The Driving Force

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What motivates you? That’s a tough question for anyone in any industry to answer. The reasons could be many: money, family or just for the love of it.

Many plumbers we profile tell me they love being plumbers because they enjoy helping others: They like coming in to “save the day.”

Randy Lorge finds motivation in teaching the next generation of plumbers. Lorge, a plumbing apprentice instructor at a technical college in Wisconsin, will occasionally write Industry Insider columns for Plumber starting this year. In this issue, he talks about plumbers as superheroes.

Lorge and his students probably seemed like superheroes to the people of the Indonesian province of West Java in November 2017, when the Community Plumbing Challenge traveled to the country to renovate and expand bathroom facilities for two school buildings.

The challenge is organized by the World Plumbing Council and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. You can read more about the 2017 Community Plumbing Challenge at


Jay DeFrates is motivated to keep his company growing by providing customers with professional and knowledgeable plumbers on job sites around Downers Grove, Illinois.

“I like to think we do a little bit better than our competitors — that we do things with a little bit more finesse,” says DeFrates, owner of Jay’s Plumbing & Sewer, featured in this issue. “Anyone can get a job done, but when you can do it with finesse … well, I think we bring that little extra to the table.”

DeFrates started in the industry 30 years ago as an apprentice, working for several plumbing businesses. He learned all he could as an apprentice and journeyman and now has his own company with 13 employees. The company offers services such as leak detection and diagnostics, fixture repair and replacement, water heater repairs, and sewer rodding and televising.


For some company owners, the need to expand services is a big motivation. You can learn great ways to expand your plumbing company later this month at the AHR Expo (short for the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition) in Chicago.

At this show, you’ll see the latest products from plumbing manufacturers. You’ll see products from crimpers and various PEX pipes all the way up to water heaters and hydronic heating systems.

You’ll find a preview of the show in this issue.


So, to echo the first line of this column, what motivates you? Tell me how you started your company or how you found your way into plumbing. Email me at or call 800-257-7222.

Enjoy this issue!


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