A Leader with Experience in Putting Plumbers First (Since He Is One)
October 12, 2022
We often stand back in awe of all we learn from Tom McConahay. Having his perspective keeps us on the right track to focusing on how we can best support plumbers. With his extensive first-hand experience as a plumber in the field, our company is fortunate to have his knowledge with us every step of the way.
Here’s more about Tom from his perspective.
I started plumbing in October of 1993. I went into business in March of 2001. I put my tools away and joined Rheem® in 2016. I am from Columbus, Ohio and a huge Buckeye fan! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, and I enjoy being on or in the water. If water and sunshine is involved, you can count me in. I have two children and six grandchildren, and I am so lucky to be married to my best friend.
Role at Rheem
Here at Rheem, I’m part of our Demand Generation Team. As a plumber myself, I am able to work with internal teams giving them a plumber’s perspective to assure everything Rheem does has the plumber top of mind.
Internally, this includes product management, marketing, the plumber training experience at one of our four Innovation Learning Centers (ILCs), social media, working with school districts and trade schools to address the skilled labor shortage, special projects, etc. Externally, I lead a team of master plumbers and former business owners throughout the U.S., our Plumber Support team.
The Plumber Support Team is a highly skilled and credible team that builds relationships with plumbers through training and helping plumbing companies grow their businesses with Rheem. Essentially, if it’s related to plumbers, my team and I are involved with it at some level. This role and team are unique to Rheem. It’s an extremely gratifying position that allows me to work with plumbers daily and to give back to a trade that’s been so very good to me.
Getting into the Details
Why did you get into plumbing?
By luck really. I had planned on going to college and enlisted in the Army for the GI Bill. I got married and had a child while in the Army. This changed things. I got out of the Army in August of 1993 and started plumbing that same October. You never could have told me that I would have become a plumber.
What do you like most about being a plumber?
I was paid to learn a trade, and the trade pays really well. It’s an opportunity to help people daily, and I got to design and install plumbing systems that provide potable water and safely dispose of water waste for generations to come.
What do you like most about your role at Rheem?
Rheem is committed to plumbers. So much so that they decided to hire seasoned career plumbers who are former business owners. This gives my team and I the opportunity to help Rheem design their products in a way that benefits the plumber. From the way Rheem designs and packages their heaters, to installing and servicing them. I am able to lead a team of plumbers throughout the country to train plumbers everywhere on our products and to help them grow their businesses. It’s extremely gratifying to help my fellow plumbers to be more successful.
What as your favorite memory of a time you helped your customers?
There are so many it’s hard to choose, however, one comes to mind. I had an elderly woman reach out to me who received a quote to have her “leaking” water heater replaced for nearly $2,000. A friend of hers was my customer, and she told her to contact me for a second opinion/quote. I’m glad she did. Her water heater was still under warranty which her plumber failed to tell her, and it wasn’t leaking. The temperature and pressure (T&P) valve was dripping. She didn’t have a water heater problem. She had a thermal expansion problem. I added an expansion tank to her system and got her taken care of for less than $200. I’ve spent many holidays at customers’ homes replacing water heaters and repairing gas leaks so they can safely cook holiday meals and have hot water and heat, unclogging drains, replacing garbage disposers, repairing frozen water lines, etc. It’s truly about helping people.
What was one of your proudest moments as a plumber?
What I am most proud of is the plumbing trade itself. It’s a good ole boy/girl network with some incredibly intelligent and hardworking people. I am so proud to be a part of the plumbing community.
How to Contact the Plumber Support Team
Rheem’s Plumber Support Managers are located throughout the country and are here to educate plumbers on Rheem’s products and programs and to help them grow their water heater businesses. If you’d like to be introduced to the Plumber Support Manager in your region, please call 1-866-339-2388.
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