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.”