Plumbing Veterans End Long Careers

Plumbing Veterans End Long Careers
Mike Taylor

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Applewood Plumbing, Heating & Electric had two of its plumbing veterans, service manager Mike Taylor and warehouse manager Russ Smith, retire at the start of the new year.

“We are fortunate to have the caliber of tradesmen we do,” says John Ward, president of the Denver-based company. “Mike and Russ both exemplified the high standards and professionalism we have built our company on throughout the years.”

Taylor, a master plumber, who has worked in the industry since 1977, joined Applewood more than 16 years ago. As service manager he oversaw daily crews providing plumbing, heating and electrical services on the day shift. Taylor has also provided training for technicians on safety, ethics and customer service.

“This career has really been very good to me,” Taylor says. “The work we do can really change people’s lives for the better.” According to Taylor, if you can leave the people you work with in a better place than they arrived, then you have “done some good work.”

In his supervisory position, Taylor helped young technicians hone their skills and succeed. He says he plans to have a whole lot more “Mike time” golfing and fishing now that he’s retired. “It’s a change of lifestyle and it’s going to be good,” he says.

Smith was with Applewood for 11 years. He’s been a master plumber for 45 years and owned his own company before moving to Colorado. As warehouse manager, Smith handled inventory, the fleet, ensured technicians received necessary parts, and administered the safety program.

“Every day is a new challenge,” he says. “It’s always been exciting to me to try to figure out how to fix a problem.” Smith has always worked in the trades and notes, “They can offer real stability for families.”

Like Taylor, Smith plans to fish, specifically in Florida. He is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy, and plans to use some of his newly found free time to work with Troops to the Trades, a group that helps military veterans transition to civilian careers. “The industry really needs to have young people seek the trades, especially as so many of us begin to retire,” he says. 

Applewood has served the Denver/Boulder metro area for 40 years, with nearly 80 technicians servicing customers daily. All of its technicians are licensed, with nearly 30 percent of its plumbers holding the master plumber credential.


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