AGE: 38
COMPANY: The Eco Plumbers, Hilliard, Ohio
TITLE: Quality control and technical/call-by-call support

How long have you been in the PHCP-PVF industry?
I’ve been in the industry 11 years.

What drew you into the industry?
Initially, it was just by chance. I was looking for a career in my mid-20s after dabbling in some different things after high school, and friends of mine suggested I get into plumbing. My objective was to find something which had substantial earning potential, would always be in demand, and with any luck, I might actually enjoy doing. After researching a bit more, I was convinced the plumbing trade aligned with the direction I was wanting to take. Once I was in the door, I had the opportunity to apprentice under an amazing group of plumbers who had many years of experience, and in different sectors of plumbing — this is what really kept me in the industry. I am forever grateful for the experience and wisdom they continually passed along, as it was ultimately what allowed me to progress as quickly as I did. My first mentor in plumbing, a master plumber in Cincinnati named Ron Reis, ingrained an invaluable set of standards into my psyche — unparalleled craftsmanship and attention to detail are what make a difference. The path of continuous learning and improvement should be lovingly embraced, the art of communicative mastery should be endlessly pursued and we are all in complete control of realizing our own success.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in the industry?
Problem-solving, for me, is something that has always felt very rewarding. I thoroughly enjoy learning to identify and decipher all pieces to a puzzle as well as determine how they best fit together. This concept applies to both dealing with hands-on work and communicating with people; not only is our goal to resolve plumbing problems but also to resolve emotional distress in the people who are experiencing them. There is definitely an art to doing this, considering the endless variety of situational and technical variables to deal with, in addition to differing communication styles and personality types needing continual adjustment. I've always viewed residential service plumbing, specifically, as being 50% skillset-based and 50% effective, interpersonal relationship-building. People won’t commit to utilizing our services until they’ve been convinced they have found the right person, the right company, the right solution, the right time and the right price for the job. Likewise, people do business with people they like, and they like people that are like them. People are comfortable with people who understand their emotional needs. This is an ongoing challenge in itself, deciphering communication dynamics. Having the opportunity to “pay it forward” and coach these relevant, best practices is equally rewarding to me. I am humbled to have a role in placing the building blocks which facilitate foundational understanding and growth, for the next generation coming into the industry.

What is one thing you wish more people knew/understood about the PHCP-PVF industry?
To put it very simply, we are the ones who have been assigned with the task of protecting the health of the nation. The everyday water supply, sanitary sewer, fuel, heating and cooling systems that are taken for granted — these are the arteries through which practicality is birthed into the structures humans occupy. The functionality of these systems are strikingly similar to our own bodies, having to be similarly maintained; if disregarded, the emergence of adverse effects will result. Consider the analogy of this well-known quote: “If you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” It’s very fitting. The words “wellness” and “maintenance” can be used interchangeably, as can “illness” and “malfunction.” If you do not make time for maintenance, you will be forced to make time for malfunction. With that said — it's our responsibility as trusted tradespeople and advisors, not only to educate our customers on these types of concepts but navigate these same interactions without disingenuous or opportunistic intent. When everyone involved understands the beneficial nature in taking proactive measures, the opportunity we together share is tremendous.

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
I’d have to say being offered the opportunity to work in my current role for such a progressive company is something I am very grateful for. It makes me feel as if all of the effort and stress, as well as literal blood, sweat and tears have truly paid off; it's come full circle. For me personally, that thought more-so looks like having amazing work/life balance, compensation, flexible working arrangements and professional alignment. Not only am I empowered to operate within my position as I see fit, but also feel as if my contributions are valued and welcomed. The Eco Plumbers is very focused on fueling the plumbing industry and offsetting the labor shortage by taking matters into their own hands and developing their own talent through an in-house apprenticeship program. Additionally, the framework which makes up the business is well-designed and thorough, having the appropriate people providing support in most areas imaginable or necessary. The business models integrated into the company's core are being used in their true capacities and at maximum potential, so a high organizational aptitude is very visible through the great culture which has been built. This great culture at Eco, in turn, makes employees want to stay long-term.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m hesitant to admit this, but someone out there needs to hear it. A big secret of mine is that I am actually a high school drop-out. That will surprise many people who know me, I’m sure. It’s something I’ve largely kept to myself, due to the associated stigma and stereotyping; this is not something I expect others to understand without knowing the context, which is pretty involved. To put it simply, I had to grow up quickly and got involved in a pretty chaotic lifestyle at a young age. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I’d had enough and was able to commit to turning it around. Things were very different back then, it’s like reminiscing on another life. Perseverance, determination and goal-setting showed me anything is possible. We all have to ‘make our own way’ – as my grandfather would say. We humans will achieve whatever we set our minds to, whether it be positive or negative; our repetitive, dominant thoughts will attract more similar thoughts, ultimately, highlighting and creating the reality we experience — literally. And, I’m all about networking — connect with me on LinkedIn!

Why he was chosen as a Next Gen All Star Top 20 Under 40 winner:
“Joe entered into the Plumbing trade in 2011 at 27 years old, looking for a fresh start in life and a career-path which would adequately provide for his family. He was first hired by a well-known, local HVAC and plumbing company as the first plumbing apprentice in a relatively new plumbing department. Under the guidance and recommendation of his mentors, he spent much of his free time focusing on developing a greater understanding of plumbing systems, code and repair/replacement work.

“Joe pursued technical and communication mastery for many years, utilizing all available resources to hone his craft. Under the tutelage of both the Sandler Training and Nexstar Network programs, Joe confides he was able to greatly develop his interpersonal and communication skills, which allowed for a growth in confidence and the resulting epiphany that there might be great opportunity within the Plumbing trade for him. Through this newfound success, Joe and his fiancé at the time, his best friend and biggest supporter, Kendra, purchased their first home in 2013 and married in 2015.

“After 11 years of progressively transitioning from the field into leadership, as well as acquiring a multitude of experience through a variety of positions, Joe accepted an offer in early 2022 to work remotely in a secondary role as a quality control and technical support manager. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to 'pay it forward' by assisting in developing the interpersonal and technical skillsets of those graduating from an in-house training program.

“In his spare time, Joe continues to design a technical and communication training platform for companies to eventually utilize, who may not have an interest in joining a large, trade-specific networking organization. The objective is to make high-level support and ideology readily-accessible, within a sustainable future.

“I’m proud of what my brother has been able to accomplish in such a short time. I’ve nominated him not only for conquering the ‘road less traveled,’ but also for his ability to influence others in the industry to do the same. The trades were a game-changer for Joe, being exposed to so much opportunity which he saw to be very attainable. For me, it has reaffirmed a reality of success not having to be derivative of, or paralleled by, a college degree. We are all measured by our individual character, which develops through unique sets of experiences; the resulting action and intent — that can’t be taught,” says Mike Mozzone.