NORFOLK -- I was training with Vince Heine who's been a plumber for over thirty years. We had to install a couple of sinks and a shower in an apartment on the third floor of a building near the Norfolk Zoo.
'This will take quite a few hours, probably about three,' Heine said.
Heine is part of an 18-man team that travels in nine trucks for Norfolk Plumbing. You may have heard of them -- they're the guys located near the Midtown Tunnel who claim the pounding from constructing the new tunnel caused one of their buildings to buckle.
This day, our job was a welcome relief. During the recent snowfall and freeze plumbers across Hampton Roads were extremely busy.
'Me and my helper Carlos put in 73 hours,' Heine noted.
'We took 160-plus calls in two days,' said Norfolk Plumbing owner Jeff Hux. 'So it was pretty active. We had some crews out working till one in the morning, two nights in a row.'
Our little job of caulking and installing a sink was nothing compared to what crews went through. I asked Heine what type of person it takes to be a good plumber.
'Someone who's willing to work and put in a little bit of overtime. Try to get people satisfied and get water back on -- that's the main thing,' said Heine.
There are a lot of plumbing companies in Hampton Roads and these guys agree there seems to be enough work for everybody. But can a plumber make a good living here?
'Oh, absolutely. A good plumber could easily make $50,000 a year,' added Hux.
Carlos is in the VoTech program that Norfolk Public Schools sponsors.
'After a four-year apprenticeship program you get to take your test for your journeyman license and a year later you can take your masters test,' said Hux.
I asked Heine how he thought I would do working as a plumber.
'I think you would do good. You did good trimming out around the kitchen sink. Hooked up our shower head faucet. I think you would do good,' concluded Heine.