Jonathan Cheever, a licensed plumber in Massachusetts and Utah, has a dream – to be an Olympic athlete – and is going for it. The 23-year-old native of Saugus, Mass., is on the 2009 U.S. Snowboarding team and competes in Snowboardcross, an event that is based on time qualifications on an inclined course. To pursue his Olympic dream, he will attend the Olympic Qualifiers that will be held September 2009 to January 2010.
Cheever’s training and competition schedule is demanding, but he puts his plumbing license to good use to help with the training and competition expenses when he can.
“In 2007, I worked all summer for a contractor in Utah,” said Cheever. “I also work for my dad and pick up side work when I have some time.”
Cheever became interested in the plumbing trade when he was growing up. He was exposed to plumbing at a young age by his dad, Mark Cheever, owner of Mark Cheever Plumbing and Heating, Saugus, Mass., who has been working in the plumbing industry for more than 30 years.
“Jonathan was always a mechanically inclined kid who was banging nails when he was two-years-old on a home addition project and climbing ladders to the roof if you didn't watch out,” said Mark Cheever. “He started coming to work with me his freshman year of high school and worked part-time in the shop during the summer. He learned to cut, thread and solder pipe.”
Cheever also worked at job sites as a helper, and during his senior year of high school, he was an apprentice and went to night school for the training. After high school, he attended college to pursue a mechanical engineering degree, until he decided to focus on a career as a professional snowboarder. Even though Cheever has been focusing on a snowboarding career, he has obtained his plumbing license.
According to Cheever, a good tradesman takes pride in his work, and this is what he has applied to many aspects of his life, including snowboarding.
“I am passionate about everything I do,” said Cheever. “When I am working, my name is on that work. I want someone to know that I did that. When I am snowboarding, I want to be the best. It helps me progress, and hopefully it can help me turn my hobby into a living.”
“My wife and I knew Jonathan was a gifted snowboarder with commitment and self motivation, so we were excited for him when he made the choice,” explained Mark Cheever. “He took some time off from his education, but was smart enough to finish his apprenticeship and get his Massachusetts plumbing license, giving him a back up plan as well as a career. He still works as a plumber to support himself in the off season.”
Training for and competing in Snowboardcross is expensive, and athletes usually compete for sponsorships to help with the costs. Besides looking for sponsors from snowboarding, clothing and sports drink companies, the family also looked to the plumbing industry. So far, Cheever has received support from the PHCC of the Mystic Valley, Mass.; Charles Appleby Plumbing, Old Saybrook, Conn.; Mark Cheever Plumbing, Saugus, Mass.; and Bradford White, Ambler, Pa.
Charles Appleby, owner of Charles Appleby Plumbing, gave Cheever a scholarship after receiving a letter from Mark Cheever regarding sponsoring his son. Appleby has given out one scholarship every year, for about the past six years, to a student in the plumbing/heating trade.
According to Appleby, it was incredible to learn about Cheever receiving his first plumbing license in Massachusetts since the state has some of the toughest plumbing codes in the country.
Not only did Appleby help Cheever by giving him a scholarship, he also contacted Bradford White about Cheever and his goal of being in the Olympics. Cheever is the first athlete to receive a sponsorship from Bradford White.
“With the help of myself and Bradford White, Jonathan has managed to keep training his No. 1 priority and has kept his eye on his goal and not worked very much this year,” said Mark Cheever. “He is going to need even more support for the upcoming year with the Olympic Qualifiers running from September to January.”
According to Fred Vattimo, corporate director of advertising at Bradford White, sponsoring Cheever is a natural tie-in to help a young guy in the plumbing industry chase his Olympic dream.
Cheever competed in the 2009 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup, held at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Feb. 13. He ranked fifth in the Snowboadcross event in which more than 50 athletes competed. Cheever also ranked second in the FIS World Cup in Stoneham, Quebec, Feb. 19.
According to Cheever, the competition was a preview to the Olympics – not only was the competition at the same mountain the Olympic snowboarding events will be at, many of the same competitors may also be at the Olympics.
Information regarding sponsoring Cheever can be obtained by e-mailing him at [email protected].