Continuing a tradition that dates back many decades, the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association presented its biennial Industry Appreciation Night in October. The capacity crowd of 400 guests gathered for the event at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to celebrate and honor the people who help advance and support the region’s plumbing industry.
According to GBPCA President Dan Bent, funds generated at the event are used to award college scholarships, which have totaled more than $30,000 every year, to the children of member contractors’ employees as well as Local 12 plumbers. “Thanks to the generosity of the sponsors and attendees at this year’s Industry Appreciation Night, along with the unprecedented success of our annual golf tournament, we are creating a $250,000 scholarship fund endowment,” announced Bent. “It will enable us to maintain our commitment to our kids’ college educations for generations to come.” The GBPCA plans to increase the amount of the scholarships it will award beginning next year.
In his opening remarks, GBPCA Executive Director Jeremy Ryan shared the stories of Local 12 applicants who acknowledged that getting accepted into the Local’s apprenticeship program and working for signatory contractors are life-changing opportunities. Through these stories, Jeremy reminded the audience of the impact these well paying jobs with benefits and job security can have on many peoples’ lives. Yet it is rare it is to find jobs like these outside of the unionized plumbing industry.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh provided an upbeat update on the state of the city in his keynote address. Drawing on his past experience in the construction industry, he said that he learned the importance of partnerships and that he has carried that with him in his role as mayor. Walsh referred to the great working relationship that Local 12 and the GBPCA have with one another and cited it as key to the organizations’ mutual success.
The GBPCA presented two Lifetime Achievement Awards at the event. Tom Hannon, a past president of the organization, was honored for his exemplary work on behalf of the industry. He is the principal of Commonwealth Plumbing Corp., which he founded in 1990. Among Hannon’s many positions, he has served as chairman of the Industry Fund, as a member of the Plumbers Education Fund and Contractor Negotiation Team, and on the Plumbers Benefit Funds and Local 12 Labor Management committees.
In his introduction of Kevin Cotter, who was presented with the second Lifetime Achievement Award, Kevin Walsh, senior vice president of plumbing at E.M. Duggan, drew a comparison of the former Local 12 business manager to President Kennedy. “Like JFK, Kevin Cotter was a bridge builder,” he said. Cotter led Local 12 for over 25 years, and won awards from many labor, political, religious, and professional organizations during his tenure.
Jim Solloway, CFA, managing director and portfolio manager for SEI, shared his analysis of the economy and offered a mostly positive outlook for the coming year. Local 12 Business Manager Harry Brett talked about the important role that plumbers have in the recovery efforts following the series of gas explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover.