A quick jobsite visit to the western suburbs of Chicago found hydronics guru Alan Carlson (Instagram @alan_carlson) swapping out leaking boilers at an 80-unit apartment complex.
Carlson, a plumbing and heating industry veteran has been repping the trades for the past 19 years. He entered the plumbing trade back in 2001, and for the past few years now, he has moved over to the hydronics side of the job with Ambrust Plumbing & Heating Solutions, Carol Stream, Ill., to where—back in 2014—he took his plumbing skills. Since 1918, Armbrust has provided DuPage County residents exceptional residential/commercial plumbing and heating services.
Carlson is testament to hard work and dedication to his craft. “I knew I wasn’t cut out for college and the trades has afforded me the opportunity to make a good living and provide for my family,” says Carlson.
Alan takes great pride in his work and it shows with the finished product. “I am a hard-working, goal-oriented person who specializes in problem solving, job quality and customer satisfaction.”
And don’t take his word for it, read what customers are saying about Alan and his professionalism. According to an online review, “This is the second time I have had Alan C. over to check on our plumbing. He is always friendly and very knowledgeable. He has a considerable level of experience and he has been able to answer all of my questions. When presented with options for needed services, he is honest in giving feedback with absolutely no pressure. Armbrust is a great plumbing company.”
Carlson was introduced to the trades at a very early age because his great grandfather, C.J. Erickson, started one of the oldest, and still one of the most successful, plumbing businesses in Chicago. In 1906, Carl Joseph “Joe” Erickson immigrated to America from Sweden, settling in Chicago. Joe, an accomplished plumber, signed with Plumbers Local 130 and set out to live the American dream, opening his own shop.
Although Carlson never worked at his great grandfather’s shop in the city, he got a taste early in his youth of what working in the trades would be like. “I didn’t know what career I wanted after high school. I tried the local junior college without any direction, hoping I would magically find something. I didn’t even finish a year. I decided that if my family can run a successful plumbing company in Chicago for four generations, and if my neighbor who owns his own company can make a good living, I would try plumbing,” says Carlson.
The trades have enriched Carlson’s life because he now possesses important and highly desired skills. “I also have a better understanding and much higher respect for those who work physically hard to earn their wage,” says Carlson.
Carlson stresses that there never should be a negative stereotype attached to being in the trades. “Having a career in the trades does not mean that you’re dumb or dirty or should be looked down upon. A trade is a highly skilled and highly needed job. If you want to have a career where you will always be needed, regardless of the economy, become a plumber. And if you do decide to get into it, work hard, never stop learning and never stop asking questions; be the first one there and the last one to leave,” says Carlson.
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