Business Central December 2021

72 | NZ Plumbers Awards: Plumbers HB CONTRACTING Plumber rubbing shoulder with royalty T Karen Phelps HAWKE’S BAY I 0800 8777 996 // BAY OF PLENTY I Your local electricians, covering the Bays. At Hawkes Bay plumbing company AW Holder customers always come irst. Whether it’s retail clients or trade customers, Holders (as clients fondly refer to it) always listens then aims to deliver to meet the speci ic need. The locally owned and operated company has been going strong for over 80 years. This means a tight knit team and loyal customer base. Holders also deal with trusted New Zealand suppliers, meaning quick service and great backup when needed. The company has four branches: 118 Taradale Road, Onekawa, Napier services a mix of trade and retail clients. 1018 Omahu Road, Frimley, Hastings is targeted mainly at automotive and engineering businesses. The main trade centre is at 501 Warren Street North, Hastings and 302 Ellison Road, Hastings is the main retail showroom for Hastings. The showroom is a great place for people to get inspiration and ideas, says Shontell Revell from Holders. Holders display the largest range of bathroom ware across in two showrooms in Hawkes Bay, where customers get to see the latest trends in bathroom and heating solutions. The showrooms are AW Holder Plumbing Plus changed every three months so customers can always have access to the latest products along with help and advice from the Holders expert team. Holders o er a full in-home consultation to measure and design the right solution no matter how big or small the renovation. “This allows us to really get a feel for the customer’s home environment and what they are trying to achieve,” says Shontell. She says that Holder’s personalised customer service extends to both retail and trade clients. “All retail products are ordered speci ically to suit the customer so it’s a very personally tailored experience. For trade clients we have many usual items on hand, but we can also source as required and always aim to ind a solution, even when the request is not an o -the-shelf product,” she says. The friendly experienced team means that it is not unusual for trade clients to pop in just to say hi even if they don't need anything. She says Holders has some very talented trade customers, such as Chris Fennessy who won the 2021 New Zealand Plumber, Gas itter or Drainlayer of the Year award. 06 879 8030 Napier Hastings Leading supplier of plumbing & bathroom products in Australasia. T he 2021 New Zealand Plumber, Gas- fitter or Drainlayer of the Year Chris Fennessy’s career has taken him from a loo in Hawke’s Bay to Royalty in London. “I got called to a job in Kensington one day and it turned out to be Kate Middleton. I didn’t know who she was at the time but I’ve been in her bedroom with her,” he says with a cheeky grin, adding he was sorting out her heating. Chris’ vast overseas plumbing experience was partly what no doubt made him stand out for the judges. After training in Havelock North, Chris worked extensively in London and Western Australia as a plumber and gas- fitter, which opened up new ideas and expe- riences including further training. He brought this back to New Zealand in 2010 when he started Hawkes Bay based Plumbers HB many years after winning the Apprentice Plumber of the Year title in 1999 at the national confer- ence in Palmerston North. He now runs a small tight team and undertakes residential jobs all across the region including Havelock North, Hastings and Napier. Chris places high importance on qualifica- tions and regular trade training for his team is an important aspect of the business. Chris himself leads the way by holding the following licences - Certifying Plumber, Certifying Gasfitter and Certifying Drainlayer. This means Plumbers HB is a one-stop-shop for clients plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying needs. The 2021 New Zealand Plumber, Gasfitter or Drainlayer of the Year title Chris won rec- ognises his excellence in the trade skills and is awarded each year to a respected mem- ber of the trade, known for their leadership skills. Chris is hands on with his apprentices and tradespeople on a daily basis and ‘on the tools’ every day working alongside them, teaching, advising, asking them questions and always being available to help. His leader- ship stretches well beyond just the plumbing industry and he has coached Western Rangers Junior league soccer team for many years and is an active supporter and volunteer at Rata Olsen Scouts, including volunteering his own time for much needed work on scout hall and camps. He’s also been heavily involved in volunteering within his own industry and sat on the executive committee of Hawke’s Bay Master Plumbers for many terms until his wife Kay, who is Plumbers HB’s office administra- tor, took over his position, and she is now the President of the Association. Kay says that on an international stage Chris has shown Kiwi plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers to be extremely hardworking and focused, as well as trustworthy and honest. “But most importantly that they are very knowledgeable and well educated in their trade showing that the training and education our tradespeople receive in New Zealand is exemplary. All of Chris’ overseas employers “I got called to a job in Kensington one day and it turned out to be for Kate Middleton.” now hold Kiwi plumbers, drainlayers and gasfitters in high regard,” she says. In return Chris has been able to bring back to New Zealand an understanding of new modern technologies and how to apply them to suit his clients’ needs. Kay says that he is still regularly in touch with his overseas counterparts, whom he has a great relation- ship with, which means he constantly has his finger on the pulse of the latest international developments in the field. An example that seems humorous today but was ground breaking at the time, was that when Kay and Chris returned to New Zealand even having a website was unusual for the industry in this country despite being the norm overseas. Plumbers HB was the first to implement a full extensive working plumbing business website in Hawke’s Bay, which Kay says led to numerous others following suit creating a new level of professionalism in the industry. It is also an example of how Chris and Kay place high importance on good communi- cation with Plumbers HB clients. They are proud that the office constantly has positive feedback on how Chris and the team took the time to explain things to clients so they felt listened to and had a positive experience with the industry. Although Chris has done everything from changing a tap at a mortuary in Hastings to designing and completing renovations on multi-million pound properties in London he admits to preferring to stay out of the lime- light and it was Kay that pushed him to enter the awards. “I just really enjoy having a small team and making sure things are done right for our clients.”