Real Professionals

Name: Nygell Kendall
Age: 19
Current City: Gastonia, North Carolina
Profession: Pre-Construction Technician, HVAC

What do you do?
I’m a pre-construction technician of HVAC systems at GSM.

How did you get into it?
As a senior in high school, I really had no clue as to what I was going to do when I graduated. After looking at several options and running into a lot of dead ends, I started doing research and discovered the opportunities in the HVAC business. I came across GSM. I wasn’t 18 yet, so they couldn’t hire me right then, but we stayed in touch and that paid off. It’s the best decision I ever made.

Why do you love your work?
My job brings variety, and I love variety. Interacting with numerous amounts of people and groups allows me to learn abundantly at this age. The owners of this company make their employees know that this is our company as much as theirs. There has yet to be a day that I’ve dreaded coming to work.

Where do you hope to end up in your career?
I want to first become a field manager. Someone who is a liaison between the guys in the field and the project managers in the office. Possibly, I’ll eventually become a project manager but I Really don’t want to lose touch with the work in the field.

What advice do you have for people interested in doing what you do?
Become a sponge. Soak up everything you can, learn as much as you can about every facet of your employer’s business. Listen to those that have been in the business for a long time. They have experience and more knowledge than any book can teach, so embrace that. Learn from them.

Name: Josh Dupree
Age: 35
Current City: Marietta, Georgia
Profession: Plumber

What do you do?
I am part owner of Dupree Plumbing and help run the day to day operations.

How did you get into it?
I’m the third generation of a family business. My grandfather started the company in 1958. I started going out with my dad as a kid and doing whatever needed to be done. I was always interested in construction.

Why do you love your work?
Doing it right brings a sense of pride and appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into what we do. I have always loved to work with my hands. Plumbing allows me to start from nothing, see something in my head and bring it all together. I’ve always enjoyed being able to look back and take pride in what I’ve done. I also love being able to help and serve our customers and employees.

Where do you hope to end up in your career?
I hope to help Dupree Plumbing continue to grow so we can provide long term careers for our current and new employees.

What advice do you have for people interested in doing what you do?
Always do what’s right. Take care of the customers. Do what you say you’re going to do. Integrity is a virtue that pays off in any line of work.

Jordan PinkstonName: Jordan Pinkston
Age: 29
Current City: Amarillo, Texas
Profession: Project Manager

What do you do?
I’m a project manager at MMM Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. I work out of our office in Amarillo, Texas, on plumbing and fire sprinkler projects. I coordinate manpower and materials while trying to start new projects.

How did you get into it?
I started mowing yards in the sixth grade and continued in high school, so I’ve always been geared toward working with my hands and physical, manual labor.

Why do you love your work?
We give people a safe, sanitary environment to live in. We’re giving people clean water to drink. We’re in fire safety, so we’re saving people’s lives. I’m doing something that’s going to outlive me and giving people a better life.

How did you get to where you are?
I started in high school as a helper/apprentice and continued working summers/holidays to put myself through college. After graduating college, with a construction management degree, I started working as a project engineer and transitioned to ​a ​project manager role on some of our international projects.

Where do you hope to end up in your career?
​A key leadership role of upper management to help advance the company as well as our industry.

What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
When you’re young, the older people just automatically assume you don’t know anything, so you have to get past that. And the only way to get past that is through hard work. You have to put in the hard work in the office and do it well, and do a lot of studying in your free time.

Name: RJ Parker
Age: 27
Current City: Great Falls, Virginia
Profession: Apprenticeship in HVAC

What do you do?
I completed three years and am close to winding up the four-year ACES (Adult Careers Education Services) program in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington DC.

Why did you get into it?
It was the best way to sort of legitimize yourself and learn what was going on in this trade.

What’s different about your life now that you’re in this trade?
It’s my career now. It inspired a work ethic in me that I really didn’t have before. It’s a day-to-day persistence of working hard and trying to be the best at it.

Did you expect to end up this field?
I never had a conviction of going into one field or another, but I certainly didn’t think it would be here. But I couldn’t be happier than where I am. You just jump in and give it your all.

Where do you hope to end up in your career?
My main goal is to be happy, and this has brought me a lot of happiness. A lofty goal is starting my own company or finding a way to get other people to work a little bit more efficiently. We will see what’s next. You are always learning in this field – new technology or learning a new skill. But I will be happy to have one notch on the belt.

Name: Jorge Martinez
Age: 36
Current City: Los Angeles, California
Profession: Apprenticeship in Plumbing

What do you do?
I’m in my third year of apprentice training in plumbing and I will wrap it up after that.

Why did you get into it?
A career change that should have been made years ago. The PHCC school I am going to now had some of the better results, and it is almost surreal, like a dream come true.

What’s a positive change in your life due to this career?
I’ve always had the working man mentality. I’m setting examples for my kids. They see me waking up every day going to work; they know I’m going to school.

How did you get to where you are?
I was 21 years old when I became a U.S. Marshal, a job I held until age 25 when a car accident left me severely injured and in a coma for a week. I decided to move on. But nine years in private work, including my own skateboard business and some odd jobs, left me unfulfilled. Then a PHCC Educational Foundation scholarship changed everything.

Where do you hope to end up in your career?
Giving back whatever I have learned, my knowledge that I will have obtained through the years of my plumbing. Giving back to the school, giving back to future apprentices.

Name: Gil Rodriguez
Age: 35
Current City: Durham, North Carolina
Profession: Business Owner and Plumber

What do you do?
I run my own business, Pure-Line Plumbing LLC

How did you get into it?
Upon graduating high school, I worked for Gallelli Plumbing out of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and trained with them for four years while also attending the PHCC apprentice plumbing program at night.

Why do you love your work?
Being a plumber for me is everything. The God-given ability to work with my hands is truly a blessing. I don’t think people realize plumbing can bring such awesome experiences. At 14, when I decided to do this, I wanted to be the best and prove everyone wrong. I heard a lot about how dirty it was and the fact that computers were taking over and I should have “picked” something else. This fueled me to accomplish my goal. I have been able to travel the world doing piping work.

What advice do you have for people interested in doing what you do?
Plumbing doesn’t have to be dirty, smelly, and sloppy with ugly trucks. We are here to change the perspective of the public. Plumbing is here to offer anyone the opportunity to experience this amazing world through the work of your own hands.