As I See It

Our Contractor of the Year finalists are …


We received a terrific group of nearly three-dozen nominations for our Contractor of the Year award. After our first run-through, we had winnowed it down to a dozen, but the selection process got much more difficult after that. Each of us here had our favorites and lobbied for or against other potential choices. You didn’t make it easy on us. There are some outstanding contractors out there.

Our thanks to Shark Bite Plumbing Solutions for sponsoring this year’s Contractor of the Year Award.

Our goal, always, is to select a contractor that is worth emulating. Some contractors may be too large, too small, a product of unique circumstances, or too specialized to be “emulatable,” to coin a word.

We’ve gotten it down to our top three, the finalists. Here they are, in no particular order.

Barker & Sons Plumbing, Anaheim, Calif., is run by Mike Barker, a third-generation plumbing contractor. Mike believes education is the key. He provides on-site training for his CSRs, technicians and office staff on a weekly and monthly basis. Mike is a visionary with a favorite quote by Henry Ford, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” He has served his local Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors as a director, vice president and president, is extremely proud of starting a training school during his presidency and currently has three employees attending the school. He is now PHCC Vice President for the state of California and sits on the Governmental Affairs Committee. At the state level he hopes to help pass a law requiring all journeymen plumbers to be licensed. He stays current on any legislation that relates to plumbing and heating as well as lobbying on behalf of his trade on both the state and national Governmental Affairs Committee.

John Dietz guides JD Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, Durham, N.C. In eight years, John has developed JD Plumbing Co. into a trusted service provider devoted to giving his customers the best technicians, which means weekly tech training. They travel in fully stocked trucks and offer 24/7 service. JD’s CSRs also attend training in order to communicate better with customers. John is eager to help those in need in his community. Through outlets such as Facebook, the company has raised money for children in its service area who suffer from rare diseases, as well as donating food during Thanksgiving. John is involved in and holds office in contractor organizations such as North Carolina Plumbing & Mechanical Association and Quality Service Contractors, and he has recently joined the Nexstar Network. Always eager to learn and grow, John wants to share what he is doing at his company if it can help others.

Tina and Bill Howe run the Bill Howe Family of Companies in 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.

Finally, because they made the selection process difficult by being so good, here are the Honorable Mentions, also in no particular order:

Mechanical Systems of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; Hoerner Heating & Plumbing Service, Toronto, Canada; Pioneer Heating & Air Conditioning, Knoxville, Tenn.; Wilkins Mechanical Services Inc., Bedford, N.H.; M. Cary & Daughters Plumbing Contractors Inc., Decatur, Ga.; Edwards Electrical & Mechanical, Indianapolis; Rapid Service LLC, Columbia, Conn.; Lee Co., Franklin, Tenn.; and Horizon Services Inc., Wilmington, Del.

You last nine were good enough to make us tear our hair out grappling with the selection.

Connect with me on Twitter @bobmader

2013 Contractor of the Year is Sponsored By:

A snapshot into the manufacturing of SharkBite Plumbing Solutions.



TAGS: Management
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