In our February PHCP Millennial On The Move spotlight, we invite you to meet N. Jake Kicinski, V.P. general manager of operations of South Side Plumbing & Heating Co.!
Kicinski: My current professional role has transformed from being out in the field every day doing the work physically to project management, estimation and general management of our company.
PHCPPros: How and why did you decide to enter a career in the PHCP industry?
Kicinski: For me, getting into the PHCP industry was easy and a no-brainer of a career. I am third generation; my grandfather, father, two uncles and cousin were/are in the industry. The industry was in my blood, and it was all I knew. Growing up working in the industry on the weekends and summers with my dad, I was very comfortable with the work. When it finally came time for me to choose a full-time career, I never had a second thought.
PHCPPros: What have been some of your career highlights so far?
Kicinski: This question really had me reflecting on my time in the industry. The obvious answer is successfully passing courses to gain certifications and licensing pertaining to the industry. However, I think I value the path of my career as my highlight. Starting out as a laborer, advancing to an apprentice, then becoming a foreman/technician — graduating to project management/estimation and finally being promoted to a general management title.
PHCPPros: Are you affiliated with any groups and organizations in the PHCP industry?
Kicinski: We are affiliated with so many groups and organizations within the industry it is tough to list them all. However, I think the organization I am most proud to be a part of is AMPAC (Associated Master Plumbers of Allegheny County). This organization promotes strength, unity and education locally for plumbers. AMPAC has made huge advancements in their education sector in the past 10 years. Over the past 10 years, I have noticed the high-quality apprentices and future plumbers they are producing for the industry.
PHCPPros: Do you have any mentors in the PHCP industry or otherwise?
Kicinski: My biggest mentor for my career is of course my father, John. He has taught me so much about all aspects of the business and industry. From in-field methods, customer service, advertising, accounting, and more, he has laid the groundwork for my success. Although my family does not fit the definition of a “mentor,” as a whole they really play a pivotal role in driving me to be successful. Failure and embarrassment is one of my biggest fears — with my families support, they inspire me to do the right thing and always push forward to be successful. An honorable mentor mention would also be South Side Plumbing & Heating Service Manager Bill McCullough.
PHCPPros: Do you consider yourself a mentor?
Kicinski: I definitely consider myself a mentor to the young up-and-comers within my company. Although I had a clear-cut advantage to my career path, I have been in their boots on the daily career grind. I can relate to the tough days and triumphs that they experience in the field. I think my age, on-the-job experience, and being able to read people’s demeanors to offer advice play a huge role in driving these younger people to be successful.
PHCPPros: What does it mean for you to be featured as a PHCP Millennial on The Move?
Kicinski: Being selected to be featured in a well-respected, industry-specific, nationally published media outlet, I consider it to be a great achievement not only for me, but for the people I have the most sincere gratitude toward for pushing me to be where I am today. More importantly, I hope being featured inspires up-and-comers to drive forward on the tough days and savor the good days. Being successful early in your career in this industry is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication to your craft, continued education, and determination for advancement. If there is anything I have taken away from this industry, it is that you learn something new every day. It gets easier with experience, and you have to enjoy what you do.