Carrying on a Proud Tradition

Taking over as editor gives me the opportunity to learn more about the people who make the plumbing profession great.
Carrying on a Proud Tradition
Ed Wodalski

You might notice a new face and name on this page as I slide into the editor’s chair this month. Luke Laggis, who guided Plumber from its beginnings online and into print, has set a high standard for this publication. And, as he moves on to other assignments at COLE Publishing, I promise to do the same.

Some of you might know me as Plumber’s digital editor. During the past year, I’ve gotten to learn about you and the remarkable work you do to keep us safe and healthy. You truly are the superheroes of sanitation.

In the months ahead, I look forward to learning more about the profession and sharing your insights and accomplishments with other hardworking plumbers from around the nation and the world.

This month we travel to New York’s Long Island, where we meet third-generation plumbing and hydronic heating specialists Hunter and Roger Botto. Hydronic heating, the theme for this month’s issue, has been an important part of Botto Brothers Plumbing & Heating business for almost 80 years.

Hunter and Roger believe in conducting business with professionalism, honesty and integrity — traits I believe all plumbers should strive to emulate.

“We want to ensure every employee understands that we’re professional, which means we maintain the highest standards possible by being neat and clean and operating our business honestly,” says Hunter, who learned the trade while in the Navy, working on steam and propulsion systems.

Training is ongoing at Botto Brothers. Technicians are skilled in undoing damage done by less skilled workers, which often requires complete system makeovers. Hunter calls them “rescue” jobs.

To create a professional image, technicians wear green uniforms with the company name and logo — T-shirts and polos in the summer and hoodies in the winter.

What separates you from the competition? Is it your professional image or the quality work you do?

A late friend of mine, while not a plumber, I believe set the gold standard for standing out in a crowd. He always wore a fresh carnation in the lapel of his sport coat and drove a red Cadillac with a white convertible top.

A car salesman by trade, Sam’s multicolored jackets were handmade from drapery material he personally selected. They were paisley, plaid — some even had lights or an embroidered landscape. Today, a few still hang in a local museum.

The point is, people remembered Sam — wherever he went. It also made him a superstar among salesmen.

Customers might not have known his name, but they remembered the man in the “crazy-colored coat.” Sam never lost a deal.

What makes you unique? Is it your name? The way you dress? The new tools you use?   

Perhaps it’s your smart-looking van that screams professionalism, like the 2015 Sprinter tricked out with the ultimate in space-saving cabinetry by Hing Lai, the subject of this month’s On the Road column. Imagine each drawer clearly labeled and each tool hanging neatly in place. There’s no digging for equipment or fittings you may have forgotten to stock. What does your service vehicle say about you? Might efficiency improve your bottom line?

We’re here each month with ideas and products to help you build your business. You can find even more insight and information at We’re posting valuable new content every day.

And don’t be a stranger. I welcome your comments, ideas and insights. Email me at or give a call at 888/261-5141. Now, have a great day!


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.