Feehan Plumbing & Heating proprietor Tommy Feehan is celebrating 35 years of proudly serving customers throughout the Tri-County area. He is a third generation of Feehan's who have been in the plumbing business, and he is proud to carry on the family tradition.
Here are some of Tommy’s reflections on his career.
How did you get into the business?
Both my father and grandfather were in the business, with my grandfather going back as far as 1915. Coming out of high school I knew I didn’t want to work in an office; I wanted to work outside with my hands. My high school started a vocational program my senior year so I signed up. It ended up being perfect for me. When I graduated I started with a plumbing company and stayed with it for eight years, then I started my own business in 1977.
I’m hoping for a fourth generation to carry on the family tradition. I have three daughters, so I hope that eventually one of their husbands will want to join the business.
What does it mean to you to be the third generation of Feehans in the plumbing business?
It means a lot. My father died when I was very young so he never got to see me start out in the business. It means a lot to me to be able to carry on the Feehan name in the plumbing, heating, and cooling business in the Tri-County area. I wanted to make sure the tradition was carried on.
What stands out during your career?
The first year, I not only started my own business but also got married and had my first child, so yeah, you could say that was a pretty busy time. I’m really proud of the fact that this is the third recession we’ve been able to weather and we’re still here. We’ve grown from just myself, a helper, and one truck to 13 employees and 10 trucks.
How do you plan on marking your anniversary?
There are a lot of things that we are doing to mark our time in the business and to show our appreciation to our customers. There will be a lot of ways that we will be thanking our customers, and we’ll have the details soon.
When did you first have the feeling that you were going to make it as a business owner?
That was probably when I made it through my first recession, in 1982. Those were some really tough times, but we were able to add a truck and then we added a couple of others two years later. I didn’t want to grow the company too fast; I wanted to make sure that we did it right.
We started out doing new construction jobs; that was our niche. Then some family members joined me and we started an HVAC division and began to ramp up our services. Pohlig Builders, one of the area’s premier builders, has been with us since 1984, and Mahoney Builders has been with us for about 15 years now.
About five years ago we started our service division, and that has grown from a handful of customers to about 3,000
What makes you the proudest when you look back on the last 35 years?
One of the things that makes me the most proud is that we have had a lot of apprentice plumbers work for us who went on to be master plumbers, and I’m really proud of the fact that five or six of them have gone on to start their own companies.