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Maryland PHCC Contractor




Winter 2013

Lawrence G. Knoch Garland L. Hardy Allied Plumbing & Htg, Inc. L. G. Knoch Plumbing & Htg, LLC Westminster, MD Hampstead, MD James R. Jones, Jr. RJs Plumbing, Inc. Millersville, MD

Gary Bittner GABCO Construction Co. Aberdeen, MD

Robert Holcomb Tidewater Mechanical, Inc. Deale, MD 20751 Joel E. Isaacs, Sr. Joel E. Isaacs Plumbing Svc Mt. Airy, MD


Senior Editor - Diane P. Kastner Maryland PHCC Contractor Magazine is the official magazine of The Maryland Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors and is published four times annually. The Maryland PHCC does not necessarily endorse any of the companies advertising in this publication or the views of its writers. Maryland PHCC Contractor Magazine is designed and published by Blue Water Publishers, LLC. Articles and information published in this magazine may not be reproduced without written consent of The Maryland PHCC or Blue Water Publishers, LLC. The publisher cannot assume responsibility for claims made by advertisers and is not responsible for the opinions expressed by contributing authors. For more information on advertising, contact Jim Aitkins Blue Water Publishers, LLC 22727 - 161st Avenue SE, Monroe, WA 98272 360-805-6474 / fax: 360-805-6475 jima@bluewaterpublishers.com

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CONTENTS ..........

Don’t Hit Pause - George Kennedy, PHCC National Assoc. Ex VP 4 Government Needs to Pay More Attention To the Phrase “Public Policy” 6 Distracted Driving 8 Shoulder Injury FactSheet 10 Put the PHCC Advantage to Work for You 12 Family Business Dynamics 14 Maryland PHCC New Introductory Membership Information 18 Maryland PHCC Membership Application 19 Maryland PHCC 32-Hour Backflow Certification Course Information 20 Maryland PHCC 32-Hour Backflow Certification Course Application 21 PHCC Instructors Needed 22 Maryland PHCC 2014 Trade Show - Save the Date 22

OFFICERS 2013 ................... PRESIDENT THOMAS KELLER ELLICOTT CITY, MD (410) 203-1741 (410) 203-2638 FAX

Parts Unlimited Rockford Separators Slant Fin SureSeal Manufacturing T&S Brass Watts Water Technologies

DIRECTORS JIM BERNDT BALTIMORE, MD (410) 254-7473 (410) 256-4787 FAX RONALD MCBEE, SR. BALTIMORE, MD (410) 444-5448 (410) 426-5440 FAX STEVEN M. SCHAEFER WESTMINSTER, MD (410) 876-6825 (410) 857-0011 FAX BRUCE J. SOLOMON REISTERSTOWN, MD (410) 833- 2188 (410) 833-9023 FAX RONALD STIEGLER ELDERSBURG, MD (410) 876-6825









Winter 2013 | Maryland PHCC Contractor


Don’t Hit “Pause” Stay Relevant with PHCC… and Keep Moving Forward


n mid-October, “Go Big and Innovate” was the message resonating at CONNECT 2013, PHCC’s annual convention. Contractors attending the event participated in a jam-packed program of the latest ideas and best practices that will help them take their businesses to the next level. CONNECT is always a great “jump start,” especially on new trends and strategies, but – as smart business people – you must keep the momentum going, from building market share to implementing new technologies. After all, in today’s business world, when a company isn’t moving ahead, it starts falling behind. To keep you progressing in the right direction all year long, PHCC offers many other exciting programs and opportunities, like: •


Expanding our presence on Capitol Hill by building strong relationships with key lawmakers and regulators, testifying before Congress on important issues like health care reform, and hosting an always-successful Legislative Conference that attracts members and lawmakers alike. Working with regulatory agencies on some very important issues, including the need for a more workable EPA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP) for commercial and public buildings, as well as continued warnings about alternate refrigerants, specifically R-22a.

Updating members on what they need to comply with health care reform requirements, as well as any changes in the new law’s timeline.

Providing vital workforce development resources, such as career materials and state-of-the-art plumbing and HVAC apprentice programs, to attract and educate the next generation of workers.

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

By Gerry Kennedy PHCC National Association Executive Vice President

Offering new educational options, including free live and on-demand webinars on timely business management and technical topics geared toward p-h-c contractors and their employees.

Providing new member discount programs, including a recent partnership with Chrysler Corp. that offers members, their families and their employees a special $500 cash allowance toward the purchase or lease of select 2012 or 2013 models.

Developing education and training programs on relevant topics, like how to comply with the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act that goes into effect January 2014.

Helping members succeed through a new brand awareness campaign that promotes the value of PHCC and a new water audit certification course that can that help pave the way for new business.

Enhancing communications with members via expanded media, including online and mobile technologies.

As you can see, there are a variety of programs and services available to you. We hope you take advantage of them all. There is never a time to hit “pause” when it comes to building your business. Especially these days, “Go Big and Innovate” must happen all year long to stay ahead of the competition. For more information on PHCC’s programs and opportunities, visit www.phccweb.org or call (800) 533-7694.

Winter 2013 | Maryland PHCC Contractor


Government Needs To Pay More Attention To the Phrase

“Public Policy” Notice it’s not “government” policy – it’s “public” policy… for the good of the public! By Mark Riso, Director of Government Relations


he toughest dynamics in the development of sound public policy are when good intentions meet with what’s possible…when our hearts confront our minds…when our hopes confront our limitations. We live in a democracy…we all seem comfortable with that. But... what if you’re in the minority (to clarify, minority has no racial or political or financial bend-we’re talking about issues). We live in the greatest nation (the greatest democracy) on earth however, the real flaw in a democracy is that the “minority” has no voice. We can all be in the minority at one time or another and at any time – even the most “powerful” people in the US have found themselves in the minority on an issue. However, when one finds themself in the minority, it somehow still doesn’t eliminate their belief that they’re right. Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” What Churchill really meant (in my opinion) is that there are no perfect ways to govern and we must always continue to do our best. We do this by partnering. In this case, Congress as well as regulatory agencies must partner with industry to strike a delicate balance for sound public policy (not something that is practiced too often). As such, we must always strive to strike a balance between good intentions and what is possible. My father taught me that the first priority of the “majority” is to make sure that the “minority” is ok. We must always make sure that the policies and agenda of those in “power” don’t overrun the rights and the interests of those who are not in “power.” This is important because again, we all find ourselves in the minority at one time or another. For all those who say that it doesn’t matter – “majority” rules…remember, you will soon have to comply with a sweeping health care law that may very well harm small business…which was put in place by a “majority” of Congress and the President. Humbling, no doubt. By now you’ve heard, read, and probably watched an overwhelming amount of information as it relates to the new health care law. Some of it has already gone into place with the most onerous provisions to go into effect January 1, 2014 [6]

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

(though the Administration has announced that it will delay for one year, the imposition of penalties to large employers for not offering health insurance to their employees). In essence, the goals of the new law are simple… health care for all, quality health care for all, and affordable health care for all. I don’t know of anyone who would want to oppose any of these objectives. However, as we said, the best of intentions. The US House of Representatives Small Business Committee recently held a hearing on health care reform implementation. The focus of the hearing (of which PHCC testified and offered expert testimony), was to gather information as to how small business will be impacted regarding the new health care laws. Both the House and Senate have begun actions to understand, analyze and even attempt to repeal certain provisions they deem as dangerous to small business (among others). PHCC’s Vice President Kevin Tindall offered PHCC’s testimony, arguing that small business is beginning to experience increased costs to insurance premiums for employers and employees in the p-h-c industry. The testimony also strongly stated that there are many “unknowns” coming down the road for small business and that a business budget cannot responsibly address “unknowns” in order to be profitable. Rising costs and policy based on the “unknown” are powerful arguments against any initiative. If Congress is truly sincere in its attempts to create jobs, then why would it pursue policy that challenges a business with its ability to create jobs by raising its costs to do business? My point is that well intended ideas, goals, and objectives are what we should all have in our hearts and we should always continue to pursue in order to improve the quality of life for everyone. However, in order to achieve it, we must strive to understand the ramifications of their actions. Congress has an opportunity to re-evaluate the new health care law…some of it is good – some of it bad. As Congress reviews the impact to small business as the law goes into effect – we will be keeping a close eye on who is helping us, and who is not, on Capitol Hill.

Winter 2013 | Maryland PHCC Contractor




The Risks of Distracted Driving Although most distractions are avoidable, some distractions are impossible to completely prevent – instead they must be managed. Driving requires your full attention. You can take charge of eliminating distractions to focus on the road ahead. Why is Distracted Driving a Problem? Distractions take a motorist’s attention off driving, which can make a driver miss critical events, objects, and cues or abandon control of a vehicle, all potentially leading to a crash. Distracted drivers put not only themselves at risk, but everyone else using the road. According to NHTSA, one of every ten fatal crashes in the U.S. involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year. Why is Distracted Driving a Problem? Countless distracting activities can divert driver attention and any one of them can increase the risk of a crash. Tips for Preventing Distracted Driving 1. Fully focus on driving. Do not let anything divert your attention, actively scan the road, use your mirrors and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. 2. To avoid temptation, power down or stow devices before heading out. 3. Store loose gear, possessions and other distraction that could roll around in the car, so you do not feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.

4. Make adjustments before your get underway. Address vehicle systems like your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time. 5. Finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road. 6. Snack smart. If possible, eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving. On the road, avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage. 7. Secure children and pets before getting underway. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the backseat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. 8. Put aside your electronic distractions. Don’t use cell phones while driving – handheld or handsfree – except in absolute emergencies. Never use text messaging, email functions, video games or the internet with a wireless device, including those built into the vehicle, while driving. 9. If you have passengers, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving. 10. If another activity demands your attention, instead of trying to attempt it while driving, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place. Provided by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety


Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

Understanding Distraction Eyes off the Road

Roadside Billboards Checking Self in Mirror Gawking at Crash Scenes

Hands off the Wheel Personal Grooming Reading Maps or Newspapers Reaching for Fallen Objects Attending to Passengers/Pets Texting while Driving

Eating Talking with Passengers Drinking Using a Hands-Free Cell Phone Using a Handheld Cell Phone Using Voice-Activated Features Using Vehicle Instruments Daydreaming Changing CDs

Mind off of Driving

which occurs during any distracting activity

Winter 2013 | Maryland PHCC Contractor


Shoulder Injury FactSheet


ave you ever wondered how baseball pitchers can have such different throwing motions and create so many variations of a pitch? It’s the shoulder, an amazing joint that can make the arm throw overhand or underhand at almost 100 miles per hour, and seconds later make full circles frontward or backward. Yet the feats performed by this most mobile joint in the body can stress the shoulder in ways that make it prone to injury. A shoulder injury can occur as a result of a repetitive job, process, or operation. Employees involved in tasks such as painting walls, hanging curtains, repairing vehicles raised on a lift, filing, and lifting objects are at risk for shoulder injuries due to excessive overhead arm motion. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2003 Survey of Injuries and Illnesses, in Texas, while back injuries are the most frequently reported on-the-job injury, shoulder injuries kept people out of work the longest—30 days compared to the back—12 days. Anatomy of the Shoulder The shoulder joint is often thought of as a golf ball sitting on a tee: the large, rounded end of the humerus (upper arm bone) moves within the scooped out glenoid head (or socket of the scapula bone in the back) next to the end of the clavicle (collarbone). But unlike a golf ball that is launched from a tee, the head of the arm must remain in a confined space and still move freely. Pain is the most common symptom of a shoulder injury. Variable degrees of stiffness and a locking sensation may occur with or without pain. Sometimes a shoulder injury can lead to numbness or tingling down the arm. What are some of the Warning Signs of a Shoulder Injury? When experiencing pain in your shoulder, ask yourself these questions: • Is the shoulder stiff? Can you rotate your arm in all the normal positions? • Does it feel like your shoulder could pop out or slide out of the socket? [ 10 ]

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

Do you lack the strength in your shoulder to carry out your daily activities?

If you answer, “yes” to any one of these questions or are experiencing recurring shoulder, neck, or arm pain, you should consult a doctor. Early intervention is one of the best forms of treatment. Some people will have a tendency to ignore the pain and “play through” shoulder injuries, which only aggravates the condition and possibly causes more problems. People also may underestimate the extent of the injury because steady pain, weakness in the arm, or limitation of joint motion can become almost second nature to them. Workplace Safety Many injuries are related to sustained postures and repetitive duties at work. There are several things employees can do to improve workplace safety and reduce the risk of shoulder injuries. • When sitting, sit in a supportive chair with your buttocks back as far as possible in the seat and your thighs fully supported by the seat. • Place your monitor directly in front of you at finger- tips reach. • Look straight at your monitor; eyes should be level with the toolbar. • Bend your elbows and knees 90 degrees. • Support your feet on the floor or footstool. • Take posture breaks and exercise for several minutes every hour. • Follow instructions with respect to proper lifting techniques and other safe work practices designed to prevent shoulder injuries.

• •

Use care when positioning the body and back before even mild exertion during lifting. Face the object to be lift, and keep the back as straight as possible by bending and using legs for lifting power. Do not reach to place or retrieve heavy objects stored up high; use a stable platform or step stool. Know when you need rest and relaxation during nonworking hours and maintain good physical condition to avoid strains and sprains. To help prevent shoulder injuries, employers should conduct a worksite evaluation, consider feasible control measures, and train employees. Any hazard identified by the evaluation should be corrected or minimized to the extent feasible. Engineering controls (work station redesign, adjustable fixtures, or tool redesign) and administrative controls (changes in procedures, job rotation, work pacing, or breaks) are alternatives that should be considered.

Minimizing the Pain of an Injury After injuring your shoulder, pain is a useful indicator to guide how much to use it. Unless your doctor or physical therapist gives you other instructions, limit activities and arm motions that are aggravating the pain. The following are some specific suggestions to help minimize the pain of a shoulder injury: • Eliminate heavy lifting and raising arms above shoulders. • Lift items close to the body. • Only lift light weights and only below shoulder level. • Practice good posture when doing computer work, assembly work, or other activities that involve the arms. • Limit the amount of time that you restrict arm movement with a sling, as you can develop frozen shoulder (stiff shoulder joint).

squeezes. While sitting or standing, keep arm vertical and close to body. Pendulum stretching exercises relieve pressure on the rotator cuff. Allow arm to swing back and forth in a small diameter (about 1 inch). As symptoms improve, the diameter of the swing may be increased. Initially perform the exercise with just the weight of your arm. As shoulder pain improves, progressively add more weight—5 to 10 pounds (a filled gallon container weighs 8 pounds). Perform exercise for five minutes once or twice a day. Perform muscle-strengthening exercises. After sustaining a shoulder injury, begin shoulder-muscle toning exercises about one to two weeks after doing pendulum stretching exercises. Use elastic exercise bands for a variety of arm exercises. For example, at- tach band to a doorknob. Then hold your elbow close to your side at a 90-degree angle, grasp the band and pull toward your waist. Hold for five seconds. Do 15 to 20 repetitions each day.

This fact sheet was published by Quality Service Contractors { www.qsc-phcc.org } with information from the Harvard Medical School’s Consumer Health Information, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) and is considered factual at the time of original publication.

Exercise to Maintain Healthy Shoulders Keeping physically fit with a balanced program of aerobic exercise and stretching and strengthening all body parts can help to prevent shoulder injuries. If you think you have injured your shoulder, consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting an exercise program. The following practices can prevent injury by warming up shoulders before exercise or work: • Apply heat to shoulder muscles prior to exercise. • Heat prepares muscles and tendons for exercise. For example, take a warm shower for 10 to 15 minutes before exercise. • Keep arm below shoulder height while doing arm stretches. • Gradually increase movements during shoulder warmup—big circles, across-body movements, trunk twists, shoulder blade rolls and forward and backward squeezes. • Warm-up—big circles, across-body movements, trunk twists, shoulder blade rolls and forward and backward Winter 2013 | Maryland PHCC Contractor

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Put the PHCC ADVANTAGE to Work for You


e understand the realities of business today: cutting costs, improving cash flow, and looking for ways to increase productivity. PHCC membership is a risk-free investment in the success of your business…guaranteed to improve your bottom line. Dollar for dollar, no association offers more business building tools: • Get the business and technical “know-how” you need to run a profitable business and be successful in an increasingly competitive market. With over 250 education and training options, plus 24/7 online options for you and your employees, PHCC is always focused on ways to improve your business. Interactive seminars and programs offered throughout the country present business owners, project managers, foreman, apprentices and other key staff with the skills they need.

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Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

Meet other PHCC members at national, state and local events for advice, support, and more business. When you join PHCC you become part of a unique network of people that share your high professional standards and passion for the industry. As partners or competitors, you can always trust fellow members to work with you so that everyone wins. Count on PHCC periodicals to keep you up-todate on news, trends, and business solutions. PHCC sifts through the clutter of industry news and publishes what you need to know in a simple, concise weekly e-newsletter, PHCC Online. PHCC’s quarterly newsletter, The PHCC Connection, contains practical and implementable business strategies. Keep the national, state and local business environments conducive to your success with PHCC’s Pro-active legislative and regulatory initiatives. Elected leaders and government regulators depend

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Profit from green resources to promote water and energy efficiency to your customers. With building regulations mandating more water and energy efficient systems and technologies and consumers demanding products that save water, energy and money, PHCC can help you successfully integrate green practices into your business.

Save money on business expenses through exclusive arrangements with PHCC’s Preferred Service Providers. Total up your annual savings on fuel, business forms, fleet service, uniforms, insurance, marketing and Website services – and see results in your bottom line.

Joining PHCC is easy and more essential than ever.

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Winter 2013 | Maryland PHCC Contractor

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Family Business



he plumbing-heating-cooling industry is ripe with family owned businesses and the dynamics that go along with them. If you are a family business owner, take pride in some of the family business ownership facts.  Family businesses: • Are built to last – the average life span is around 25 years • Grow against economic odds – out perform nonfamily owned business in tough times • Feed new job creation – over 75% • Are inherently entrepreneurial • Take a long term view – focus on resilience more than performance • Contribute to the greatest part of America’s wealth – close to 90% That sure is a nice list to be associated with.  How exciting to be a part of the American dream – yet how daunting it is to keep the dream alive by keeping the right level of focus on your most important asset, your people. Only about 40% of U.S. family-owned businesses turn into second-generation businesses, approximately 13% are passed down successfully to a third generation, and only 3% can expect to last to a fourth or beyond.

even if they are a family member - gets amplified every time. Talent engagement has an impact even in the smallest of businesses. HR Practices and Your Business Family-owned businesses experience even more challenges when it comes to HR practices, especially when a mix of family and non-family employees are working in the business. It is often more difficult to make objective business decisions, especially as it relates to pay, discipline or other compliancerelated issues. It is critical however, that all employees (family or otherwise) be treated consistently.  Here is an exploration of some common mistakes family owned business make when it comes to people practices.

Employees Impact Your Business The “people as your most important asset” assertion may be over used, but for good reason. Many companies claim it; many fewer use practices that substantiate it. If people are your most important resource, then you need to understand the role of human resources in your family business. Many owners believe that because they have only a few employees (and many are family), they do not need to focus on human resources issues. The reality is quite the opposite – you need to focus more attention in support of your people because, effectively, they can make or break your business. Do the math - if your business has only 5 employees, each of those employees has the potential to have a 20% impact on the business. The impact of a bad hiring decision or an underperforming employee – [ 14 ]

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

[continued on page 16]

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Succession Planning and Your Business The ugliest mistake family owned businesses make is to ignore succession planning. Everything is at stake when the patriarch or matriarch steps down and no plan is in place. Not properly planning for succession sets the stage for succession failure and greatly increases the odds of business failure. Here are some succession questions to consider: • Do you actually want the business to continue to exist once you are ready to leave? • Does it make more sense to sell the business to another company and let them take over operations? • If you do want to pass on the company to someone else, what’s the ideal profile of your successor? • Does that ideal profile exist within the company now, family member or not? • If not, what is your plan for finding that person, hiring them & training them? Do you actually have the time required to implement that plan? • If you plan on passing the company on to a family member, have they been groomed for the responsibility? Other employees may resent a new owner who “inherited” but didn’t “earn” the corner office job. • If you are planning to pass the company on to multiple family members, remember – one person must be ultimately be in charge. Nothing is more stubborn than two chiefs with opposite viewpoints. • As you go from one generation to the next, will family members continue to work together? • If you have a succession plan in place – do you re-visit it regularly? • Do you have a clearly written succession plan with specific goal points along the way? • Do you have a clear rationale for the decisions in your succession plan? Have you made it fair and transparent? • What do you want your legacy to be? Perhaps the greatest legacy of an effective leader is to have positioned great people on staff who can take over and run the business even better than you did.

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Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

There is so much good to enjoy about being a family business owner, especially of you avoid the most common pitfalls. Remember to run your business in a way that is fair, equitable, and transparent for all. Plan ahead for the day when you will leave. By doing so, you will boost the odds of creating a successful a multi-generational family business. This content was developed for the PHCC Educational Foundation by TPO, Inc. (www.tpo-inc.com). Please consult your HR professional or attorney for further advice, as laws may differ in each state. Laws continue to evolve; the information presented is as of September 2013. Any omission or inclusion of incorrect data is unintentional. Please note this article is not intended to provide legal advice or to substitute for supervisor employment law training. The PHCC Educational Foundation, a partnership of contractors, manufacturers and wholesalers was founded in 1987 to serve the plumbing-heating-cooling industry by preparing contractors and their employees to meet the challenges of a constantly changing marketplace. If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting the Foundation by making a contribution at http://www .phccfoundation.org.

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Winter 2013 | Maryland PHCC Contractor

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Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

Winter 2013 | Maryland PHCC Contractor

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Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

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Mark Your Calendars!

The Maryland Plumbing-HeatingCooling Contractors Education Council is currently accepting applications for Instructors to teach in our Plumbing Apprenticeship school. Classes are held two nights per week 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Anne Arundel County Center of Applied Technology, North 800 Stevenson Road, Severn, MD. Classes at this location are on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Position open for the 2014 semester for a third year Instructor. Baltimore County Essex Community College 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD. Tuesday Classes at this location are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Position open for the 2014 semester for a fourth year Instructor. Qualifications: • Prior teaching experience is preferred, but not required. • A Master Plumber/Master Inspector or Journey License is essential. • Four years trade experience is acceptable, yet a minimum of six years is preferred. • Instructor Contracts are based on 165 hours per year • Instructors are paid by the hour. If you are interested and would like additional information please call the PHCC office (410) 461-5977 or fax your resume to (410) 750-2507 or by e-mail phccmd@aol.com [ 22 ]

Maryland PHCC Contractor | Winter 2013

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Profile for Blue Water Publishers, LLC

Maryland PHCC Contractor, Winter 2013  


Maryland PHCC Contractor, Winter 2013