”
Zeolla hopes to be a good role model for him, including and all his younger guys he works with. “I will never steer them in the wrong direction, that’s for sure. This is too important to me,” says Zeolla.
One of my biggest challenges isn’t the pipes, says Zeolla, it’s the people. “I say this phrase a lot, and I love people in general, and I love my customers, but sometimes when it comes to understanding what we are doing in their homes, it can be challenging. It’s very important to explain things and make sure they feel comfortable. It’s a delicate balance between taking control of a situation and saying, ‘hey, look, I’m the professional here I need you to trust me,’” says Zeolla.
Again, the pipes are the easy part! “I’m lucky that I have great customers. The rewarding part is helping people out, getting someone’s heat back on, clearing a main drain, getting the hot water back, or being told that you are appreciated is probably the best. That ride home to then seeing your family after you helped another family, that’s the reward.”
Derek and his wife love to travel, and they take their kids literally everywhere they go. AHR Atlanta was their second time leaving them overnight in five years. But basically, there is no leisure time without the phone ringing and Derek coordinating with his six guys, and customers. “My wife and I are like running a telethon while ‘trying’ to be on a vacation. We love it and we are good at it, but she knows I can’t be away from the field long. It’s my therapy and I get depressed if I’m not turning wrenches,” says Zeolla, a self-described workaholic.
As far as spare time close to home, Zeolla enjoys fishing, hiking and hanging out at his cabin nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. “Summer weekends there with my boys are what I work toward every week. When my brother passed, I wanted to find a place to escape, and I found something special,” says Zeolla.
The Skilled Trades
According to Zeolla, “We” need to push our way into middle schools and high schools to get “our” message heard. Kids need to know that they have options at a younger age, says Zeolla.
“Listen, school isn’t for everyone. You might be told you aren’t good enough, or your attention span is too short, or you can’t listen to lectures all day, but put that kid in front of something hands-on, something he or she can feel—and feel the pride of building something—the sky is the limit. Once you get that feeling of being productive and important, you will open doors you didn’t even know were there,” says Zeolla.
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
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 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.”
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.
Yet, 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.
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
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, 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.
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.
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.”
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.”
Moreover, 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.