• Tom Warner retires
  • Safety lessons
  • Blog comments

  • As We Approach Our 25th Anniversary

    Editor’s note: We received an e-mail last month from Tom Warner asking when our first issue came out. Tom’s e-mail was timely since we’ll be publishing our 25th anniversary issue in March. Tom retired in November and is currently writing his memoirs. He e-mailed us back what he plans to say aboutPM.)
      I received my first Plumbing & Mechanical magazine when the first issue was mailed out March 1984. I have read every issue since that first one. The last magazine I received as a contractor was November 2008. That issue gave me great pleasure to see that many of my passions were now front and center of our industry.

      On page 14, we learned Clockwork Home Services Inc. created a truly unique Internet advertising campaign of customers making their own individual homemade commercials. The number of hits will determine the winner of a $26,000 prize. What a truly novel idea.

      On page 20, “Voice of the Consumer” reports more women use e-mail than men do to ask their questions. The article goes on to question if contractors’ Web sites are designed to assist women in making their buying decisions. This was a really excellent comment on Internet commerce.

      On page 24,  Randall Hilton describes a bonus system that I know will work. The entire article on production-based bonus systems was great.

      On page 68,  Al Levi’s article on making your company about building a career (for technicians and staff), not just filling a job, was excellent.

      On page 71, a timely article by Paul Ridilla about doing something different to find business.

      On page 77,  Jack Tester’s article for ways a contractor can keep from getting in a rut.

      I also appreciated two articles on sprinkler systems, which has become an additional niche within our profession. Finally, on the last page, Jim Olsztynski, our industry’s oracle, discusses the need for drug testing.  

      Thomas F. Warner
      Reston, Va.

    Safety First

    I was reading this month’s issue ofPMmagazine when I read the article named “Protecting The ‘Industrial Athlete’”(October 2008). This is of particular interest to me and my company, ATM Plumbing. We are about 9 months old, and though we are young, and I say this with a heavy heart, we have unfortunately joined a fraternity of companies that have had an employee killed while on the job.

    We had a young man, Mark, 31, electrocuted while cutting a 3/4-inch copper main water line, and, yes, that is all he did. Being a young upstart company, we figured we would have time to put together a company safety program and relied on the few employees we have to use judgment and always think safety.

    Unfortunately what happened to Mark would have happened to anyone, and all I can say is that there was no electrical anything within at least 7-plus feet of him. Since then we have been putting together a safety program and moving forward - not an easy task by any means. 

    From a safety standpoint, we now require our plumbers to check all water lines before they do anything. Why? We want to make sure the line is not energized. The targeted area would be homes and businesses of any age, period. I would like to see other companies initiate programs such as this to prevent or at least attempt to prevent this from happening ever again. Any information any readers have would be appreciated. In 15-plus years in the plumbing industry, I have never heard of anything like this happening, and I wish I never had.

    Tom Pesco
    ATM Plumbing
    Olathe, Kan.

    Insurance And Sprinklers

    There are two excellent articles on residential fire sprinkler systems in the November issue. Per these articles, this might be just what the plumbing trade needs as to more volume of work during this tight time. But forget the trade - the life-saving, property-saving capabilities far outweigh work for the trade.

    However, in my many years in this business, often the work of fire sprinklers has come up. In questioning our insurance carriers here in Pennsylvania, we were always told our insurance does not classify us for doing this work.

    To the insurance industry, it is the liability from premature discharge and the resulting flooding. When the classification changes, the rate changes and all the work will have to be insured at that rate, both for liability and workman’s compensation.

    Now that this new requirement is mandated beginning Jan. 1, 2011, we as a trade had better find out what the ramification are for both standalone and multipurpose systems.

    Bill Parr
    Parr’s Plumbing
    Allentown, Pa.

    Blog Comments

    Editor's Note: We've started blogging on a number of different topics atwww.PMmag.com. Here are some reader comments to some recent posts:
      Title: Going Green
      By: Kevin
      Thanks for the great read. It’s true the marketers and even government organizations like EnergyStar promote green technology when in fact they’re not green at all. For instance, residential households consume 70 percent of their electrical energy from all the little red lights on our electronics and yet they are labeled EnergyStar-compliant, which is sort of ironic. But it does seem the tide is finally turning for green building technologies and their integration into residential and commercial applications like geothermal and solar power. Great blog, keep up the good work.

      Title: So True
      By: Aaron Klimchuk
      Just as you stated, everyone and their mom seems to have a “green-friendly” product these days, which makes those that really are environmentally conscious needles in a haystack. With home improvement and construction being markets that won’t come and go, it’s great to see that many eco-conscious professionals are doing their best to go green, legitimately.

      Title: Interesting Read
      By: Dustan
      I agree that some of the marketing is over the top, but I really hope the trend continues (going green). It is our responsibility to research these things and reward the companies really working for change.