Plumbing Company Makes $200,000 Investment in Apprenticeship Training

Donation part of Canadian college’s $25 million construction campaign that includes new trades and technology facility set for completion in 2017.
Plumbing Company Makes $200,000 Investment in Apprenticeship Training
Roger Simpson, owner of Simpson Plumbing in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and Dr. Paula Burns, president and CEO of Lethbridge College unveil the company’s donation in May.

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Roger Simpson, owner of Simpson Plumbing in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, believes in the need to train future plumbers. When Lethbridge College launched a plumber apprenticeship program in January, Simpson stepped in with a $200,000 donation in May to create a Simpson Plumbing classroom as part of the school’s new trades and technologies facility.

The first phase opened in September, enabling the college to offer plumbing apprenticeship training for the first time. When the final phase is completed in 2017, the 165,270-square-foot facility will provide training for 880 students in eight trades and four technology programs.

“This first-class building will offer a state-of-the-art educational experience in a modern learning space,” Simpson says. “This is an investment in existing Simpson Plumbing staff as well as future apprentices in southern Alberta.”

The facility also will enable apprentices to stay close to home rather than travel for training.

“When the guys can go to school and be at home at night, and not have to maintain two residences, they can be at home with their families. Financially, it makes sense for them,” he says.

 “I am very proud to be a partner with Lethbridge College,” Simpson says. “Having the plumber apprenticeship program added to their existing Alberta trades programs shows continued commitment and growth in investment of our southern Alberta students and community.”

The gift is part of the college’s Possibilities are Endless campaign that set out to raise $25 million over five years for several infrastructure projects. The college is within $400,000 of its goal, which it hopes to reach by the end of June.

“The support from the community has been absolutely incredible,” says Dr. Paula Burns, college president and CEO. “It’s amazing how many individuals, how many companies and organizations have contributed to the campaign.”

Simpson Plumbing was founded by Bill Simpson in 1983 and has grown from light commercial and residential plumbing into a full-service commercial, industrial and residential plumbing business.

Roger Simpson started as an apprentice plumber in 1989 and took over from his father as owner and president in 2003. Simpson’s son, Justin Fisher, works as a journeyman plumber and won the national Skills Canada plumbing competition last year at age 19.

“It really is a family legacy — with my father, my brother, my son now — we have three generations of plumbers,” Simpson says. “We also encourage our staff in the summertime to have their family work for us, earn some money and see how hard their parents work.”

Simpson is also chairman of the local apprenticeship committee and was instrumental in the creation of Lethbridge College’s plumber apprenticeship program. As past president of the Lethbridge Construction Association, he was a key supporter of the group’s $100,000 donation to the college in April.

The latest donation is the second contribution from a local plumbing company. In January, KB Plumbing and Heating of Lethbridge donated $100,000 toward the project.

See the video below:

“We recognize the importance of local training as a way to keep our most talented employees in southern Alberta,” says Keith Broadbent, president of KB Plumbing and Heating. “Lethbridge College has long proven to be a leader in providing training to numerous sectors, with many of our employees in all areas of our operations having come through the college.”

In addition to benefitting the new trades and technologies facility, the donation will be used to create the KB Plumbing and Heating Classroom and provide three annual $500 awards for plumbing.

KB is also the mechanical contractor for the trades facility — the company’s largest-ever project.

“To literally help build a state-of-the-art facility from the ground up is an exciting experience for us, laying the groundwork for our future employees,” Broadbent says.


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