Contractormag 2820 Volunteer

Where are the leaders?

Jan. 13, 2016
This industry needs some new faces In a report released in February 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the volunteer rates for both men and women were little changed in the year ending in September 2014 Volunteering is good for you; humans need to be connected to other humans

Why are there so few Harley Perrys? Harley, owner of Perry Plumbing, Heating & Air in San Diego, is our Contractor of the Year. You can read about Harley beginning on page 20 of this issue.

A CONTRACTOR magazine Contractor of the Year does way more than fix things. Each year we’ve profiled contractors who have done more, whether it’s community or industry service, professional acumen, pioneering new technology, taking on a worthy cause or volunteerism.

Harley’s pet cause is open-shop apprenticeship training. He is credited with forming the San Diego Apprenticeship Program in 2008 and has served the PHCC-San Diego chapter in most every capacity including as president in 2008-2009. He currently serves as president of the PHCC Academy of San Diego.

Starting an apprenticeship school in California is no easy task. California PHCC first obtained limited approval for a Sacramento County program back in 1994, but the association was fighting the California Pipe Trades Council in court over the legality of its apprenticeship program as recently as 2005. Kudos to Harley for his accomplishment.

He’s done a lot more over the years. Harley first joined the PHCC of San Diego in 1982. He served on the PHCC of San Diego Board of Directors from 2002 until 2010, serving as president in 2008-2009. He has also represented the San Diego chapter on the California State Board of Directors, is a member at large in the PHCC Auxiliary and has been a member of Quality Service Contractors.

I wish there were a lot more like him because this industry needs some new faces. If I were to attend the PHCC Legislative Conference in Washington this coming spring, whom would I see? A lot of my previous Contractors of the Year.

I know, I know, it’s tough to find time to volunteer. Forbes contributor Richard Eisenberg posted a story in 2013 that began, “Boomers, hang your heads in shame.

The government’s annual Volunteering in the United States report just came out and I’m disappointed to report that both the number and percentage of Americans age 45 to 64 who volunteered in the 12 months ending September 2012 fell from the previous year. The latest figures show that 23.4 million age 45 to 64 volunteered last year, down from 23.9 million in 2011.”

In a report released in February 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, “The volunteer rates for both men and women (22.0 percent and 28.3 percent, respectively) were little changed in the year ending in September 2014. Women continued to volunteer at a higher rate than did men across all age groups, educational levels, and other major demographic characteristics.” C’mon, guys, step up.

“By age,” the BLS report continued, “35- to 44-year-olds were most likely to volunteer (29.8 percent). Volunteer rates were lowest among 20- to 24-year-olds (18.7 percent). For persons 45 years and over, the volunteer rate tapered off as age increased.”

This is not a new problem. In November 1924 — yes, 1924 — Boys’ Life magazine wrote, “The scarcest thing in all the world is not radium, or diamonds or platinum, but real leadership. The whole world is full of ‘seconds,’ ‘might-have-beens’ in every single realm of endeavor.”

All of my Contractors of the Year have told me that their extracurricular activities have benefited them, either personally or professionally. Volunteering is good for you; humans need to be connected to other humans and volunteering has quantifiable health benefits. Medical researchers have found correlations between volunteering and increased stamina and memory and lowered mortality risk and depression. Be like Harley.

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