By Staff Writer, PHCC-National Association
Honoring those who have dedicated their careers to enriching the lives of plumbing students, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors—National Association (PHCC) named Tim Rutledge, a deeply committed instructor at the PHCC-GSA Training Facility in Sacramento, California, its 2023 Plumbing Instructor of the Year. The award – sponsored by PHCC Corporate Partner Milwaukee Tool – was presented Oct. 27 at PHCCCONNECT2023 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Growing up in a family that has owned multiple plumbing companies over several decades, Rutledge’s experience comes from years of working in multiple facets of the industry. For the past six years, he has served as a PHCC plumbing instructor (teaching years 1 through 4), motivating his students, both past and present, with his “can-do attitude, creativity, and sense of humor,” claims Theresa Perez, an administrator at the PHCC facility who nominated Rutledge.
That creativity has shone in multiple ways, especially via Rutledge’s learning lab buildout, which comprises a mock house and a trenching box, both of which he constructed to give students hands-on opportunities that more closely resembled situations found in the field or on a job site. The model home has a working Bluetooth shower, dishwasher, water heater, bathtub, and more … and also is elevated to create a crawl space for his students to work on drains and venting. The trench box gives students the opportunity to dig through dirt and riprap to lay pipe and learn slope and grade.
With the increasing use of technologies and digital information in the trade, Rutledge also has implemented a paperless classroom, including programming computer LMS for student use, implementing management software to monitor students’ work on laptops, creating testing tools and scramblers, and building Excel-based electronic grading tools.
And, to help students solidify their own learning as well as provide an alternate approach to students struggling with a particular concept, Rutledge empowers students to instruct each other; this peer-to-peer method also reinforces teamwork, a necessity on a job site.
“Tim creates a safe, welcoming, positive environment for students to learn and master their craft,” says Perez. “He leads by example, demonstrating his own success in multiple career paths to which a plumbing apprenticeship can lead – contractor, instructor, inspector, examiner.”
In addition, Rutledge gives tours of the PHCC GSA Training Facility to school groups, industry partners, and elected officials. His dedication to his former and current students – and to the industry’s future workforce – makes him most deserving of this award.
The PHCC National Association, formed in 1883, provides legislative advocacy, education, and training to approximately 3,500 plumbing and HVACR businesses and 65,000 technicians. Members of PHCC have access to a wide variety of services designed to increase their professionalism, grow their business, and improve profitability. For more information about PHCC, visit phccweb.org.
About Milwaukee Tool
Milwaukee Tool, founded in 1924, is a global leader in delivering innovative solutions to the professional construction trades that increase productivity and safety. Milwaukee® is known for their world-leading M12™, M18™, and MX FUEL™ cordless systems, the ground-breaking performance of their cordless innovations, safety solutions, battery-powered outdoor power equipment, jobsite lighting and clean-up, time-saving tool accessories, and innovative hand tool and PACKOUT™ Modular Storage products. The company is dedicated to delivering a steady stream of advanced, trade-specific solutions. Milwaukee Tool is a Brookfield, Wisconsin-based subsidiary of Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd. For more information on the full line of Milwaukee® products, please call 1-800-SAWDUST or visit milwaukeetool.com.