As I See It

Are you our Contractor of the Year?

We’re looking for nominations for our annual Contractor of the Year award. You can find the nomination form on contractormag.com. Each year we search out a contractor who is doing something so well that it’s worth emulating.

At the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors – National Association CONNECT 2014 convention and show in New Orleans this fall, I chatted with Kathy Tindall. Kevin Tindall, who is the national president of PHCC this year, and wife Kathy (the two come as a matched set), Tindall & Ranson, Princeton, N.J., were our 2012 Contractor of the Year. I told her that I was absolutely comfortable with that choice, and I’d be comfortable with it 10 years from now, largely because of the way they give back to the industry.

“We volunteer because of what the industry has done for us,” says Kathy Tindall. It’s hard to imagine that the industry has done more for the Tindalls than they have done for the industry.

After Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, first responders on Long Beach Island were in dire straights. Long Beach Township Emergency Operations Center, the Beach Haven EOC and the Beach Haven, Surf City and Ship Bottom Fire Departments had no electricity, plumbing or drinking water. The Toms River Fire Department had lost its firehouse.

It was much the same with our winner last year, Bill and Tina Howe from Bill Howe Plumbing, San Diego. Since its inception in 1980, the mission and values of the company have always been based on three main factors: 1) ensure the happiness and good health of employees, 2) 100% customer satisfaction, and 3) give back to the San Diego community. The employee training, tools and supplies — such as GPS, gas cards and cell phones — and employee benefits (90% company-paid health insurance), are among the best in the business. Bill Howe Plumbing and the Howe family have shown unmatched support for the PHCC of San Diego since 1985. Tina Howe was installed as PHCC-SD President for the 2013-2014 year. Bill has served on all levels of the Board of Directors and as President 2006-2007. The Howes support the PHCC-SD Apprenticeship Training Program, San Diego Job Corps, Andrew Chapman Mentorship Program together with Second Chance, American Heart Association and the San Diego Food Bank.

We’ve celebrated John Smith, The Arizona Green Plumber, Tucson, for becoming such a leader in the field that GreenPlumbersUSA named him its national Green Plumber of the Year for two years in a row. One of our previous winners was John Ward from Applewood Plumbing, Heating & Electric, Denver. I once wrote that John Ward is such a brilliant businessman that he could make a million bucks from a lemonade stand. We picked Brian Nelson and Dave Sprague, Nelson Mechanical Design, Vineyard Haven, Mass., because they are all geeked up about mechanical contracting. Mechanical systems, to them, are just the greatest things going. The first person who told me about high-SEER air-to-water heat pumps that run on CO2 was Nelson, who probably read about them in the middle of the night because he never seems to sleep.

And, of course, I can’t forget a man who I am proud to call my friend, Bill Erickson, chairman of 108-year-old C.J. Erickson Plumbing, Alsip, Ill. Bill was our Contractor of the Year in 2007. This past year he led the winning team at the Water Innovation Challenge in Singapore. He’s the past chairman of the Green Technical Committee at the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials. And in March 2012, he won the Mechanical Contractors Association of America’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Bill deserves every accolade he gets.

So how good are you? Time for you to earn some bragging rights as our Contractor of the Year.

Tweet at me @bobmader. I'll tweet right back at you

TAGS: Management
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