Hydrogen in our energy pipeline

With increasingly dire reports about the acceleration of climate change and its consequences, calls to address the existential issue have become more urgent. Per state law, Massachusetts has an ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50% from 1990 levels before 2030. The figure rises to a 75% reduction by 2040 and to 85% by 2050. Among the ways that Massachusetts could help hit the targets is by incorporating hydrogen into the energy mix.

The gas contains the highest energy content fuel by weight and only emits water vapor when burned, which makes tapping its potential appealing. Is hydrogen viable as an alternate fuel source? The jury is still out, and there are some hurdles to overcome. But it seems to hold a great deal of promise.

“As far as we’re concerned, we are for an all-of-the-above approach” when it comes to planning our energy future, says Wendell Hibdon, director of energy and infrastructure for the United Association, the parent organization of Local 12. “Let’s consider everything.” Everything, he says, should include hydrogen.

The gas has many potential uses, including fueling cars, trucks, and other vehicles, generating electricity, heating homes, and powering appliances. It’s those last two applications in which plumbers and gasfitters would get involved. PCA contractors and the Local 12 members they employ could play a significant role in bringing hydrogen to the state’s homes and businesses.

“The beauty of using hydrogen for heating and to operate appliances is that the piping infrastructure to deliver it already exists,” says Tim Fandel, Local 12’s business manager. “It’s installed and maintained by plumbers and gasfitters.”

More than 50% of Massachusetts homeowners have natural gas piped into their houses. Approximately 60% of homes in the U.S. rely on gas heating. It’s not as simple as converting those systems to pure hydrogen, however.

Blending hydrogen and natural gas

While more research needs to be done, it appears that existing heating systems and appliances such as gas ranges and clothes dryers would likely have to be retrofitted or redesigned to accommodate 100% hydrogen. In its pure form, the gas can also cause embrittlement of cast iron pipes. Of the 21,000 miles of natural gas pipeline in Massachusetts, about 2,800 miles is made of cast iron. (The remaining infrastructure, which is made of steel and polyethylene plastic, is compatible with hydrogen.)

A blend of hydrogen and conventional natural gas, however, has been shown to work with both the existing distribution piping system and end-user appliances. Hydrogen hybrid fuel is being used in Asia and Europe. For example, a hydrogen pilot project in Scotland, which has been in operation since last May, is being conducted by National Grid U.K.

The utility’s American counterpart, National Grid, announced a similar program in December for the Long Island town of Hempstead in New York. Dubbed the “HyGrid Project,” it is delivering hydrogen-blended gas to about 800 homes in the community. Hydrogen is also being used to fuel at least 10 municipal vehicles there.

“We believe that hydrogen can transform the energy industry, and we are on the forefront,” says Rudolph Wynter, president of National Grid New York. “This exciting project show that hydrogen blending can be used to decarbonize the existing networks.”

The ratio of hydrogen being used in the Hempstead program is currently 5%. According to the utility, it will slowly increase the amount of hydrogen in the blend with methane to 20% over a three-year period. Initial research indicates that residential appliances can operate without issue up to a 28% blend of hydrogen. The more hydrogen that is blended into the mix, the more carbon emissions can be reduced per unit of energy produced.

National Grid, which also operates in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, has stated that it wants to expand the use of the hybrid fuel and is considering other pilot programs. That is precisely what a recent UMass Lowell report calls for.

Study urges development of hydrogen policy in Mass.

In conjunction with Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), a multidisciplinary panel of experts convened by UMass Lowell studied the opportunities and challenges of developing a hydrogen-based economy in the state and throughout the Northeast. In a report published by the university’s Rist Institute for Sustainability & Energy in November, the organization concluded that hydrogen utilization could provide both economic benefits and help Massachusetts reach its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

Some critics argue that hydrogen would prolong reliance on natural gas and that they would rather see gas pipeline networks phased out. In its place, they call for switching over to electric heat pumps and appliances. As the UMass Lowell report points out, however, such a large-scale conversion would be costly and would impose a burden on those least able to afford it. In contrast, by displacing natural gas with hydrogen, end users could keep their existing heating systems and appliances, and there would be no extra cost to them. The transition would be virtually seamless.

Also, making the switch to electricity for heating and appliances would place more of a demand on the state’s electrical grid, most of which relies on natural gas-fueled power plants. The state is years, and possibly decades away from generating enough electricity through offshore wind and other green sources to meet its needs.

“There’s a long haul to electrify every home in Massachusetts as well as to electrify every business,” says Bob Rio, a senior vice president at AIM. “We think there’s an opportunity here to use hydrogen to reduce greenhouse gases.”

The UA’s Hibdon agrees. “We can get started blending hydrogen with natural gas, and it will reduce carbon emissions right off the bat. To me, that’s a win-win.”

Another benefit to a pipeline system that would incorporate hydrogen, according to the UMass Lowell report, is that it would be more reliable in storms. Most heat pumps rely on above-ground power lines, which can be vulnerable during adverse weather conditions.

Although hydrogen is a common and readily available element, it can be challenging to produce it as a fuel source. Most hydrogen today is produced through a process known as steam methane reforming, or SMR, and is considered “grey.” The process itself yields carbon. “Blue” hydrogen couples SMR with carbon capture to reduce emissions, but that process is costly. The preferred color for hydrogen is “green,” which refers to hydrogen generated by using renewable power sources like wind or solar energy. “Green” hydrogen is being used on Long Island for the HyGrid Project.

The UMass Lowell study recommends that Massachusetts develop a comprehensive hydrogen policy that would integrate the use of hydrogen to reduce or eliminate carbon for heating homes and other buildings. It also calls for utilities to establish optional pilot programs that would blend hydrogen with natural gas. And it advocates for the creation of a renewable procurement standard for natural gas utilities and suppliers that would allow hydrogen to qualify for renewable energy credits in the state.

“We want to be involved and help make hydrogen a viable option,” says Hibdon. “We want to help lower carbon emissions.”

Harding and Smith on board for Green Line extension

Some thirty years after the Commonwealth pledged to extend the Green Line to Medford and Somerville as part of an agreement concerning the Big Dig, trains are finally clacking north beyond the Lechmere station. GBPCA contractor Harding and Smith has been along for the ride for the past eight years of the bumpy project’s starts and stops.

When the MBTA first put the project out to bid in 2014, the Walpole-based contractor won a lot of work, including pumping stations and HVAC installations. The initial plans for the extension included full-featured, enclosed stations boasting glass exteriors and artwork on display inside. Estimated costs began rising and continued to spiral to $3 billion, however, causing the state to stop the project before major work began. It nearly killed the extension altogether.

In 2017, the state developed a scaled-down project with open-air stations and a budget of $2.3 billion. GLX Constructors, a consortium of construction and design companies, took over as the general contractor. Harding and Smith re-upped for the modified project, which called for less work than the extension’s original vision.

“It’s really a tale of two projects for us,” says Mike Perrotta, Harding and Smith’s estimator and project manager. One of the contractor’s crews has been handling track drainage, while another has been installing dry standpipe for fire protection. Most of the work has focused on the viaduct that extends from Lechmere to East Somerville.

Local 12 members Joe Chicos (L) and Corey Elliott work on the GLX project for Harding and Smith.

As Perrotta explains it, the southern portion of the Green Line extension is so congested, the fire department wouldn’t be able to have full access to the elevated trackway.

“We’re putting fire pump truck connections on the street level where they can get at them,” he says. “Farther north, it’s not needed because fire crews have more leeway to reach the tracks.”

For the track drainage work, the contractor’s plumbers are installing piping to collect water that will accumulate on the tracks during heavy rains. They are directing some of it down to concrete splash blocks and tying the rest of the piping to underground drainage systems. Without the mitigation, water would spill over the sides of the elevated track and cause havoc below.

“Local 12 and Harding and Smith have been fighting for roadway and track drainage work for years,” Perrotta notes. “It requires the skills of plumbers.”

The Green Line extension project is unique for the contractor, because it requires workers to be elevated most of the time.

“With everyone working off manlifts, manlift experience is important,” says Perrotta. “They have been working anywhere from 10 to maybe 40 feet off the ground, in difficult climate conditions, while navigating trains, high voltage power lines, and construction equipment near them.”

Because most of the pipe can’t be picked up manually, rigging has also been an important skill. Towards the end of the project, when test trains began running or maintenance trains needed to pass (part of the project includes a new railyard and maintenance facility near the extension), MBTA or Keolis flag persons were working closely with the construction trades workers to clear the area and ensure safety. Some sections of the extension are also located near commuter rail tracks, which added to the complexity of the project.

Originally scheduled to open in late 2021, the long-brewing extension was further delayed by complications from COVID and supply chain issues. The branch which runs to Union Square Station in Somerville is ready to roll. The Medford branch, which includes five stations and terminates at College Ave. Station near Tufts University, is set to open later in the spring. The original plans called for extending the Green Line all the way to Route 16. A later phase may include additional track and another station.

“The extension is a great project for the corridor that runs through Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford,” Perrotta says. “It’s good for smart development, reducing traffic, and reducing carbon emissions.”

Herbert Tyler’s Local 12 dues card from the 1960s

Four generations of Tylers at Local 12

 “It’s a great life being a plumber,” says Richard “Tim” Tyler. “It’s great working as part of the union.” 

It’s so great, in fact, being a Local 12 plumber has become something of a family tradition for the Tyler clan. Tim’s grandfather, father, and brother all pursued careers as union plumbers. Soon, his son will follow in their footsteps.

It’s a recurring theme at Local 12. There are many instances of family members taking cues from their parents or other relatives and entering the trade. But it’s notable when four successive generations of a family lay claim to a union card.

“The Tylers show that Local 12 really resonates with families and plays an important role in their lives,” says Tim Fandel, business manager. “We continue to be viable and relevant through the years.”

The saga of the Tylers all started with Herbert Tyler. A “small-time plumber in Bangor, Maine,” according to Tim, Herbert packed up his family of seven and moved them to the Boston area in 1945. A friend of his told him that Local 12 was looking for members, and, sensing opportunity, Herbert didn’t hesitate.

He did, indeed, find opportunity as a union plumber. Working for Ferris and Mahoney (a mechanical contractor that is no longer in business), Herbert ran large projects. He overcame adversity and was well respected by his employers and those who worked for him, according to Tim.

“He had a learning disability and was unable to read blueprints,” he explains about his grandfather. Nevertheless, Herbert understood large, complicated systems and was able to successfully lead his crews. “All his jobs made money,” Tim says with a laugh.

Tim Tyler (R) and his son, Jake.

Later in his career, Herbert became a plumbing inspector in Bedford, Massachusetts, his hometown. Even as an older gentleman, Tim remembers that his grandfather was always on the move and was an especially fast walker. “You had to run to keep up with him,” he says.

Tim’s father, Richard H. Tyler, served in the Marine Corps. When he finished his military duty, he too joined Local 12 and entered its apprenticeship program. Among the contractors he worked for were Ferris and Mahoney and Baystate York. One of the signature projects Richard worked on was the Prudential Center.

“He ran work at a relatively young age,” Tim says. “He was very good at it like his father. He was a small guy, but everybody was afraid of him. He just had that look about him.”

They got the work done, adds Tim. And despite his father’s fearsome look, he says, everybody liked him. A hard-working man, Richard put in 60 hours a week and then had side jobs to supplement his income.

As children, Tim and his brother Scott remember helping their dad clean up scrap copper and other tasks. They got their hands dirty and learned about the trade. The work and the life of a union plumber called out to both of them.

They joined Local 12 and often found themselves working together for contractors such as Kennedy Mechanical, Cannistraro, and, more recently, Pinnacle Construction Services. Tim also logged ten years with PCA contractor, J.C. Higgins, working on landmark projects such as the Big Dig and the Convention Center.

Scott and Tim worked together for a decade with their father when Richard opened his own shop, Tyler Plumbing. A Local 12 signatory contractor, the shop specialized in medical gas. Tyler Plumbing worked on a lot of nursing home projects as well as several VA hospitals.

The business was tough financially for his dad, Tim says. “At the time, Local 12 didn’t have programs for smaller shops like they do today. He would have benefitted from that so much. The union has come a long way.”

Richard didn’t start Tyler Plumbing until he was 50. When he closed the shop, he retired.

In addition to Tim and Scott, Richard had two daughters. Tim says that the boyfriend of one of his sisters asked Richard for his daughter’s hand in marriage. He responded that he didn’t like what the suitor did for a living.

“If you want to marry my daughter, you’ll have to join the plumbers union,” Richard told him.

“That’s what he did,” says Tim. “He had no choice in the matter.”

It should probably come as no surprise that Richard convinced his other son-in-law to become a plumber also.

While plumbing was all in the family, Richard initially had other plans for Scott. Always a good student, he wanted his younger son to go to college. During his senior year in high school, Scott began working regularly with his father on side jobs.

“He put me in the lousiest bathrooms and had me gut them out. I think he was hoping to scare me away,” Scott says. “Instead, I loved it.”

Scott continues to specialize working on projects that feature medical gas. With Pinnacle, he has been running many jobs in the Longwood area, including projects at Beth Israel Deaconess, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Dana–Farber Cancer Institute.

Now 61, Tim says that he is getting near the downside of his career and is looking forward to retirement. His son, Jake, however, is just beginning his plumbing career.

His story has a familiar ring to it. Starting as a young teenager, Jake says that his father brought him to side jobs on weekends. He has been tooling around boilers, water heaters, and sinks for many years. Jake enjoyed the trade so much, he went to Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in Billerica and began working at a plumbing shop in his junior year.

“I’m carrying on the family tradition,” he says proudly.

The 18-year-old graduated high school last spring and recently applied to Local 12. He hopes to apprentice with large contractors and do major commercial projects such as high rises. And so, the Tyler family’s plumbing legacy continues.

“Plumbing and Local 12 have been very good to us,” concludes Scott.

Blue Bear plumbing service truck in Boston

A reluctant plumber finds huge success with service

Spotlight on Blue Bear Plumbing

“I had no intention of becoming a plumber,” says Chris Murphy, PCA member and owner of Local 12 signatory shop, Blue Bear Plumbing. At the age of 33, however, he has grown his four-year-old business, which focuses on residential service, into a local dynamo. Now he is planning to diversify and expand into multiple markets.

Starting at age seven, his father, Local 12 member Sean Murphy, would drag Chris out of bed on Saturday mornings and have him shine fittings or whatever else needed to be done. He wasn’t crazy about helping his dad on the weekend side jobs, but he had no choice in the matter.

“I wanted to stay home and watch cartoons,” Murphy says with a laugh.

Instead of following in his father’s footsteps, Murphy’s goal was to head off to college. In his junior year of high school, he penned an essay to submit with his college applications.

“It was about being a man and how you have to learn to work with your hands and fix things,” Murphy says. He heeded his own advice.

Chris Murphy

Something clicked in his senior year. Murphy decided he didn’t want to commit a lot of money to fund his college education. Instead, he was driven to make money and to support himself.

“I wanted to be my own person and drive my own destiny,” Murphy adds. And he decided to chart his own path by working with his hands.

Changing the trajectory of his life

He already had a taste of the money he could make in the trade. In addition to holding down a job at a produce market, he worked alongside his father and his uncle (who is also a plumber as well as a pipefitter in Local 537), helping them on nights and weekends with their side business. The trio did small residential jobs, such as kitchen and bathroom repairs and installations. Murphy told his dad that he wanted to forego college and get into the trade. He also told him he wanted to join Local 12.

His father hadn’t always been a member of the union. When he did join, his family’s life got “exponentially better,” Murphy says. “At the time I didn’t realize it, but as I got older, I knew how good Local 12 had been for us.”

He got some valuable experience working for small shops and, at age 19, entered Local 12’s apprenticeship program. He began working for signatory contractor, J.C. Higgins.

“Getting into Local 12 changes your perspective and the trajectory of your life,” notes Murphy.

The foreman at his first union project, a 30-story high rise, was his father. Noting that his dad could be demanding, Murphy says he had to work just as hard as everyone else on the crew. He later did hospital and lab work, among other projects, while finishing his apprenticeship with J.C. Higgins.

Murphy then moved to PCA member, Cannistraro, focusing on service work and small projects. He spent most of his time at Mass General Hospital where, at age 28, he led a young crew as its foreman. They got commendations from the esteemed medical center, doing work such as swapping over medical gas systems in intensive care units. Murphy says he enjoyed the hospital work, and especially enjoyed building relationships and developing the skills to run jobs.

“It’s all about personality and professionalism,” he says. “People can buy a plumbing product, but they can’t buy people.”

Always motivated to make money, Murphy continued to do side work. Along with a buddy, he did residential bathroom remodels and other projects, gaining business experience along the way. Eventually, he decided to go out on his own full time and truly drive his own destiny.

Frogs, penguins, and bears

At first, Murphy was looking at franchise opportunities and discovered one that was called “bluefrog Plumbing + Drain.” He thought the name was silly, but after doing some research he learned that business names that include colors and objects are easy to remember and are good marketing hooks. Murphy abandoned the franchise route but stuck with the marketing ideas as he kicked around ideas for his own shop.

He came up with two potential names, “Purple Penguin” and “Blue Bear,” and let his kids choose the winner.

“They chose Blue Bear,” Murphy says. “And we were off to the races.”

Launched in early 2018, Blue Bear was, initially, a one-person shop that Murphy operated out of his garage in Marshfield, Massachusetts. With four children, he was nervous about being able to support his family. That winter was especially cold, however, and Murphy was kept busy helping homeowners with frozen pipes and other plumbing issues.

Two months after he started his business, Murphy brought on John Oliva. The “right hand man,” as he describes Oliva, has been with the company ever since. The shop started winning contracts and began working on some sizeable jobs, including new construction of multi-residential projects. But from the start, Blue Bear focused mostly on residential service.

As his shop got busier, Murphy bought a second van. Realizing he needed additional help and health insurance for himself and his employees, he met with Harry Brett, who was Local 12’s business manager at the time. Blue Bear subsequently became a signatory contractor. In October of 2018, Murphy got an office space and brought on help to keep the books and answer the phone.

It took off like a rocket

Blue Bear continued to grow and added residential HVAC to its capabilities. By 2020, the shop had 26 employees, 20 of which were plumbers. Murphy needed more room and moved into a 5,000-square-foot shop. Then the pandemic hit.

“I thought that was the end of my business,” he says. “I figured I had a pretty good run.”

The phones stopped ringing. Murphy cut his workforce down to 14 employees and watched in horror as money started disappearing from his business account.

“ I want everyone to know that residential service is a feasible business model for a union shop.”

Instead of throwing in the towel, however, Murphy did something counterintuitive: He took the remaining $15,000 from his cash reserves and put it all into marketing. He bought a lot of Google ads along with Facebook ads and videos as well as other online media.

“With residential service,” Murphy explains, “marketing is a huge part of the business.” The ads let the community know that Blue Bear was open and ready to help people when they needed it. The result? “It took off like a rocket,” he says.

According to Murphy, Blue Bear earned $2.2 million in revenue in 2019. Despite the dropoff when everything shut down in the early days of the pandemic, the company closed out 2020 with $6.8 million in revenue. Instead of the business closing, it was once again off to the races–much bigger races.

Empowered by his newfound success, Murphy is moving to a new location in Norwell with three times the space. He is also rebranding and diversifying his business. Blue Bear Plumbing will be known as Blue Bear Home Services and offer plumbing, HVAC, and drain cleaning. Later this year, Murphy plans to roll out a second brand, C. Murphy Plumbing and Mechanical, which will focus on new construction. It will also be a Local 12 signatory shop and will seek tenant fit out projects and other commercial work. Between the two entities, Murphy anticipates topping $15 million in revenue in 2022.

He attributes the success of his company to the team he has assembled and says that the key has been to surround himself with top-notch talent. While he hopes to grow the commercial business, Murphy remains bullish on the work that has brought him so much fortune.

“Historically, Local 12 hasn’t focused much on residential service,” he says. “I want everyone to know that it is a feasible business model for a union shop. In four years, we established market share and recurring revenue.”

To prove his point, Murphy has ambitious expansion plans. He recently opened a second shop in the Buzzards Bay area to increase his geographical market. But that’s only the beginning.

“We want to open seven more Blue Bear locations by 2025,” he says. Once, again, Murphy’s business will be off to the races.

Jeremy Ryan Executive director Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association

The GBPCA bids farewell to Jeremy Ryan

In February, Jeremy Ryan stepped away from his position as the executive director of the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association. He had served in the role since mid-2017, taking over from Hugh Kelleher.

“Jeremy brought a lot of new, fresh ideas to the organization,” says Joe Valante, president of Valante Mechanical and one of the GBPCA presidents who served alongside Ryan. “We had a great working relationship. That was important when COVID hit, because we worked closely together and with Local 12 to figure out how we would move forward during the challenging period.”

Ryan cites the upturn of involvement as one of his most significant accomplishments. “Member engagement is way up. To me, that’s the main thing,” he says. “When contractors are engaged, the organization is stronger.”

Among the changes he initiated, Ryan booked different venues where the GBPCA scheduled its meetings. By targeting a variety of locales, he was able to appeal to members where they were and significantly boost attendance, according to Valante. That, in turn, helped increase participation of the organization’s contractors.

In addition to navigating the pandemic, one of the most difficult and disruptive crises of modern times, Ryan helped the organization’s members respond to the natural gas disaster in the Merrimack Valley and assist in the recovery efforts for the affected communities. He also represented the contractors in four successful collective bargaining sessions with Local 12.

The scholarship fund has grown considerably during Ryan’s tenure and the GBPCA has been able to give more and larger scholarship awards to recipients. That’s been partly due to the general increase in participation among members. The events that generate funds for the program, such as the golf tournament, regularly sell out and have been raising more money.

The success can also be attributed to Dan Bent, executive vice president of American Plumbing and Heating, and another GBPCA president who worked together with Ryan. “Dan has been passionate about the scholarship program,” Ryan says. “He put a lot of energy in it, and the contractors rallied behind him. They take a lot of pride in the program.” In addition to increasing the annual scholarships, the organization has been able to establish an endowment to help sustain the program.

Other GBPCA highlights that took place with Ryan as executive director include hiring and training the organization’s first director of public affairs, getting more involved with community organizations, moving the office to Braintree, increasing the size of networking events, and becoming a chapter of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (see related article in this issue).

“Jeremy has blazed a new path for the GBPCA,” says Andrew DeAngelo, director of public affairs. He will take over from Ryan as the organization’s new executive director. “A great testament to what he’s done over the past few years is the shape in which he is leaving the association. It is solid thanks to his strong leadership,” adds DeAngelo.

He says that the two Industry Nights the organizations presented in 2018 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and in 2021 at the Encore Boston Harbor are indicative of the role Ryan has played at the GBPCA. “They were massive venues, and the turnout was huge. Everyone was excited to attend,” says DeAngelo. “They are the embodiment of what Jeremy has done here.”

Tim Fandel, business manager of Local 12, notes that Ryan has been a great partner advancing the work of the two organizations, keeping the lines of communication open, and strengthening the labor and management bonds. “We are going to miss Jeremy and wish him well in his future endeavors,” he adds.

“I think the contractors and Local 12 have a special and unique relationship,” Ryan says. “It’s why the plumbing industry in Boston really sets itself apart.”

Andrew DeAngelo takes over as GBPCA director

Andrew DeAngelo takes over as GBPCA director

With Jeremy Ryan’s departure, Andrew DeAngelo took over as executive director of the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association in February. Because he had been serving as the organization’s director of public affairs for about three years, the transition has been seamless.

“He has been working hand in hand with Jeremy and understands the issues,” says Joe Valante, president of Valante Mechanical and a past GBPCA president. “Andrew is going to do a great job.”

DeAngelo was the first person to hold the newly created director of public affairs position at the organization. He describes the post as a combination of public relations and lobbying. DeAngelo has been focusing on several regulatory initiatives and legislative issues such as medical gas and drain cleaning bills as well as paid family medical leave. He has also been representing the industry on climate policy legislation.

His work has also taken him into the community where he has worked with many organizations. DeAngelo has been serving as chairman of the plumbing advisory committee at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury and has also been serving on the plumbing advisory board of Somerville High School’s Center for Career and Technical Education. He has also been working closely with the pre-apprenticeship program, Building Pathways.

Prior to coming to the GBPCA, DeAngelo was a project coordinator for Building Pathways, which provides a gateway for low-income area residents into the construction trades. During his time there, he helped manage the program and established relationships with the training directors, business agents, and business managers of the area’s building trades, including Local 12. Earlier in his career, DeAngelo held other positions which brought him into contact with the region’s construction industry and gave him valuable experience.

Born and raised in Dorchester, DeAngelo grew up in a union household. His father is a retired electrician and member of IBEW Local 103.

“Andrew has a deep breadth of knowledge about our industry. He is highly intuitive and understands the market and the contractor base,” says Tim Fandel, business manager of Local 12. “He will be a great partner to continue some of the initiatives we have been working on to grow market share.”

“What Andrew has been able to do in the public affairs position is a testament to his knowledge of the construction industry in Boston as well as his ability to interact with people,” adds Ryan. “He is a great ambassador for the plumbing industry.”

In addition to the public affairs work he has been doing, DeAngelo has been involved with other GBPCA projects. For example, he started a mechanical aptitude prep course for candidates applying to Local 12’s apprenticeship program. He has also been working closely with Ryan on any number of the organization’s issues. The two describe their relationship as having been less of a boss and employee and more of a partnership.

“We have worked very well together,” says DeAngelo. “We are like-minded and have complemented each other well.”

DeAngelo says that he plans to pick up where Ryan left off and continue the momentum that the departing executive director has brought to the organization. “I want to maintain his vision moving forward, because I think Jeremy set a great tone and course,” he adds. “I also want to continue his spirit of innovation and advancing the industry.”

“Andrew is going to bring the GBPCA to higher heights,” Ryan says about his successor.

GBPCA is now a chapter of MCAA

This past January the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association became an affiliate chapter of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America. The national organization represents and serves contractors working in the plumbing, piping, mechanical service, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration industries.

Based in Maryland, MCAA offers educational materials, training programs, conferences, conventions, trade shows, and other resources to help contractors attain managerial and technical expertise. It publishes materials such as safety manuals, reports, bulletins, documentation sheets, and guides as well as videos to keep companies and their employees informed about industry developments and trends. The association also advocates on behalf of industry-related issues in Congress.

MCAA membership will provide many benefits for the GBPCA. “Our contractors will have access to all kinds of resources,” says Andrew DeAngelo, GBPCA’s executive director. “They’ll be able to glean a lot.” He also notes that MCAA works closely with the United Association, the parent organization of Local 12. “They are essentially a counterpart to the UA.”

GBPCA donates $35,000 to area charities

For the second consecutive year, the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association made a sizeable donation to support several non-profit organizations throughout the region. It gave a total of $35,000 to seven charities in late 2021.

“The PCA has always given back,” says Andrew DeAngelo, executive director. “But we’ve made a concerted effort over the past two years to make donations to organizations that help members of the community who have been struggling during the pandemic.”

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the association targeted some of its donation funds to organizations focused on feeding people, providing shelter, and offering health care. including Father Bill’s MainSpring. The charity has been helping people in Southern Massachusetts for the last three decades. Father Bill’s

mission is to end and prevent homelessness with programs that provide emergency and permanent housing and help people obtain skills, jobs, housing, and services.

Community Servings, located in Jamaica Plain, was founded in 1990 to provide home-delivered meals to individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Dorchester and Roxbury. Since then, the organization has evolved to a regional program serving nutritionally tailored meals and providing nutrition education to thousands of people per year across the state.

The mission of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) is to ensure unconditionally equitable and dignified access to the highest quality health care for all individuals and families experiencing homelessness in our community. The tireless work done by BHCHP is

needed now more than ever in the most vulnerable neighborhoods in Boston.

Founded in 1906 by a group of immigrant boys from the densely populated West End neighborhood of Boston, the West End House has served the youth of the city ever since. Services offered by the West End House include a full-body fitness program, nutrition education, arts mastery, and career readiness. The West End House also prepares young people for high school graduation and college completion.

Around the holidays, the PCA gave a second round of donations to three additional groups. Starting in 1989, Boston’s Christmas in the City has been presenting non-denominational holiday events for children and families experiencing homelessness and poverty. Because of the pandemic, the organization brought toys and other “comfort and joy” to people living in local congregate shelters and to many other families in need of assistance in lieu of an event.

Located in Roxbury, Rosie’s Place was founded in 1974 as the first women’s shelter in the U.S. Today, it is a multi-service community center that offers a food pantry, ESOL classes, legal assistance, wellness care, one-on-one support, housing and job search services, and community outreach as well as emergency shelter and meals.

Another holiday donation recipient was The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Roxbury. Its programs include sports and recreation, creative arts, an aquatic facility, culinary training, and social services.

“When the struggles of those less fortunate are amplified, our members thought it appropriate to give to organizations that help people in need,” says John Marani, president of the GBPCA.