Jim Grossmann RISE Construction Management

Rising along with the multi-unit residential market

Spotlight on Jim Grossmann and RISE Construction Management

Boasting a vibrant economy, good quality of life, rich history, and many other attributes, the Boston area is among the country’s most desirable places to live. That has led to a wave of new arrivals and with it, an enormous demand for housing. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council projects that more than 400,000 new housing units, mostly in Boston and surrounding urban areas, will be needed by the year 2040.

One of the companies seizing on the demand and helping to address the urgent need is RISE Construction Management. The general contractor is focused primarily on small and medium-sized, multi-unit, residential projects. Launched about three years ago by construction industry veterans, the firm is taking a unique approach to the market it has targeted.

“We bring the sophistication of a large company, but scaled down to a comparatively small firm,” says Jim Grossmann, co-founder and partner. “And we are committed to the building trades. We build 100% union and leverage that expertise in the middle market.”

Housing, it turns out, has long played a significant role in Grossmann’s life and career arc.

Growing up in East Boston, his family lived in the Orient Heights Projects, a Boston Housing Authority development. Starting at age 14, he worked for his cousin, a homebuilder, and learned the basics of carpentry and construction on the job. When he was 17, the BHA was renovating the Orient Heights Projects. Grossmann responded to a call for Section 3 workers, which gives low-income residents an opportunity to participate in construction projects in which they live. As a condition of the job, he joined the carpenters union.

Although still a teenager, he was part of the crew that renovated all 1,200 units of the East Boston development. After high school, he continued to work with the carpenters while pursuing a degree in accounting at night. The numbers just didn’t add up, however.

“I did an internship at Massport auditing payrolls and thought, ‘I cannot do this for the rest of my career,’ ” Grossmann says. “By my fourth year, I hated accounting.”

With his degree in hand, he returned to construction and got a job as assistant superintendent at Suffolk Construction, one of the region’s largest general contractors. Instead of working with spreadsheets and payrolls, Grossmann was working with people, which was much more to his liking. He spent most of his time in the field at construction sites for projects such as Manulife’s headquarters in Boston’s Seaport, the Mandarin Oriental Boston, and One Dalton, the high rise building that houses the Four Seasons hotel and luxury condos.

“Personal interactions are what fuels my passion,” Grossmann says, explaining why he enjoys the construction industry. He admires the individual craftsmanship involved, but he notes the work requires people to have good interpersonal skills and to work together collaboratively. “The plumbers have to work with the electricians and other trades. That’s what I love about this business.”

Grossmann spent the first 16 years of his tenure with Suffolk shepherding projects in and around Boston. But the locally based company, which performs some $4.5 billion of work per year, has satellite offices around the country and builds about 50% of its projects outside the region. For his final five years with the GC, Grossmann served as its national COO. In that position, he oversaw all the company’s projects, including the Encore Casino in Everett. But he also spent a lot of time on the road. Grossmann’s travels took him to Florida, for example, where Suffolk handled the construction of two Hard Rock Casino Hotels. (Interestingly, the hotel in Fort Lauderdale is shaped like a guitar.)

After a half decade away from his home, Grossmann realized he missed Boston and its people. He also decided it was time to try something new. With his partner, Brian Anderson, he founded RISE.

While he was away, Grossmann gained a new perspective and appreciation for the building trades in Boston.

“I mean this sincerely. I have traveled and seen workforces across the country. I truly believe the best trained and safest workforce is right here in Boston,” he says. “They are so good at what they do, it’s not even close.” What is it that distinguishes the workers in this region? “The unions,” Grossmann affirms. “We respect our workers here.”

The training is exemplary, he notes. But it’s more than that. “You need leadership that cares about their workers. There is a culture within the building trades here where everyone has everyone else’s back. That doesn’t happen without great leadership,” adds Grossmann.

That’s why a union workforce is among the tenets that RISE embraces. “It allows us to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace,” says Grossmann.

RISE has carved a unique niche in other ways. In recent years, market dynamics created many projects that soared past the $100 million threshold in and around Boston, and GCs raced to scoop them up. Grossmann reasoned that left a gap in the middle market–jobs that range from $20 to $75 million–which is where RISE has focused its attention.

Sullivan Square project RISE Construction Management
Among RISE Construction Management’s projects is Sullivan Square, a proposed mixed-use development in Boston. It would include 851 housing units as well as hotel rooms and office/lab space.

Specifically, the general contractor mostly pursues relatively small, mid-rise, wood podium residential projects such as the 341-unit Allston Square, the 55-unit Nevins Hill in Brighton, and the 149-unit 35 Braintree Street in Allston. Historically, jobs such as these have been the province of open-market shops that use a low-skilled workforce. RISE, on the other hand, sees union subcontractors such as Local 12 as a partner. A few years ago, the local established a residential division to handle the kind of projects that RISE targets.

Why is the contractor committed to a union workforce? Partly, Grossmann says, it traces back to his personal experience as a member of the carpenters union. He appreciated the way he was treated, including earning a living wage and getting proper health care and benefits. But mostly, Grossmann sees it as sound business practice.

“We get a highly experienced and, frankly, better workforce,” he says. “We are able to provide an institutional-grade, high-quality product built to high standards in this market. It speaks to our ability to deliver.”

The young company must be doing something right. It has experienced phenomenal growth, rising from $14 million of revenue in its first year to $50 million in its second. Grossmann projects it will generate $150 million this year and looks to be $225 million in 2023.

As for the future, RISE is exploring the higher education market with projects such as dormitory renovations at Harvard University and some small projects at Northeastern University. It is the same middle market approach, but with institutional buyers, says Grossmann. Likewise, it is dabbling in healthcare by replacing an MRI unit at New England Baptist. But the company’s bread and butter remains residential projects.

The economy may appear a bit wobbly now, but Grossmann believes Boston’s residential market, fueled by demand, is robust and fairly recession proof. “We have about 2,000 units in the pipeline now, and we are actively pursuing more,” he says. “That’s the foundation for our company.”

The new prefabrication shop at P.J. Dionne Company in Woburn, MA

Dionne expands into new location

Over the course of its 31-year history, the mantra for GBPCA member, P.J. Dionne Company, Inc., has been slow, but focused and steady growth. The shop recently relocated from Wilmington into a new, larger building in Woburn that includes a dedicated space for 3-D coordination and prefabrication as well as room for future expansion.

“I never wanted to take on more than we could support,” says Paul Dionne, the company’s founder and president, explaining his careful, calculated business approach. At the same time, he recognized that the industry was evolving and that his shop needed to change with the times. “I knew that if we didn’t get on board with prefab, we were going to miss a segment of the market. We’d be limited, and we wouldn’t be able to compete.”

A third-generation plumber, Dionne graduated from Local 12’s apprentice program and got his license in 1987. He worked for GBPCA contractor, J.C. Cannistraro, but was laid off amid the recession that plagued the early 1990s. He decided to open his own business in 1991.

As with many contractors, Dionne started small as a one-person shop. Early on, however, he turned to his family for assistance. His sister, Karen McCarthy, who serves as senior financial manager, has been running the office almost from the start. Soon after, his brother, Mike Dionne, joined the team as chief estimator. His father, Paul, who is also a Local 12 member, assisted in the office as well but has since retired.

In the 1990s, the company focused largely on tenant fit outs, public construction, and service work. As the projects got bigger and the company began diversifying, the crew of Local 12 plumbers and office staff grew as well. Among the industries the Dionne Company added to its capabilities are healthcare, higher education, and hospitality. The shop has also been doing a lot of work in the burgeoning life sciences field.

In the early 2000s, Dionne says that he started talking about incorporating prefab and exploring the concept. In 2016, the company began investing in coordination and fabrication and brought on a manager with extensive experience to develop and manage the prefab process. As the shop ramped up and began taking on more and bigger projects, it began bursting at the seams of its 12,000-square-foot facility in Wilmington. That precipitated the search for a larger property.

The company’s new site in Woburn is 25,000 square feet, or more than twice as big. Of that, the prefab shop inhabits about 6,000 square feet. According to Dionne, it was important to include all departments, including fabrication, coordination, and the office, under one roof. “We want that connection,” he says. “It’s important for people to be able to physically interact with one another.”

As for taking the financial leap for the expansion, Dionne says he did not consider it a risk. “I saw much more upside than not making the move.”

Case in point: By adding the increased capacity for coordination and prefab, the company has been able to take on jobs such as Seqirus, a lab under construction in Waltham. It would not have been able to meet the large project’s aggressive schedule without the ability to fabricate. Likewise, fabrication allowed the Dionne Company to be competitive for an MIT dormitory project on which it successfully bid and completed.

“Even on jobs that are traditionally built in the field, we always find ways that we can build parts of them in our fab shop,” Dionne notes.

What does his father make of all the prefabrication? “He can’t believe it,” says Dionne, adding that the concept was new, and a few contractors mostly dabbled in it back in his dad’s heyday. “He looks at all the computers in the office now and just shakes his head.”

Dionne says that he is renting out an additional 20,000 square feet in the Woburn building to a tenant but can expand into some or all the space down the road. Not that he is in a rush.

“We want to become as efficient as possible before we take the next step,” says the company president. “There will be future opportunities for growth, but we want to do the best we can with what we now have before we take on any additional challenges.”

The MacDonalds of their dad at GBPCA contractor, Boston Mechanical Inc.

Making the grade with plumbing

Spotlight on Boston Mechanical Inc.

Richard MacDonald forged his own career by first discovering plumbing as a student at a vocational technical school. He later opened his own shop, which has grown and evolved through the years. Both of his sons now work alongside their dad at GBPCA contractor, Boston Mechanical Inc. But their journey into the industry began in an unconventional way, with Richard charting the unique course.

Growing up, Richard says that he always enjoyed working with his hands and approached projects such as fixing his bicycle and disassembling lawn mowers with curiosity and confidence. He did not have any role models in his family to follow, but he had a sense that he might want to work in the construction industry. That led him to enroll in the exploratory program at Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Lexington.

As fate would have it, a new plumbing instructor, Gordon Carlberg, joined the faculty on the same day that Richard started school. Because the teacher seemed like a nice guy, the new student thought he would give his class a try.

“As it turned out, I loved it,” says Richard referring to both the class and the trade. Always good with math, he liked the precise measuring and the conceptual problem solving that the projects required. He also enjoyed the practical applications of the work and the sense of accomplishment he felt. “I started a job in the morning, and by the end of the day it would be finished,” Richard adds. “It was great seeing the results of my efforts.”

He enjoyed the trade so much, he started doing side jobs while still a teenager. By age 16, Richard had a roster of customers, including neighbors, family members, and others he acquired through word of mouth. The fact that he genuinely liked people and had a gift for gab, even at a young age, helped the young entrepreneur and budding plumber succeed. After graduating in 1984, Richard did a four-year apprenticeship with a shop. But he never stopped doing work for his customers on the side. The work was so steady, he opened his own one-man shop, MacDonald Plumbing, as soon as he got his license in 1988.

Based in Arlington, Richard did all types of service work, but developed a specialty working on the steam heating systems of the town’s many older homes. He hired an employee in 1990, got a second van, and eventually expanded to ten employees and six trucks as the business continued to grow. He opened a storefront office for MacDonald Plumbing, which he says gave the company even more exposure. His client base swelled to more than 5,000 customers, mostly residential.

Plumbing 101

Richard’s oldest son, John, showed a keen interest in the trade at a very young age. He would tag along with his dad to jobs and pitch in to help.

“When he was three years old, I asked John if he wanted to be a plumber,” Richard recalls. “He told me, ‘I already am.’ ”

In 2009, when John was a junior at Arlington High, Richard had a brainstorm to help advance his son’s career path. He met with one of the school’s guidance counselors, explained John’s interest in and aptitude for plumbing, told the counselor that his son had been helping him at work on weekends, and made an interesting proposal. Instead of going to study period or an elective such as cooking, what if John could accompany him to work three days per week and get credit for it? Further, he offered to mentor other students interested in the trade. The school approved the plan.

For John’s final two years in public school, he and a few classmates shadowed Richard. In addition to giving them opportunities to observe the plumbing work, he taught them formulas and showed them the role that math played in the trade. Richard documented all the work that John and the other students performed. The program was so successful, he was invited to continue it two years later, when his younger son, Jeff, was a junior at the school.

Richard recalls a proud moment at John’s high school graduation. “They singled out three students for recognition,” he says. “One was going to Harvard and another was going to M.I.T. Then they announced that John MacDonald was going to be a plumber is his family’s business.”

Boston Mechanical Inc. Gloucester High School project
Boston Mechanical Inc. does a lot of work on municipal projects, such as this hot water system for Gloucester High School.

Switch to commercial market–and Local 12

With both of his sons working with him, Richard continued to expand, focusing mostly on residential work. But things began to change when he bid on and won a Boston Public Schools contract to maintain the system’s many buildings. He subsequently got a contract to do similar work for the Boston Police Department. Suddenly, he and his crew were spending a lot of time in Boston doing service work for municipal and commercial customers.

In 2015, after 27 years in business, Richard shifted gears, changing the name of his shop to Boston Mechanical Inc. and pivoting to commercial work. Soon after, he connected with Local 12 and became a signatory contractor.

“Years ago, the union wasn’t as interested in small companies,” Richard says. “But Local 12 changed its business model.” He says the prospect of being a union shop was a bit scary at first. But everything quickly fell into place. With the backing of Local 12, he was able to attract and field more bids. “Business began growing like crazy,” Richard adds.

Among the jobs he landed early on was a project to add 13 commercial kitchens at Boston Public Schools buildings. The kicker? The work had to be completed in 13 weeks during summer break. Boston Mechanical was able to pick up 25 highly trained and qualified plumbers from the Local for the job.

“We came through the fire on that project,” says Richard. “We gained confidence and made connections. It was a great experience.”

Similarly, the contractor took on a job with UMass Lowell that needed to be wrapped in the period between the spring and fall semesters. He has since done work for the Hingham Public Schools and on many of the municipal buildings in Tewksbury.

Richard has become an evangelist for Local 12, telling prospective non-union shops about his experience with the union and encouraging them to join the fold. “It’s tough these days to find plumbers,” he notes. “But as a Local 12 affiliate, there is a ready pool available. More importantly, they are all excellent. They view plumbing as their career.”

It’s something of a family affair at Boston Mechanical with John serving as the shop’s manager and Jeff as service manager. Richard’s daughter, Danielle, is a social worker. But her boyfriend works at the shop. Richard notes he and his wife, Lisa, have been together since they were 16 years old, and that she has been with him on their journey every step of the way. 

Already one of Local 12’s biggest service providers, Richard hopes to expand by picking up even more maintenance contracts with municipal customers. He also plans to diversify and take on medium-sized construction projects.

Local 12 Apprentice Rebecca Herrick

Rebecca is an accidental plumber

Many apprentices knew that they wanted to work in the trades from an early age. Some come from a long line of plumbers and have been around the industry their entire lives. Others enjoyed tinkering and working with tools as children and naturally gravitated to the profession. For Rebecca Herrick, however, it was serendipity that led her to Local 12.

While in middle school, she learned that some of her friends were interested in attending Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School in Wakefield and were planning to attend a presentation.

“I had no idea what it was, but I tagged along,” Herrick says. She heard about the programs the school offered and was inspired by the success of past graduates. The idea of having a career appealed to her. “It was an accident,” she says with a laugh. “I decided to go there on a whim.”

At first, Herrick wanted to be a cosmetologist. She was also interested in the culinary program. But her goal changed when she took a plumbing class during her freshman year.

“I just absolutely fell in love with it,” says Herrick about the trade. Although she had never worked with her hands before or shown any interest in doing so, she enjoyed it so much that she started doing other students’ soldering projects. “Being able to physically hold something that I created blew my mind,” she adds. “It was powerful to realize I could do it.”

While attitudes and perceptions are changing, it can be difficult sometimes for females aspiring to work in professions that have long been male dominated. Herrick was shy in high school and says that she was too nervous to go out and work in the field–partly because she feared that people would think a girl shouldn’t be doing plumbing work. Outnumbered by boys in her class, she also says that she felt like an outcast, and second-guessed whether she should continue. Things came to a head when a substitute teacher confronted her and asked her why she wanted to be a plumber.

“He told me, ‘You’re a woman. You can’t do what we do.’ Then he said I’d never make it,” Herrick remembers.

It crushed her. But it also lit a fire in her. She said that she vowed to prove him wrong. It would take a few years to make good on her promise to herself, however.

After graduating, Herrick tried college, but found it wasn’t for her. Her boyfriend, an electrician with Local 103, told her about unions and working in the trades, which renewed her interest. While working at a 7-11, she saw a plumbing truck pull into the lot and worked up the nerve to ask the customer, who turned out to be the owner of a shop, whether he was hiring. Herrick got the job.

The small, Saugus-based shop did mostly residential service work. The once-shy woman discovered that she enjoyed dealing with customers. She also liked dissecting plumbing problems and solving them.

“I could figure out what was wrong and fix it,” Herrick says. “It felt great when everyone’s day was made.”

With some experience under her belt, she was accepted into Local 12’s apprentice program and began working for GBPCA contractor T.G. Gallagher. Among the projects she worked on was Pier 4 in the Seaport and the Sam Adams Boston Brewery. Later, Herrick worked with GBPCA contractor E.M. Duggan and worked on a project for Google as well as 100 Binney in Cambridge, a lab and office building. The fourth-year apprentice is currently on the job at Winthrop Center, a 53-story mixed-use high-rise that is being built in downtown Boston at the site of a former garage.

Herrick has found her calling, both as a plumber and as a Local 12 member.

“From the day I got here, I’ve felt like a professional,” she says. “I feel like someone with a career in which I can take pride.” Herrick says that her father, a retired union laborer, is thrilled that she is following in his footsteps and is a member of the union building trades. Unlike her experiences in high school, her gender has not been an issue. “I’ve been treated with nothing but acceptance and respect at Local 12,” she says.

Coming from the non-union world, Herrick was struck by the fast pace and by the emphasis on safety she encountered. For example, she says she had never worn a hardhat until she joined Local 12. Herrick says that she really enjoys working with cast iron. Although it‘s heavy and awkward, she likes installing it and creating working systems.

“It’s something that will last a long time and help people in their everyday lives,” says Herrick. “I feel like I am protecting people’s health and contributing to society.”

The instructors at Local 12’s training center have made a lasting impression on her. Herrick says that they have been patient and have been able to explain processes and concepts in ways that she can fully understand and grasp. She is especially appreciative of the center’s Joe Kyne, adding that he has really made a difference in her training and her outlook on work.

“The passion that he has about plumbing really rubbed off on me,” Herrick says. The influence of Kyne and the other instructors has been so strong, in fact, the apprentice says that she is considering paying it back by teaching plumbing, perhaps in the latter part of her career. “I’d love to be able to give support someday to young adults coming through the apprenticeship program like I’ve been supported.”

Steven Franck Local 12 apprentice

Steven likes the challenge of being a plumber

“Plumbing really spoke to me,” says Steven Franck, explaining why he pursued a career in the trade. He recently finished his fifth and final year in Local 12’s apprentice program.

Prior to joining the union, Franck had other ideas about what he might want to do for a living. While in high school, he had a job at a computer repair clinic and discovered that he enjoyed working with his hands and building things. He also liked computers and technology and thought that he might want to work in computer science. After taking courses in the topic for one semester, however, Franck realized that college wasn’t for him.

His father, an electrician who works in telecommunications and is a member of IBEW Local 2222, talked to him about the building construction trades and encouraged him to join a union. Franck heeded the advice, starting as a laborer. But he really wanted to be a plumber and was accepted into Local 12 in 2017.

Franck started his apprenticeship working for American Plumbing and Heating and remained there throughout the five-year program. He began in the contractor’s prefabrication shop, assembling components for projects such as Emmanuel College. “It was a great learning experience,” Franck says about the prefab work, which lasted most of his first year as an apprentice.

He then moved onsite to Harvard University‘s Science and Engineering Complex, a six-story, 535,000-square-foot building that is part of the college’s growing Allston campus. During the three years Franck spent at the lab project, he installed medical gas piping, did finish work, and more. For his final year apprenticing with American, Franck was at the 44-story, 1-million-square-foot One Congress office building, part of the Bulfinch Crossing project that will replace the Government Center Garage in Boston. His work there included a commercial kitchen and bathroom groups.

According to Franck, he is grateful for the time he spent at Local 12’s training center and for its teachers. Sometimes, he would have trouble understanding what he would read in the textbooks. It would all come together, however, in the classroom. 

“The instructors would demonstrate and explain everything in ways I could understand,” Franck says. “I really needed that.”

The trade has turned out to be everything he hoped it would. Franck says that he would never want to be stuck in a job doing the same thing over and over. He appreciates the variety of work that plumbing offers where every day is a new challenge. As Franck embarks on his career, he hopes to continue mixing it up by working on a range of projects, including residential, lab work, office towers, and hospitals.

“It’s good to have to stay on your toes,” says Franck.

Returning to his earlier interest in technology, Franck is also planning to learn more about computer aided design (CAD). He says that there can be a disconnect when the person writing CAD drawings is not a plumber. 

“Sometimes we look at drawings and say, ‘Hey, you can’t do that.’ It might be helpful to be able to combine my plumbing skills with CAD skills,” Franck notes.

Whatever he does, Franck says that he will do it as a union member. His wife, Dominique Cave, is also a Local 12 plumber. Her mother is in the nursing union.

“The union is a big part of our lives,” says Franck.

Maxim Hetmanchuk E.M. Duggan Ukraine benefit

E.M. Duggan steps up to aid Ukraine

It can be overwhelming and disheartening to hear the daily drumbeat of a crisis such as the war that Russia is waging against Ukraine. People can feel hopeless. Or, like the folks at E.M. Duggan, they can take action.

The GBPCA contractor organized a clothing drive and delivered the goods to the Christ of King Ukrainian Church in Jamaica Plain, which, in turn, shipped them to the war-torn country. Among the items collected were blankets and towels as well as clothes. With the support of Len Monfredo, the company’s principal, Duggan also had t-shirts imprinted with the message, “Glory to Ukraine,” imprinted in the country’s national colors. Ukrainian soldiers often share the phrase when greeting one another. The shirts were included in the donation.

Alex Motorny, Duggan’s safety manager, who was born and raised in Ukraine and still has family there, translated the phrase so that a local vendor could imprint it on the shirts. He also translated a letter, which in part states that the donated items should be thought of as a “hug from those around the world who care about you.” The letters were tucked into bags along with the shirts. Motorny said that he was moved to tears by the letter and by the actions of his colleagues.

“E.M. Duggan cares about their employees and about the people in Ukraine,” he says. “It’s very kind and generous of Len and the rest of the company to do such a great thing. I’m very touched.”

Because it can be difficult to track donated items amid a crisis and determine whether they reached their intended destination, the letter also included instructions asking recipients in the Ukraine to contact Duggan. Company members were thrilled when Maxim Hetmanchuk, a wounded Ukrainian soldier being treated in a hospital, sent a message indicating his appreciation for the donated items and kind wishes. He said that he cried when he read the letter. The soldier later sent a photo of himself wearing the specially designed shirt.

Organizations support tech schools

The GBPCA joined forces with Local 12 and recently donated a total of $9,000 to three vocational schools in the region: Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Boston, Quincy High School’s Career Vocational & Technical Education Program, and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, located in Haverhill.

“It’s important to make the programs strong so that the students get a top-notch education,” says Andrew DeAngelo, the PCA’s executive director, explaining one of the motivating factors for the gifts. By connecting with the programs, it also helps plumbing students bridge the gap between graduating from a tech school and joining the workforce in the field. “It helps make sure the students know about the opportunities in the local and are familiar with our contractors,” DeAngelo adds.

It is also a great way for Local 12 to attract young people interested in the trade. In addition to the donations, the organizations have ongoing relationships with the vocational programs. Both the union and the PCA regularly conduct sessions for juniors and seniors, letting them know resources that are available, what they have to do to apply to the local, and other info.

The donations are intended for plumbing instructors to purchase materials, equipment, and other items that they need for their shops and programs, but that the school district may not have included in their budgets.

Separately, the PCA made an additional donation of $1,400 worth of power tools to Madison Park. Among the items were Milwaukee impact drivers and batteries, an electric air compressor, and a Dewalt brad nailer. 

“The executive board of the PCA wanted to make a big impact at Madison Park,” says DeAngelo. The executive director got in touch with the school’s plumbing instructor to find out what the program could use. “We took his direction and ran with it.”

New Somerville High plumbing program

As part of its Center for Career and Technical Education, Somerville High School started a plumbing program as well as an HVAC program during the last school year. The programs are in the city’s new school, which opened in March.

To help support and guide the plumbing program, representatives of Local 12 and the Plumbing Contractors Association joined the school’s advisory committee. Among their roles, they will assist in developing curriculum for the new program. Committee members include Frank Amato, director of business development and recruitment for Local 12, Matt Messinger, recruitment specialist for Local 12, Andrew DeAngelo, PCA executive director, and Dan Bent, executive VP for PCA contractor American Plumbing and Heating.

According to DeAngelo, in addition to their work on the committee, the industry leaders will support the Somerville High program with donations, help facilitate field trips, assist with job placement, and conduct info sessions about Local 12’s apprenticeship program for the school’s juniors and seniors. “We get involved in a similar way with the plumbing program at Madison Park in Boston,” he says.

The tech schools provide a feeder program of sorts for the union’s training center. “We want to give city kids an opportunity to have a shot at the apprenticeship program,” DeAngelo adds.