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Generous supporters of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association’s (PHCC) Educational Foundation, Joel and Renee Long and Rick and Bonnie Whitaker, have been named to the organization’s board of governors. This distinguished group – composed of leading contractors, manufacturers, and other industry partners who are major donors to the foundation – is responsible for guiding the development of industry education and training programs for contractors and their employees.
Joel is co-owner of GSM Services in Gastonia, North Carolina, with his brother Steven. He serves as president of the commercial division, which includes commercial HVAC and roofing, while Steven is president of the residential division. The business was started in 1927 by their grandfather. Joel and Steven became the third-generation owners in 2005.
In addition to a strong work ethic, both Joel and Steven are involved in community organizations that include the Rotary Club, the Community Foundation, Cancer Services, the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Greater Gaston Development Corporation, and the Gaston Regional Chamber.
Joel attended the foundation’s Essentials of Project Management class in 2006. The program was an eye-opening experience, and his involvement with PHCC and the foundation grew from there. He served as a member of the foundation and association boards of directors and topped his 2019 term as secretary of the PHCC—National Association with a successful bid this fall for the seat of vice president. He will move up the chairs to become president of the association for the 2021-2022 term.
Joel and Renee have regularly made gifts to the foundation and decided to add a generous pledge to join the board of governors as a major donor. The foundation looks to this prestigious group for guidance, leadership and for assistance with delivering on its educational mission.
“You can’t help but be flattered when someone like Joel tells you that he wants to take a bigger role in the Foundation’s work,” said Foundation Chair Craig Lewis. “You get to know someone as they are involved in PHCC and from the start, we knew that Joel’s mindset was in the right place – generous, devoted to helping others and willing to step up and get involved. I’m so happy to have Joel and Renee join our team for the long term as members of the Foundation Board of Governors.”
The foundation has also named Rick and Bonnie Whitaker to the organization’s board of governors. Rick has been president of Brown Brothers Plumbing and Heating in Durham, North Carolina, since 1986. He is the second generation of Whitakers to run this family business, with his brother Rodney and son Allen planning to carry the company forward for years to come. Rick has been a long-time member on the board of directors for the North Carolina PHCC and served three terms as state president in 1993, 2000 and 2016. He was elected to the PHCC—National Association Board in 2000 and was the Delta Faucet Company National Contractor of the Year runner-up in 1995 and 1996.
Bonnie and Rick married in 2008. Since that time Bonnie has been very active in PHCC of North Carolina functions, serving in the auxiliary as vice president, president, education committee member, social committee member and community involvement chair. She has served the past two years on the PHCC National Auxiliary Scholarship Committee. This year she joined the foundation scholarship committee and was elected as PHCC National Auxiliary vice president.
Rick has been making gifts to support the foundation for more than 20 years, and last year the couple decided to add a generous pledge to join the board of governors as a major donor.
“Rick has been a friend of the Foundation from its early days,” said Lewis. “He was there for us on Foundation committees and at our events going back into the 1990’s. That support and involvement has continued to today and has grown with Bonnie joining the Scholarship Committee and their step to join the Foundation Board of Governors. We are so lucky to have this level of enduring commitment from members of our Foundation family.”
The PHCC Educational Foundation proudly welcomes Joel and Renee Long and Rick and Bonnie Whitaker as they join other major supporters in promoting the foundation’s mission of developing apprentice, journeyman, and business management training programs for the success of plumbing and HVACR contractors, their employees, and the future of the industry.