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Tyler Arndt has racked up quite a list of accomplishments for a guy who was just about to turn 27 when we stopped by Arndt & Son Plumbing, Brooklyn, Wisconsin, last month. After graduating for Oregon High School in 2011, he received a scholarship from Goulds Water Technology through its dealer association, and followed that the following year with two more scholarships from the Wisconsin Water Well Association and Rigid Tools.
If that wasn’t enough, Tyler also received a PHCC Educational Foundation scholarship in 2012.
Of course, in 2013 he topped all that by being named the PHCC and Delta Faucet Company Plumbing Apprentice of the Year Award and also earned another AO Smith Water Contractor Scholarship.
And he just kept going, winning the PHCC Plumbing Apprentice Competition in 2014, competing against 20 other entrants. (He’s since returned twice to judge the national contest.)
Keeping track? Well, here are a couple more. As he wrapped up his five-year apprenticeship, Tyler was named to the Radiant Professionals Alliance’s inaugural list of Top 5 Under 30 Rising Professionals in 2016 – the youngest of the bunch at just 22 at the time.
Finally, this past January he was elected president of the Wisconsin PHCC – and as you may guessed already – the youngest president of the association.
While it certainly helps to become a plumber after being raised in a family business, Tyler never doubted what he would become.
“Plumbing is a puzzle and you have to figure it out,” he says, in particular of service work. “You’re pretty much like Sherlock Holmes and you have solve the mystery. Plus, not everything’s always the same. A customer could call with an issue and the next day another could call with the same issue – but the solution could be different each time. Nothing is repetitive about this work.”
Well before he started his formal education, Tyler profited from general construction lessons taught at his high school, which even included building a single-family house from start to finish.
“It’s a great learning experience,” he adds.
Then, in his senior year he went through his school’s “School to Work” program that included work at Arndt & Son Plumbing for half of the day and regular high school classwork for the rest of the day.
Arndt & Son Plumbing is a residential and light commercial new construction, remodeling, service and repair company. The company does everything from routine inspections, fixture repairs and water heater installations to complete plumbing for new construction and remodeling right down to septic services.
Truth be told, however, Tyler was working for his dad as “a child laborer” at the age of 7. Technically, the “& Son” part of the name refers to his dad, Dale Arndt, a plumbing and radiant heating contractor whom I’ve known for decades as a prominent member of the PHCC – National Association and the Quality Service Contractors and from the first days of the Radiant Professionals Alliance.
Dale, too, was a child laborer for his dad’s business, which started in 1972.
“Tyler has me beat though since I was 10 when I started helping my dad,” Dale adds.
Beyond plumbing services, the company is well known for specializing in radiant heating and snowmelt. Those jobs have helped the small company of six employees earn national recognition by winning more than 10 awards from the RPA, which have been highlighted in features in several trade magazines.
It was no doubt one of these projects that Tyler remembers helping out on as a kid.
“I was the PEX pipe holder,” he remembers. “Other guys were stapling it down, but it was my job to hold the PEX straight and keep the tension on it.”
As soon as he graduated high school, Tyler joined his dad and began his five-year apprenticeship though coursework at the Madison Area Technical College.
“I don’t think I even took a vacation,” he adds. “I just started the day after high school ended.”
While he does all types of plumbing and pump work, Tyler certainly leans toward a love of hydronics like his dad, who was doing his first radiant work in the early-1990s – even before the RPA was founded.
“We don’t skimp on materials, regardless of the cost,” Dale adds. “I believe better materials lead to better work quality, and we give our customers the best work quality out there."
Tyler adds that he enjoys showing owners how to use the latest technology offered by the company’s products of choice, including Viessmann boilers, REHAU PEX and related radiant heating products, Taco and Goulds pumps and Hellenbrand water softeners and filtration systems.
“Sometimes it’s hard to tell who loves the system more, me or the owner," Tyler adds. “And I also don’t know who’s more excited when we turn it on either. You’re basically putting together an entire system that has a lot of different parts to it, and it’s a great feeling when you can flick a switch on and everything just synchs.”
Currently, Tyler, is a journeyman plumber and service tech for the family business. He was planning to take his master’s test, but will have to wait until he can take it in-person after COVID-19 restrictions pass.
He also keeps busy on marketing for the company, including handling all social media and working recently with Scorpion Marketing on a web site and emarketing makeover.
As we said at the start, we’ve known Dale for many years and he remains a familiar face at PHCC, QSC and RPA events. Likewise, Tyler says the groups provide him with a lot of resources that will only gain in importance as he takes on more of a management role with the three-generation family business.
“I’ve been on the phone with countless association members,” he adds, “and they never hesitate to help.”
Tyler is also extremely grateful for the PHCC Educational Foundation.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get to where you’re going without a little help,” he says of his scholarship. “The Foundation has been very good to me, and I know what it does for other people, so I try to pay it forward.”
This article is a part of our 2021 National Skilled Trades Day compilation