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My Beginnings in Plumbing

I started plumbing houses about 25 years ago. Gone were the days of lead and oakum and galvanized water service piping. It was a pretty good time to get into the plumbing business. I remember my first North Carolina plumbing code book. It was a small green paperback around 8 x 10 inches. My first plumbing job was my own house that I built in 1989.

My first experience with pipes was while working for a water treatment company installing water softeners and filters. I was persuaded to get into the plumbing business by the chief plumbing inspector for New Hanover County, Kenneth Fowler. I got a call on my bag phone (about the size of a shoe box for you young readers). It was  my secretary. She said Mr Fowler wants you to give him a call and he’s mad. That was one of the hardest calls I have ever made.  He wanted to know why there was no permit for the water softener I had installed in a new house. I had to explain that I did not have my license yet but I was working on it. Luckily the plumbing contractor on record for that house allowed me work under his permit on that job. So I was off to the races to get my license. I took both the residential test and the commercial. I figured I stood a chance of passing one even I failed the other. So for the next year or so I ran my business without incident. The water treatment business got to be more and more of a headache so I studied the plumbing business for the next year or so. I got my first lucky break when I landed 2 apartment/condo jobs.

It’s funny how things work out. The plumbing business has been very rewarding. There is a good living to be made for anyone willing to put in the effort. Two babies and 25 years later I can say that I a grateful to Mr Fowler for pointing me in the right direction.

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