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The following six years were spent doing a multitude of residential and light commercial jobs during which time I was able to meet and work with many of George's colleagues and acquaintances. This proved to be invaluable in gaining the broadest experience possible to a small town plumber's apprentice. Some of the jobs to our credit included plumbing & fixturing a 75-unit apartment complex, several commercial steam and hot water boiler retrofits and service contracts, and a 2-million+ ft3/h natural gas system for a car wash. Also during this time the so called "high efficiency" gas furnaces were making their debut which allowed me the opportunity to learn about them as they evolved and to stay abreast of developments which were happening almost as fast as advancements in the computer industry.
George retired and I moved on to work for a commercial plumbing and heating shop where we installed plumbing and HVAC systems in schools, hospitals and other institutional and commercial settings. This contractor also did municipal sewer and water systems, complete with catch basins, pumping stations, fire hydrants, the whole bit, which was interesting but backbreaking work. While there I graduated from the Sault College of Applied Arts & Technology with a 4.0 grade point average in plumbing and passed my provincial exam. I received a plaque and certificates for outstanding achievement from the Ministry of Skills Development and the MP for our riding. From there I went to work for another small scale plumbing contractor where my gas ticket allowed us to secure a heating contractors license and add "and Heating" to the name. The owner of this outfit wasn't much older than myself but had a plethora of experience and knowledge, which he willingly shared. Although we are currently competitors we are still good friends and refer work to one another when things get overwhelmingly busy.
An electrician friend offered me a position in the electrical contractor business he and his brother owned and I went to work for them to head up the newly formed mechanical division. This proved to be a success with marked improvement seen every quarter for the seven full quarters I worked there. I very likely would still be there had fate not had other things in store for me.
An injury from my early teen years had come back to haunt me in the form of deterioration and bone spurs in all five of my lumbar vertebrae. It had become chronic and may well have spelled the end of my career in the trade. If this had come about one year later I might have been able to move into a management only position however we were still an infant by business growth standards and manpower shortages required my presence in the field.
Luckily I was referred to Dr. D. F. Birt of Winnipeg's Grace Hospital whose surgical skills allowed me to continue on with my life. It was a full three years before I could perform a full days work but a combination of exercise and perseverance paid off and I have been actively working in my trade since 1996.
After a brief stint with another P&H contractor I put the wheels in motion to begin my own business. Since mid 1997 M. Murray Plumbing & Heating has been leaving it's mark in and around our city and we hope to continue to prosper and grow for many years to come. <%Call CloseSQLDB()%>