One of the many definitions of service is “contribution to the welfare of others.” It’s easy to see that in the social context of modern society: volunteering time at a homeless shelter, helping domestic abuse and sexual assault victims feel safe again, running or walking to raise money for cancer research, checking on the elderly during extreme weather, donating excess building materials to Habitat for Humanity, helping the less fortunate with plumbing and heating repairs, or maybe it’s just writing a check to the Red Cross after a natural disaster.

However you contribute in your personal life, as plumbing and heating contractors, your professional life is of immense help to the many residents in your community. A comfortable home with clean, safe drinking water is something many of us in this country take for granted. Many people who are part of the greater plumbing and heating industry — contractors, engineers, manufacturers, reps, distributors — spend their leisure time helping here and abroad to provide warm homes and cool, clean water.

But how else do you serve your communities? By investing in your businesses and your employees to consistently provide your customers the best service experience from your company each time they call you.

On page 40, you can read about the Indianapolis firm Plumbing and Mechanical selected as its 2016 Mechanical Contractor of the Year: BMWC Constructors. For President and CEO Brian Acton and his team, service means ensuring they finish projects accurately and on time by employing methods to increase jobsite productivity such as lean construction and a comprehensive safety program.

“The best way to … be the contractor of choice to (customers) is to prove that we can do things faster or better than our competition,” says John Manta, BMWC’s vice president of sales and marketing. 

Training can be considered part of service, since a staff armed with technical know-how, communication skills and a desire to provide solutions for customers will give those customers a better overall experience on the jobsite. Plumbing and Mechanical’s columnists have real-world expertise to guide you through the minefield of business management to ensure you are providing your employees with the best tools to do their jobs so they can offer a rewarding experience for your customers.

But training and education also can be used for recruiting. On page 56, you’ll learn about several programs throughout the country that are reaching out to young people and promoting the plumbing and heating professionals as satisfyiing career choices.

Providing high-school students with paid summer jobs, co-op programs or internships can give them a taste of what a trades career is all about. That, in turn, is a service to the industry as well as the community. As the construction trades continue to devise methods of replacing workers who either left the industry during the latest recession or are nearing retirement age, reaching out to young men and women in your community and demonstrating how they can have well-paying jobs that genuinely help people is a good step.

On page 49, you can read about financing options that can help your customers install geothermal systems to use energy more efficiently, thereby saving them money. There also are local, state and federal rebates available to offset installation costs. Educating yourself on these rebates and others for renewable energy technologies as well as energy-efficiency upgrades will benefit your customers and the environment.

BNP Media, the corporate parent of Plumbing & Mechanical, has a mission statement that brings that service message home: BNP Media helps people succeed in business with superior information.” That’s what we try to do with each issue — provide you with the knowledge you need to run your businesses better, educate and inspire your employees, and communicate effectively with your customers to solve their problems in a timely and professional manner.

I hope we have done that. And I hope you let us know if you believe we are providing you with a needed service — or if we have missed the mark. Feedback is important in any service situation, so if you have something to say to the editors of this magazine or the industry at large, please contact us at