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Meet Dave McDonough, 2023 Plumbing National Championship Finalist

ETCS graphic with 2023 plumbing finalist Dave McDonough

This year, the Elite Trades Championship Series (ETCS) expanded its suite of skilled trades competitions with the addition of the inaugural Plumbing National Championship. While the ETCS has held competitions in HVAC, auto and electrical trades, this new championship celebrates and showcases the exceptional skills of plumbers across the country, and SharkBite is proud to be the category sponsor.

About the plumbing competition

There are three rounds to the championship. After hundreds entered the competition by taking a 3-minute quiz designed by Florida PHCC, 20 semi-finalists advanced to Round 2, which included a timed, at-home plumbing challenge. From there, only five plumbers emerged and will head to Tampa for the finals, which will be televised on CBS Sports Network on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. ET.

The finalists

Ahead of the program, get to know the top 5 plumbers in the nation. One of them, Dave McDonough, works at B&W Plumbing, Heating and Electrical in Speedway, Indiana, and has been in the field for 40 years. Get to know his journey to becoming a plumber, his perspectives on the trade, and how he feels knowing he’s one of the best plumbers in the U.S.

1. Tell us about how you first got into the trade.

What got me involved in the plumbing trade was my dad. He was a firefighter for the city of Pittsburgh and the father of triplet boys. He went to plumbing school, got his master plumbing license then started a plumbing company just so he didn’t have to pay for three boys in college at the same time. Pretty smart move if you ask me.  

I said, “Dad, I don’t want to be a plumber. I want to be a secret service man.” He replied, “You are going to be a plumber.” He enrolled all three of us in plumbing school during our senior year of high school. Now I thank him for giving me such a great living.  

2. What is your philosophy for achieving a successful career in plumbing?

To achieve a successful career in plumbing, work hard and steady. Take pride in your work, and success will fall into place. Do not take criticism as a personal attack. Take it as an opportunity to get feedback from another perspective and grow.  

3. What is something you wish you knew about the trade that upcoming plumbers should know?

I never knew how fulfilling being a plumber could be. Like anything, it starts out as just a job. The more you do and the more people you help, it starts to feel good when they appreciate you for what you do. You make yourself a superstar. I have made a lot of friends out of customers and coworkers throughout the years.  

4. How does it feel to be considered one of the best plumbers in the U.S.?  

Being considered one of the best plumbers in the U.S. feels pretty amazing. I am still trying to wrap my brain around the whole thing. I think that it is an experience every plumber should take a shot at.  

5. What’s your go to artist(s) you listen to on the job?  

I don’t have a go-to artist I listen to. Just anything country!

You can follow Dave on Instagram at @Plumber_Dave.com_. Watch Dave and the other four finalists on CBS Sports Network on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. ET.

Learn more about the first-ever Plumbing National Championship.