As we celebrate Women’s History Month and Women in Construction Week, Plumbing & Mechanical is shining the spotlight on 10 influential women who are leading the plumbing industry to great success.

Meet Amy Hart, general manager & co-owner of Continental Plumbing Services

What made you choose a career in the plumbing industry?

AH: My husband and I met at the age of 19, and at that time, he was an apprentice plumber. That was my first introduction to the plumbing industry. Fast-forward, he loved plumbing initially, and he worked for others for a while then decided that he wanted to do his own thing. At that time, I was a school teacher. I think this happens sometimes for some women like myself — your husband is kind of doing his own thing, and then sometimes slowly or quickly discovers that he needs help. You’re the first natural person that they go to is like, "Hey, maybe you can help me with this."

We talked about it, and there were little things I did for him here and there while I was still teaching. Then he got to a point where he knew he was going to have to hire somebody or figure out if this was something that I wanted to try? I took a leave from teaching, because I figured I can always go back to teaching. So I left in 2012 and have never looked back.

When I decided to fully commit myself to it, just go for it and give it everything I had, I realized how much I also love the industry. I wasn't sure how I was going to translate what I knew from teaching into this field, but then I discovered a lot of similarities. I joke sometimes that working with plumbers is very similar to working with small children. I just felt like I found a way to make it my own and to use what I had learned in teaching and applied a lot of that to the plumbing industry. It's kept me busy and happy enough that I'm still here.

What has been the most rewarding/proudest aspect of your career in the plumbing industry?

AH: I'm very passionate about apprenticeship. A lot of that has to do with my background in education. This all varies from state to state, but in Florida, if you want to be a plumber, you find someone to hire you and they teach you what they know. Some people are taught well, some people are not and some people have a mix, but that's really your only option for learning. I've always wanted to see a true apprenticeship program.

Several years ago, there was an opening on the Florida board for PHCC, which I took. I really wanted to see if we could get an online apprenticeship program going. There was a lot of battles, and it wasn't the easiest thing. There were a lot of people that were involved at the time that were opposed to the Florida program being online, but we persisted. And interestingly with the timing, it got approved in Florida in March of 2020. Nobody would've known, there couldn't have been a better time.

What challenges do women face in this profession? Why aren’t there more women in plumbing? How can we increase the number of women in the industry?

AH: It's changing, but the only challenges for me is representation. It's important for women to be seen in this industry and heard because that's how we're going to attract more women to the field. There's a tremendous opportunity, especially in the field for female plumbers. I am not a plumber myself, but we have a female plumber. Young women coming out of school that maybe aren't wanting to go the traditional college paths, I don't even think they know the trades, or even plumbing specifically, are a great option for them. It helps when there are women that are present even like myself in a leadership role in the company.

I love to meet other women in leadership roles in trades companies because that only is going to encourage more young women to come into the trade. I don't think there's necessarily any physical challenges for female plumbers. I feel like they can do what everybody else can do.

I'm very passionate about apprenticeship. A lot of that has to do with my background in education. – AMY HART

What advice do you have for prospective women considering entering the plumbing industry?

AH: They just need to be open-minded and confident. I think confidence is actually one of the most important things. If I look back, even at myself when I first entered the trade, I wasn't as confident and I think that held me back a little bit for probably too long.

I would also recommend getting involved in the industry. I’m the president-elect for Florida PHCC, and I will be the first female president of the chapter starting this September. I would encourage other women to get involved. There’s a new organization, Women in Plumbing & Piping (WIPP) that started recently, but they’re growing. Just put yourself out there, whether it be your state PHCC or a different organization, just get involved.

What’s one thing nobody knows about you?

AH: I'm a nearly lifelong vegetarian. I've been since I was 15. My people here all know that. But I'm also the resident cook here, so I make breakfast for everybody every Wednesday morning when they're all in. So that piece of trivia comes up very quickly because I'm the only vegetarian here. I feel like they all know or learn very quickly if they’re new that just because I’m making bacon for them doesn’t mean I am eating the bacon. I love to cook and bake for them, so my people are well-fed.