A Career in Plumbing: Russel Sweeney's Story
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Russel Sweeney doesn’t live to work. He works to live. The owner of Sweeney Remodeling and Plumbing values a work-life balance, especially since he has a family.
Together, he, his wife and three kids care for their five chickens — one for each of them — and their bee hives. During pollinating season, they’ll even go out to spoon up some honey, collecting more to give to friends and family. These are some of the moments Sweeney gets to savor because his plumbing career gives him the time and balance to focus on the things that matter most in life.
How He Got Started in Plumbing
In high school, Sweeney felt that he was being pulled in several different directions: He was a competitive fighter and pistol shooter all while managing a fast-food restaurant.
When his father-in-law, who had a local plumbing company, suffered a heart attack, Sweeney offered to help manage his plumbing team. He didn’t know anything about the trade but ended up getting thrown into the thick of the job rather than handling management during the first six months.
“But when [my father-in-law] hired me and started paying me what I was making, I was blown away,” he said. “Coming from where I came from, that was something that I could lift my head up over.”
Blazing His Own Path
That initial whirlwind turned into something Sweeney came to love long term. After a while, he realized he was passionate about his job, particularly the service and ability to make something from nothing.
At 25, he decided to open his own plumbing business. His goal was to build something bigger than himself and make his own mark on history.
Today, he continues to pursue his plumbing career with excitement. Because he loves the trade, Sweeney says he wakes up and has fun at work every day.
Plus, plumbing is a “very recession-proof job.” Everyone needs running water and flushing toilets, so everyone needs a plumber. And if you stick with it, you can get a lot out of it.
“You can drive nice cars, you can live in a nice house, you can have a nice life — just by being willing to get your hands a little dirty,” Sweeney says.
He’s seen that in his own life. When he was a kid, college wasn’t a viable option without the aid of a scholarship. Plumbing helped him to pursue a bright future and a lucrative business at no cost, changing the trajectory of his life.
Explore more reasons to have a career in plumbing, whether you’re interested in entering the trade or you’re looking for a resource you can share to get more people interested.