Unconventional naming convention: Plumbing industry needs a PR makeover

• Industry PR campaign need

• Skilled labor shortage

With names like Polar Vortex, Saskatchewan Screamer and Hercules, I’ve often wondered if the National Weather Service has a separate PR department that’s sole purpose is to come up with these names. Usually reserved for the Northeast, these names represent and take on a larger-than-life, havoc-wreaking personality. But here in the Midwest, we call them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… I guess any day that it happens to rain, snow, etc. But I digress.

Attached to these names is a “sex appeal” to sensationalize the epic event, and people tend to notice. A marketers dream, perhaps. I can picture it now. The mere reports of Hercules or polar vortex bearing down on one’s hometown have he/she preparing for the worst — stocking up on supplies, servicing furnaces and boilers, frozen pipe prevention, and making sure the snowblower is full of gas and in working order. There is cause and effect here.

It got me thinking about this industry and why we don’t a have a PR department. The message? The need for skilled tradesman.

As I was trolling twitter the other day, I came across a post that intimated something to that effect. The gist: we need better adjectives describing the trades with attractive names other than “trade” or “vocational.” That just sounds like a sentence or a trip to the monastery. How about “career” or “profession”? How about the fact that you can make a good living and provide for your family? And these jobs can’t be outsourced?

Whether you agree with the notion that there will be a need for future skilled tradesmen is, I guess, a matter of opinion. Nationally, however, the consensus is that we, the industry, will be looking for long-term, skilled workers.


The topic relating to the image problem we have as an industry has many roots and can be debated endlessly. In my opinion, it starts with upbringing and parenting. A recent conversation with Taco’s lead trainer, John Barba, conveyed that John’s father instilled in him lessons that often times get lost in today’s parenting landscape. According to Barba’s father, Mario, a contractor, “If you can work with your hands, you can always earn a good living. That wasn’t just a lesson, it was reality. The old man liked to see people work with their hands,” says Barba.

Get rid of the stigmas this industry has held for years, I say. We need a better PR campaign.

What this industry needs is more sex appeal. 

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Jan 17, 2014

John says the industry needs more sex appeal. This comes from a man who admits to trolling twitter.

From urbandictionary.com, the definition of trolling: "The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off, usually via the internet, using dialogue."

This begs the question... is John trolling all of us?

on Jan 17, 2014

Not the trolling to which I was referring. I use trolling as a reference to my fishing days — throwing out a "net" and seeing what I can find. I'm not one to use the urban dictionary as a resource. Interesting point of view from the article, nonetheless. Thanks for reading!

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