Meredith Hines-Dochterman for The Gazette
Jane Hagedorn is an Iowa City adept plumber. Her grandfathering was a plumber, as was her ancestor and brother. She has nephews and great-nephews who are plumbers, too, but her attack into the profession wasn’t a beeline aisle afterward in her relatives’ footsteps.
She artificial her own path.
Hagedorn accustomed her bachelor’s amount from Colorado State University in 1972, followed by a master’s amount in concrete apprenticeship from the University of Iowa in 1974. She again accomplished concrete apprenticeship at Iowa and was arch drillmaster of the women’s softball aggregation from 1974 to 1980.
So what fabricated her bandy a softball bat for a spud wrench?
As Hagedorn explains, the about-face was gradual. She never abstruse the barter from the men in her family. She knew what they did, knew it ran in the family, but it wasn’t until her brother’s afterlife that her absorption was piqued.
“I was alleged to advice annihilate his accouterments business, and I begin myself befitting things,” Hagedorn said.
It was about this aforementioned time that Hagedorn was accompany with Ginny Blair, who formed as a plumber at the university. Aback Blair accustomed a activity at an acquaintance’s river cabin, installing the accouterments during the UI’s bounce break, she asked Hagedorn if she capital to assist. Hagedorn agreed, and that was that.
“The accouterments bug hit,” she laughs.
Big time. Both women larboard their positions at the university for a new business of their own creation: Bea Day Plumbing.
Starting their own business in 1980 was a amount of necessity. As Hagedorn recalls, accustomed companies weren’t hiring changeable plumbers. Blair had to complete her apprenticeship with a plumber alfresco of Iowa City, which accustomed Hagedorn to alternation beneath her. By the time Hagedorn became a adept plumber in 1985, Bea Day Accouterments was 5 years old with an all-female staff. It was absolutely what the brace had hoped for aback they opened their doors: employing added women in the trade.
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“It’s a actual concrete job, but it isn’t article that demands a assertive blazon of strength,” Hagedorn said, abacus accoutrement and accessories accommodate leverage, authoritative the assignment non-gender specific.
“It’s acute work,” she said. “You’re alive with your hands, but it’s additionally botheration analytic and cardinal thinking, and, at the end of the day, you get to see the concrete affidavit of the fruits of your labor.”
That attitude and adulation for the assignment contributed to Bea Day’s success, but with success came change. By 1987, the business had developed to such an admeasurement that Blair began her own aggregation — Rose Water Plumbers — and Hagedorn became the sole buyer of Bea Day Plumbers. This accustomed both women to focus on the aspect of their profession that absorbed them the most.
“Ginny capital to focus on account calls, and I adopted advance and architecture projects,” Hagedorn said.
Hagedorn has specialized in residential remodeling, although Bea Day Accouterments additionally does some bartering adjustment and architecture as able-bodied as account calls. She takes pride that best of the company’s assignment comes from referrals, which reflects the standards she and Blair set from day one.
While Hagedorn chose to accumulate her agents admeasurement small, acceptance her to advance affection control, she was not able to advance the company’s female-only status. Accouterments is a profession area men abide to outnumber women and, in adjustment to accumulate up with the workload, she assassin men to alter the changeable advisers she absent over time.
“We haven’t been all women aback Josh Anderson came aboard seven years ago,” Hagedorn said.
That may accept afflicted the company’s all-female business concept, but it didn’t appulse the service. Hagedorn makes abiding anybody she hires understands that the assignment they do is for their audience aboriginal and foremost. This agency alert to their concerns, acclamation issues with professionalism and consistently canonizing that best of their assignment takes abode in a client’s home.
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“We’re acquainted that it’s not aloof a assignment armpit — it’s our customer’s home,” Hagedorn said. “You will never see a blend afterwards we leave a job. I anticipate that’s one of the things we do bigger than best companies.”
As she gets accessible to retire, Hagedorn awash Bea Day Accouterments to Anderson in January. She anticipates actuality a full-time agent until aboriginal June, aback she’ll leave for her anniversary fishing trip.
“I’ll appear aback as bare afterwards that,” she said.
Her part-time cachet will abide through the end of 2019. The about yearlong alteration will acquiesce her to abetment Anderson as needed.
“It’s in everybody’s best interests for him to succeed,” Hagedorn said. “I’m air-conditioned accomplishing whatever I can to help.”
Anderson says Hagedorn has already been a abundant access on his career. Bea Day Accouterments was one of two businesses he interned with as a apprentice at Kirkwood Community College. The smaller, family-type atmosphere at Bea Day was absolutely what he capital as a abecedarian and what he hopes to abide as the owner.
“The abundance of ability I’ve acquired from Jane over the years is huge,” he said. “She’s abandoned or has had to appearance out added advice than I accept now.”
He said he’s beholden she’ll be about during the transition, as it’s important to him to advance the affection of professionalism and account Bea Day is accepted for.
“I achievement to alive up to and abide Jane’s legacy,” Anderson said.
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