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Growing up, Bill Shuster loved everything about cars. So after graduating from a technical high school with an emphasis in automotive, he got a job at a dealership hoping to build a career working on and around what he loved most.
It didn’t take long for the negative environment to dash Bill’s dreams of a career in the auto industry. Burned out with the lack of morale, he had to face the fact that he was never going to become a top technician or make enough money to have the life we wanted.
“I would listen to the older guys there complaining about the job, and I realized that no one enjoyed the job enough the share it with me,” Bill explained. “There was no passion there, so I had no way of gaining the skills I needed to get where I wanted to go.”
When he decided that it was time to look elsewhere, inspiration came right to his door.
“My family had just had the sewer replaced from the house all the way to the curb at the cost of $4,500.” Bill saw the potential in this line of work and wasted no time switching gears. “The plumber, of course, was looking for help, and a month later I started working for him.”
Of course, because in the last decade, trades like plumbing have ranked among the hardest roles to fill in the country. With more kids choosing college over trade school and the plumbing industry facing a retiring workforce, the demand for skilled tradespeople is higher than ever. “There is absolutely no shortage of work,” Bill says, “so the security plumbing offers is undeniable.”
He had no problem with hard work or getting dirty, which helped him succeed in his new trade. “A few of the other trades are a lot cleaner, but it didn’t bother me,” Bill says. “And as I learned the basic parts of a toilet tank in my apprentice days, that’s when I first learned of Fluidmaster. Every company I’ve ever worked for stressed using nothing but quality brands, so every fill valve I have changed since has been a Fluidmaster.”
After 10 years of honing his craft, Bill earned his Master Plumbers license and started his own business, Shuster’s Plumbing, where he installs countless Fluidmaster products every week. “The quality product that a company stands behind is a key part of doing quality work for customers,” Bill explains. “Being surrounded by professionals since day one and knowing the quality parts that they use, there was only one choice, Fluidmaster.”
Still, at the front end of a very promising career, Bill is already thinking of the future and wants to give back to the trade that has done so much for him. So he started the nonprofit PlumbLife, with the mission to educate and engage future tradesmen and women in their journey to become Master Plumbers. “It’s very important to promote the industry especially to young people because we are a dying breed.”
With retiring plumbers less interested in learning new technologies or working with improved tools and equipment, Bill knows the importance of changing the perception young people have of the trade and making sure they see plumbing as an option to secure a promising future.
“My hope is that people currently working and making a solid living in the trade will pass that knowledge and skillset down to the next generation,” Bill says. “There are a few principles that will always be the same no matter what material the water flows through, and that’s what we need to teach these kids.”
He would love to one day see PlumbLife expand, spreading the word to people all across the country that plumping is an awesome career. To bring people together and encourage them to push further and learn more every day while working and helping people, that’s the goal.
Until then, he’ll keep learning, using the best products and creating a positive environment for his customers and his mentees. “Passing the torch down, that’s what I want to do,” Bill summarizes. “That’s not something I had, so I think it’s important to lead the way for others.” We think he’s doing a pretty good job.