Procore Virtual Design

Skilled trades, such as plumbing and environmental comfort (HVAC), have evolved from mostly manual labor professions into jobs that involve working with computers, industry software programs and other technical equipment and tools.

The technicians at Howe, Inc. offer a prime example of the advanced skill sets which are required today to excel in a professional career as a plumber or HVAC professional. Howe, Inc. trains technicians on specialized equipment, software, system theory, and leadership.

“We are always looking for the next training opportunity,” Operations Manager Chad Oxender says.

Oxender sees the traditional plumber stereotype as a misrepresentation of the work that technicians do, as well as an oversimplification of the products and services that firms like Howe, Inc. provide.

“Our apprenticeship training alone involves math, safety, health, and the theories it takes to understand hundreds of different piping systems to create infrastructure for a building to function,” Oxender says. “This is just a small part of the knowledge it takes to be a plumber or a supporting member of the trade.”

In the last year, Howe, Inc. implemented the use of iPads for their foremen and technicians. The idea behind the iPads was to improve communication, helping to better organize projects and address questions that arise on the job.

“We spent several hours with each employee getting them trained on the uses and best practices for these new tools,” Oxender said.

Some other examples of technology that’s currently used by Howe, Inc. technicians:

In addition to the technology employed on construction projects, smart technology is leading to more gadgets at home, like smart thermostats, which require skilled knowledge to install, maintain, and repair. As households become more advanced, so too must the skills that technicians use to service them.

As a result, technician recruitment for Howe, Inc. involves not only finding those with mechanical aptitude, but also teaching them about the range of skills needed to succeed in the plumbing and HVAC fields today.

“We look for all levels of experience,” Oxender says. “We’re not shy about taking the lead and getting someone who has technical aptitude trained on our systems and tools.”

As a company Howe, Inc. aims to train and support their technicians so that they can provide the best service to their community and combat that old plumber stereotype.

Check here to learn more about computers in the skilled trades from Explore the Trades.