At its annual meeting in May, the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association swore in its new officers and executive board, including John Marani III as the organization’s president. He will serve a two-year term.
Marani, owner of GBPCA contractor A.H. Burns in Rockland, says that he has enjoyed representing the organization in other positions he has held and is looking forward to taking the helm.
“John has many years of experience in the industry and is a respected leader of GBPCA,” says Jeremy Ryan, the organization’s executive director. “He is also passionate about the industry and has some great ideas to help us move forward as the pandemic winds down. I know he will do a great job.”
Among the biggest things on his plate, Marani says that he will be participating in the negotiations of a new contract between the contractors and Local 12. When they sit down at the bargaining table in the fall, the labor and management groups will try to gauge where the industry and the larger economy will be heading post-pandemic.
It’s difficult to know for sure, of course, but Marani is bullish about the state of the region’s construction market. “I’m shocked at how well our area has recovered,” he says. “We were minimally affected by the pandemic.” Marani points to the amount of work that is permitted and the financing that is in place as indication of the industry’s resilience and strength. “I’m an optimist by nature. I want to believe it’ll be okay,” he adds.
Marani says that he has a great relationship with Tim Fandel, Local 12’s business manager, and is looking forward to expanding it in his position as GBPCA president. Their rapport is indicative of the way that the contractors work collaboratively with the union in general. “We have a model relationship,” says Marani. “We set an example for the rest of the country.”
The relationship, he believes, is one based on mutual respect and an acknowledgment that both groups can achieve great things when they work together. “Our contractors have had enormous success over the past ten years. But we didn’t make it happen alone,” Marani says. “It’s a joint effort. We need qualified plumbers.”
To that end, he notes that Local 12’s training program produces some of the most qualified workers in the U.S. And, Marani says, the union’s business agents are level-headed. “I’m proud to be associated with Local 12. My hope and my expectation is that our great relationship will continue.”
Marani succeeds Joe Valante, Jr. as GBPCA president. He presided over a difficult period as COVID-19 virtually shut down the region’s construction sites in early 2020 and caused much uncertainty and disruption for the industry. It also dealt a blow to vulnerable people in the community. In response, Valante helped spearhead efforts on behalf of GBPCA and Local 12 to donate about $100,000 to charitable causes.
“Through Joe’s empathetic, personable leadership, he was the right guy for the position during the pandemic crisis,” Ryan says. He also credits Valante for helping to hire Andrew DeAngelo as GBPCA’s director of public affairs, thereby increasing the organization’s outreach and making inroads with important initiatives.
Through the decades, GBPCA contractors A.H. Burns, Valante Mechanical, and E.H. Marchant Company have all been friendly competitors based in the Quincy area. All three union shops used to belong to the same Quincy local (which has since become part of Local 12). Larry Petrilli of E.H. Marchant, Joe Valante, Sr. of Valante Mechanical, and Marani’s father, John, all supported each other. The contractors borrowed each other’s tools and plumbers. “To me, it’s the way business should be,” Marani says.
Now, the second-generation owners of the shops continue the tradition and work cordially with one another. For example, Marani often calls Mike Petrilli for advice. “Mike is very bright,” he says. “He has helped me a lot through the years.”
Petrilli, who has long been active with the GBPCA (and its predecessor, the PHCC of Greater Boston), encouraged Marani to get involved with the organization. With Marani’s election, the three contractors have each taken their turns leading the group. Petrilli served as president from 2009 to 2011.
Other GBPCA members elected to the executive board include Paul Dionne of PJ Dionne Company, vice president; Ken Reagan of Cannistraro, clerk-treasurer; and Jim Bent of American Plumbing & Heating, assistant clerk-treasurer.
As part of the annual meeting, the GBPCA awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships and awards. Recipients included 23 students who are the children of member contractors, their employees, and the Local 12 plumbers who work for them. For this year’s essay, scholarship applicants were asked to write about the many ways that COVID-19 made an impact on their lives. The organization also gave awards to five top Local 12 apprentices, one from each class.