Veteran Wisconsin plumber has enough work to justify more employees, but finding the right people isn’t always easy

Bill Rozga employs 30 people, including four master plumbers, three journeymen, two apprentices, and numerous support personnel. He knows that with the amount of work his plumbing company is getting, he could use at least two more plumbers on staff. The problem, like so many others in the industry face, is finding the people to fill those positions.

“This shortage of workers is what is hindering further growth,” says Rozga, who has operated Rozga Plumbing & Heating in West Allis, Wisconsin, since 1981. “I have trucks waiting for someone to occupy them.”

The problem, in Rozga’s eyes, is a lack of technical schools. He attended the Milwaukee Trade and Technical High School, now known as the Bradley Technology and Trade School, which has a history dating back to 1906.

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“I had this great fortune of attending a school where the freshmen and sophomores would have a chance to weld, to physically build stud walls and learn plumbing,” Rozga says. “Our auto shop guys would bring in their own cars and work on them. It was unbelievable the hands-on education we received.”

While Rozga sees the younger generation being able to do the latest with digital technology, they are struggling with the more hands-on skills like fixing a faucet and building a wall.

“There’s a disconnect there, and I think the problem we are in has resulted in a 20-year gap in our industry,” Rozga says. “We are losing the ability to take young people and get them working in a practical sense, with physical work.”

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It may not always be easy, but when looking for employees for his company, Rozga says he focuses on the advantages an individual can bring to the company.

“It’s my responsibility to hire good people in the right job,” Rozga says. “Allowing them to do what they do best is the success of my business.”

Read more about Rozga Plumbing & Heating in this full profile featured in the September issue of Plumber magazine.

Related: Life in the Plumbing Industry

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